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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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CenterboardBrake

Huh? New Sunfish Class?

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So is this a change that is taking place with the agreement of the powers-that-be in the current International Sunfish Class Association, or is it basically a hostile takeover of the international class by LaserPerformance?

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13 minutes ago, tillerman said:

So is this a change that is taking place with the agreement of the powers-that-be in the current International Sunfish Class Association, or is it basically a hostile takeover of the international class by LaserPerformance?

according to the press release:

Quote

ISCO will be the successor to the International Sunfish Class Association (ISCA) mandate and activities. ISCA’s license to operate has been subject to termination by the owner of the Sunfish intellectual property. To ensure continuity, ISCA has been granted permission to continue to organize “events currently planned to commence on or before 31 March 2018 [to include any connected events that form part of the same series] as posted on the ISCA website as of 6 November 2017.”

sounds like a takeover to me?

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20 minutes ago, dgmckim said:

sounds like a takeover to me?

Does anybody know what triggered LaserPerformance to try and shut down ISCA and transfer its responsibilities to this new organization?

Will ISCA be opposing this change and, if so, how?  Legal action? Mobilizing membership to boycott ISCO? Appeal to World Sailing?

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Here we go again! It seems to me that yet again, Farzad Rastegar is sticking his oar in and causing trouble. LaserPeformance are gaining quote a reputation for poor customer service, not having any spares, problems supplying boats and wanting to control everything. Looks like they have deliberately made it tough for the existing class association. The interesting thing is how World Sailing responds. Will they protect the international class association as they should or will they side with 2 of their major sponsors (LaserPerformance and Maclaren Prams) that are both owned by the same man?

Popcorn? check.

Beer? Check.

Let's sit back and watch the fun!

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Clearly a hostile takeover as per a read of the timeline on the "Fake Class" site created by LaserPerformance.  Hopefully folks will resist it, and hopefully World Sailing will ignore it.  

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1 hour ago, wpbeardsley said:

Clearly a hostile takeover as per a read of the timeline on the "Fake Class" site created by LaserPerformance.  Hopefully folks will resist it, and hopefully World Sailing will ignore it.  

maybe. Not really sure what grounds they'd have to dispute it, given what information we have.

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I vote for hostile takeover. Replacing an organization run by sailors for sailors with one run by the builder for the builder doesn't sound like an amiable transition in governance to me. The new class rules spell it out pretty clearly - the builder is free to make changes to the boat at will. IF the changes impact performance then they will get the approval of the class. Two problems here: 1) how can this particular builder be trusted to know what changes impact performance? 2) who is now running the class "organization", essentially builders representatives? 

 

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This is clearly a fall-out from the intellectual property fiasco that has occurred in the Laser class.  In that case, there were simply too many parties involved for any one entity to "own" them.  For the Sunfish, there is the sole global manufacturer and the international class organization.  Who is the 900 lb. gorilla in that room?

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Now that I think about it, it seems ol' Nasty Rasty has employed a North Korea strategy to bend the class organizations into submission.  Leave them starved for parts and new boats until they submit to your authority.

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It really is the best time in forty years for some new singlehanded racing toys to take over the market and the singlehanded sailboat racing sport.

it still may not be a good enough time for it to be a profitable business venture to attempt to do so.

I do not  yet have sufficient information to speculate whether the AERO will grab a sufficiently large  sized chunk of the market to create a sailboat racing game I can enjoy. 

I want to play locally about 25 times a year with at least a dozen boats,  travel within the state two to five times to play with thirty to fifty boats,  and be able to hit a national event or two where I can count on 80 to 120 boats. 

I believe the sailors in both the Laser and Sunfish fleets  would be best served by a move to change the name of the games and invite new builders to seek certification as suppliers to those games. 

Those Lasers or Sunfish which have already been manufactured would probably all be welcome to compete. If the classes have other eager supportive suppliers of the class defined equipment, un-wanted modifications by LP could be met with de-certification as a class approved builder and, by making the toys worthless as equipment  for competition, cause unwanted modifications to be financially unacceptable to LP.

 I am certain others have opinions much different than mine. 

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36 minutes ago, tillerman said:

The other side of the story. Letter published today by ISCA President.

https://www.sunfishclass.org/documents/ISCA_President_Letter_Nov-07-17.pdf

 

Well, that comes as a surprise, not! Rastegar really is a very nasty bit of work. I don't even get his attitude. How can withholding supply and support of sailors help in the long run? He is so consumed by having total control he is prepared to kill the golden goose. It makes no sense.

3 minutes ago, Dex Sawash said:

ISCA taking a decidedly different approach from ILCA

A committee with balls! They have the advantage of seeing how the whole laser thing is playing out (I hear it is still going on behind the scenes). It will be interesting to see how WS reacts this time.

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This is really interesting from a sailmaker perspective. No more $600 sunfish mains, hello $169.99 $119.99 ones. I'm sure someone in Warwick RI is happy about this. 

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As a long-time USSCA class member it is sad to see what LP has done to their products and the many users.  They keep saying that they are serving customers but they refuse to deliver boats when promised, refuse to support racing partners and refuse to supply parts for their products.  I have honestly never seen such an incompetent business.  Imagine if Apple did that for their phones. Samsung would have a near monopoly on the cell phone business and Steve Jobs would be an afterthought. 

Remember there have been hundreds of thousands of Sunfish sold over many years. That is a huge base of customers that LP is screwing.  

Please make sure you lobby World Sailing and US Sailing to support ISCA and USSCA as opposed to the narrow minded people at LP.

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I know a bunch of guys in RI who would love to build you all Sunphish. Price would likely be the same as it always was.

Seems to me that the stance taken by LP in the Kirby case runs exactly counter to most IP arguments made by LP in this scenario.

DRC

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The LP Kirby fiasco gave birth to 42 pages and 4190 posts. There were more than a few casualties...

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1 hour ago, Rum Runner said:

I have honestly never seen such an incompetent business.  

The one thing you cannot accuse them of is being incompetent. What they are doing is by design. Just because you (and most others) don't understand the strategy doesn't make it incompetent.

My guess is that FR is following the ideas he used to peddle as a BCG consultant. Look up BCG matrix. Depending on how you see it, you could argue that LP as a company has a decent market share in a market that isn't growing, which makes it a cash cow. I suspect that is why FR bought the company. As a cash cow, you milk it for all it's worth. that means reducing investment, concentrating on segments of the market that have the most profit potential and ignoring segments that don't make money.  We know that in the Laser market, LP considers the racing sailor as a PITA not worth serving. Their real focus is on "corporate" sales. Funny how you cannot get parts for your boat from a dealer but holiday companies and sailing schools are well looked after.

If his analysis is what i think it is, he will continue to milk the company while driving it into the ground. He will be looking at the net value of the business (one reason he has been battling IP issues so hard) and judging that against the amount he is able to extract from the business. At some point, when according to the matrix it is becoming a "dog", he will sell and walk away with a significant net profit from the whole deal. The alternative is that he will simply asset strip the business, but i doubt it as I don't think the break up value will ever be as good as the value in a sale. There will always be somebody who thinks they can rebuild the glory days. This really is classic business strategy and will probably make him a shed load of money.

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4 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

It really is the best time in forty years for some new singlehanded racing toys to take over the market and the singlehanded sailboat racing sport.

it still may not be a good enough time for it to be a profitable business venture to attempt to do so.

I do not  yet have sufficient information to speculate whether the AERO will grab a sufficiently large  sized chunk of the market to create a sailboat racing game I can enjoy. 

I want to play locally about 25 times a year with at least a dozen boats,  travel within the state two to five times to play with thirty to fifty boats,  and be able to hit a national event or two where I can count on 80 to 120 boats. 

I believe the sailors in both the Laser and Sunfish fleets  would be best served by a move to change the name of the games and invite new builders to seek certification as suppliers to those games. 

Those Lasers or Sunfish which have already been manufactured would probably all be welcome to compete. If the classes have other eager supportive suppliers of the class defined equipment, un-wanted modifications by LP could be met with de-certification as a class approved builder and, by making the toys worthless as equipment  for competition, cause unwanted modifications to be financially unacceptable to LP.

 I am certain others have opinions much different than mine. 

Completely agree with you. Sailors getting screwed by designers and builders. Nice to see that in this instance the class can take control of its own business. Good on em. Was always in favor of generic lasers or torches or sunfish!

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1 hour ago, Team_GBR said:

The one thing you cannot accuse them of is being incompetent. What they are doing is by design. Just because you (and most others) don't understand the strategy doesn't make it incompetent.

My guess is that FR is following the ideas he used to peddle as a BCG consultant. Look up BCG matrix. Depending on how you see it, you could argue that LP as a company has a decent market share in a market that isn't growing, which makes it a cash cow. I suspect that is why FR bought the company. As a cash cow, you milk it for all it's worth. that means reducing investment, concentrating on segments of the market that have the most profit potential and ignoring segments that don't make money.  We know that in the Laser market, LP considers the racing sailor as a PITA not worth serving. Their real focus is on "corporate" sales. Funny how you cannot get parts for your boat from a dealer but holiday companies and sailing schools are well looked after.

If his analysis is what i think it is, he will continue to milk the company while driving it into the ground. He will be looking at the net value of the business (one reason he has been battling IP issues so hard) and judging that against the amount he is able to extract from the business. At some point, when according to the matrix it is becoming a "dog", he will sell and walk away with a significant net profit from the whole deal. The alternative is that he will simply asset strip the business, but i doubt it as I don't think the break up value will ever be as good as the value in a sale. There will always be somebody who thinks they can rebuild the glory days. This really is classic business strategy and will probably make him a shed load of money.

Makes a lot of sense. Another reason to be glad I got out of Laser sailing when I did.

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i'm considering joining the ISCA even though I don't have a sunfish. just to stick it to LP.

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This from the ISCA Class President:


 

Quote

 

Over the last two years ISCA has tried unsuccessfully, to negotiate to a support and trademark agreement with LP....The World Council was prepared to sign a trademark agreement until LP required that the ISCA initials and the name International Sunfish Class Association name were to be signed over to LP as well. This was a deal breaker for the World Council.

.........As for the trademark, LP has issued ISCA a cease and desist notice. As of 31 March 2018, ISCA is no longer allowed to use the Sunfish logo in conjunction with running regattas. ISCA is the only class that can holds World Championships for the Sunfish Class boat. LP has not and does not run regattas. ISCA, USSCA, and other National Sunfish Class Associations run regattas. ISCA does not need to use the Sunfish trademark to run regattas for the Sunfish class boat. ISCA will continue to run regattas as the only recognized international class for the sunfish class boat.

 

There is enough here for us to ponder the ISCA's position.

1.  The cease and desist notice may not be worth the piece of paper it is written on. They will doubtless get advice before complying with the cease and desist notice. This is not the place to get into acquiescence or laches but a good IP lawyer will go through this with them. One assumes that the ISCA have been using the class logo for a long time and it sounds like they have been doing so without a trademark agreement from LP.  We dont know any or all of the relevant facts here but it might be a little late for LP to claim infringement.

2. The Class agreement with World Sailing will likely play a role.

This is not legal advice. I dont know the facts. Im just tossing around some informal ideas which should not shape opinion or affect the stance of the parties.

 

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With the caveat that I know absolutely nothing about the subject I am going to make a friendly wager.

Tillerman will recall that in the Laser fiasco I took the view  that Global Sailing and Kirby would not succeed in their claims against the ILCA and LP.

This time, I am going to bet against LP. My money is on the Sunfish Class Association. Call it a gut instinct...

;)

IPL

 

 

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Just now, IPLore said:

Tillerman will recall that in the Laser fiasco I took the view  that Global Sailing and Kirby would not succeed in their claims against the ILCA and LP

Did you know this was still going on behind the scenes and that there is a view that LP are now on the back foot. Don't have the full details, but this came from a pretty reliable source.

Even with all that has gone on, you wouldn't say that anything has improved in the Laser world of late. IMO, the ILCA should have stood up to LP rather like the ISCA seem to be.

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Ahhhhh. Just read the timeline document. I stand corrected. ISCA has had legal advice.

There is mention of the impending expiry of a pre-existing licensing agreement between ISCA .But it is quiet on the subject of whether trademark was part of the license. This of course is from LP.

The pre-existing licensing agreement adds a twist BUT my money is still on the ISCA . The Class President is correct, the Class does not need the trademark to run regattas (and I still wonder if the trademark infringement notice has strong foundations).

Until we hear more...

 

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What does the ISCA have to lose?  They roll over and play dead, the class association is over.  This goes to court and they lose, the class association is over.  The ISCA isn't a for-profit entity, and it doesn't have any significant assets.

I suppose Nasty Rasty might try to sue the class officers personally, but I can't see that going very far.  Maybe he'll pull page from Weinstein's playbook and hire Mossad agents to spy on them.

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10 minutes ago, Team_GBR said:

Did you know this was still going on behind the scenes and that there is a view that LP are now on the back foot. Don't have the full details, but this came from a pretty reliable source.

Even with all that has gone on, you wouldn't say that anything has improved in the Laser world of late. IMO, the ILCA should have stood up to LP rather like the ISCA seem to be.

It would not surprise me if LP was on the back foot...but I doubt the it is the GS claim or Kirby claim. 

The ILCA stood up to both GS and LP .  I imagine that leaves them in a pretty good place in some regards but the Laser is no longer the dominant single handed class it once was. Maybe everyone lost in that suit.

One would have hoped LP learned something along the way.

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My biggest best contribution to local sailing is the  fact I personally re- started our Wednesday night series in 1982. It had been dead since 1979. 

In about 1986 I convinced six buddies to start a Sunfish fleet and since that  time we have averaged over 40 total boats per Wednesday night. 

Currently the business practices of LP are making it very difficult to bring new sailors into our games. We cant get new toys for ourselves so we can pass quality used toys to interested beginners. Our dealer  cannot get boats or parts for stock so the general public can't just walk in and be guided into great starter boats and a welcoming supportive fleet.,. Our old sailors are sick of their old toys and want new ones.

i am beginning to take it personally. Rastygsr is fucking with my religion. 

Luckily for him I do not have the resources to push him out .

The fact is, I don't have the resources to recruit someone else to push him out.

Rasty is killing off my game and it is becoming more likely each day that no game will have time to germinate and grow fruit before I am too old to play anymore.

and.... there is an entire new set of enthusiastic youngsters who only get to hear stories about the good old days when fleet's were huge, the campgrounds were filled with parties, and we all got to meet friends from all over the planet. 

Damnit!!! We simply cannot let one damned fool ruin the fun for thousands of others!!! 

 

 

 

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The Sunfish class members move has all of us ILCA members buzzing this morning!  We're circling the wagons in the SE and have fired off e-mails to Andy Roy, (as I'm sure many others have).  The Laser is a bit of a different animal with the Olympic class designation though.

I'm excited about this and as a District we're ready to follow what the Sunfish Class has done.  We've got the winter to get this sorted out, but on a local level we're already playing with aftermarket gear and working to get more boats on the water.

Could LP get "starved out" if everyone turned their backs on the class designated suppliers of the razor blades, (sails, cleats, mast sections, other parts)?  If they did would they sell off the builder rights or just sit on it and stop building the boats altogether?

This will be interesting.  The timing is great with the world sailing meeting currently happening in Mexico!

 

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The Laser that I keep on my driveway is the last Laser that I will ever buy.  LP can go fuck themselves again for this behavior.  Fortunately there are enough used boats so that the LP fuckery doesn't affect youth sailing, but at some point in the future, a decision will need to be made whether to remain aligned with the class and builder, or move on.

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if only I could get a race-worthy aero for the same cost I could get a used, race worthy laser... then i'd definitely consider it

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I received this by PM from an anarchist who is too shy or too close to LP to post it themselves. It was too funny not to share:

 

 

RASTY:  These numbers are terrible. Laser sales have fallen so much that we sell more Sunfish than Lasers. 

BILL CRANE: Sorry Boss.

RASTY : Do something about it!

BILL : Okay Boss.

 

 

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16 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

The one thing you cannot accuse them of is being incompetent. What they are doing is by design. Just because you (and most others) don't understand the strategy doesn't make it incompetent.

My guess is that FR is following the ideas he used to peddle as a BCG consultant. Look up BCG matrix. Depending on how you see it, you could argue that LP as a company has a decent market share in a market that isn't growing, which makes it a cash cow. I suspect that is why FR bought the company. As a cash cow, you milk it for all it's worth. that means reducing investment, concentrating on segments of the market that have the most profit potential and ignoring segments that don't make money.  We know that in the Laser market, LP considers the racing sailor as a PITA not worth serving. Their real focus is on "corporate" sales. Funny how you cannot get parts for your boat from a dealer but holiday companies and sailing schools are well looked after.

If his analysis is what i think it is, he will continue to milk the company while driving it into the ground. He will be looking at the net value of the business (one reason he has been battling IP issues so hard) and judging that against the amount he is able to extract from the business. At some point, when according to the matrix it is becoming a "dog", he will sell and walk away with a significant net profit from the whole deal. The alternative is that he will simply asset strip the business, but i doubt it as I don't think the break up value will ever be as good as the value in a sale. There will always be somebody who thinks they can rebuild the glory days. This really is classic business strategy and will probably make him a shed load of money.

I think your analysis is off. LP has delivered so few boats and parts in the past couple of years that their cash flow is inadequate to service their debt. I understand the parts issue since they are made by third parties and the markup is low but new boats is another story.  New boat deliveries should be a cash cow and yet dealers can't get them from LP despite demand. I have spoken to a number of dealers who have told me they could sell a lot of boats to individuals and groups such as summer camps and sailing schools if the products were delivered. LP owns the molds for the boats which I am sure have been full amortized so the profitability on each new boat should be high.  Tell me how that is a smart business practice? 

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So what is LP's game? Is there any explanation for the way they are currently running the Sunfish and Laser businesses?

I did notice that the promised sponsorship for ISCO is from Maclaren - a company which is under the same ownership as LaserPerformance.  Has it got to the point where LP's Sunfish and Laser brands are merely vehicles to promote the Maclaren brand? They don't need to sell boats and parts to individual sailors to achieve that - just provide boats for world championships with the Maclaren logo prominent on the sail and in all the regatta publicity, and then sell off all those boats (with Maclaren sails) after the championship.

OK anarchists - shoot down my theory. But do you have a better one?
 

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1 hour ago, IPLore said:

I received this by PM from an anarchist who is too shy or too close to LP to post it themselves. It was too funny not to share:

 

 

RASTY:  These numbers are terrible. Laser sales have fallen so much that we sell more Sunfish than Lasers. 

BILL CRANE: Sorry Boss.

RASTY : Do something about it!

BILL : Okay Boss.

 

 

IPL - Pretty funny.

Tiller - LP's game reeks of desperation to me.  If ISCA can hold the line and will continue to operate and run regattas without the trademark and in the face of potential increasing legal threat from LP, they will not only set Sunfish sailors free, but Laser (and other class) sailors as well, and LP will end up owning nothing of any much value.

#goISCA!

 

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7 minutes ago, Wess said:

Tiller - LP's game reeks of desperation to me.  If ISCA can hold the line and will continue to operate and run regattas without the trademark and in the face of potential increasing legal threat from LP, they will not only set Sunfish sailors free, but Laser (and other class) sailors as well, and LP will end up owning nothing of any much value.

#goISCA!

 

I do hope that ISCA can continue to run regattas and organize a supply of Sunfish parts from other suppliers.

But it's going to be tough if LP refuse to provide boats for the ISCA world championships. And what happens if LP/ISCO then start running major championships (InterGalactics perhaps if they can't call them Worlds) in exotic locations with a plentiful supply of brand new charter boats? Will some Sunfish sailors be tempted to sail in the ISCO events?

#goISCA!

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2 minutes ago, tillerman said:

I do hope that ISCA can continue to run regattas and organize a supply of Sunfish parts from other suppliers.

But it's going to be tough if LP refuse to provide boats for the ISCA world championships. And what happens if LP/ISCO then start running major championships (InterGalactics perhaps if they can't call them Worlds) in exotic locations with a plentiful supply of brand new charter boats? Will some Sunfish sailors be tempted to sail in the ISCO events?

"Tempted?"

Sure some might be but again, sailors will control their own destiny by their own actions.  And as a sailor I might first wonder if LP is in such financial difficulty that it can't even supply high margin (for them) items like Laser or Sunfish boats into the market place to meet demand - how could they suddenly have the financial wherewithal to start running major regattas and supply boats to exotic locations?  You might hope that sailors at the top end of the game would see what was in the class best interest and make a decision to not attend such LP events.  But even if they did does it matter?  Is that a sustainable business model for LP?  Growth and sales in any volume come from the bottom and middle not the small group at the top.  If ISCA is successful then that part of the sunfish (lower case) business leaves LP and moves to "generic" providers.

Depending on how it plays out many sailors in many classes may have ILCA and ISCA to thank for putting the control back into sailors hands.

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5 minutes ago, Wess said:

"Tempted?"

Sure some might be but again, sailors will control their own destiny by their own actions.  And as a sailor I might first wonder if LP is in such financial difficulty that it can't even supply high margin (for them) items like Laser or Sunfish boats into the market place to meet demand - how could they suddenly have the financial wherewithal to start running major regattas and supply boats to exotic locations?  You might hope that sailors at the top end of the game would see what was in the class best interest and make a decision to not attend such LP events.  But even if they did does it matter?  Is that a sustainable business model for LP?  Growth and sales in any volume come from the bottom and middle not the small group at the top.  If ISCA is successful then that part of the sunfish (lower case) business leaves LP and moves to "generic" providers.

Depending on how it plays out many sailors in many classes may have ILCA and ISCA to thank for putting the control back into sailors hands.

Good points. My suggestion about the future of ISCA and ISCO Worlds only makes sense if you believe my (conspiracy) theory that LP's Sunfish business is now nothing more than a vehicle for promoting the Maclaren brand. It doesn't need to be profitable; it's a marketing cost. I don't think it will be hard for ISCO to put on regattas; usually most of the legwork of running a regatta is done by a host yacht club or other local sailing organization anyway. And one thing that LP does seem to have figured out is how to deliver container loads of new boats to anywhere in the world where there is a major championship. They do it for Lasers all the time.

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Taking a cue from the Laser to Torch logo transformation, I knocked up a new concept logo. Introducing the Bombfish

 

20171108_123527.jpg

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But how many people attend Laser or Sunfish world championships are buying baby buggies?  Doesn't seem like a good return on the investment for marketing dollars.

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24 minutes ago, torrid said:

But how many people attend Laser or Sunfish world championships are buying baby buggies?  Doesn't seem like a good return on the investment for marketing dollars.

How many sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race are in the market for wind turbines made in Denmark or need structured finance in Greater China?

But, for some mysterious reason, companies offering those products think it's worthwhile to sponsor boats in the race.

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11 minutes ago, tillerman said:

How many sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race are in the market for wind turbines made in Denmark or need structured finance in Greater China?

But, for some mysterious reason, companies offering those products think it's worthwhile to sponsor boats in the race.

I know you to be a smart and funny (as opposed to wild and crazy) kinda guy and I do miss your blog posts and worry that possibly the Russians (or Canntt) did in fact hack it...  But still I am surprised to see you acknowledge the power of LASER!!  I mean to compare the global marketing reach of a LASER regatta to the Volvo Ocean Race reveals the the truth and makes emphatically clear that you and the our Secretary of State should be sailing LASERS (or SUNFISH) and not that other silly little drop in a bucket unmentionable thing, LOL. :)

#goISCA!

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My take so far is the class will fight this and continue as best they can with the support of the sailors. The main issue is to get this bogus info of ISCO out to everybody so they are not fooled into thinking the class has reorganized for some unknown reason, not having the info that is out there about LP's attempted coup and ISCA's fight against it.

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26 minutes ago, Wess said:

I know you to be a smart and funny (as opposed to wild and crazy) kinda guy and I do miss your blog posts and worry that possibly the Russians (or Canntt) did in fact hack it...  But still I am surprised to see you acknowledge the power of LASER!!  I mean to compare the global marketing reach of a LASER regatta to the Volvo Ocean Race reveals the the truth and makes emphatically clear that you and the our Secretary of State should be sailing LASERS (or SUNFISH) and not that other silly little drop in a bucket unmentionable thing, LOL. :)

#goISCA!

What was this thread about again?

Oh yes. Has the ISCA just pulled off the most brilliant move in the history of messing about in little boats? Or are they totally screwed? Or something.

Where is Gannttt when we need him?
 

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3 hours ago, IPLore said:

I received this by PM from an anarchist who is too shy or too close to LP to post it themselves. It was too funny not to share:

 

 

RASTY:  These numbers are terrible. Laser sales have fallen so much that we sell more Sunfish than Lasers. 

BILL CRANE: Sorry Boss.

RASTY : Do something about it!

BILL : Okay Boss.

 

 

Sunfish have always outsold Lasers. 

The new boat business for Sunfish, Lasers, and Club 420 is an OK business with a nice steady market. There are lots of businesses that make better money with similar investments. The real cash cow is the "class legal" replacement parts and sails.  

The ONLY reason the huge markups are available on sails and parts is the racing game is run by associations whose rules insist the parts come from LP. 

The ONLY reasons LP can sell its high priced  Laser and Sunfish brand toys is the Classes refuse to allow generic "just like a Laser /Sunfish built to the exact same specifications" to participate in the class sanctioned events. 

And

No one in the USA is currently building and marketing generic just like Sunfish and Lasers. 

And

Those of us  who know how to build generic toys either lack the interest or the means to do so. 

 

The abandoned Laser and Sunfish markets sure do look tasty. The Sunfish class has just moved to let someone else in as a supplier. If Lasers would make the same move the market might be irresistible. 

 

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@tillerman I think the ball is mostly in LP and Sunfish sailors court.  Sunfish sailors either will or will not join the new LP controlled class.  LP will chose to take legal action (guessing around trademark) against the historic class leadership or not either now or later if they are able to run regattas (without supplied boats).  LP will or will not organize Sunfish regattas and Sunfish sailors will or will not elect to attend or not and opt to boycott in favor of regattas organized by the historic class.

Its not clear from the various public disclosures if the historic class has ever run a World's regatta without supplied boats.  If so I think they (historic class) are in a very strong position.  If not, a means by which to do that should be very high on the historic class leadership's To Do list. 

Don't really see where the historic class leadership had any option but to go down this path.  An LP requirement to provide support (boats at regattas) and/or trademarks seems to have been for the historic class to essentially sign itself over to the builder LP.  So this appears to be the only path LP left open to them.  Hopefully it blows up in LP's face.

Now what World Sailing is going to do about all this will be interesting.  Are they finally sick enough of LP that they aid classes and sailors in taking control of their own destiny or is this a chance for them to further fill the coffers by aligning with the builder. 

Anyway, its going to take a while to play out...

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Couple of thoughts...

The Sunfish was originally a recreational boat. People who casually got together to race them informally got together to form a Class Association to promote Sunfish races. This was done with approval and support of Alcort, and several early Alcort employees were part of the Class Association on their own time. A few still are. Until now, it had been a cooperative partnership, that saw the Sunfish eventually recognized as an International Class, and inclusion in the PanAm Games. However, the recreational market was still about 90% of new Sunfish sales. 

Secondly, ISCA has a pretty close relationship with World Sailing, which LP does not. I don't see World Sailing rolling over to replace ISCA with ISCO, and throwing the existing Class Association (which has been remarkably successful) under the bus. Worst case scenerio is Sunfish is dropped as an International Class (and thus the PanAm Games) by either organization. ISCA will continue to survive and run regattas. Free of LP's parts problems, it will do better than ISCO. ISCO is going to run into problems running the class, they're going to have to hire people (ISCA is volunteer run), and probably pay regatta host fees for facility use. I don't see sailors supporting both, and most current sailors will support ISCA. I don't think LP is going to grow enough new racing interest to support their manufacturer-controlled  class, especially with several competitors in the market place. 

Edit to add:

The USSCA was formed in mid-60s, to my recollection. The first World Championships were held in the early 70s. AFAIK, the builder has always supplied the boats for the World Championships, for a charter fee (that's in addition to entry fee, and hotel, travel, etc). I don't think the builder loses money on the Worlds. The number of boats at the Worlds is usually determined by the hosts, it's been as low as 40 (with elimination series) and as high as 130.  Without builder supply of boats, it would restrict the places that ISCA could host World Championships, but not eliminate the regatta altogether. ISCO would also have limited options for regstta sites, as they'd have to replace the many volunteers with hired help, and it would be a profit motivated event with higher costs to participants. I don't see that working out.

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With the non-builder parts that the class will review and approve as legal (assuming that the parts are similar and do not alter the 1-D aspect) there are enough boats out there that will keep things going. Before the introduction of the 'new' hull in 1988 myself and many others were finding light old boats and refurbishing them to race. The main reason most of us moved to new boats was due to their use in the worlds and needing to be used to the wider cockpit, etc. which changed your technique a certain amount. There are still old boats that are fast, I have a '79 model that while the cockpit floor is loose from the bottom of the hull, it is still dry and relatively fast. It just chatters in the chop. My new(ish) boat is loose and gets a small amount of water inside.

It is just a matter of how ISCA is able to run their events and not get hassled over every regatta that they are organizing using these boats.

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14 minutes ago, ~HHN92~ said:

With the non-builder parts that the class will review and approve as legal (assuming that the parts are similar and do not alter the 1-D aspect) there are enough boats out there that will keep things going. Before the introduction of the 'new' hull in 1988 myself and many others were finding light old boats and refurbishing them to race. The main reason most of us moved to new boats was due to their use in the worlds and needing to be used to the wider cockpit, etc. which changed your technique a certain amount. There are still old boats that are fast, I have a '79 model that while the cockpit floor is loose from the bottom of the hull, it is still dry and relatively fast. It just chatters in the chop. My new(ish) boat is loose and gets a small amount of water inside.

It is just a matter of how ISCA is able to run their events and not get hassled over every regatta that they are organizing using these boats.

Hmmm...might be creating a market for refurbished old boats. I still have F.Ugly and a bunch of parts....just saying.

LP may or may not have a legal case to rescind ISCA and USSCA from using Sunfish logo and name...depending on what previous written agreements may still be in effect. I doubt they're too worried about legality, and just want to bully the class with legal threats. But I don't think they have a legal case to prohibit people from getting together to race Sunfish under whatever rules the competitors agree upon. That's only going to hurt LP.

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Just now, RKoch said:

Hmmm...might be creating a market for refurbished old boats. I still have F.Ugly and a bunch of parts....just saying.

LP may or may not have a legal case to rescind ISCA and USSCA from using Sunfish logo and name...depending on what previous written agreements may still be in effect. I doubt they're too worried about legality, and just want to bully the class with legal threats. But I don't think they have a legal case to prohibit people from getting together to race Sunfish under whatever rules the competitors agree upon. That's only going to hurt LP.

I told you not to make a bar out of it...

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LP may provide Worlds boats, but I don't think they are donated by LP or even supplied at a hugely reduced price.  I purchased a 2014 Worlds Sunfish from a supplier in North Carolina.  All in for fully equipped boat and dolly was approximately $900 off full retail cost for a lightly used boat which i ordered in August but had to wait for to be shipped after the event was completed.  My impression was the supplier purchased the boats, probably at a slightly lower cost than normal wholesale from LP, provided them for the Worlds and then sold them with marketing help from LP.

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4 hours ago, Rum Runner said:

I think your analysis is off. LP has delivered so few boats and parts in the past couple of years that their cash flow is inadequate to service their debt. I understand the parts issue since they are made by third parties and the markup is low but new boats is another story.  New boat deliveries should be a cash cow and yet dealers can't get them from LP despite demand. I have spoken to a number of dealers who have told me they could sell a lot of boats to individuals and groups such as summer camps and sailing schools if the products were delivered. LP owns the molds for the boats which I am sure have been full amortized so the profitability on each new boat should be high.  Tell me how that is a smart business practice? 

I believe that the thing you are missing is that LP is selling direct to the corporate buyers and deliberately cutting out the dealers. They are still building significant numbers of both Lasers and Sunfish, but they aren't making their way to the dealer network. That is very deliberate. Dealers cost LP big money. They would rather sell in bulk direct, which is what they are doing. The dealers are getting screwed and so are the individual boat owners, who primarily are the racers.

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17 minutes ago, highlander709 said:

LP may provide Worlds boats, but I don't think they are donated by LP or even supplied at a hugely reduced price.  I purchased a 2014 Worlds Sunfish from a supplier in North Carolina.  All in for fully equipped boat and dolly was approximately $900 off full retail cost for a lightly used boat which i ordered in August but had to wait for to be shipped after the event was completed.  My impression was the supplier purchased the boats, probably at a slightly lower cost than normal wholesale from LP, provided them for the Worlds and then sold them with marketing help from LP.

In my experience the builder would supply the boats and usually the worlds were near a resort or other facilities that would have pre-purchased the boats. In the BVI at Bitter End 1993 not that many had been sold so Sunfish Laser had a big expense shipping them back for re-sale stateside. It has probably happened a number of times since then.

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4 minutes ago, Team_GBR said:

I believe that the thing you are missing is that LP is selling direct to the corporate buyers and deliberately cutting out the dealers. They are still building significant numbers of both Lasers and Sunfish, but they aren't making their way to the dealer network. That is very deliberate. Dealers cost LP big money. They would rather sell in bulk direct, which is what they are doing. The dealers are getting screwed and so are the individual boat owners, who primarily are the racers.

To be honest, I have not seen any fleets of new Sunfish or Lasers land anywhere in the US. Maybe that is their strategy but some of the fleet owners I have heard of would love to hear from LP to make a purchase. Unfortunately no one for LP is calling on them.

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Are there any other examples of a builder trying to take over a sailboat class that was being successfully run by owners?

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31 minutes ago, tillerman said:

Are there any other examples of a builder trying to take over a sailboat class that was being successfully run by owners?

Not to my knowledge. In the past, the owner class association owned the design, and licensed construction to authorized builders. Sunfish was the first boat that was mass-produced by a sole builder that held the manufacturing rights, but the class association was sailor organized, like others at the time. It was later that the manufacturer-controlled class organizations came about, probably Hobie introduced that. The problem with a manufacturer-controlled class organization is that when the builder decides to no longer build that model, they no longer support the class, and it quickly dies off. You end up with a few thousand orphan boats sitting in back yards. 

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40 minutes ago, tillerman said:

Are there any other examples of a builder trying to take over a sailboat class that was being successfully run by owners?

I know it worked exactly the opposite in the Daysailor class. The class rejected the builders improvements and their boats(DS3) and worked with the new builders to again build DS1 race boats. There was also some pressure to handicap one old DS1 boat that was just too well built. it never happened, but it was close.

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2 hours ago, Rum Runner said:

To be honest, I have not seen any fleets of new Sunfish or Lasers land anywhere in the US. Maybe that is their strategy but some of the fleet owners I have heard of would love to hear from LP to make a purchase. Unfortunately no one for LP is calling on them.

I cannot speak to the US market or the sunfish, but I believe that the factory is churning out Lasers. At times, I give up trying to second guess FR, but the one thing I do know is that he is smart and he doesn't do anything (or nothing!) by accident. The supply situation in the US will be a deliberate strategy which will be based on maximising profit. At a guess, LP might be seeing the US as an unprofitable market that they do not want to service. 

What did catch my eye was the announcement that LP in association with Maclaren (owned by FR) will sponsor the new association to the tune of over $1m over 5 years, or $200k per year. They say that it is to "enable and grow Sunfish sailing" or put another way, it is really marketing budget for LP being spent in a way that they can control the agenda.

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3 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

I believe that the thing you are missing is that LP is selling direct to the corporate buyers and deliberately cutting out the dealers. They are still building significant numbers of both Lasers and Sunfish, but they aren't making their way to the dealer network. That is very deliberate. Dealers cost LP big money. They would rather sell in bulk direct, which is what they are doing. The dealers are getting screwed and so are the individual boat owners, who primarily are the racers.

yep

 

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47 minutes ago, ~HHN92~ said:

Now we get to sign-up for a webinar so they can explain it all to us:

https://www.facebook.com/Sunfishsailing/?hc_ref=ARR5nVwP3-1p-ZUMGiZLv72XdEUQVNqJv8pcNdXeGoedqHmp8-O9BWy2ltT1U_d6fbY&fref=nf

This could get interesting...

What questions would you like to ask LP at this webinar?

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I sure hope someone from the Sunfish class, the REAL class is watching and live tweeting while this shit show is going on.  What would be a good hashtag to use for the running commentary, #fuckLP ?

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27 minutes ago, dgmckim said:

yep

 

So who is getting screwed? People are saying there is no supply. That looks like supply to me!

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2 minutes ago, torrid said:

I sure hope someone from the Sunfish class, the REAL class is watching and live tweeting while this shit show is going on.  What would be a good hashtag to use for the running commentary, #fuckLP ?

I'm sure there will be.  And that's a hashtag I can get behind! #fuckLP 

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2 hours ago, ~HHN92~ said:

Now we get to sign-up for a webinar so they can explain it all to us:

https://www.facebook.com/Sunfishsailing/?hc_ref=ARR5nVwP3-1p-ZUMGiZLv72XdEUQVNqJv8pcNdXeGoedqHmp8-O9BWy2ltT1U_d6fbY&fref=nf

This could get interesting...

I blocked the page as a scam. my opinion is it is not a thoroughly  honest presentation 

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5 minutes ago, Gouvernail said:

I blocked the page as a scam. my opinion is it is not a thoroughly  honest presentation 

i'd say that's a reasonable conclusion to come to, haha

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My understanding is this is a North American issue with LP holding back parts/boats.  I heard the US Olympic team purchased 4 containers full of Lasers and related gear directly from LP.  The initial shipment was outside the US.  The only new boats showing up in the US are event charters that do get sold off post event, but those are the ONLY new boats making it into public hands in the US as of now.  I have a source that tells me Seldon has loads of mast sections and parts in Charleston ready to ship to any US dealers placing orders.  They are saying there's no issues between them and LP that would slow down or impede their business.

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Sail logos. Various sailmakers make sails for all sorts of sailboats and use the logos of the classes on the sails. 

It seems absurd the Laser and Dunfish logos couid, after fifty years of use simply to identify the boat beneath it, couid be somehow claimed as forbusebonly by some alleged  copyright holder. 

How about these boats??

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Gouvernail said:

Sail logos. Various sailmakers make sails for all sorts of sailboats and use the logos of the classes on the sails. 

It seems absurd the Laser and Dunfish logos couid, after fifty years of use simply to identify the boat beneath it, couid be somehow claimed as forbusebonly by some alleged  copyright holder. 

How about these boats??

 

"The radio controlled (RC) Laser was designed by Bruce Kirby and developed by Jon Elmaleh in 1995. The RC Laser is produced by one manufacturer, Out There Technologies, under license from Bruce Kirby, Inc. "

ClasseRClaser.pdf

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What abou the the logo??  Has LP defended it as theirs?? 

Or

Is the Laser logo available for ANYONE to use to identify a boat that is like the trademarked version?? 

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