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frozenhawaiian

do you think the melges 14 will catch on?

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I remember thinking this was a sweet looking boat when it was announced and now melges is doing this tour with them. new it's still several a few grand more than a new laser but for a faster, more ergonomic, all carbon build it actually looks like a lot of boat for the money. do you guys think this boat will catch on? I mean the RS aero which looks to be similar, costs a touch more and is heavier and from what I gather slower is starting to catch on.

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Its interesting times in the single handed dinghy world!! As an aid to comparison, basic stats from the manufacturers...

 

Laser - L = 4.19m , B=1.39m, M=56.7kg

Aero L= 4.0m, B=1.4m, M=30kg

Melges 14 L=4.267m, Beam = 1.584m, M= 54.431kg

 

And just for fun, because I am a bigger chap ... the VX Evo ... L= 4.8m, Beam = 1.73m, Mass= 80kg.

 

Just wish I was a good enough sailor to be able to bring the best out of any of those boats - though having started laser sailing this past season I have enjoyed myself immensely ...

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Its interesting times in the single handed dinghy world!! As an aid to comparison, basic stats from the manufacturers...

 

Laser - L = 4.19m , B=1.39m, M=56.7kg

Aero L= 4.0m, B=1.4m, M=30kg

Melges 14 L=4.267m, Beam = 1.584m, M= 54.431kg

 

And just for fun, because I am a bigger chap ... the VX Evo ... L= 4.8m, Beam = 1.73m, Mass= 80kg.

 

Just wish I was a good enough sailor to be able to bring the best out of any of those boats - though having started laser sailing this past season I have enjoyed myself immensely ...

 

seeing these new dinghies hitting the market really makes me miss sailing little boats.

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I am not sure what the 14 has to offer over the Aero to justify the 15% price difference. The VX Evo is a lot more boat, and a lot more money, but is probably where I would prefer to be.

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I am not sure what the 14 has to offer over the Aero to justify the 15% price difference. The VX Evo is a lot more boat, and a lot more money, but is probably where I would prefer to be.

 

I'd like to see these new better boats rekindle interest in small boat sailing. It's the purest form of the sport. I hope they all catch on, to some extent, and encourage more & younger sailors.

 

Having not seen any of them in person, I don't want to choose. The D-Zero and the VX-Evo both look really good but are also the most expensive. I -have- seen & sailed a VX-1 and it is very well built (very!); top level on everything. So that would make me think more about getting the Evo.

 

FB- Doug

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I am not sure what the 14 has to offer over the Aero to justify the 15% price difference. The VX Evo is a lot more boat, and a lot more money, but is probably where I would prefer to be.

 

hard to say just looking at numbers, the 14 is a full carbon build, hull, blades, spars, as such it will be stiffer and I would imagine more responsive. that being said having seen some of the collisions junior sailors have at starting lines and at mark roundings in lasers when they're first coming off optis and getting the hang of a bigger, faster, more powerful boat. full carbon build may not necessarily be a good thing.

 

I'm bummed the none of the melges 14 events are near to me. I'd love to give one a go.

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Its interesting times in the single handed dinghy world!! As an aid to comparison, basic stats from the manufacturers...

 

Laser - L = 4.19m , B=1.39m, M=56.7kg

Aero L= 4.0m, B=1.4m, M=30kg

Melges 14 L=4.267m, Beam = 1.584m, M= 54.431kg

 

And just for fun, because I am a bigger chap ... the VX Evo ... L= 4.8m, Beam = 1.73m, Mass= 80kg.

 

Just wish I was a good enough sailor to be able to bring the best out of any of those boats - though having started laser sailing this past season I have enjoyed myself immensely ...

 

I am not sure whether the weight comparison is correct. The German sailing magazine "YACHT" lists the "all up weight" of the Melges 14 as 54kg and compares it to 80kg for the Laser, 45kg for the RS Aero and 61kg for the Devoti Zero. Yacht issue 8, 2016.

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I am not sure what the 14 has to offer over the Aero to justify the 15% price difference. The VX Evo is a lot more boat, and a lot more money, but is probably where I would prefer to be.

 

hard to say just looking at numbers, the 14 is a full carbon build, hull, blades, spars, as such it will be stiffer and I would imagine more responsive. that being said having seen some of the collisions junior sailors have at starting lines and at mark roundings in lasers when they're first coming off optis and getting the hang of a bigger, faster, more powerful boat. full carbon build may not necessarily be a good thing.

 

I cannot see anything to justify spending 15% more either. Carbon won't make the boat more responsive. Weight does that and the Melges is heavier than the Aero. I also agree that carbon doesn't make a boat more desirable as it is more expensive to repair. I am not sure it has a place in this sort of one design as I cannot see enough benefits but do see increased costs.

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Clearly weight isn't everything - the Finn weighs a tonne but is, by all accounts, a great boat to sail. Worth noting that in the U.K. at least, the D Zero has been getting bigger fleets than the Aero 5, 7 or 9 at their Nationals. Having said that there are some very nice touches on the Aero, I just feel the ultra light weight thing is a bit of a red herring.

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Its interesting times in the single handed dinghy world!! As an aid to comparison, basic stats from the manufacturers...

 

Laser - L = 4.19m , B=1.39m, M=56.7kg

Aero L= 4.0m, B=1.4m, M=30kg

Melges 14 L=4.267m, Beam = 1.584m, M= 54.431kg

 

And just for fun, because I am a bigger chap ... the VX Evo ... L= 4.8m, Beam = 1.73m, Mass= 80kg.

 

Just wish I was a good enough sailor to be able to bring the best out of any of those boats - though having started laser sailing this past season I have enjoyed myself immensely ...

 

I am not sure whether the weight comparison is correct. The German sailing magazine "YACHT" lists the "all up weight" of the Melges 14 as 54kg and compares it to 80kg for the Laser, 45kg for the RS Aero and 61kg for the Devoti Zero. Yacht issue 8, 2016.

 

Happy to stand corrected...

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Do I think the Melges 14 will catch on?

 

Yes. It looks like it already has. At least in the US.

 

Check out pre-registration for the Melges 14 Midwinters in Sarasota this weekend. 22 boats are signed up as of this morning, which is comparable with the turnout for the RS Aero Midwinters in West Palm Beach a few weeks ago.

 

As one of the early adopters of the RS Aero, I personally don't see the reason for preferring the Melges 14 over the RS Aero, but it's good to see another new single-handed class getting some traction. Maybe we can have some joint RS Aero and Melges 14 regattas in the future?

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Melges 14 is heavy, has a sleeved sail, and is more expensive than many of the options out there.

 

Obviously, most Melges customers = money is no object, so they will sell 100 or so to their loyalists.

But as a mass market success? Seems silly.

 

Sleeved sail on a boat in 2017?

Hilarious.

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I'm an Aero sailor but do hope to try out a Melges 14 (which is indeed the heavier boat). Both have carbon rigs, which is a huge positive (for longevity, flexibility, weight, and when it smacks you), but the bits of carbon elsewhere are not of much consequence either way. However, having experiencing the Aero's center sheeting after sailing the Laser and others without it, I'm sold on the ease and control of gybing that it allows, as well as the ease of sheeting from the boom. I also do not understand the Melges's retention of a Laser's sleeved sail, which means the mast must come down (along with the associated rigging) every time it's put away. With the Aero, I just remove the top cover (nicely held up by the halyard) and hoist away.

 

Based on the happy-go-lucky, bathing suit-clad, barefoot models, the Melges appears to be targeting a bit more casual user, so perhaps lower performance than the Aero, but the proof will be in the pudding. The Devoti Zero, btw, targets a higher performance market (and has the lower boom to prove it).

 

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How is Melges marketing this boat? I had actually forgotten about it existing.

 

 

Went to website to see pricing just now, you have to download the .pdf order form to see price.

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I am not sure what the 14 has to offer over the Aero to justify the 15% price difference. The VX Evo is a lot more boat, and a lot more money, but is probably where I would prefer to be.

 

I'd like to see these new better boats rekindle interest in small boat sailing. It's the purest form of the sport. I hope they all catch on, to some extent, and encourage more & younger sailors.

 

Having not seen any of them in person, I don't want to choose. The D-Zero and the VX-Evo both look really good but are also the most expensive. I -have- seen & sailed a VX-1 and it is very well built (very!); top level on everything. So that would make me think more about getting the Evo.

 

FB- Doug

I think the Evo is really in a different class. It's the only one of the bunch that is designed to race with two (well two small people), could probably take four daysailing, has a spinnaker, and is much larger and heavier. I know it was designed as a Finn replacement, but I think it is actually far more boat than a Finn. At almost double the price of the Aero is really had better be if Brian is going to sell any.

 

In my estimation the only thing the Evo is missing is a trapeze.

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One big advantage the Melges 14 has over some of the other small single handers is the roomy cockpit that gives plenty of leg room.

 

That is the main reason why I would like to give the Melges a go sometime this summer. I am 6'4 and I do not like yoga. So leg room is high on my list.

 

lonbordin wrote a great review of the Melges 14 and RS Aero a few months back:

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=173996&p=5342976

 

I hope both boats will be successful in the US.

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Its interesting times in the single handed dinghy world!! As an aid to comparison, basic stats from the manufacturers...

 

Laser - L = 4.19m , B=1.39m, M=56.7kg

Aero L= 4.0m, B=1.4m, M=30kg

Melges 14 L=4.267m, Beam = 1.584m, M= 54.431kg

 

And just for fun, because I am a bigger chap ... the VX Evo ... L= 4.8m, Beam = 1.73m, Mass= 80kg.

 

Just wish I was a good enough sailor to be able to bring the best out of any of those boats - though having started laser sailing this past season I have enjoyed myself immensely ...

 

seeing these new dinghies hitting the market really makes me miss sailing little boats.

 

Well you started the thread, what are you waiting for? Get back into sailing little boats if you miss it, certainly you have some choices these days!

 

AFA to answer your original question personally I would think there is only room for the Aero or Melges not both. Yes I see both Midwinters have good numbers this year but I am not so sure that is sustainable for more than a few years. Bottom line in order to put butts in boats they have to come from one or a combination of the following 3 places.

 

1) Attract new peeps into the class. This can either be adults new to sailing or catching the Jr sailors before they get into the Laser.

2) Attract the keel boat or multi peep dingy crowd into the class. Do they want to totally leave that type of racing or will they want to split time between the two?

3) Attract the Laser crowd. Again do they totally want to leave the Laser or are they willing to have two single hand boats?

 

And this is a US East Coast perspective and observations only. I am sure things could be completely different other places.

 

Both boats look cool and I should be able to try out a Melges 14 this season. I don't know of any Aero's in our area.

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I like the look of the Melges 14 but the price is going to stop a lot of people. Basically $9,000 for a singlehanded boat. Unfortunately there are a lot of single handed one design boats out there which are a lot cheaper. You are asking people just out of college to pony up for this amount. Since college sailing is still Lasers there will not be a big rush to the boat for teens and early 20's. How about getting a couple of colleges to use the boats for their sailing programs?

 

I also really want to see how the boats hold up over time. It is marketed as a "family beach boat" but I think kids will have a hard time with the boat and they always put a lot of wear and tear on the equipment.

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Why no tour events west of the Mississippi? Seems like they are missing a large group of sailors.

 

But Aeros are already taking over from the lasers here. Not sure a third would have any uptake. Really its not about the boat as much as its about the community and number of boats racing

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Based on the happy-go-lucky, bathing suit-clad, barefoot models, the Melges appears to be targeting a bit more casual user, so perhaps lower performance than the Aero, but the proof will be in the pudding. The Devoti Zero, btw, targets a higher performance market (and has the lower boom to prove it).

 

 

Not sure how you work that out. Boom height on the D-Zero is more than a Laser so even a tall guy like me has no issues getting through even on max kicker (or vang as you like to call it).

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Based on the happy-go-lucky, bathing suit-clad, barefoot models, the Melges appears to be targeting a bit more casual user, so perhaps lower performance than the Aero, but the proof will be in the pudding. The Devoti Zero, btw, targets a higher performance market (and has the lower boom to prove it).

 

Not sure how you work that out. Boom height on the D-Zero is more than a Laser so even a tall guy like me has no issues getting through even on max kicker (or vang as you like to call it).

The zero, like it's prototype was always intended to be a bathing suit off the beach boat first and foremost and is perfectly suited to that application. Myself and plenty of owners enjoy taking wives and / or kids (in my case just turned 2 at her youngest) out sailing in the zero.

It was launched at the end of a uk winter and consequently getting anyone to take one out in the grey weather in bikini and 9deg sea temperature for some marketing shots would probably end in a manslaugter charge.

It just so happens that the class has a large enthusiastic racing contingent that like to travel to handicap events.

Check Minorca sailing for off the beach pics of zero.

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Why no tour events west of the Mississippi? Seems like they are missing a large group of sailors.

 

But Aeros are already taking over from the lasers here. Not sure a third would have any uptake. Really its not about the boat as much as its about the community and number of boats racing

 

There are ~30 Aeros in the Seattle area alone, and close to 100 on the west coast.

Imagine that's why they didn't bother. (we're also far away from the rest of the world).

 

That said, I've sailed the Melges 14, it's a pretty nice boat. Comfortable and roomy.

I am sure they will sell 50-100 in the US, but, the market for a $9k singlehanded boat is fairly limited (trust me, I know, been there, attempted that).

Even Aeros get up there in price when you add extra sails, lots of accessories.

 

I am biased (sell lots of Aeros), my two main issues with the Melges 14 were

a) sleeved sail? I can't for the life of me figure out how someone deals with that in big breeze. Lots of our customers struggle with the Laser mast in 15+

B) heavy. Now, I get it, the Aero is on the extreme end of light. But from a usability/car top/launching, every pound out of the boat helps.

 

I liked sailing the Melges 14, and it's clear they know what they are doing, well balanced and fun...zero argument there.

 

Limited to no dealers (that matters on a small boat, maybe not as much on a Melges 24), and a big lead from the competition.

I can see them selling up to a 100 or so, but, it's a lot of coin, for a big dinghy.

But, you never know, it says Melges on it, and that is worth something.

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Its funny, but as someone who sails a Finn? Y'all talk about $9k being a lot for a brand new boat? For those of us in Finns, thats a gift! For us, even a good used boat is $8k-$12k. I'm not even sure any more what a new boat costs, but I'll bet its $25k all up and shipped over.

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As someone who spends maybe a little too much time online and maybe should sail a little more, the Melges 14 seems to have little online presence. I see RS Aero stuff all over the place.

 

I think there is room for a Laser replacement, especially after almost 50 years. However, I don't think the declining sailboat market will support multiple new classes.

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I signed up for the Melges 14 newsletter last year. In the email Melges sent out in February, they wrote that "Last year we built over 100 Melges 14s! This year is shaping up to be another great year for the new fleet with lots of 14s already in production. We recently shipped out 3 of these speed machines to Japan, and in the current production line we're building 10 bound for Germany."

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Melges 14 is heavy, has a sleeved sail, and is more expensive than many of the options out there.

 

Obviously, most Melges customers = money is no object, so they will sell 100 or so to their loyalists.

But as a mass market success? Seems silly.

 

Sleeved sail on a boat in 2017?

Hilarious.

 

Having sailed both Lasers and the Aero, I thought I'd prefer a halyard, but after over a year of sailing the Aero, I actually do prefer a sleeved sail. Way less that can go wrong.

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Why no tour events west of the Mississippi? Seems like they are missing a large group of sailors.

 

But Aeros are already taking over from the lasers here. Not sure a third would have any uptake. Really its not about the boat as much as its about the community and number of boats racing

 

There are ~30 Aeros in the Seattle area alone, and close to 100 on the west coast.

Imagine that's why they didn't bother. (we're also far away from the rest of the world).

 

That said, I've sailed the Melges 14, it's a pretty nice boat. Comfortable and roomy.

I am sure they will sell 50-100 in the US, but, the market for a $9k singlehanded boat is fairly limited (trust me, I know, been there, attempted that).

Even Aeros get up there in price when you add extra sails, lots of accessories.

 

I am biased (sell lots of Aeros), my two main issues with the Melges 14 were

a) sleeved sail? I can't for the life of me figure out how someone deals with that in big breeze. Lots of our customers struggle with the Laser mast in 15+

B) heavy. Now, I get it, the Aero is on the extreme end of light. But from a usability/car top/launching, every pound out of the boat helps.

 

I liked sailing the Melges 14, and it's clear they know what they are doing, well balanced and fun...zero argument there.

 

Limited to no dealers (that matters on a small boat, maybe not as much on a Melges 24), and a big lead from the competition.

I can see them selling up to a 100 or so, but, it's a lot of coin, for a big dinghy.

But, you never know, it says Melges on it, and that is worth something.

 

 

On the point of sleeved sails, I have found the Aero halyard unreliable in big winds and in big waves after capsize. Unless you're constantly replacing the halyard cleat rope (which you won't), it's going to wear down around the area where it cleats, and its going to uncleat/loosen fairly easily in 25+ mph conditions. I end up having to attach the sail head to the top of the mast w/ a shackle, which essentially turns it into a sleeve sail of sorts.

 

There's lots of reasons to love the Aero over the Melges and the Laser, but if you're going to sail in big winds, I don't think the sleeved sail vs halyard is a winning point for the Aero.

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Here is an observation:

 

Based on reported RS Aero regatta results, all three rig sizes are actually sailed, but the 7 rig draws the majority of sailors and has the deepest fleets.

 

Watching the video from day 2 of the Melges 14 midwinters (https://www.melges.com/?p=news&id=3072), I only spotted one mid-size 7 rig, no 5 rigs, almost all boats used the large 9 rig.

 

So, maybe the Melges rather attracts the larger sailors whereas the RS Aero rather targets the Laser crowd.

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How many new single handed One Designdinghies that have come out in the last 5 years really catch on? VX Evo? D-One? Stealth? MC Scow? RS Whatever? etc

These classes are shitloads better than Lasers and no doubt fun a bit of fun to take out in a good breeze but do they ever reach the aspirations of the creators? This niche has a bandwagon feel about it in recent times.

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How many new single handed One Designdinghies that have come out in the last 5 years really catch on? VX Evo? D-One? Stealth? MC Scow? RS Whatever? etc

These classes are shitloads better than Lasers and no doubt fun a bit of fun to take out in a good breeze but do they ever reach the aspirations of the creators? This niche has a bandwagon feel about it in recent times.

It's incredibly hard to build any new class. J70 obviously knocked it out of the park on boats sold, and the regattas still draw big numbers, but they canabalized a lot of classes too.

 

Dinghies are even harder because there's not the same dealer network or sail maker support.

 

We'd probably all be better off with something other than FJ's or 420's, but good luck changing the high school and college culture.

 

All these new boats will sell a couple of hundred units. Maybe Melges has the financial stamina to outlast and out market a couple of them. Maybe they combine a 14 regatta with a 20 regatta and it's good for both classes.

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How many new single handed One Designdinghies that have come out in the last 5 years really catch on? VX Evo? D-One? Stealth? MC Scow? RS Whatever? etc

These classes are shitloads better than Lasers and no doubt fun a bit of fun to take out in a good breeze but do they ever reach the aspirations of the creators? This niche has a bandwagon feel about it in recent times.

 

 

One.

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How many new single handed One Designdinghies that have come out in the last 5 years really catch on? VX Evo? D-One? Stealth? MC Scow? RS Whatever? etc

These classes are shitloads better than Lasers and no doubt fun a bit of fun to take out in a good breeze but do they ever reach the aspirations of the creators? This niche has a bandwagon feel about it in recent times.

It's incredibly hard to build any new class. J70 obviously knocked it out of the park on boats sold, and the regattas still draw big numbers, but they canabalized a lot of classes too.

 

Dinghies are even harder because there's not the same dealer network or sail maker support.

 

We'd probably all be better off with something other than FJ's or 420's, but good luck changing the high school and college culture.

 

All these new boats will sell a couple of hundred units. Maybe Melges has the financial stamina to outlast and out market a couple of them. Maybe they combine a 14 regatta with a 20 regatta and it's good for both classes.

 

 

 

How do you make a small fortune selling boats? Start with a big one.

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With all the talk ( from some informed and some uninformed ), why has there been no direct comparison between the Melges 14, the RS Aero, the Devoti One and the Laser. Seems easy enough to get four boats, four sailors - rotate the boats and sailors and then compare. The results might end the ENDLESS speculation. Just askin'

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With all the talk ( from some informed and some uninformed ), why has there been no direct comparison between the Melges 14, the RS Aero, the Devoti One and the Laser. Seems easy enough to get four boats, four sailors - rotate the boats and sailors and then compare. The results might end the ENDLESS speculation. Just askin'

 

The Devoti One is an asymmetric singlehader with a 13.2 square meters gennaker, so not really comparable to the the other three boats. Perhaps you meant the Devoti D-Zero?

 

Steve Cockerill did test drive the Aero and the D-Zero and compare them to the Laser. See https://www.roostersailing.com/blog/d-zero-and-aero-testing-in-20-knots/

 

His conclusions were...

RS Aero = Judy Murray

Devoti D-Zero = Caroline Flack

Laser = Anne Widdecombe

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With all the talk ( from some informed and some uninformed ), why has there been no direct comparison between the Melges 14, the RS Aero, the Devoti One and the Laser. Seems easy enough to get four boats, four sailors - rotate the boats and sailors and then compare. The results might end the ENDLESS speculation. Just askin'

 

The Devoti One is an asymmetric singlehader with a 13.2 square meters gennaker, so not really comparable to the the other three boats. Perhaps you meant the Devoti D-Zero?

 

Steve Cockerill did test drive the Aero and the D-Zero and compare them to the Laser. See https://www.roostersailing.com/blog/d-zero-and-aero-testing-in-20-knots/

 

His conclusions were...

RS Aero = Judy Murray

Devoti D-Zero = Caroline Flack

Laser = Anne Widdecombe

 

 

I had to Google all those names.

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With all the talk ( from some informed and some uninformed ), why has there been no direct comparison between the Melges 14, the RS Aero, the Devoti One and the Laser. Seems easy enough to get four boats, four sailors - rotate the boats and sailors and then compare. The results might end the ENDLESS speculation. Just askin'

 

The Devoti One is an asymmetric singlehader with a 13.2 square meters gennaker, so not really comparable to the the other three boats. Perhaps you meant the Devoti D-Zero?

 

Steve Cockerill did test drive the Aero and the D-Zero and compare them to the Laser. See https://www.roostersailing.com/blog/d-zero-and-aero-testing-in-20-knots/

 

His conclusions were...

RS Aero = Judy Murray

Devoti D-Zero = Caroline Flack

Laser = Anne Widdecombe

 

 

I had to Google all those names.

 

 

 

LOL. As a Brit who has lived in the USA for almost 30 years, so did I.

 

I don't usually promote my own blog posts here, but for those lacking in knowledge about a certain British TV show and the ladies who have appeared on it, here is a an explanation of what Steve meant (with pictures.) I do think he was a little unfair to the Laser!

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

 

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

 

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.

Bloody hell, there's *another* one design dinghy coming soon???

 

Let me guess - 'you can have any colour as long as it's white', fibreglass/foam sandwich construction, lowish freeboard with a fine bow, basic carbon stayless rig, ~6m² moderate square top mylar semi-battened main and $2000 more than a Laser.

 

Bonus: 'the best one design dinghy racing yet', 'a new, exciting racing series/circuit', 'for anyone - beginners to expert racers looking for the next challenge'

 

...how many points do I get?

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing.

 

 

Totally agree. But I don't think those of us who buy into one of these newer classes want to "knock off" the Laser. We simply want to enjoy boats that give a superior sailing experience and to have the satisfaction of working with other enthusiasts to build a new class. After two years of sailing an RS Aero I can only say that it has revitalized my passion for sailing and, in those two years, I have had some of the most rewarding experiences in my 35 years of sailing.

 

Good luck to those who prefer to sail a 40 year old design for whatever reasons. I wish them well.

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

 

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.

 

I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

 

(these notes are US specific)

 

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

 

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

 

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

 

 

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

 

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

 

 

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

 

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.

Bloody hell, there's *another* one design dinghy coming soon???

 

Let me guess - 'you can have any colour as long as it's white', fibreglass/foam sandwich construction, lowish freeboard with a fine bow, basic carbon stayless rig, ~6m² moderate square top mylar semi-battened main and $2000 more than a Laser.

 

Bonus: 'the best one design dinghy racing yet', 'a new, exciting racing series/circuit', 'for anyone - beginners to expert racers looking for the next challenge'

 

...how many points do I get?

 

Spot on Mate! That's funny!

 

They might go with, "The Ultimate in OD dinghy racing."

 

And in typical J fashion it will be slower than the Laser and have some lead in the board. You know so you don't actually have to hike as hard. It's not fair to lose a race to someone that is more athletic and out hikes you.

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

 

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.

 

I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

 

(these notes are US specific)

 

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

 

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

 

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

 

 

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

 

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

 

 

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.

 

Wow WestCoast that's a very interesting post. You are in the industry so tough to argue against you. I see what you are saying but on the other side I think there is also a core group that just wants to race OD period. Does not matter the boat as long as they are all the same. And the Laser is still hands down the easiest point of entry to do that in most areas of the country.

 

Question for you: So let's assume the Laser, Aero and Melges 14 are all racing together in some sort of Portsmouth fleet. Unless they all rate the same, and they won't, would not the faster boat have the advantage? The longer you can hold your lane on that first beat, especially in a big fleet, generally the better you will do overall in the race. I don't think you can handicap bad air can you? Or intentionally going "the wrong way" as that is still better than getting gassed for the next mile upwind.

 

I know personally if I were racing in such a mixed fleet I would buy the fastest boat. So over time people would gravitate to the faster boat even in a mixed fleet? No??? "I am tired of getting gassed in my Laser, my Aero, my Melges, my whatever... I am buying the new (insert the latest faster boat here). So instead of buying a new sail every year to get that little extra speed/point advantage people will be buying the latest faster boat instead??? I don't think that is good for the sport. Thoughts on that?

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Question for you: So let's assume the Laser, Aero and Melges 14 are all racing together in some sort of Portsmouth fleet. Unless they all rate the same, and they won't, would not the faster boat have the advantage? The longer you can hold your lane on that first beat, especially in a big fleet, generally the better you will do overall in the race. I don't think you can handicap bad air can you? Or intentionally going "the wrong way" as that is still better than getting gassed for the next mile upwind.

 

I know personally if I were racing in such a mixed fleet I would buy the fastest boat. So over time people would gravitate to the faster boat even in a mixed fleet? No??? "I am tired of getting gassed in my Laser, my Aero, my Melges, my whatever... I am buying the new (insert the latest faster boat here). So instead of buying a new sail every year to get that little extra speed/point advantage people will be buying the latest faster boat instead??? I don't think that is good for the sport. Thoughts on that?

 

 

 

I'm not sure that that is a real problem. If faster boats have an advantage then sooner or later that will be reflected in their handicaps, especially if you adjust the handicap numbers based on results at your club.

 

But if you think it is a real issue, then hold some pursuit races at your club too. Then it is the slowest boat that starts the race in clear air. Will everybody rush out to buy the slowest boat in order to win the pursuit races?

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Totally agree. But I don't think those of us who buy into one of these newer classes want to "knock off" the Laser. We simply want to enjoy boats that give a superior sailing experience and to have the satisfaction of working with other enthusiasts to build a new class. After two years of sailing an RS Aero I can only say that it has revitalized my passion for sailing and, in those two years, I have had some of the most rewarding experiences in my 35 years of sailing.

Good luck to those who prefer to sail a 40 year old design for whatever reasons. I wish them well.

 

 

There is definitely a lot of comradery in play here that would not happen if you were just one person with a new boat in a mixed fleet of different designs.

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Totally agree. But I don't think those of us who buy into one of these newer classes want to "knock off" the Laser. We simply want to enjoy boats that give a superior sailing experience and to have the satisfaction of working with other enthusiasts to build a new class. After two years of sailing an RS Aero I can only say that it has revitalized my passion for sailing and, in those two years, I have had some of the most rewarding experiences in my 35 years of sailing.

Good luck to those who prefer to sail a 40 year old design for whatever reasons. I wish them well.

 

 

There is definitely a lot of comradery in play here that would not happen if you were just one person with a new boat in a mixed fleet of different designs.

 

 

True. I know pretty much every class says this, but one of the best things about the RS Aero is the other RS Aero sailors. The shared experience of starting a new class, traveling to new locations for regattas and meeting lots of like-minded souls, and seeing the class grow every year has all been part of the fun.

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

 

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.

 

I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

 

(these notes are US specific)

 

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

 

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

 

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

 

 

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

 

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

 

 

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.

 

West Coast, I truly support you and your business and appreciate all that you do for sailing.

 

That being said, are you really suggesting that dinghy sailors are all going to be sailing in handicapped fleets in the future? Good God, get me out of the sport now if that's the case. One of the main reasons I left big boat sailing for small boats was all the BS that goes along with handicap fleets. I know it makes me biased in this discussion, but I chose the laser over all other offerings due to its widespread pure OD racing.

 

I hope you're wrong.

 

IMHO, I believe the answer to the SMOD equation needs to be a boat that makes the minor enhancements the Laser has needs to get with the times (lighter, better self-bailing cockpit, and removal of the end-boom sheeting are things that easily come to mind) and come in at a lower cost than the Laser.

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I think the solution maybe something like what the A-Cats have done in our fleet. All A-Cats start together, race together, and are scored together. Then then foilers/floaters are broken out into their own awards.

 

You could easily do the same thing in a mixed fleet. Everyone starts together, is scored on handicap together, and then individual fleets are broken out and scored OD seperatly. Even better this would provide the best handicap evidence possible for adjusting the ratings.

 

Big fleets, tight OD racing, and handicap racing as an aside.

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

 

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.

 

I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

 

(these notes are US specific)

 

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

 

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

 

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

 

 

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

 

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

 

 

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.

 

West Coast, I truly support you and your business and appreciate all that you do for sailing.

 

That being said, are you really suggesting that dinghy sailors are all going to be sailing in handicapped fleets in the future? Good God, get me out of the sport now if that's the case. One of the main reasons I left big boat sailing for small boats was all the BS that goes along with handicap fleets. I know it makes me biased in this discussion, but I chose the laser over all other offerings due to its widespread pure OD racing.

 

I hope you're wrong.

 

 

Is this a black and white thing? Sure there are a lot of Laser regattas around where I live and a very strong frostbite fleet, but where I sail in the summer there is sometimes only one Laser who shows up for racing on a Saturday afternoon, and on other days only two or three. Ditto for Sunfish. Wouldn't these folk have more fun if they could do handicap and/or pursuit racing at their home club, and then travel to regattas to do one-design racing?

 

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Question for you: So let's assume the Laser, Aero and Melges 14 are all racing together in some sort of Portsmouth fleet. Unless they all rate the same, and they won't, would not the faster boat have the advantage? The longer you can hold your lane on that first beat, especially in a big fleet, generally the better you will do overall in the race. I don't think you can handicap bad air can you? Or intentionally going "the wrong way" as that is still better than getting gassed for the next mile upwind.

 

I know personally if I were racing in such a mixed fleet I would buy the fastest boat. So over time people would gravitate to the faster boat even in a mixed fleet? No??? "I am tired of getting gassed in my Laser, my Aero, my Melges, my whatever... I am buying the new (insert the latest faster boat here). So instead of buying a new sail every year to get that little extra speed/point advantage people will be buying the latest faster boat instead??? I don't think that is good for the sport. Thoughts on that?

 

 

 

I'm not sure that that is a real problem. If faster boats have an advantage then sooner or later that will be reflected in their handicaps, especially if you adjust the handicap numbers based on results at your club.

 

But if you think it is a real issue, then hold some pursuit races at your club too. Then it is the slowest boat that starts the race in clear air. Will everybody rush out to buy the slowest boat in order to win the pursuit races?

 

WHAT!? How could you pull off a pursuit race between a Laser, Aero, and Melges? They are all going to be very close in speed. Say 10 boats of each. OK you 10 Lasers start, then 30 seconds later you 10 Aero's start and then 5 seconds later you 10 Melges get to start. Nobody be over early and screw this all up OK? Oh and you Melges I don't want to see you up in the Aero start. Good Luck with that!!! Not going to work. Pursuit races work and are fun but there can't be a lot of boats and they need to be spaced out rating wise.

 

 

WestCoast is talking about a mixed fleet between single handed dinghies. They are all going to be very close in speed. But the slightly faster boat, if sailed well, will have the advantage especially on that first beat. Once you can squirt out in front you have the HUGE advantage. Anyone that has raced in a large OD fleet knows how much easier the race gets if you can win or be one of the first to the top mark. I don't think you can get a handicap right to reflect this.

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I know personally if I were racing in such a mixed fleet I would buy the fastest boat. So over time people would gravitate to the faster boat even in a mixed fleet? No??? "I am tired of getting gassed in my Laser, my Aero, my Melges, my whatever... I am buying the new (insert the latest faster boat here). So instead of buying a new sail every year to get that little extra speed/point advantage people will be buying the latest faster boat instead??? I don't think that is good for the sport. Thoughts on that?

 

 

 

....turning over boats for new ones has a huge benefit to fleet building.... a more accessible price for lower budget sailors.

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Merges 14 Update: News relating to the question? Will the Melges 14 catch on? The recent Sarasota Sailing Squadron Midwinter One Design Regatta ( Mar 17-19 ) attracted 24 racers. Good video on this racing. Search Melges 14 Sarasota Sailing Squadron Midwinter One Design Regatta - two videos. Last weekend ( demos ), Andy Burdick from Melges reported the sale of 5 new boats at Lake Lanier Sailing Club, Atlanta and 8 new boats sold in Chattanooga. Not bad for several weeks. Things are looking up for the Melges 14.

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I like the sleeved sail - that's actually a selling point for me. But the thing that concerns me is that the layout of the boat prevents the sailor from sitting on the back 2 feet or so of the boat. The traveler line at the back basically prevents you from scooting your butt back to the very rear of the boat. From my experience w/ the Aero, that's not good. I need to be able to sit at the VERY rear of the Aero to keep the nose up in big wind and waves.

 

Is the design of the Melges 14 different? Does the sailor's weight not need to be situated in the very rear of the boat in big winds/waves to keep the bow up out of the water? Maybe it's fine, but I'd like to see video of someone smoking in the Melges 14 @ 20 mph or so in some sizeable chop so that I can confirm that they are doing so seated forward of the traveler.

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I like the sleeved sail - that's actually a selling point for me. But the thing that concerns me is that the layout of the boat prevents the sailor from sitting on the back 2 feet or so of the boat. The traveler line at the back basically prevents you from scooting your butt back to the very rear of the boat. From my experience w/ the Aero, that's not good. I need to be able to sit at the VERY rear of the Aero to keep the nose up in big wind and waves.

 

Is the design of the Melges 14 different? Does the sailor's weight not need to be situated in the very rear of the boat in big winds/waves to keep the bow up out of the water? Maybe it's fine, but I'd like to see video of someone smoking in the Melges 14 @ 20 mph or so in some sizeable chop so that I can confirm that they are doing so seated forward of the traveler.

Y'know, Henry Bosset made a sleeved and zippered fathead sail for me that fit on a Force 5 mast, and the halyard runs inside the sleeve. It was based on a class legal rule. It works really well. I don't know why the idea isn't used more

Widely. I know, zippers. But I've never had a problem with em, even on my Reynolds 3 in one windsurfing sail

 

The halyard flapping around the Aero mast can't

be fast. But if everybody has it.....

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The Aero halyard doesn't flap if you rig properly.

 

Those who sail in sandy places may not be too keen on zippers.

 

Plenty complain about the difficulty of rigging the sleeved Laser in big breeze and adding full-length battens is going to double that pain.

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The Aero halyard doesn't flap if you rig properly.

 

Those who sail in sandy places may not be too keen on zippers.

 

Plenty complain about the difficulty of rigging the sleeved Laser in big breeze and adding full-length battens is going to double that pain.

Just going by a couple I've seen, from a distance, and some YouTube's. How do you rig properly to avoid this?

 

My main experience with this sort of thing are OK's and Finns- we used halyard locks up top. Is that Aero practice?

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Do I think the Melges 14 will catch on?

 

Yes. It looks like it already has. At least in the US.

 

Check out pre-registration for the Melges 14 Midwinters in Sarasota this weekend. 22 boats are signed up as of this morning, which is comparable with the turnout for the RS Aero Midwinters in West Palm Beach a few weeks ago.

 

As one of the early adopters of the RS Aero, I personally don't see the reason for preferring the Melges 14 over the RS Aero, but it's good to see another new single-handed class getting some traction. Maybe we can have some joint RS Aero and Melges 14 regattas in the future?

 

As I understand it, there were a number of Aero Charters available in Florida and there was a fairly large push to get people in them and out sailing. I do not know if that was the case with the Melges or not. I know of four local people that chartered Aero's for the Jenson Beach regatta. Its a great way to find out if you like the boat, but does not necessarily equate to buying them. Those people are all still sailing their Lasers and plan to stick with them because they know they will have a fleet to sail against.

 

If I were in the market, the Aero looks like the boat I would be more interested in, but it will be at least another year before I can get back in any dinghy again.

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My main experience with this sort of thing are OK's and Finns- we used halyard locks up top. Is that Aero practice?

The halyard is spliced onto a short piece of thicker line and that engages in a cleat at the top of the mast. There's then a boss on the side of the mast that you route the halyard around to another cleat on the front of the mast. If you get it tight it does not flap that I've ever noticed. The remaining tail then tucks into a sail pocket by the tack. All rather neat and simpler than I'm making it sound.

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My main experience with this sort of thing are OK's and Finns- we used halyard locks up top. Is that Aero practice?

The halyard is spliced onto a short piece of thicker line and that engages in a cleat at the top of the mast. There's then a boss on the side of the mast that you route the halyard around to another cleat on the front of the mast. If you get it tight it does not flap that I've ever noticed. The remaining tail then tucks into a sail pocket by the tack. All rather neat and simpler than I'm making it sound.
Anybody figured out how to modify mast bend with this setup? Or is the mast layup designed to take this into account? Does what sounds like a wraparound halyard chafe against the mast as it flexes?

 

Is the mast top cleat a halyard lock?

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The Aero halyard doesn't flap if you rig properly.

 

Those who sail in sandy places may not be too keen on zippers.

 

Plenty complain about the difficulty of rigging the sleeved Laser in big breeze and adding full-length battens is going to double that pain.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love the Aero. But my main complaint (which really isn't a complaint b/c there's an easy workaround) is that the halyard pops off the cleat on hard, smashing capsizes (even if you don't pole-vault the mast on the ground beneath the water). Again, not really a "complaint" because I just shackle the head of the sail to the top of the mast and all is well. But there are some reasons to prefer a sleeved sail over a halyard.

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I like the sleeved sail - that's actually a selling point for me. But the thing that concerns me is that the layout of the boat prevents the sailor from sitting on the back 2 feet or so of the boat. The traveler line at the back basically prevents you from scooting your butt back to the very rear of the boat. From my experience w/ the Aero, that's not good. I need to be able to sit at the VERY rear of the Aero to keep the nose up in big wind and waves.

 

Is the design of the Melges 14 different? Does the sailor's weight not need to be situated in the very rear of the boat in big winds/waves to keep the bow up out of the water? Maybe it's fine, but I'd like to see video of someone smoking in the Melges 14 @ 20 mph or so in some sizeable chop so that I can confirm that they are doing so seated forward of the traveler.

 

From my own experience sailing the Melges 14 in those conditions (18-20 knots, 4-5 ft chop), the furthest aft you'll ever need to sit is in line with the traveler. It seems to me that the boat even has early rise/rocker in the bow --- this picture kinda shows what I'm talking about:

 

ZfmAU0L.jpg

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I like the sleeved sail - that's actually a selling point for me. But the thing that concerns me is that the layout of the boat prevents the sailor from sitting on the back 2 feet or so of the boat. The traveler line at the back basically prevents you from scooting your butt back to the very rear of the boat. From my experience w/ the Aero, that's not good. I need to be able to sit at the VERY rear of the Aero to keep the nose up in big wind and waves.

 

Is the design of the Melges 14 different? Does the sailor's weight not need to be situated in the very rear of the boat in big winds/waves to keep the bow up out of the water? Maybe it's fine, but I'd like to see video of someone smoking in the Melges 14 @ 20 mph or so in some sizeable chop so that I can confirm that they are doing so seated forward of the traveler.

 

From my own experience sailing the Melges 14 in those conditions (18-20 knots, 4-5 ft chop), the furthest aft you'll ever need to sit is in line with the traveler. It seems to me that the boat even has early rise/rocker in the bow --- this picture kinda shows what I'm talking about:

 

ZfmAU0L.jpg

 

 

Thanks Mystique. Good to know.

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The Aero halyard doesn't flap if you rig properly.

 

Those who sail in sandy places may not be too keen on zippers.

 

Plenty complain about the difficulty of rigging the sleeved Laser in big breeze and adding full-length battens is going to double that pain.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love the Aero. But my main complaint (which really isn't a complaint b/c there's an easy workaround) is that the halyard pops off the cleat on hard, smashing capsizes (even if you don't pole-vault the mast on the ground beneath the water). Again, not really a "complaint" because I just shackle the head of the sail to the top of the mast and all is well. But there are some reasons to prefer a sleeved sail over a halyard.

 

On my Sabre (Aussie class) with a halyard most boats either have a v-cleat or a horn cleat and never pop out that I know of.

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The Aero halyard doesn't flap if you rig properly.

 

Those who sail in sandy places may not be too keen on zippers.

 

Plenty complain about the difficulty of rigging the sleeved Laser in big breeze and adding full-length battens is going to double that pain.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love the Aero. But my main complaint (which really isn't a complaint b/c there's an easy workaround) is that the halyard pops off the cleat on hard, smashing capsizes (even if you don't pole-vault the mast on the ground beneath the water). Again, not really a "complaint" because I just shackle the head of the sail to the top of the mast and all is well. But there are some reasons to prefer a sleeved sail over a halyard.

 

On my Sabre (Aussie class) with a halyard most boats either have a v-cleat or a horn cleat and never pop out that I know of.

 

 

Is the cleat at the tip of the mast, or at the base of the mast in the boats you mentioned? In the Aero, the halyard cleat is at the tip of the mast. So, if you have a really really hard capsize in heavy surf (which happens to me a lot, but is probably not a concern for most Aero sailors) that cleated halyard swings down like a baseball bat at the tip of the mast and slaps the water REALLY hard, and then gets throshed all around in the surf. If the halyard cleat is at the base of the mast, then the cleat is probably immune to this kind of throttling. But with the cleat out at the end of the mast, my personal experience is that this throttling at the tip of the mast knocks the halyard out of the cleat.

 

TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE AERO - this is not a big deal. If you're not routinely having lots of really really hard capsizes in big winds and surf that slap the mast down into the water really violently, then this is not going to happen to you. And if you *DO* do that kind of sailing w/ the Aero, then a shackle solves all the problems. But that being said, if I ever do buy a Melges 14 I'm going to trash it in the surf, for which it will be nice to have the sleeved sail.

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When the halyard cleat is at the top the mast there is hardly any halyard to stretch so the Cunningham works more effectively. Also, the mast is only under half compression compared to a base cleat when the Cunningham is yanked on. Don't know how important that is in boats like the Aero though.

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I say good luck to them, but unless Laser Performance continues to shit the bed even worse than it already has, it's going to be a very long very steep uphill battle for Aero or M14 to knock off Laser. With nearly a quarter of a million boats made to date, Olympic class status, expert clinics and coaching available for reasonable fees, several local and regional regattas run year round, and global distribution of boats and parts it's definitely the 2 ton gorilla of dinghy racing. I wish them well, but i'm sure the byte or force 5's stories can pretty much forecast it all.

 

That said, we can't be too far away from the release of the J/41 dinghy as well. (That's 13.5 feet converted to decimeters in typical J fashion for those playing along at home) I suspect it will be slightly heavier than all of those listed in the thread above, cost about 25% more than the competition, and 6 years later it will become obsolete because the everyone will be jumping ship to the new J/41s.

 

I think statements like this are fairly backwords looking.

 

(these notes are US specific)

 

It's one data point, but, there are 30 RS Aeros in Seattle, and it basically completely replaced the Laser fleet for local racing.

(There are still plenty of Lasers around there, but, the top guys for the most part all switched to the Aero)

 

Also, what you will likely see (as much as US based sailors cringe at the idea, is a general acceptance over the next 3-5 years of Portsmouth or some handicapped racing of multiple designs.

The dinghy market is simply too fragmented now, with too many options, too many companies importing boats for us to ever go back to the old One Design or Nothing way of life.

We'll simply never get back to the days of a manufacturer selling 1000+ a year one design race boats in the US.

 

The future (like it or not) will be mixed fleet racing with technology (likely your phone), doing real time handicapping. Then everyone can race whatever they want/suits them best, instead of all of us on the internet arguing which one design is best.

 

 

It will happen, the groundwork is being laid now.

 

If you think any of the prevalent 40+ old one design classes are safe, you are just not paying attention.

As sailing grows, that will just be less important to most new folks.

 

 

Lasers won't go away, and it's still a great boat with a great fleet. But if you write off the Melges 14, Aero, or whatever J boat, just because a lot of people sail Lasers now.... you don't understand what's happening in the marketplace.

West Coast, I truly support you and your business and appreciate all that you do for sailing.

 

That being said, are you really suggesting that dinghy sailors are all going to be sailing in handicapped fleets in the future? Good God, get me out of the sport now if that's the case. One of the main reasons I left big boat sailing for small boats was all the BS that goes along with handicap fleets. I know it makes me biased in this discussion, but I chose the laser over all other offerings due to its widespread pure OD racing.

 

I hope you're wrong.

 

IMHO, I believe the answer to the SMOD equation needs to be a boat that makes the minor enhancements the Laser has needs to get with the times (lighter, better self-bailing cockpit, and removal of the end-boom sheeting are things that easily come to mind) and come in at a lower cost than the Laser.

Just box rule it and let market forces decide. 14' x 5' x 7m^2

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My main experience with this sort of thing are OK's and Finns- we used halyard locks up top. Is that Aero practice?

The halyard is spliced onto a short piece of thicker line and that engages in a cleat at the top of the mast. There's then a boss on the side of the mast that you route the halyard around to another cleat on the front of the mast. If you get it tight it does not flap that I've ever noticed. The remaining tail then tucks into a sail pocket by the tack. All rather neat and simpler than I'm making it sound.
Anybody figured out how to modify mast bend with this setup? Or is the mast layup designed to take this into account? Does what sounds like a wraparound halyard chafe against the mast as it flexes?

 

Is the mast top cleat a halyard lock?

 

 

I don't know what you mean by wraparound halyard. The mast top cleat is a cleat. I am not 100% sure what you mean by a lock. Long ago I used to sail a Europe and that had a thin rope halyard that was spliced to a short wire section with a nodule at the join. The nodule engaged with a little fork near the mast top. If that's what you mean by a lock, no that is not how the Aero is rigged. The arrangement with the Aero allows you to fine-tune the extent to which the sail is hoisted, maximum most of the time but a little bit less in the light stuff.

 

Mainsheet, kicker (vang) and to an extent cunningham all bend the mast. It is very easy to bend.It is designed to bend in gusts to depower the upper section of the sail like a modern windsurfer rig.

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Returning to the original subject, do I think the Melges 14 will catch on? In the UK, improbable. We've got the D/Zero and Aero with now established fleets, events, local marketing and support. Melges European marketing arm is in Italy.

 

In the USA, how the hell would I know?

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When the halyard cleat is at the top the mast there is hardly any halyard to stretch so the Cunningham works more effectively. Also, the mast is only under half compression compared to a base cleat when the Cunningham is yanked on. Don't know how important that is in boats like the Aero though.

There is less halyard stretch, although most dinghy sail designs have a softer luff than the stretch in a typical modern line used as a halyard so I expect it is imperceptible in a dinghy of this size with a dacron sail.

 

The mast compression is the same whether you locate the halyard cleat at the bottom of the mast, half way up the mast or at the top of the mast. As one naval architect explained to us......."Hold up a broomstick in your left hand with a 40lb weight tied to a line going through a sheeve at the top of the broom stick.....if you tie the line off by the sheeve or at the bottom of the broomstick, the compression is still 40lbs.......compression is affected by the tension on the main and the equal and opposing force provided by the mast, not where you tie off the halyard"

 

Another trick to prove this......apply max luff tension with the halyard and the mast lock off.....so the mast is pre-bent under compression. Lock the mast lock so the halyard is locked... release the halyard. The mast will not spring back up to vertical under less compression.

 

Old wives/Etchell sailors lore.

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When the halyard cleat is at the top the mast there is hardly any halyard to stretch so the Cunningham works more effectively. Also, the mast is only under half compression compared to a base cleat when the Cunningham is yanked on. Don't know how important that is in boats like the Aero though.

 

There is less halyard stretch, although most dinghy sail designs have a softer luff than the stretch in a typical modern line used as a halyard so I expect it is imperceptible in a dinghy of this size with a dacron sail.

 

The mast compression is the same whether you locate the halyard cleat at the bottom of the mast, half way up the mast or at the top of the mast. As one naval architect explained to us......."Hold up a broomstick in your left hand with a 40lb weight tied to a line going through a sheeve at the top of the broom stick.....if you tie the line off by the sheeve or at the bottom of the broomstick, the compression is still 40lbs.......compression is affected by the tension on the main and the equal and opposing force provided by the mast, not where you tie off the halyard"

 

Another trick to prove this......apply max luff tension with the halyard and the mast lock off.....so the mast is pre-bent under compression. Lock the mast lock so the halyard is locked... release the halyard. The mast will not spring back up to vertical under less compression.

 

Old wives/Etchell sailors lore.

For a bendy unstayed mast? If the halyard running through a masthead sheave is cleated under pressure at the bottom of the mast while the mast is bent, you've created a bow.

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My main experience with this sort of thing are OK's and Finns- we used halyard locks up top. Is that Aero practice?

 

The halyard is spliced onto a short piece of thicker line and that engages in a cleat at the top of the mast. There's then a boss on the side of the mast that you route the halyard around to another cleat on the front of the mast. If you get it tight it does not flap that I've ever noticed. The remaining tail then tucks into a sail pocket by the tack. All rather neat and simpler than I'm making it sound.
Anybody figured out how to modify mast bend with this setup? Or is the mast layup designed to take this into account? Does what sounds like a wraparound halyard chafe against the mast as it flexes?

Is the mast top cleat a halyard lock?

I don't know what you mean by wraparound halyard. The mast top cleat is a cleat. I am not 100% sure what you mean by a lock. Long ago I used to sail a Europe and that had a thin rope halyard that was spliced to a short wire section with a nodule at the join. The nodule engaged with a little fork near the mast top. If that's what you mean by a lock, no that is not how the Aero is rigged. The arrangement with the Aero allows you to fine-tune the extent to which the sail is hoisted, maximum most of the time but a little bit less in the light stuff.

 

Mainsheet, kicker (vang) and to an extent cunningham all bend the mast. It is very easy to bend.It is designed to bend in gusts to depower the upper section of the sail like a modern windsurfer rig.

Your Europe example was exactly what I meant. In my Finn, I raised the sail to the upper band, clicked the halyard into the inverted stainless v fitting , and adjusted luff tension with the downhaul. Of course this was with Wooden Bruder mast with a luff groove that was polished so the bolt rope moved very easily.

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When the halyard cleat is at the top the mast there is hardly any halyard to stretch so the Cunningham works more effectively. Also, the mast is only under half compression compared to a base cleat when the Cunningham is yanked on. Don't know how important that is in boats like the Aero though.

There is less halyard stretch, although most dinghy sail designs have a softer luff than the stretch in a typical modern line used as a halyard so I expect it is imperceptible in a dinghy of this size with a dacron sail.

 

The mast compression is the same whether you locate the halyard cleat at the bottom of the mast, half way up the mast or at the top of the mast. As one naval architect explained to us......."Hold up a broomstick in your left hand with a 40lb weight tied to a line going through a sheeve at the top of the broom stick.....if you tie the line off by the sheeve or at the bottom of the broomstick, the compression is still 40lbs.......compression is affected by the tension on the main and the equal and opposing force provided by the mast, not where you tie off the halyard"

 

Another trick to prove this......apply max luff tension with the halyard and the mast lock off.....so the mast is pre-bent under compression. Lock the mast lock so the halyard is locked... release the halyard. The mast will not spring back up to vertical under less compression.

 

Old wives/Etchell sailors lore.

 

 

The definition of mast compression decides whether you think the compression changes. I agree that halyard cleat location does not effect compression at the bast of the mast - that is provided by mainsail forces, standing rigging (not applicable here) etc. However, the mast will be compressed between the head of the sail and the location of the cleat by the halyard tension and any cunningham tension applied to the sail. Having a halyard lock, or cleat at the top, ensures that this compression is only experienced by the very top of the mast, which is the definition being applied here.

 

With an Aero, the halyard cleat is external to the mast, so with the amount that the rig bends it must cleat at the top. Otherwise, the distance between mast tip and where a mast base cleat would be would shorten too much as the rig bends, reducing halyard tension and allowing the sail to sag. If the halyard tension is kept high enough to ensure a tight luff when the rig bends with a mast base cleat, you would, as Amati states, simply create a bow.

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I'd like to hear some details from the LLSC people to see how they decided on the boat. Things like age range and rough sizes of the skippers. I'm interested in the boat because I'm too big for a laser but would like to be able to race alone. Finding crew for the keelboat isn't getting any easier. I'm in western South Carolina so having a fleet relatively close is very interesting.

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When the halyard cleat is at the top the mast there is hardly any halyard to stretch so the Cunningham works more effectively. Also, the mast is only under half compression compared to a base cleat when the Cunningham is yanked on. Don't know how important that is in boats like the Aero though.

There is less halyard stretch, although most dinghy sail designs have a softer luff than the stretch in a typical modern line used as a halyard so I expect it is imperceptible in a dinghy of this size with a dacron sail.

 

The mast compression is the same whether you locate the halyard cleat at the bottom of the mast, half way up the mast or at the top of the mast. As one naval architect explained to us......."Hold up a broomstick in your left hand with a 40lb weight tied to a line going through a sheeve at the top of the broom stick.....if you tie the line off by the sheeve or at the bottom of the broomstick, the compression is still 40lbs.......compression is affected by the tension on the main and the equal and opposing force provided by the mast, not where you tie off the halyard"

 

Another trick to prove this......apply max luff tension with the halyard and the mast lock off.....so the mast is pre-bent under compression. Lock the mast lock so the halyard is locked... release the halyard. The mast will not spring back up to vertical under less compression.

 

Old wives/Etchell sailors lore.

 

 

The definition of mast compression decides whether you think the compression changes. I agree that halyard cleat location does not effect compression at the bast of the mast - that is provided by mainsail forces, standing rigging (not applicable here) etc. However, the mast will be compressed between the head of the sail and the location of the cleat by the halyard tension and any cunningham tension applied to the sail. Having a halyard lock, or cleat at the top, ensures that this compression is only experienced by the very top of the mast, which is the definition being applied here.

 

With an Aero, the halyard cleat is external to the mast, so with the amount that the rig bends it must cleat at the top. Otherwise, the distance between mast tip and where a mast base cleat would be would shorten too much as the rig bends, reducing halyard tension and allowing the sail to sag. If the halyard tension is kept high enough to ensure a tight luff when the rig bends with a mast base cleat, you would, as Amati states, simply create a bow.

 

 

The definition of mast compression is the down force being applied through the walls of the mast which is equal and opposing to the up force exerted through the halyard (lifting against the sail) and shrouds (lifting against the deck).

 

When you tighten your shrouds, you will create a similar "bow" effect , even though the shrouds are effectively "locked" at the top of the mast. Next time you are going out on your Aero, apply aggressive halyard tension with the halyard lock off ...sufficient to apply prebend to the rig.....then lock the halyard...et voila, the prebend is unchanged.

 

Now agreed that if you stand at transom and pull halyard, you are creating an additional force which is not compression , which will bend the mast.

 

There are a variety of forces that the controls of a sail boat can apply to the mast. Some create compression. Some do not. Its all fun to figure out.

Force can turn a corner. The outhaul on a boom is similar. The compression along the boom is the same whether you cleat at aft of boom or at front of boom.

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When the halyard cleat is at the top the mast there is hardly any halyard to stretch so the Cunningham works more effectively. Also, the mast is only under half compression compared to a base cleat when the Cunningham is yanked on. Don't know how important that is in boats like the Aero though.

There is less halyard stretch, although most dinghy sail designs have a softer luff than the stretch in a typical modern line used as a halyard so I expect it is imperceptible in a dinghy of this size with a dacron sail.

 

The mast compression is the same whether you locate the halyard cleat at the bottom of the mast, half way up the mast or at the top of the mast. As one naval architect explained to us......."Hold up a broomstick in your left hand with a 40lb weight tied to a line going through a sheeve at the top of the broom stick.....if you tie the line off by the sheeve or at the bottom of the broomstick, the compression is still 40lbs.......compression is affected by the tension on the main and the equal and opposing force provided by the mast, not where you tie off the halyard"

 

Another trick to prove this......apply max luff tension with the halyard and the mast lock off.....so the mast is pre-bent under compression. Lock the mast lock so the halyard is locked... release the halyard. The mast will not spring back up to vertical under less compression.

 

Old wives/Etchell sailors lore.

 

 

The definition of mast compression decides whether you think the compression changes. I agree that halyard cleat location does not effect compression at the bast of the mast - that is provided by mainsail forces, standing rigging (not applicable here) etc. However, the mast will be compressed between the head of the sail and the location of the cleat by the halyard tension and any cunningham tension applied to the sail. Having a halyard lock, or cleat at the top, ensures that this compression is only experienced by the very top of the mast, which is the definition being applied here.

 

With an Aero, the halyard cleat is external to the mast, so with the amount that the rig bends it must cleat at the top. Otherwise, the distance between mast tip and where a mast base cleat would be would shorten too much as the rig bends, reducing halyard tension and allowing the sail to sag. If the halyard tension is kept high enough to ensure a tight luff when the rig bends with a mast base cleat, you would, as Amati states, simply create a bow.

 

 

Yup .....this is the most valid reason for mast head lock on a carbon rig. Its not the mast compression, it is because the distance between head of the sail and the cleat can change and so halyard tension can change. Merely adding vang on a bendy rig (good in big breeze) also eases the halyard (bad in big breeze) so mast head lock will effectively eliminate this stretch.

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When the halyard cleat is at the top the mast there is hardly any halyard to stretch so the Cunningham works more effectively. Also, the mast is only under half compression compared to a base cleat when the Cunningham is yanked on. Don't know how important that is in boats like the Aero though.

There is less halyard stretch, although most dinghy sail designs have a softer luff than the stretch in a typical modern line used as a halyard so I expect it is imperceptible in a dinghy of this size with a dacron sail.

 

The mast compression is the same whether you locate the halyard cleat at the bottom of the mast, half way up the mast or at the top of the mast. As one naval architect explained to us......."Hold up a broomstick in your left hand with a 40lb weight tied to a line going through a sheeve at the top of the broom stick.....if you tie the line off by the sheeve or at the bottom of the broomstick, the compression is still 40lbs.......compression is affected by the tension on the main and the equal and opposing force provided by the mast, not where you tie off the halyard"

 

Another trick to prove this......apply max luff tension with the halyard and the mast lock off.....so the mast is pre-bent under compression. Lock the mast lock so the halyard is locked... release the halyard. The mast will not spring back up to vertical under less compression.

 

Old wives/Etchell sailors lore.

 

 

The definition of mast compression decides whether you think the compression changes. I agree that halyard cleat location does not effect compression at the bast of the mast - that is provided by mainsail forces, standing rigging (not applicable here) etc. However, the mast will be compressed between the head of the sail and the location of the cleat by the halyard tension and any cunningham tension applied to the sail. Having a halyard lock, or cleat at the top, ensures that this compression is only experienced by the very top of the mast, which is the definition being applied here.

 

With an Aero, the halyard cleat is external to the mast, so with the amount that the rig bends it must cleat at the top. Otherwise, the distance between mast tip and where a mast base cleat would be would shorten too much as the rig bends, reducing halyard tension and allowing the sail to sag. If the halyard tension is kept high enough to ensure a tight luff when the rig bends with a mast base cleat, you would, as Amati states, simply create a bow.

 

 

The definition of mast compression is the down force being applied through the walls of the mast which is equal and opposing to the up force exerted through the halyard (lifting against the sail) and shrouds (lifting against the deck).

 

When you tighten your shrouds, you will create a similar "bow" effect , even though the shrouds are effectively "locked" at the top of the mast. Next time you are going out on your Aero, apply aggressive halyard tension with the halyard lock off ...sufficient to apply prebend to the rig.....then lock the halyard...et voila, the prebend is unchanged.

 

Now agreed that if you stand at transom and pull halyard, you are creating an additional force which is not compression , which will bend the mast.

 

There are a variety of forces that the controls of a sail boat can apply to the mast. Some create compression. Some do not. Its all fun to figure out.

Force can turn a corner. The outhaul on a boom is similar. The compression along the boom is the same whether you cleat at aft of boom or at front of boom.

 

 

Not quite... Due to the sheave at the top, the force the sail pulls downward with is doubled on the top of the rig. With the cleat at the very top of the rig, as on an Aero, this doubling in force is only acting on the top 1 or 2 inches of rig. If the halyard was cleated at the bottom of the rig, as in many other dinghies, this 2:1 action acts over almost the entirety of the rig - from the sheave to the cleat point. Any bit of rig below the cleat point is unaffected by this, and only affected by shroud tension, rig forces etc. This is the reason big boats spend thousands on 2:1 halyards (halving compression between the top of the rig and the cleat point) and halyard locks (eliminating halyard-caused compression forces). This enables them to use lighter rigs, lighter halyards, less hull structure...

 

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now that's what I call a comprehensive answer!

I had one similar to that prepared but

- without the drawings

- more words like "idiot", "stupid Naval Architect", etc init

when my pc crashed - so I never sent it.

 

But thanks JR, now everyone should finally understand this.

 

I have one comment to add (for those who still haven't got it).

As long as you don't attach the halyard to the boat but to the mast (somewhere), the force that pushes the mast into the boat is not affected by the type of halyard, position, or reeving. Thats probably what the f***ing Naval architect meant but some i***t didn't understand it.

It "only" affects the compression force (and therefore the compression stress) within the mast.

If you however tiey down the halyard somewhere in the boat (e.g. with a pulley and a cleat), then the force is transmitted to the boat and the mast is pushed down harder into the boat.

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JR has it right. The difference in mast bend between using a halyard lock and using a cleat at the base of the mast on my flexible IC mast is very significant.

 

I would be very interested to know who Mambo Kings Naval architect friend was. If you consider a sail which is secured to the mast at the tack, and has a halyard cleated off then whilst the compression in the mast from halyard/luff tension is considerable, the amount of that compression that comes through the mast foot is zero. The weight hanging analogy is distinctly misleading.

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My main experience with this sort of thing are OK's and Finns- we used halyard locks up top. Is that Aero practice?

The halyard is spliced onto a short piece of thicker line and that engages in a cleat at the top of the mast. There's then a boss on the side of the mast that you route the halyard around to another cleat on the front of the mast. If you get it tight it does not flap that I've ever noticed. The remaining tail then tucks into a sail pocket by the tack. All rather neat and simpler than I'm making it sound.
Anybody figured out how to modify mast bend with this setup? Or is the mast layup designed to take this into account? Does what sounds like a wraparound halyard chafe against the mast as it flexes?

 

Is the mast top cleat a halyard lock?

 

 

 

On the Aero is it a v-cleat I believe. A halyard lock would work better IMO. That is what we have on the D-Zero and no chance of it popping out as long as you make sure the ferrule goes in to the lock properly when you hoist.

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Jeffers can be relied on to pop in to tell us how the D-Zero is superior in every way.

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