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The sailing "industry"

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Interesting write up in the "What's in a Name" story from the FP. I agree with most of his sentiments. But I think there is an important distinction between the sailing industry and the sailing community. To me, I define "industry" as the suppliers of the sport. The shops, the builders, the designers, the retailers, the sailmakers, the professional teams, etc. The industry is certainly part of the overall sailing community, but using the word industry to me is an important distinction between the providers of the sport and the consumers of the sport. The rest of us are the consumers.

 

I did, however, particularly like this line referring to the current AC spectacle happening in SF Bay right now:

 

In this future, nobody will put down their tablet to pick up a tiller.

 

How true. The current iteration of the AC looks more like NASCAR and WWF than anything to do with sailing and it is about as remote from the "sailing community" as you can get. Its certainly not the AC's job or responsibility to inspire people to pick up a tiller. But the fact that they used to inspire and now are increasingly unlikely to is very sad. I am an avid racer to this day as a direct result of watching the 1999-2000 LVC round robins while sitting in a bar one evening. I was hooked and wanted to learn more. I don't see this happening with the current format. Sad.......

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Nick Hayes has taken a phrase out of context and turned into a sideways screed about what he thinks Larry Ellison ought to be doing with his money to promote the sport.

 

A cite from Google is the reference as to when "sailing industry" started to be used, and this then is turned into something about pro sailing? Seriously?

 

In the first place, the "Sailing Industry" term was probably used ages ago, for multiple reasons. Google doesn't know everything. And yes, I'd agree the term "industry" refers to the commercial suppliers of services and goods to the sport. It even includes authors of books, and people who get paid to give speaking gigs about how fucked up the sport is, and why their vision is better. Does Nick get paid for each copy of his book that is sold? Does he get paid to give speaking gigs about his book? Is he then part of the "industry"?

 

What the America's Cup is now, and what every other sponsorsed part of sailing is, and what every "pro sailor" is this: sailing entertainment. That is a subset of the "industry". Sailing on TV, or made for a live audience, is entertainment for people other than those who are competing. I don't play football, yet I watch the Super Bowl. I watch the Daytona 500, but I don't race NASCAR. So I guess it stands to reason, under Nick's theory that the "football industry" and the "NASCAR industry" must be failing to really inspire me to participate in their sport.

 

So what is "Sailing entertainment"? For the most part, it is a losing business model. And those who pay don't generally mind losing money while they are losing money, until they decide the entertainment factor is less than the cost they are paying. The guy who is spending $200,000 to campaign his J70 is really not paying "pro sailors", he is paying "sailing entertainers" to help him have fun sailing. Nothing wrong with that so much, it is just different than the pure recreational game that used to be played by all.

 

What "pro sailing" series actually is profitable business? Maybe the ESS. Is there another, where everyone in the equation is actually making money, including the team and event owners?

 

If not, then the "sailing entertainment" business is a vanity project for those writing the checks. Nothing wrong with that, they made the decision to play the game that way, and they do so long as they get the value they want. This really isn't so much "pro sailing" as it is "patron sailing"

 

But to lump in the America's Cup as the leader of the "sailing industry" is a bit absurd.

 

Nick is at his best when he is talking about the benefits of family sailing. He is at his worst when he has to tear something done to make his point. In this instance, his premise is not even valid, and he looks silly.

 

Is ACEA doing the best they can to engage the audience, particularly in America? Hardly. In fact, not even close. But that is a failing of them to attract the audience to their event for their own financial purposes. That is where their obligation ends, and Coutts is going to have to Larry for that. Coutts does not have to answer to Nick Haze.

 

What Nick fails to see is the opportunity. While ACEA won't likely maximize their audience because they have been so ham handed in everything they have done for sailing (to wit, they are running a better concert series than they are a yachting event) they will end up with eyeballs, many of whom are not active sailors. And that is the audience that Nick ought to be addressing. He ought to get a soapbox, set it up on Marina Green, and preach his gospel of "Saving Sailing". I'll bet Ehman would even help direct traffic his way.

 

It is unfortunate that Nick Haze can't embrace forms of the sailing business that don't fit his particular business model. He's ignoring the very customers he seeks for his own.

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So what you're saying is you agree with me :D

 

 

NOT!

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From the world of wooden boats that I come from, there's practically no sailing "industry" to speak of. I mean sure, someone might go to West Marine and buy some fancier new hardware once in a while, but mostly it's all old stuff, or recycled/reused stuff or homemade stuff and the AC shenanigans are no more relevant than what the Mars rover is using.

 

I don't think the AC has any more relevance to the cruising world either. All of that stuff has become so expensive and so extreme that it just doesn't have any translation.

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The AC has about as much relevance to 99% of amateur racing sailors; as F1 has to 99% of amateur race car drivers and their teams.

 

Edit, After I posted, I noticed that Peter Johnstone was lurking here, must be the thread title. LOL

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Show a youngster a Moth on foils, and their eyes light up. Foils are coming in several sports. Laird tows in on big surf. Kiters are trying them. Moths have mastered them for sailing. Foils are a major innovation for water sports. Look at what Paul and the Vesta Sailrocket did to the sailing speed record. Mischa is flying his DNA A-Class regularly, and in control. The progress in sailing right now is incredible. The next ten years have more in store for us than the prior 50.

 

Today's youth have awesome choices after junior sailing. Cats, boards, kites, moths, skiffs all offer a lifetime path. The AC45's and 72's are in alignment with today's most exciting aspects of sailing. Coutts is on the right path. The 72's may prove to be too big of a step, but I have never seen or heard so much talk about a Cup, ever. Outside of the Artemis tragedy, the AC72's are covering a lot of new ground, and have created a very interesting sailing event. I believe the showcase of the benefits of foils will make this year a pivotal one for the sport, which is ironic when most felt the wingsail would be the star.

 

The old ways will always be a choice for those not comfortable with development. There is a place for comfort, and development. It is way too early to judge this America's Cup. From a development standpoint, it is the most interesting sailing event I have seen.

 

-a sailing industry and community person...

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Peter makes a valid point in that it is necessary to advance the technology of sailing. 20 years ago when J Boats were in full swing, they probably never imagined Gun Boats? I just hope the Englidsh F1 guy from Caterham (name escapes me ATM) gets traction with his plan to partner with Alex Wilson and bring F1 safety protocols to the AC so future tragedies may be averted.

 

As much as I stand by my irrelevance to the 99% opinion, I do enjoy watching AC and F1 on the tube, and you cannot argue that modern boats are much more exciting for modern spectators than the AC class or 12 meters...

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I only watch NASCAR for the crashes.

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AC racing has been ruined by too much money, just like every other form of competition that has attracted big corporate sponsorship. IMHO dropping the old "no advertising" rule was the worst decision ever made by the powers that be.

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AC racing has been ruined by too much money, just like every other form of competition that has attracted big corporate sponsorship. IMHO dropping the old "no advertising" rule was the worst decision ever made by the powers that be.

 

In a sense I agree, but if you don't have sponsorship, then the sport is relegated to only the gazillionaires like Ellison and Berterelli. Actually, even with sponsorship, those are the only guys that can afford it. Of course if their ginormous money printing companies are footing the bill, it's a business tax write-off anyway.

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Interesting write up in the "What's in a Name" story from the FP. I agree with most of his sentiments. But I think there is an important distinction between the sailing industry and the sailing community. To me, I define "industry" as the suppliers of the sport. The shops, the builders, the designers, the retailers, the sailmakers, the professional teams, etc. The industry is certainly part of the overall sailing community, but using the word industry to me is an important distinction between the providers of the sport and the consumers of the sport. The rest of us are the consumers.

 

I did, however, particularly like this line referring to the current AC spectacle happening in SF Bay right now:

 

 

In this future, nobody will put down their tablet to pick up a tiller.

How true. The current iteration of the AC looks more like NASCAR and WWF than anything to do with sailing and it is about as remote from the "sailing community" as you can get. Its certainly not the AC's job or responsibility to inspire people to pick up a tiller. But the fact that they used to inspire and now are increasingly unlikely to is very sad. I am an avid racer to this day as a direct result of watching the 1999-2000 LVC round robins while sitting in a bar one evening. I was hooked and wanted to learn more. I don't see this happening with the current format. Sad.......

 

 

 

 

I thought this was going to be a thread where you were still raging on about you worn out 3dl sails delaminating

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Nick:

 

The term sailing industry does indeed go back a long ways. Your fellow Milwaukean Bill Mosher

could have told you, had you asked, that ASAP (the American Sail Advancement Program) which later

became Sail America, billed itself as the trade association for the the "sailing industry" in the US (Bill

was there when the organization was founded back in 1993). And even before that there was the NSIA

(National Sailing Industry Association) which was an official part of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

And come to think of it, you've been a presenter at seminars organized by Sail America and NMMA.

 

I think Peter has good points. There are lots of choices today. If someone doesn't like what they see in the AC program,

there are many ways to get involved in sailing and out on the water without stepping near an AC72. But I also agree

with Peter that it will be awhile before we know the full impact of this year's AC competition. Just as an example,

are you sailing without a "cunningham" these days ?

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Wow, but what a load of BS on the FP.

 

I have been sailing cats for over 20 years, I twisted an ankle once in a capsize, yes that is right I had a boo boo once. We never ever sail without jackets on and zipped and always pay attention to the weather and conditions and will not go if we feel uncomfortable. Been over forwards, backwards, sideways and pitchpoled once (only takes once to never want to again). I sail with some old dudes who have been doing cats almost 15 years more than I have, one guy is 70 and still sailing cats, he sold his monohull, just did not do anything for him. Mono slugs are just too slow. We call them leaners. Sure I will go out and have a evening cocktail cruise on one but even sport boats do not light my fire. Been on an U-20 in big air, what a load of work for sore muscles and decent speed. I will take my trap harness any day over droop hike. Seriously I am way more comfortable on my cat than on any other race boat I have ever sailed and they are more fun.

 

I am excited about the AC boats, without the advancement of the cup and other Dangerous racing boats, much of what we have today when it comes to sailing would never change. We could all be on Gaff rigs with fixed keels, no wing keels, no separate blade rudders, no sprits, no canting keels, no advancement since the 1900s, back to wood? Really? That is what you want?

 

I was saddened by the loss of 'Bart' and even posted on this site the tragedy is the his toddler son lost a dad. I would have to check my exact quote. At the same time I just about puked at the mono brain quoted on the news, that says simply cats are dangerous, so is driving, so is everything we do, so do we stop living?

 

NO, we mourn the loss of a sailor and try to prevent the loss of another with some safety guidelines and move on. Wing sails may not be the norm but neither were fully battened main sails a decade ago, foils may not become mainstream but they will be part of sailing from now on. To give up on advancement is to give up on sailing. Should we go back to wooden block and tackle or should we keep the Carbon technology and Dynema rigging, I chose the latter. We can not blame the industry, Boat builders and designers have to design and build what sells, period. The industry is not the AC boats but there will be things learned from this cup that will trickle down to everything we do. JMHO, YMMV, Richard.

 

PS the zone of death is something all cat sailors know about. There is a point when a cat is on a reach and you can come up to bleed speed, and a point where you can foot off to bleed speed, but there is a point that is between the two that has no good answer. From what I saw OR 17 and the Artemis crash were both in zone and until the sailors quit sailing like monohull sailors this will be a problem. A wheel on cat is boobs on bull, just does not belong, there is no feel, on a cat is all about feel. I am sure others will completely disagree but I will go sailing again and again on my cats and have fun.

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The increasing popularity of sailboats over the next couple decades will come from a multiple set of factors. Some of the factors are obvious already..

People are interested in physically driven water toys like rotomolded canoes and stand up paddling toys

 

Carbon fiber anything seems to attract a certain crowd

 

Foiling toys are nifty to watch and some love to show off

 

Sailing is great relaxation for those who want peace and quiet

 

Sailboat racing is great fun and available as a lifetime sport

 

I think a MAJOR sales point of the next sailing boom will be "here ya go ladies. This is a sport where you can livk guys' asses from when you are s little girl until you get set on a boat from your wheelchair ."

 

+++======

 

Here is all that is currently missing.

 

And without it the game WILL NOT boom

 

Ready??

 

We need a manufacturer of sailing toys who can properly promote the toys and cause the racing game to be played

 

It is not simple or somebody would have done it more than twice on the past.

 

There was the Hobie 16 and the Laser

 

It wasn't the boats

 

The boats were sorta special but not a hundred times more special than the next less successful toy's sales figures tell us.

 

The hundred times more successful sales figures came from promotion and race organization.

 

Somebody will set up a manufacturing facility and do what Hobie and Laser did for sales and race organization again and we will have another boom.

 

Somebody who stands on the shoulders of Hobie and Laser and then ADDS more support money, quality, durability, and modern functionality to the product will make our game boom as never before.

 

All the rest of the game will experience growth just as everybody else did on the seventies and eighties. Those who start out sailing the next big entry boat for everybody will graduate to the entire sailing community and everything from Catalina's to foilers will experience growth they had never previously imagined...

 

But until somebody builds and promotes another entry level everybody toy like the Laser or Hobie and does it as well as those guys did their promotion and organization???

 

It ain't happening for anybody.

 

 

++++++====

 

Currently the largest market on the world is wide open for whoever wants it. The Hobie sixteen is gone and no one currently builds anything remotely like it that serves the market the Hobie 16 served...... Cheap very durable toy you could just use for lolly gagging around and crazy crashing or race at the highest level

 

The Laser and Sunfish builder is offering no support for the racing game and the boats are so old fashioned they bring no sales excitement anyway

 

Somebody with the money to build a new functional durable introductory level to world championship ready sailing toy and the know how to promote it and organize the races has a wide open market BEGGING for toys.

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Gouvernail is right on. If those that want to play the AC game the way they are-It's their choice. They owe the community nothing. I personally miss the match racing days of the monohull's-but that's me. I remember watching in the middle of the night when it was down under. Hell it's even about time to watch that cheesy movie "Wind" again! But I meander.

 

The community needs to be grass roots and it needs something to stimulate it. An innovative fun sailing product that is a no brainer to buy. In the 70's the toys the Gouvernail is talking about were accessible to everybody as the boats cost versus percentage of income was easier to swallow in the family budget. Today's family is busy trying to keep up. As an earlier poster put it-Nick Hayes did a wonderful job writing about the values of family sailing but this editorial was a miss.

 

The J/70 is doing this-but you need to be someone that can afford a 3rd car. That's about the price of entry. I think Lasers were $7k last I checked. Family of 4 to go sailing is $28k Yikes!

 

So who can build a foiling sail boat with materials that perform like carbon for a few thousand dollars? Complete with video display?

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Show a youngster a Moth on foils, and their eyes light up. Foils are coming in several sports. Laird tows in on big surf. Kiters are trying them. Moths have mastered them for sailing. Foils are a major innovation for water sports. Look at what Paul and the Vesta Sailrocket did to the sailing speed record. Mischa is flying his DNA A-Class regularly, and in control. The progress in sailing right now is incredible. The next ten years have more in store for us than the prior 50.

 

Today's youth have awesome choices after junior sailing. Cats, boards, kites, moths, skiffs all offer a lifetime path. The AC45's and 72's are in alignment with today's most exciting aspects of sailing. Coutts is on the right path. The 72's may prove to be too big of a step, but I have never seen or heard so much talk about a Cup, ever. Outside of the Artemis tragedy, the AC72's are covering a lot of new ground, and have created a very interesting sailing event. I believe the showcase of the benefits of foils will make this year a pivotal one for the sport, which is ironic when most felt the wingsail would be the star.

 

The old ways will always be a choice for those not comfortable with development. There is a place for comfort, and development. It is way too early to judge this America's Cup. From a development standpoint, it is the most interesting sailing event I have seen.

 

-a sailing industry and community person...

20/20

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Show a youngster a Moth on foils, and their eyes light up. Foils are coming in several sports. Laird tows in on big surf. Kiters are trying them. Moths have mastered them for sailing. Foils are a major innovation for water sports.

Yes.

Coutts is on the right path.

Is that so? The AC72 rule precisely attempted to ban foiling. As a result they are using semi-functional control systems which work around the rule. Spare us "Coutts is on the right path". He had no intention of being on this path.

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But the fact that they used to inspire and now are increasingly unlikely to is very sad.

 

 

Can't comment on the TV coverage (or lack of outside the Bay Area?) but there were tens of thousands of people watching the AC45s live in the Bay who thought it was pretty damn cool and inspiring. What cup has ever had that?

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Show a youngster a Moth on foils, and their eyes light up. Foils are coming in several sports. Laird tows in on big surf. Kiters are trying them. Moths have mastered them for sailing. Foils are a major innovation for water sports. Look at what Paul and the Vesta Sailrocket did to the sailing speed record. Mischa is flying his DNA A-Class regularly, and in control. The progress in sailing right now is incredible. The next ten years have more in store for us than the prior 50.

 

Today's youth have awesome choices after junior sailing. Cats, boards, kites, moths, skiffs all offer a lifetime path. The AC45's and 72's are in alignment with today's most exciting aspects of sailing. Coutts is on the right path. The 72's may prove to be too big of a step, but I have never seen or heard so much talk about a Cup, ever. Outside of the Artemis tragedy, the AC72's are covering a lot of new ground, and have created a very interesting sailing event. I believe the showcase of the benefits of foils will make this year a pivotal one for the sport, which is ironic when most felt the wingsail would be the star.

 

The old ways will always be a choice for those not comfortable with development. There is a place for comfort, and development. It is way too early to judge this America's Cup. From a development standpoint, it is the most interesting sailing event I have seen.

 

-a sailing industry and community person...

20/20

I'll see your 20/20 and give Pete a 20/15. Clarity for the next generation of youth sailors.

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Wow!... a whole bunch of things, but one thing is certain... the AC is not what ails the sailing industry. It is a representative example of how sailing has moved in a certain direction to further remove sailing from what BoomerangJ says above, "...The community needs to be grass roots and it needs something to stimulate it..."

 

Over the last 15 years, or so, sailing has been in a slow, but steady, decline. Right now, sailing represents a mere 3% of all sales in recreational watersports. Yep, 3%! That's little more than life support level compared to other segments. There are some folks on SA who live, speak and sail as a dedicated lifestyle, but they do not represent the vast majority of the water sports community.

 

15 years ago, many of the younger folks who would have previously gotten into sailing, instead started to migrate to human powered expressions, such as kayaking and canoeing. Kiting wasn't really around back then, neither were SUP's, but folks wanted to get out on the water without having to pay for the much higher priced beach cats and dinghy's available then. It was right around this same time that wages began a slow tail-off of their own as the cost of living (mostly through housing measured against wages) got much more expensive. Let's face it folks, wages have not kept up with costs during this time and that hit consumers right where their wallets live. The result, water oriented enthusiasts turned to less expensive forms as mentioned above.

 

As petroleum prices have continued to climb, so have the built-in costs to go sailing. Pretty much everything about sailing is tied, inexorably, to the cost of a barrel of oil, Resins, ropes, sailcloth, carbon, aluminum, the whole ball of wax. It's all gotten a whole lot more spendy to acquire. So, you have a shrinking wage basis and an expanding cost structure and the result is... way fewer sailboats being sold. Yes, there are all sorts of ancillary issues that are tagged along with the transition, like: ease of use and storage, car-toppable, competing sporting activities, competing non-sporting activities, followed by a huge additional list that is too long to include here.

 

So, what have we, the sailing community done about it? While thousands of entry-level sailors slip through our fingers and out into other expressions, we have made a blind dash into the zone of overly complicated and even more expensive boats, offering the public fewer and fewer opportunities to get out there and sail. What was a fairly straight-forward, decently affordable and easy to sail boat, the beach cat, has become a wonder of high tech wizardry that has left the former beach cat lifestyle folks standing by and scratching their heads in dismay. The boats are way more expensive and they still have the same issues of where does one store them, can it be sailed by a beginner and where's the beach party I used to see when my Mom and Dad owned one back in the 80's?

 

What has the cat industry done to answer that reality...? Well, with the exception of a load of fresh, affordable, easy to sail products from Nacra in Australia, (and maybe a few others, as well, but I'm not currently aware of them) they are working on adding foils to their boats so that the boats can go faster. Along with the faster foiling boats has come the all too easy to predict hyper inflation of the costs. The foils are way more money, they are more complicated to use, they are delicate and sensitive to handling, did I say that they have pushed the pricing into the stratosphere?... and the beginners are almost completely out of the game now. The result of that expression is that cats are now moving even further away from an affordable product paradigm and into the realm where only the seriously cashed-up buyers can now play the game. That's a much smaller market for sales... hence, one shining example of the 3% death bed reality of the sport.

 

We aren't attracting buyers and sailors... we're literally, shoving them down the road to the SUP, kayak, canoe and kiting shops, where wonderful products are waiting for them at price points that are more than manageable for today's buyers. Other than the Hobie Cat Company, which has evolved as a full spectrum watersports outfit, the sailing industry needs to get its head out of its... romance with uber-tech and start servicing those grass roots level Average Joe's if it has any hope of lasting into the next generation as anything more than a rich man's game.

 

When the grassroots dies, if it hasn't already, then virtually every single thing you do in sailing will immediately cost a whole lot more than it does today and well beyond typical, inflationary norms.

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If nothing else, the AC in SF has finally gotten the word "yachting" out of the mainstream media in referring to the sport of sailboat racing......the AC is sailboat racing which is all together different from sailing as an activity in which to participate and in Nick Haye's case with your family...

 

The AC in SF is definitely good for showing off the possible excitement that sailing can offer at an extreme but as in all sports will trickle down to the average user.

 

I am just so glad it won't be referred to on Versus Cable or wherever shown as "Yachting"! Who would ever tune in to watch "Yachting"?

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IMHO the main problem here in southern California is affordable, mast up storage. It really doesn't exist. The other issues is that once you leave the breakwater here you are in open ocean with no real fun destinations. Beach landings are strictly prohibited and lifeguards keep all boats out of the surf in non certified landing areas. The water is cold most of the year and wearing a bikini on a boat anywhere but Mission Bay is a rare occurrence for most girls on a wet boat as it quite cold almost everywhere even in July-August.

 

That's been the story here since the 1980s and what made selling dinghies and small catamarans challenging at best.

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The AC brings the warriors in from the offshore battlefields to the inshore arena for something that's hopefully more telegenic than Olympics at 5kts. What good is gladiatorial combat without the threat of death? It's related to Yaaachting in the same way NASCAR is related to my morning commute. I see all sorts of muscle machines that can go crazy fast sitting in the same bumper to bumper traffic as my sedan - auto racing has affected car sales directly and the AC will do the same. I don't expect the AC will revive the blue blazer business, but it will surely get more people on the water.

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Within weeks of the final race, you'll be able to go into any sports bar in The City and nobody will be talking about That Boat Race. It'll all be about what's on ESPN Sports Center, the Giants and the upcoming season for the 9ers... and if you ask about the sailing you'll get a blank stare. That's the impact.

 

The only thing that will change that is if another fine lad dies as a result of these boats. As it is, the AC will not be remembered as the year of the huge foiling cats. It'll be the year of the dead guy from that Swiss, or is it, Swedish? team. Well, anyway... it's one of those S countries... over there.

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Leaders lead and build up people and plans. Positive prophecies become self-fulfilling with enough persistence and grit. We are seeing plenty of these traits in this bold AC cycle.

 

I am all for grassroots efforts...think my track record bears that out. The efforts go hand in hand. Create excitement (AC, Moths, etc), and then offer paths into the sport that normal households can afford. Foils are here to stay, and so is development. Maybe someone here will seize the opportunity and excitement to parlay it into more grassroots?

 

Gouvernail, your comments are on target with small boats, and I have seen what you have personally done for classes and events. There are plenty of like-minded people, like yourself, that are thinking positively for the sport. You observe opportunity and offer solutions. I salute that.

 

One thing is certain, this sport has so many positive routes to take, and those are personal choices. Negativity really has no place. Do what you love. Respect how others choose to sail.

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Here is something I have been working for the past 3 years and this will be the 4th season. It have been discussing it in the Saving Sailing thread but since everyone is talking Grassroots efforts... I thought it might be good to post it here too.

 

So far, I would say that we have exposed about 80 non sailors to sailing in the past 2 seasons due to running it through meetup.com. The first was very low participation and we were lucky to even get all 7 Ensigns out single handed... Now there is a waiting list every week.

 

The formula is simple...

 

Sailing Center + Club Members (who helm) + active outdoor group on meetup.com = waiting list each week.

 

I would like to add that it would not be possible without the constant support from Sound Sailing Center and Martin Van Breems aka, "The Dutchman" who as part of the "sailing industry" started SSC back in 1994 specifically to grow more sailors.

 

http://www.meetup.com/Western-Connecticut-Outdoor-Adventurers/events/122050992/

 

Note: This year we are off to a slow start as we have an issue with the chase boat's engine and other boats needing to be launched taking priority... hopefully start "actual" racing next week.

 

Also, check out the event on June 20th

 

http://www.meetup.com/Western-Connecticut-Outdoor-Adventurers/events/119202992/

 

fs aka John Porter

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Leaders also address issues, negative, as well as positive, rather than gloss over the difficult problems as if nothing were happening out of the ordinary. Taking a hard look at the problematic issues is of the utmost importance. Without that process, one is flying on feel-good information supplied by yes-men, rather than an objective look at what is really going on. Negativity, as it is being portrayed, is really the balance the community needs. It's the uncomfortable reality that will always come back to bite us if we ignore it.

 

Without that process, we all might as well run on down to West Marine and get a brand new set of Emperor's New Clothes for our next sailboat outing.

 

When a prototype of a new boat is produced and tested by an engineering oriented company, one of the first things examined is the list of items regarding the boat and its failure to measure-up to expectations. Solutions are devised and hopefully corrected and the testing enters the next phase where those negative issues are scrutinized for their effectiveness and if necessary, more corrective action is put forth.

 

I think its important to not place the process in the unfortunate position of not being germane to a well-resolved dilemma.

 

As to the business of the AC and its lasting impact on the consciousness of the typical citizen in the Bay Area over the Giants and the 9ers... wait and see how it goes. Things might be somewhat different in nations where seafaring is more a part of the national sense of self, but here in the USA, the AC places a very distant scream from anything resembling a long attention span. It'll be fairly relevant to the sailing oriented folks in this country, but even that won't last long, as the moment will come and go and everyday sailors are going to just turn and walk away from the lack of connectivity to their efforts. It goes something like this once you get away from the tiny slice of folks who race sailboats, "Giant Multihulls?... Giant Multihulls with what... some kind of foil thing?" "Seriously?"

 

The America's Cup is not a relational stimulus for the growth of sailing. Never was, never will be. What matters are the programs such as that described above by John Porter. If a tenth of the wildly spent cash used in the AC were directed to programs like that across the country, you might be able to keep sailing afloat or more than the folks with heavy cash.

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^^^

 

Thanks Chris,

 

I just saw something that I could do to help grow more sailors and really just connected the dots.

 

If half of us just tried to consistently bring active non sailors out for a sail I think it would have a positive long term impact on sailing...

 

How could it not?

 

In the end, IMHO it is up to us, the individual sailors... "WE" are the current "shepherds" of what we love so dear. But it takes work... I am always on the look out for that someone...

 

If we wait until "someone else" does it... well, we all know "they" won't and it will still be up to us.

 

fs

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I like this discussion on grass roots and affordability. Couple of more observations from personal experience and tied into Chris O's comments. That's sort of where i was going with the "tongue in cheek" comment on the carbon foiler with video display for $2k. Here's the personal experience food for thought. We bought grand daughter a Bic Open when she was 8. She learned to sail it comfortably in breezes under 5. She's now ten and will go out and sail it when it's white capping. No big deal. She now wants to bring her friends sailing. Good! I take her and usually the same friend to local club. I kayak around and they sometimes double up or take turns, etc. Grand daughters friend likes sailing! I tell her about our sail camp for $400. She may go to camp-but the parents have a bit of fear that daughter will now want her own boat $2k. Yikes!!! Can't get much easier entry then that. I will tell them that they can join the club. That will give them access to the opti's. So along with grass roots and affordability we need to make it cool again. The SUP's are cool. It's new, it's hip. I'm not even sure that a new foiling Bic Open would be cool enough for the masses to embrace.

 

Maybe what we should do is go find the movie star of the moment and hire them to go sailing so that everyone thinks its cool! Maybe hire the video game creators to make a violent video sailing game?

 

How do we put the cool back into sailing? I think the affordability can be found through clubs as far as access-that's their role and most every club in Texas has a way for kids to get on the water that is a fairly low entry barrier. Especially as compared to what can be spent on youth sports leagues.

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I like this discussion on grass roots and affordability. Couple of more observations from personal experience and tied into Chris O's comments. That's sort of where i was going with the "tongue in cheek" comment on the carbon foiler with video display for $2k. Here's the personal experience food for thought. We bought grand daughter a Bic Open when she was 8. She learned to sail it comfortably in breezes under 5. She's now ten and will go out and sail it when it's white capping. No big deal. She now wants to bring her friends sailing. Good! I take her and usually the same friend to local club. I kayak around and they sometimes double up or take turns, etc. Grand daughters friend likes sailing! I tell her about our sail camp for $400. She may go to camp-but the parents have a bit of fear that daughter will now want her own boat $2k. Yikes!!! Can't get much easier entry then that. I will tell them that they can join the club. That will give them access to the opti's. So along with grass roots and affordability we need to make it cool again. The SUP's are cool. It's new, it's hip. I'm not even sure that a new foiling Bic Open would be cool enough for the masses to embrace.

 

Maybe what we should do is go find the movie star of the moment and hire them to go sailing so that everyone thinks its cool! Maybe hire the video game creators to make a violent video sailing game?

 

How do we put the cool back into sailing? I think the affordability can be found through clubs as far as access-that's their role and most every club in Texas has a way for kids to get on the water that is a fairly low entry barrier. Especially as compared to what can be spent on youth sports leagues.

 

You are hitting the nail on the head with the cool factor. If it isn't fun, it isn't cool.

 

In the US, we have spent too much time on teaching certifications, the glorification of "coaches" at all levels, and the chase for perfection in all sorts of manners of racing. Most people just want to have fun on the water.

 

Your example of the Bic Open is spot on - I see exactly the same thing in my area - young girls just wanting to go sailing.

 

I love all the devlopment stuff, but in the end, everyone needs to start with simple fun.

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We can surely point to the AC as the reductio ad absurdum of the problem; but the attitudes here at SA are no less guilty of what has happened. We like going fast. We love the improvements sport boats, asyms, canting keels, etc. have done for performance. We celebrated the demise of 12-meter ACs for faster craft; and we denigrate the "old school" keelboats as 5 knot shit boxes. We like seeing records broken by amazing new craft like Hydroptere. Let's face it; what is happening in San Francisco is exactly what we wanted; but like our elders cautioned, "It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt."

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Point well taken, rb.

 

"We" being, of course, a broadly collective term that has little specificity as to the individual position.

 

I, for one, did not want massive cats as the real, first expression of a multihull regatta style AC. I would have been seriously pleased if they had just stopped at the 45's and as a result, included some two dozen possible challengers... without foils. Just let the public digest an introductory morsel and then see how it works. But, Noooo, "we" had to go and shove the biggest possible dick in the orifice in order to make some kind of asinine statement.

 

Well, "we" got our statement.

 

And I'll wager that the next AC won't have a hint of a multihull anywhere. Experiment concluded and righteously bungled. "We" move on.

 

.

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I, for one, did not want massive cats as the real, first expression of a multihull regatta style AC. I would have been seriously pleased if they had just stopped at the 45's and as a result, included some two dozen possible challengers... without foils.

.

I agree with you, and I'll go back even farther. Yes, I liked the 12-meters. Yes, they were slow by ultralight standards; but the essentials of racing were more eveident. Tactics, strategy, covering, tacking on the shifts...it was all there without the "need for speed". IMHO, the desire for TV spectacle has diminished the nature of the contest. Still, it's fun to watch; and it ain't my money.

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Wow, but what a load of BS on the FP.

 

I have been sailing cats for over 20 years, I twisted an ankle once in a capsize, yes that is right I had a boo boo once. We never ever sail without jackets on and zipped and always pay attention to the weather and conditions and will not go if we feel uncomfortable. Been over forwards, backwards, sideways and pitchpoled once (only takes once to never want to again). I sail with some old dudes who have been doing cats almost 15 years more than I have, one guy is 70 and still sailing cats, he sold his monohull, just did not do anything for him. Mono slugs are just too slow. We call them leaners. Sure I will go out and have a evening cocktail cruise on one but even sport boats do not light my fire. Been on an U-20 in big air, what a load of work for sore muscles and decent speed. I will take my trap harness any day over droop hike. Seriously I am way more comfortable on my cat than on any other race boat I have ever sailed and they are more fun.

 

I am excited about the AC boats, without the advancement of the cup and other Dangerous racing boats, much of what we have today when it comes to sailing would never change. We could all be on Gaff rigs with fixed keels, no wing keels, no separate blade rudders, no sprits, no canting keels, no advancement since the 1900s, back to wood? Really? That is what you want?

 

I was saddened by the loss of 'Bart' and even posted on this site the tragedy is the his toddler son lost a dad. I would have to check my exact quote. At the same time I just about puked at the mono brain quoted on the news, that says simply cats are dangerous, so is driving, so is everything we do, so do we stop living?

 

NO, we mourn the loss of a sailor and try to prevent the loss of another with some safety guidelines and move on. Wing sails may not be the norm but neither were fully battened main sails a decade ago, foils may not become mainstream but they will be part of sailing from now on. To give up on advancement is to give up on sailing. Should we go back to wooden block and tackle or should we keep the Carbon technology and Dynema rigging, I chose the latter. We can not blame the industry, Boat builders and designers have to design and build what sells, period. The industry is not the AC boats but there will be things learned from this cup that will trickle down to everything we do. JMHO, YMMV, Richard.

 

PS the zone of death is something all cat sailors know about. There is a point when a cat is on a reach and you can come up to bleed speed, and a point where you can foot off to bleed speed, but there is a point that is between the two that has no good answer. From what I saw OR 17 and the Artemis crash were both in zone and until the sailors quit sailing like monohull sailors this will be a problem. A wheel on cat is boobs on bull, just does not belong, there is no feel, on a cat is all about feel. I am sure others will completely disagree but I will go sailing again and again on my cats and have fun.

 

Wow, what a post........

 

Nathan Outteridge was the second-best performer on the windy day of the last A Class worlds. Nathan also beat the recent world A Class champ and three Olympic Tornado medallists with his second-place finish at the A Class nationals, as well as winning a foiler worlds and a gold medal from skiffs, which is where (IIRC) the term "zone of death" came from.

 

Loick Peyron was the other helm on Artemis.... there's not enough space to list his cat experience.

Santiago Lange, also on the team, is an Olympic Tornado medallist.

 

Are you seriously claiming that these guys don't know better than you how to handle a foiling cat in the zone of death? Care to enlighten us on how you do well at world and Olympic level, since you apparently believe that you know more than they do about cat sailing and foiling?

 

About "Wing sails may not be the norm but neither were fully battened main sails a decade ago"; Depends where you sail. In some countries, full batten mains were standard on the most popular class back in the 1950s and have remained popular ever since, although short batten boats are now more popular. They were not seen in the AC for about a century after they first became popular in racing boats so there is no connection between their popularity and the AC.

 

About "without the advancement of the cup and other Dangerous racing boats, much of what we have today when it comes to sailing would never change. We could all be on Gaff rigs with fixed keels, no wing keels, no separate blade rudders, no sprits, no canting keels, no advancement since the 1900s, back to wood? Really? That is what you want?"

 

Sorry, that's just BS. The bermudan rig was NOT invented in the Cup or in "other dangerous racing boats". It was about 40 years old when it was adopted by the Cup boats.

 

The separate blade rudder was NOT invented in the Cup or in "other dangerous racing boats". It was 100 years old when it was adopted by the Cup boats.

 

The blade rudder, like the bermudan rig, was actually created in linear rater type boats that were known at the time to be in many ways SAFER than contemporary yachts. Almost all major developments, like foiling, wingsails, modern assymetric kites, mylar, planing hulls, catamarans, squaretops, sandwich hulls, carbon spars, etc all came in smaller, cheaper more practical boats with very, very good safety records. The big dangerous boats and the AC boats almost always merely adopt what has been created in smaller boats. Without big dangerous boats and AC boats the sailing world would NOT have stagnated.

 

It was actually a move away from dangerous boats that created modern sailing in many ways. Before then it was largely the preserve of professionals.

 

BTW, about the "monos are crap" parts of your post.... that's just personal taste, just like the fact that you enjoy heavy and fairly slow cats while some of us enjoy lighter and faster ones. So why bother slagging off monos? Would you react well if a kiter went onto the multihull forum and said that they found cats dull?

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The vision of Elison,Coutts and others that sparked the AC 72's is one of the most profoundly exciting things I have witnessed in the 55 years I've been sailing, designing, building and fooling with sailboats. Finally, real state of the art boats are being designed,built and raced for the Cup with performance unheard of in any other Cup in history. More people I meet in every day interaction are talking about the Cup(and the boats) than in any other time since Dennis brought it back so many years ago. The fact that these boats are flying on foils is just one part of an incredible array of the greatest technology ever assembled under a design rule for the America's Cup and has certainly produced the fastest sailboats to ever race for the Auld Mug.

I think it is great- spectacular is a better word- and unlike many other Cups the 34th has already produced major "trickle down" in the Flying Phantom that uses the 3 foil AC configuration and there are surely more to come.This Cup has already touched the "sailing industry" but we haven't seen anything yet!

I feel extremely lucky to be around to see and experience the triumph and tragedy that makes this one of the greatest Cups in history, in boats that truly represent the state of the art-the best "we" as sailors, builders and designers can put together.

Oh yeah: Go 17ers!

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With the greatest respect to Peter J, I'm concerned that the sailing industry is still heading the wrong way - increasing complexity at the cost of accessibility. If we could see a general increase in sailing participation in areas where high performance sailing was increasing then it would be significant, but no one seems to be able to point to such an area. For example, I lived most of my life in the #1 city in the world for skiffs, foilers and canting maxis (Sydney) but that city does NOT have a higher participation rate than other cities where "traditional" boats dominate.

 

We know the areas of watersport that are booming, and it's ones where cheap gear, often polyethylene gear, is being sold to noobs. Kayaking is doing well, and don't SUPs demonstrate clearly that complex high performance is not the only way to be cool? SUPs are dirt cheap, dead easy to use on flat water, damn slow, basically extremely old-fashioned - and they are booming.

 

Fixie bicycles are similar - the hipsters created a booming grass roots scene that uses essentially 1920s gear. You don't see a goatee-wearing dude heading down to the coffee shop in a carbon streamlined recumbent tricycle that will do 100kph on the flat. Cycling is also a boom sport, and whenever I go into a shop I notice that the salespeople are pushing noobs into cheap, accessible and practical bikes, while performance riders are using highly restricted UCI type bikes and tens of millions of people in July will be ignoring the AC boats and watching men ride similar bikes slowly up hills.

 

Fogmachine wrote ""auto racing has affected car sales directly and the AC will do the same".

 

But auto racing on TV hasn't lead to auto racing being a popular participant sport, so why would getting the AC on TV be good for sailing? Motor racing rates about 30th in the rankings of participation in sports in countries like the UK (the centre of F1) and Australia. Given the enormous support from the vast motor industry (although many of them largely ignore motor racing, which says something in itself) and the fact that most western adults can drive, how can being the 30th biggest sport be seen as a success?

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Chris 249, on 04 Jun 2013 - 21:32, said:

We know the areas of watersport that are booming, and it's ones where cheap gear, often polyethylene gear, is being sold to noobs. Kayaking is doing well, and don't SUPs demonstrate clearly that complex high performance is not the only way to be cool? SUPs are dirt cheap, dead easy to use on flat water, damn slow, basically extremely old-fashioned - and they are booming.

And where is the cheap polyethylene sailing gear? Entry level kayaks are ~$350. Add a sail for ~$400? That's less than $1k. Yet the Bic O'pen is $1500 for the hull and $500 for a sail. Optis are over $2k. RS Tera $3k. Sunfish $4k.

 

To mere mortals working 9-5 jobs, $2k+ is a lot of money for a kid's toy. How about a combo kayak & sailboat? Hull designs are probably totally different. But I think if someone could make a passable kayak with a sail kit making it a passable sailboat and put it in Dick's or Sports Authority for ~$1k they'd sell.

 

But I don't think the sailing industry wants to target the under $50k/yr people. There's enough money to be found with the over $150k/yr and the top 5%.

 

- Jasen.

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Chris 249, on 04 Jun 2013 - 21:32, said:

We know the areas of watersport that are booming, and it's ones where cheap gear, often polyethylene gear, is being sold to noobs. Kayaking is doing well, and don't SUPs demonstrate clearly that complex high performance is not the only way to be cool? SUPs are dirt cheap, dead easy to use on flat water, damn slow, basically extremely old-fashioned - and they are booming.

And where is the cheap polyethylene sailing gear? Entry level kayaks are ~$350. Add a sail for ~$400? That's less than $1k. Yet the Bic O'pen is $1500 for the hull and $500 for a sail. Optis are over $2k. RS Tera $3k. Sunfish $4k.

 

To mere mortals working 9-5 jobs, $2k+ is a lot of money for a kid's toy. How about a combo kayak & sailboat? Hull designs are probably totally different. But I think if someone could make a passable kayak with a sail kit making it a passable sailboat and put it in Dick's or Sports Authority for ~$1k they'd sell.

 

But I don't think the sailing industry wants to target the under $50k/yr people. There's enough money to be found with the over $150k/yr and the top 5%.

 

- Jasen.

 

The bigger questions is where do you go after Opti's? The question's been asked here - with poor answers - for teen's and others. That the track is either "college sailing" or "fuck all" suggests the problem clearly. The "progression" from development classes to the uber awesome foiling cats of doom doesn't exist. Was thinking about this today watching the kids sailing camp in MRY harbor. Optis and Bic Opens tooling around, once the kids finish, there's nowhere else for them to go.

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Humans have an overwhelming need to innovate and that is good. It’s why many of us can expect to live a long and healthy life (compared to just 100 years ago) and why many, even those with the most modest of jobs, have enough leisure time to surf and post on the internet. Innovation is never smooth or without major setbacks along the way. But it does advance things for the better, and the high-tech does eventually trickle down into products that “normal people” will buy and enjoy. When I started racing as a young kid during the late ‘60s on my dad’s boat, I couldn’t have imagined that someday I would own a boat that could plane (I didn’t even know what “planning” was….) with a mast made out of some space-age material called carbon fiber. Now it’s common place. People like Laird and Peter will always innovate (they have no choice…it is in our DNA, and fortunately some people are just compelled to act on it), and it will benefit all of us, whether as spectators or participants. Check out some Youtube videos of tow-in surfing at Teahupoo or Peahi. Now it’s come full circle, and those spots are being paddled, even on the biggest days. That’s really amazing. When I see a video of someone going over the falls on a big day at Teahupoo and coming out OK, or making an impossible bottom turn after paddling in, I realize we humans can survive just about anything, and in fact thrive, with the right preparation and attitude. I agree with Peter…positive is the only way to go, and without innovation, what’s the point?

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Humans have an overwhelming need to innovate and that is good. It’s why many of us can expect to live a long and healthy life (compared to just 100 years ago) and why many, even those with the most modest of jobs, have enough leisure time to surf and post on the internet. Innovation is never smooth or without major setbacks along the way. But it does advance things for the better, and the high-tech does eventually trickle down into products that “normal people” will buy and enjoy. When I started racing as a young kid during the late ‘60s on my dad’s boat, I couldn’t have imagined that someday I would own a boat that could plane (I didn’t even know what “planning” was….) with a mast made out of some space-age material called carbon fiber. Now it’s common place. People like Laird and Peter will always innovate (they have no choice…it is in our DNA, and fortunately some people are just compelled to act on it), and it will benefit all of us, whether as spectators or participants. Check out some Youtube videos of tow-in surfing at Teahupoo or Peahi. Now it’s come full circle, and those spots are being paddled, even on the biggest days. That’s really amazing. When I see a video of someone going over the falls on a big day at Teahupoo and coming out OK, or making an impossible bottom turn after paddling in, I realize we humans can survive just about anything, and in fact thrive, with the right preparation and attitude. I agree with Peter…positive is the only way to go, and without innovation, what’s the point?

 

Like you, I agree with Peter that positive is the only way to go. That's part of my beef with a lot of our sport as it is presented in specialist media - the amount of negative stuff thrown at mainstream boats is enormous.

 

There's certainly "a point" without innovation. There's arguably not much innovation in a lot of Opti programmes, but they give an enormous number of kids the chance to enjoy a fantastic pastime for life. There's not much innovation in the Dutch guys racing barges or gaff-rigged 12 foot mahogany dinghies from 1913, but they are having a wonderful time. There's not too much innovation in speed punk or chess or sex or classical music or watching the sunset over the water with a glass and your wife, but they are still fantastic things.

 

And while innovation is fantastic, what some of us are saying is that concentrating too much on innovation in the high performance end makes the sport look innaccessible and makes the sport BECOME innaccessible. If there is so much concentration on high-speed boats like fast cats and foilers then kids whose local water does not suit those sort of craft will feel left out and will drop out. If you make something "cool", then those kids who cannot get it have the choice of either being un-cool or walking away. Most of them will choose the latter, like they did when "cool" windsurfing became innaccessible. And a lot of those who don't care about cool would have stayed in sailing anyway.

 

So why not put the innovation into making things more accessible? There was arguably more serious technical innovation (AFAIK) that went into the poly Topper dinghy than into a carbon one. There was arguably more innovation in encouraging women and children into dinghy sailing on Snipes and GP14s than in narrowing an Int 14's waterline by an inch and adding a trap.

 

It was that sort of innovation that created the sport as it was in its boom time. It wasn't the International Canoes of the 1950s that got most Americans into dinghies, it was the Sunfish. It wasn't the International 14 that got most Brits into dinghies, it was the cheap Holt boats that the 14ers sneered at. It wasn't the Tornado that got people into cats, it was the Hobie. It wasn't the fast Red Dog that got people into Windsurfers, it was the slower more stable One Design.

 

So yes, innovate, but not just in high performance. And for godsake, let's not keep on denigrating the boats that most people can actually sail at their local club.

 

 

BTW I've done a fair amount of high performance sailing, from serious performance windsurfing to blatting around on foiling Moths, skiffs, fast cats and big boats. They are FANTASTIC, but let's not say they are the only path, or even the best path.

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The separate blade rudder was NOT invented in the Cup or in "other dangerous racing boats". It was 100 years old when it was adopted by the Cup boats.

 

The blade rudder, like the bermudan rig, was actually created in linear rater type boats that were known at the time to be in many ways SAFER than contemporary yachts. Almost all major developments, like foiling, wingsails, modern assymetric kites, mylar, planing hulls, catamarans, squaretops, sandwich hulls, carbon spars, etc all came in smaller, cheaper more practical boats with very, very good safety records. The big dangerous boats and the AC boats almost always merely adopt what has been created in smaller boats. Without big dangerous boats and AC boats the sailing world would NOT have stagnated.

 

I thought the separation of the rudder from the keel, and the deep,bulbed keel was first seen in model boats? Marbleheads? Or am I misremembering reading that somewhere?

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As hinted above the main issue is cost perception & from what we read, mopst folks refusing to pay what the toys cost!

Back in the 70`s You lot were earning say *$5PH & a new Hobie 16 cost *$7,000 & now in 2013 when the wages are *$25PH i read that the cost of a new cat for *$25 grand is cost prohibitive ???

* Total out of the air figures but i bet wages have gone up more than the relative cost of equipment, allowing for inflation.

 

When you can get many other toys for far less money it's not "cost perception" to most people, it's the cost.

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this is the key quote from Chris 249.........

 

"It was that sort of innovation that created the sport as it was in its boom time. It wasn't the International Canoes of the 1950s that got most Americans into dinghies, it was the Sunfish. It wasn't the International 14 that got most Brits into dinghies, it was the cheap Holt boats that the 14ers sneered at. It wasn't the Tornado that got people into cats, it was the Hobie. It wasn't the fast Red Dog that got people into Windsurfers, it was the slower more stable One Design.

So yes, innovate, but not just in high performance. And for godsake, let's not keep on denigrating the boats that most people can actually sail at their local club"

 

I'm afraid there is more money to be made from the top end of the sport rather than the 'smaller/cheaper end' where ever dollar counts. I believe this is the issue with a 'sailing industry' they encourage ever higher prices, as that is where the money is made. Nobody is willing to get that cost down by watching every penny, by designing it to be built simply and quickly and robustly........

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Ate'erz: Here's an interesting graph, as well as argument that shows us plenty, by using the minimum wage as the specific marker against the relative earning power adjusted for inflation from '68 to now, with a projection included should our country (USA) pass the law allowing the minimum wage to be increased.

 

http://billmoyers.co...r-minimum-wage/

 

As you can see, the buying power of the folks on minimum wage has functionally decreased as the years have gone by and not grown. These same realities are reflected in pretty much all wage categories right up through the Middle Class. Without a doubt, wages, when measured against cost of living and inflation has been reduced steadily. How does this figure in the sales of sailing craft? It's pretty simple, there is less disposable income to be tossed around at the sport and sales statistics reflect, precisely, that reality.

 

As the industry proposes yet more expensive machines, it will continue to distance itself from the buying potential of its grass root end user. The folks in the industry can be as positive as they want, but if they don't address this discrepancy and do it soon, the bottom end will die and a seriously powerful source of future participants will be sacrificed at the altar of all things spendy and high tech.

 

Our present behavior might just drive sailing to its knees and we're going to play real hell trying to get it back to some semblance of a healthy sport again. Once you drive folks away, there's a very good chance that you'll never see them again. They'll wander off to other activities and if you try to seduce them with some pseudo change of mind, they'll simply flip you off and dig-in even deeper with the new activity. We're already seeing some of this very ting with the explosion of sales in the less expensive kites, SUP's canoes and kayaks.

 

As an example, Hobie Cat company has made a killing being well positioned in this fashion with a near vertical line through their product lineup that includes SUP's, Sit On Top (SOT) kayaks that span the environment between pure entry level, all the way to much more advanced, to include fishing boats. They have even taken a pair of boats from their SOT product line and massaged them into sailing trimarans for both solo and double occupants. Their pure sailing lineup goes from rotomolded cats, all the way to hardshell composite boats. Upsell is terrific, the brand is globally recognized and their distribution is top notch... and of course, they still make surfboards, the product that started it all way back when Hobie Alter was working out of the garage.

 

I'm using Hobie here to illustrate a blueprint for any number of companies that could add substantially potent products to their lineup and be right at the front end of a grassroots revolution for the industry. There's no need to be as diverse as Hobie, or to serve the very same marketplace, but without the continuity, the sales and marketing becomes a hodge-podge of independent companies all trying to sell into the same niche and pretty much all of them having limited success, or none.

 

I've spent a lot of time in the kayaking/canoe environment over the last 30 years and they pretty much did the same thing that is going on in sailing right now. They created a wonderful base of participants, grew an exploding buyer base, steadily introduced ever more high-tech boats and thought that they were going to simply experience more and more sales volume. What happened? The golden goose rebelled at the concept being pushed by the high-tech/expensive aficionados and users started to bolt in huge numbers to alternate sporting activities. The only thing that saved the whole show was that a bunch of enterprising new builders started to produce affordable low and mid-tech boats in thermoformed plastic and that revived sales and put the industry back on its feet. Soon the SUP craze started and some of those same outfits quickly jumped into the game, having had their noses bloodied regarding the hard facts of buyer interests and capacities.

 

It's a lesson, that apparently, the sailing industry has yet to learn. Be prepared for a down and dirty bloody nose session in this segment of the watersports merchandising fun zone. Negative message? I think of the message as a pragmatic wakeup call that is based on history, parallels in related watersports experience and a measured, balanced look from the outside of the sport as it rushes towards its own real world awakening. None of the numbers, or concepts, here are earth shaking in their perspective. The industry just hasn't been looking out over the horizon and has, instead, been looking down at its feet a lot.

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As hinted above the main issue is cost perception & from what we read, mopst folks refusing to pay what the toys cost!

Back in the 70`s You lot were earning say *$5PH & a new Hobie 16 cost *$7,000 & now in 2013 when the wages are *$25PH i read that the cost of a new cat for *$25 grand is cost prohibitive ???

* Total out of the air figures but i bet wages have gone up more than the relative cost of equipment, allowing for inflation.

I do not have a dog in this fight as I have sold my last boat. But, back in 1983 I bought a brand new Pearson Flyer (30'). With 5 North sails, Datamarine knot, deoth, AWI/WSi, VHF, fully prepped, bottom paint, in the water, sales tax included; it was $36,000. A simple inflation calculation says that boat would cost about $85,000 today. So far as I know, there are no comparable 30' sailboats available today that you can buy new for $85,000 all up and ready to go. The new J 88 is expected to go out the door at $160,000 +. A J 70 is $60,000 +/-.

 

Even if you grant that today's boats are better than boats from 30 years ago (now there is an interesting potential debating point), and even granted that my income has increased rather significantly since I began my career in 1970, I cannot justify the price of a new boat today. It simply makes no sense by any economic metric I can think of.

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It's a lesson, that apparently, the sailing industry has yet to learn. Be prepared for a down and dirty bloody nose session in this segment of the watersports merchandising fun zone. Negative message? I think of the message as a pragmatic wakeup call that is based on history, parallels in related watersports experience and a measured, balanced look from the outside of the sport as it rushes towards its own real world awakening. None of the numbers, or concepts, here are earth shaking in their perspective. The industry just hasn't been looking out over the horizon and has, instead, been looking down at its feet a lot.

Does "the industry" care? If there's enough money to be made in the top 5% of earners why bother catering to the bottom 80%? Sailing in the USA is an "elite" sport - intended for people who live on the water. If the manufacturers are making money, and there's a steady stream of 5%ers out there to keep buying what they're making, what do they care if youngsters are getting into the sport?

 

Check this site. How on earth can a Hobie Bravo and O'pen Bic be the same price? Something is out of whack there. All those kids boats are for rich kids. Nothing wrong with that if the manufacturers are making money. But pricing like that isn't going to bring much young blood into the sport.

 

- Jasen.

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And now, after gov's excellent intermission, I just want to say this has turned into an excellent discussion. Keep it up.

 

Also, I want to be clear in my OP that I was not suggesting that the AC has any responsibility whatsoever to the rest of the sailing community. The AC only has a responsibility to the AC and to promote what they want/need to promote. The AC at the end of the day, right or wrong - is all about dick size and wallet size. Nothing more, nothing less. That Ellison and the other B-boys want to shell out gross amounts of cash to win a silver pickle dish - I say more power to them. All that cash getting dumped into the sport can NEVER be bad for the sport, regardless of whether or not there are direct trickle down effects for the schmucks like us. It keeps pro sailors employed. It keeps design shops open. It keeps builders and sail makers building and sailmaking. None of that is bad for the sport and there will always be some amount of trickle down, no matter how peripheral it may seem.

 

My only point was I lament that the AC is less about racing and more about technology. I don't see there being any close racing in the bay on these enormous cats. I personally don't think multi-hull racing is all that interesting to watch. Its a test of straight line speed and much less about tactics and close racing. I see the AC being an even more exaggerated example of straight line speed. I predict someone will have something so far out of balance with the rest of the teams, that they will get off the line, get in the lead and win 5-0 without any chance of a challenger competing short of a mechanical failure during the race. I hope I'm wrong and I'm going to watch anyway. But I think the lead up to the AC will be much more dramatic than the racing on the water itself.

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The separate blade rudder was NOT invented in the Cup or in "other dangerous racing boats". It was 100 years old when it was adopted by the Cup boats.

 

The blade rudder, like the bermudan rig, was actually created in linear rater type boats that were known at the time to be in many ways SAFER than contemporary yachts. Almost all major developments, like foiling, wingsails, modern assymetric kites, mylar, planing hulls, catamarans, squaretops, sandwich hulls, carbon spars, etc all came in smaller, cheaper more practical boats with very, very good safety records. The big dangerous boats and the AC boats almost always merely adopt what has been created in smaller boats. Without big dangerous boats and AC boats the sailing world would NOT have stagnated.

 

I thought the separation of the rudder from the keel, and the deep,bulbed keel was first seen in model boats? Marbleheads? Or am I misremembering reading that somewhere?

 

I've been digging a bit and can't find any direct evidence that the fin keel can be traced to a particular model boat or model sailor, but like you, I think there's some general references to that around.

 

I don't think it can be the Marblehead, though, as they came along later AFAIK.

 

The bulb keel was seen around the 1880 mark on one of Bentall's boats, a less successful follow on to Jullanar.

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The vision of Elison,Coutts and others that sparked the AC 72's is one of the most profoundly exciting things I have witnessed in the 55 years I've been sailing, designing, building and fooling with sailboats. Finally, real state of the art boats are being designed,built and raced for the Cup with performance unheard of in any other Cup in history. More people I meet in every day interaction are talking about the Cup(and the boats) than in any other time since Dennis brought it back so many years ago. The fact that these boats are flying on foils is just one part of an incredible array of the greatest technology ever assembled under a design rule for the America's Cup and has certainly produced the fastest sailboats to ever race for the Auld Mug.

I think it is great- spectacular is a better word- and unlike many other Cups the 34th has already produced major "trickle down" in the Flying Phantom that uses the 3 foil AC configuration and there are surely more to come.This Cup has already touched the "sailing industry" but we haven't seen anything yet!

I feel extremely lucky to be around to see and experience the triumph and tragedy that makes this one of the greatest Cups in history, in boats that truly represent the state of the art-the best "we" as sailors, builders and designers can put together.

Oh yeah: Go 17ers!

 

The AC doesn't have much relevance to the sport most of us are practicing.

 

This time of year I am racing three or four days a week, everything from beer can weeknight racing, to competitive team racing, to reasonably big regional regattas.

 

I can tell you that the subject of the AC _never_ comes up.

 

nobody cares....

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With the greatest respect to Peter J, I'm concerned that the sailing industry is still heading the wrong way - increasing complexity at the cost of accessibility.

 

That has been North America for around three decades. The change has been building for a while, and the birth of sailing centers in the US combined with the Saving Sailing movement, the media shift, and US Sailing's getting humiliated at the Olympics...it's all changing things slowly but surely.

 

High-po vs. Lo-po is a red herring. It's high dollar vs. low dollar. Without LOTS of low dollar options and access, the sport is the province of the rich and access-capable.

 

That being said, Aussie clubs have almost across the board experienced a big uptick in membership at clubs of all sorts and have associated it entirely with the marketing juice that Oz's Olympic performance provided. Website traffic, phone calls, in-person visits were all up well over 200% for quite a while after Weymouth. The good operators used that windfall of interest to really grow. The bad ones weren't prepared and failed to turn it into new sailors.

 

But it really is changing, at least here.

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The vision of Elison,Coutts and others that sparked the AC 72's is one of the most profoundly exciting things I have witnessed in the 55 years I've been sailing, designing, building and fooling with sailboats. Finally, real state of the art boats are being designed,built and raced for the Cup with performance unheard of in any other Cup in history. More people I meet in every day interaction are talking about the Cup(and the boats) than in any other time since Dennis brought it back so many years ago. The fact that these boats are flying on foils is just one part of an incredible array of the greatest technology ever assembled under a design rule for the America's Cup and has certainly produced the fastest sailboats to ever race for the Auld Mug.

I think it is great- spectacular is a better word- and unlike many other Cups the 34th has already produced major "trickle down" in the Flying Phantom that uses the 3 foil AC configuration and there are surely more to come.This Cup has already touched the "sailing industry" but we haven't seen anything yet!

I feel extremely lucky to be around to see and experience the triumph and tragedy that makes this one of the greatest Cups in history, in boats that truly represent the state of the art-the best "we" as sailors, builders and designers can put together.

Oh yeah: Go 17ers!

 

The AC doesn't have much relevance to the sport most of us are practicing.

 

This time of year I am racing three or four days a week, everything from beer can weeknight racing, to competitive team racing, to reasonably big regional regattas.

 

I can tell you that the subject of the AC _never_ comes up.

 

nobody cares....

That's funny; I race my ass off too and we talk about that shit all the time. Well, the young ones talk about it. The old ones play yachtie karate.

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JBSF makes a really good point. The AC is only responsible to the AC, unfortunately. They don't take

the opportunity to broaden the sport in North America seriously. Worse, the "sailing industry" has collectively

done a huge "mechanic's shrug" trying to figure out how to use or capture the increased interest the AC has

generated in the sport. Whether that's because of the NASCAR element or the venue of SF Bay being a great

natural amphitheatre that allows just about anyone to see something going on from from many points in the

Bay Area, the "industry" does know that interest in the sport (not necessarily additional boat sales or even

people taking sailing classes) has ticked up. Sailing schools and charter companies in the Bay Area have

been able to raise prices and still sell out afternoon/dinner type cruise events regularly that feature viewing

the AC boats out sailing, and have been able to use the added revenue to pay for advertising in things like

the regular AC advertising supplements the SF Newspapers are running.

 

But again, the "industry" has not really figured out what it might do to leverage this activity.

 

That said, NMMA is about to announce a program. That organization signed an agreement over a year ago

to become the AC's "official industry partner". And it's just getting started, or possibly just announced

now.

 

As to affordability of the sport of sailing, yes the boats are getting more complex at one end, while at the same

tiime they are getting simpler on the other end. Take as examples all of the systems, electronics, etc. on a

standard 40 foot cruising sailboat versus say the pretty basic simple boat represented by the J/70. But people

interested in getting involved in sailing can do so for as little as $ 200 or less for an entire summer at community

and public access boating centers. Even if someone wanted a "cool" upscale experience there are options like

the Chicago Match Racing Center that offers sailing, racing and instruction for under $ 1,000.

 

We just need to stop talking to ourselves, and begin inviting more people to get out on the water, or telling them

where these places are that they can sail at for under $ 200 per season. And that isn't just our problem, some

"public access" programs have restrictions on where they can advertise. Not sure it is still the case, but for

years, while Sail Wilmette was able to welcome non-Wilmette residents into its programs, it was not able to

advertise the program beyond the city limits.

 

So we have affordable options, I think what we're really missing is how to leverage an event that has generated

wider public interest (like the AC) to create new sailors.

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An interesting companion topic is being engaged on this thread, also here on SA:

Why are sailing/yacht clubs doing well in NZ/AU and declining in the USA? http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=147457

 

The Number 3 post on that thread, by Haggers, shared a recent survey completed in Australia. Within the material this component stands out as significant: "The main barrier for future participation is the perceived cost of sailing. Boat ownership, maintenance, storage costs, and annual membership payment, are expensive, especially for a family."

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I'm a life-long sailor in my early forties and so is my wife. I've sailed on optis, lasers, windsurfers, cats, and all kinds of lead mines on small lakes, Great Lakes, rivers and oceans. My kids are racing sailors. I've been interested in the AC since I was a young boy. I'm not anymore. I am really impressed with the technology, the speed, etc. but it has little to do with the sport I have enjoyed for so many years. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of what major sailing event I find interesting, I would say the Vendee Globe is above 9 and the AC is below 2. If it happens to be on TV while I'm flipping through channels, I'll watch it. But there is not way in hell I would wake up in the middle of the night to watch the 7th race of the finals. I just don't care. The type of match racing you do with foiling winged cats is completely irrelevant to the type of match racing I do. I have a feeling that there is a large portion of the sailing community who feels the exact same way. The idea that you will get new long-term sailors this way is ludicrous. I agree that it is not necessarily the job of the AC to increase interest in sailing. But I think they'll lose a good chunk of their core supporters and not gain any long-term fans. If you want speed, there are other sports. 25-30 knots is still slow... If you want low budget, high speed, cool factor, easy access, try kite boarding (used to be windsurfing - I could go on here... people used to say that windsurfing would kill the laser).

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i agree polarbear about the vendee being at the pinnacle of the sport - for me, it shares that place with olympic sailing. They are very different, but epitomize what is best about sailboat racing.

 

The vendee is about man against the sea.., emphasizing self reliance, courage, and skill.

The Olympics is about technical sailing excellence, smart tactics, determination, and huge competitive drive.

 

Tha AC is now mostly about going fast, and exotic technology - good stuff, but not the fundamental qualities that make sailboat racing great.

 

speaking of olympic sailing, i found the younger sailors i know more interested in that than the AC.

 

I guess it depends who you know....

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Ate'erz: Here's an interesting graph, as well as argument that shows us plenty, by using the minimum wage as the specific marker against the relative earning power adjusted for inflation from '68 to now, with a projection included should our country (USA) pass the law allowing the minimum wage to be increased.

 

http://billmoyers.co...r-minimum-wage/

 

As you can see, the buying power of the folks on minimum wage has functionally decreased as the years have gone by and not grown. These same realities are reflected in pretty much all wage categories right up through the Middle Class. Without a doubt, wages, when measured against cost of living and inflation has been reduced steadily. How does this figure in the sales of sailing craft? It's pretty simple, there is less disposable income to be tossed around at the sport and sales statistics reflect, precisely, that reality.

 

Funny, I said the same thing a few weeks ago and you said I was totally wrong..

"Will there be a foiling beachcat class someday? Post146"

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People have talked about cost and access.

 

The tipping point is when the cost of supporting the 'industry' results in the cost to the ordinary participant being excessive ( all those pros cost money)

As some one who just bought some new sailing boots, made by the official sponsor of the Olympic team....I wonder how much my boots really cost, how much is overhead and profit, and how much is marketing expense. When the tail (pro sailors) starts wagging the dog is when we have an issue.

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With the greatest respect to Peter J, I'm concerned that the sailing industry is still heading the wrong way - increasing complexity at the cost of accessibility.

 

That has been North America for around three decades. The change has been building for a while, and the birth of sailing centers in the US combined with the Saving Sailing movement, the media shift, and US Sailing's getting humiliated at the Olympics...it's all changing things slowly but surely.

 

High-po vs. Lo-po is a red herring. It's high dollar vs. low dollar. Without LOTS of low dollar options and access, the sport is the province of the rich and access-capable.

 

That being said, Aussie clubs have almost across the board experienced a big uptick in membership at clubs of all sorts and have associated it entirely with the marketing juice that Oz's Olympic performance provided. Website traffic, phone calls, in-person visits were all up well over 200% for quite a while after Weymouth. The good operators used that windfall of interest to really grow. The bad ones weren't prepared and failed to turn it into new sailors.

 

But it really is changing, at least here.

 

Sure, the problem may be high dollar v low dollar rather than high-po v lo po. However, for a start can we get the evidence for your claim?

 

Secondly, all else being equal high performance equals high dollars, so in many ways high performance and high cost are the same.

 

It's interesting to hear of the upsurge of interest in sailing in Oz. I was changing cities this year and had an injured crew so I was largely out of sailing for some time. Can you give us a citation for your information?

 

However, it doesn't seem to be as simple as "good operators" doing well and "bad operators" doing badly. My old club was probably the third biggest small-craft club in our biggest state, starting up to 100 craft per week. It would be interesting to hear of any purely amateur club in the world that had a bigger fleet. It did this despite losing a clubhouse to arson about 7 years back and it has a long training waiting list. It must therefore be called a "good operator" but judging from my info and the annual report, it had no big surge in interest.

 

My new club is also in the top 10% or so of small-boat clubs but seems to have had no major upsurge, with sportsboats in particular sagging in numbers. As the most successful club for 250km it can't be too bad an operator but the signs of new growth seem absent.

 

I'm also involved in the largest two-person OD in the country and hte largest windsurfing class in the country. Since both are #1 in their field they are obviously fairly good operators but neither has apparently had a major upsurge.

 

All of the above organisations find that the problem is not lack of initial public interest, but lack of craft that new sailors can sail competitively with ease, and lack of the volunteers who are required to run the show.

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