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Looper

A New Solo One Person Dinghy - Brainstorming Thread

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I think we can all agree that when it comes to single man(person) one design, it's safe to say that Laser and Sunfish are the biggest players worldwide.  That said, if we keep at the trajectory we are going, LP is going to run the two classes into the ground.

Melges and RS have solid boats out there in the 14 and Aero, but at $8k+ for a new boat, i'm afraid they aren't going to sell a critical mass fast enough to build the momentum.

How do we fix this?

I'm of the opinion that the biggest components to a strong SMOD are:

1. Strong class association made up of the sailors

2. Solid builder network - I'm thinking along the lines of what the Optimist class does where there are several licensed builders around the world, thus driving competition and providing good support for parts and the local fleets.

3. Price - How low can we get the price of a 13-14' boat?  A simple rig setup and a solid reliable hull design.  Could the boat be had for less than $5k?

The people of SA got together and produced the Flying Tiger.  Maybe its time to do the same with a dinghy.  Robert Perry, are you out there?

I'd love to hear the input of others.

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1. Very true.

2. Also true. More than one company would help keep the cost down. Think competition.

3. Tough to do for an updated platform that performs better than the other two.

Barriers to entry, "Just get a Laser. We all have one and you could join us." I hear this almost every time I rig my Swift around Laser sailors. I sailed one for seven years and I'll be damned if I'm going to work so hard to go so slow.

Another question to be asked is why? The two boats are classic and ubiquitous for a few reasons. There are a lot of them. They are simple. They fit the niche. To create an updated design with better performance, better hardware, better sails, etc., you can't hit the price point and there are many already trying to make a case that they should be the next boat.

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Since when SMOD = multiple builders?  :blink:

Color me confused.  You want SMOD or OD with multiple builders?  Me likely the latter, but that's just me.

Anyway, I vote for UFO.  Come on Dave.  get to work and make it happen!

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5 minutes ago, TeamFugu said:

 

3. Tough to do for an updated platform that performs better than the other two.

 

Does the boat really need to perform that much better if you can develop large well-supported one design fleets?  Think Field of Dreams here....If you build it they will come.

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3 minutes ago, Wess said:

Since when SMOD = multiple builders?  :blink:

Color me confused.  You want SMOD or OD with multiple builders?  Me likely the latter, but that's just me.

Anyway, I vote for UFO.  Come on Dave.  get to work and make it happen!

Now i look like a dumbass.. I always thought that SMOD stood for Single Man One Design.  Not single Manufacturer.

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SMOD = Single Manufacturer One Design no more?  Its such a brave new world.  I still like UFO.  One builder or 10.  Lets just call it FUN and have fleets of 100s.

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1 minute ago, Wess said:

SMOD = Single Manufacturer One Design no more?  Its such a brave new world.  I still like UFO.  One builder or 10.  Lets just call it FUN and have fleets of 100s.

I'm changing the thread title.

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2 minutes ago, Wess said:

SMOD = Single Manufacturer One Design no more?  Its such a brave new world.  I still like UFO.  One builder or 10.  Lets just call it FUN and have fleets of 100s.

I don't think the UFO is the answer, especially in areas with big water.  How can you foil in 4' rollers?

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5 minutes ago, Looper said:

Now i look like a dumbass.. I always thought that SMOD stood for Single Man One Design.  Not single Manufacturer.

Oh geeze, not my intent.  Don't worry about the title.  Its a good thread.  On the foiling thread go check out some Moth sailing videos.  And Dave Clark walks on water (with 4 foot rollers).  JK.

Anyway to be serious I think its pretty clear that foiling is where sailing is going.  The UFO is the closest thing to an "every-man/kid/gal" foiler there is.  Another one person dinghy is just that.  Another one of many...

Just one opinion and worth what you paid! 

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Does reinventing the wheel solve the problem?

Any new boat is going to have the same problem as the Aero...a new boat is going to be a bit pricey, and not enough used boats around to bring the price down for entry into the class. 

Neither Laser or Sunfish is a 'perfect' boat, but there's a hell of a lot of older ones available for pretty cheap. And although LP sucks donkey balls, both boats have a pretty good Class organization. 

That said, the Aero does look well put together and interesting. The lighter weight makes car-topping a bit easier, too. 

As for foiling, is it really necessary? It's certainly a roadblock to beginning sailors/racers, and older ones, , not going to encourage tactical sailing,  and not conducive to keeping the average fleet fairly tightly bunched. It also adds complication and time to rigging up and derigging. And I don't think foils are going to be an attraction to frostbiters.

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38 minutes ago, RKoch said:

Does reinventing the wheel solve the problem?

Any new boat is going to have the same problem as the Aero...a new boat is going to be a bit pricey, and not enough used boats around to bring the price down for entry into the class. 

 

That's my point, does the boat really have to be pricey?  I think that we can all agree that LP marks their prices up, just because they can.  Intensity is proof if that.  New event Optis can be had for 2 grand.  Couldn't that scale somewhat with the right design?

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1 hour ago, Looper said:

I think we can all agree that when it comes to single man(person) one design, it's safe to say that Laser and Sunfish are the biggest players worldwide.  That said, if we keep at the trajectory we are going, LP is going to run the two classes into the ground.

Melges and RS have solid boats out there in the 14 and Aero, but at $8k+ for a new boat, i'm afraid they aren't going to sell a critical mass fast enough to build the momentum.

How do we fix this?

I'm of the opinion that the biggest components to a strong SMOD are:

1. Strong class association made up of the sailors

2. Solid builder network - I'm thinking along the lines of what the Optimist class does where there are several licensed builders around the world, thus driving competition and providing good support for parts and the local fleets.

3. Price - How low can we get the price of a 13-14' boat?  A simple rig setup and a solid reliable hull design.  Could the boat be had for less than $5k?

The people of SA got together and produced the Flying Tiger.  Maybe its time to do the same with a dinghy.  Robert Perry, are you out there?

I'd love to hear the input of others.

With all due respect, you are just spinning your wheels until you have answered a LOT of fairly difficult questions, starting with "what do you think of the RS NEO"

https://www.westcoastsailing.net/default/boats/rs/rs-neo.html

Step one, take a long & methodical look at the existing boats, and build up a rubric (probably need about 8 or 9 axis) of their strengths and weaknesses, obviously including class size and price and availability. Until you have personally sailed the VX Evo, Melges 14, Aero, Devoti D-zero, Megabyte, Hadron, plus a lot of the boats that are already existing classes like the MC, Force 5, Beetle Cat, etc etc, how are you going to seriously produce a boat that avoids whatever common flaw keeps -them- from being the boat for Everyman?

Step two, study all the steps to building such a boat and figure out a way to shortcut the longest & most expensive. There are several folks posting here regularly who are pretty expert in production boatbuilding; I'm not, although I am an engineer and a boat tinkerer of 40-some years..... it would be ludicrous conceit on my part to stand up and say "I know how to build a better boat cheaper than all you guys!"

Step three, figure out what you are going to say to investors to attract enough capital to start building and distributing (and including financing would be a very good business step) -AND PROMOTING- this new miracle boat of yours. Step 3b is going to be to figure out what to say to your second group of investors to make them pony up after you lose all the first groups money, but that's a story for another time  ;)

Don't get me wrong, I applaud the ambition. But I think it's a bit misplaced unless you have sailed at least half the boats on your own list. I've sailed all the older ones but none of the newer ones. From what I see, I couldn't pick between them and wish them all success.

FB- Doug

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18 minutes ago, Looper said:

That's my point, does the boat really have to be pricey?  I think that we can all agree that LP marks their prices up, just because they can.  Intensity is proof if that.  New event Optis can be had for 2 grand.  Couldn't that scale somewhat with the right design?

Optis have a wide range of options and prices, from a roto -molded 'learn to sail' builder to the top of the line models which are double or more in price. Sail prices are in line with Laser and Sunfish, even though they are smaller. Top Optis are pretty damn expensive for what you get, that's why used market is pretty strong.

Theres enough competition in market to keep new boat prices in check...Lasers and Sunfish cost what they do because that's what it costs to build them, inc overhead, marketing, and a small profit. The difference is the huge markup on parts, which racers have to pay to race legally, but is optional for recreational sailors. If LP had a big markup on new boats, RS would be killing them by undercutting them with Aero price. Isn't happening. 

IMO, the biggest stumbling block isn't the price of new boats or flaws in design/construction, but simply that people are strapped for money and leisure time. Income for many people simply hasn't kept up with living expenses for necessities, and expensive luxury items like yachts (even tiny ones) are among the first budget items to get axed. 40 hour weeks are now 50+. And even a basic local weekend regatta is going to run $200 or more with entry fee, food, travel, and housing. Sailboat racing never included poor people, and now it's leaving the middle class behind. 

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The Melges 14 and RS Aero are not grass roots boats, not in the sense of bringing new people to sailing.  Their market is people already experienced at sailing, but looking for something different.  It may be something more modern, they may be pissed with LP.  Regardless, they are willing to pay a bit of a premium for something that isn't a Sunfish or a Laser.

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This is another case of people blaming the boats for poor participation in the USA when the problem is the system and the sport. 

You get what you pay for and it is tough (impossible) to build the size of boat you want for the price you seem to want. It's the classic "you can have 2 out of 3" from size, price, quality. The only way to build a decent product cheap is to make it small (UFO). To me, the Aero is the minimum size and quality, but don't think for one minute they are making huge amounts of money and you could do it cheaper. RS always "value engineer" their boats to be the right quality as cheap as they can.

What you want to be asking is why the Aeros selling in such large numbers in places like the UK but not in the USA. The reality is that the elsewhere, the Aero is seen as a good value for money proposition and compared with an inflation adjusted price, it is not expensive compared with the past. You are dreaming if you think we can go back to prices of yesteryear.

It is my belief that even if you could produce a sub $5k boat, it would have zero impact on the growth of small boat sailing in the USA. Until you tackle the underlying problems, it doesn't matter about the equipment.

I also agree with torrid that the Aero isn't the boat to attract new people to the sport. There are far better boats for that which are priced better as well. The boats are already there, so the problem has to be somewhere else.

As an aside, back in the day (boom time was actually 1960's), the thing that really made dinghy sailing popular, it was not single handers but 2 man boats.

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20 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

With all due respect, you are just spinning your wheels until you have answered a LOT of fairly difficult questions, starting with "what do you think of the RS NEO"

https://www.westcoastsailing.net/default/boats/rs/rs-neo.html

Step one, take a long & methodical look at the existing boats, and build up a rubric (probably need about 8 or 9 axis) of their strengths and weaknesses, obviously including class size and price and availability. Until you have personally sailed the VX Evo, Melges 14, Aero, Devoti D-zero, Megabyte, Hadron, plus a lot of the boats that are already existing classes like the MC, Force 5, Beetle Cat, etc etc, how are you going to seriously produce a boat that avoids whatever common flaw keeps -them- from being the boat for Everyman?

Step two, study all the steps to building such a boat and figure out a way to shortcut the longest & most expensive. There are several folks posting here regularly who are pretty expert in production boatbuilding; I'm not, although I am an engineer and a boat tinkerer of 40-some years..... it would be ludicrous conceit on my part to stand up and say "I know how to build a better boat cheaper than all you guys!"

Step three, figure out what you are going to say to investors to attract enough capital to start building and distributing (and including financing would be a very good business step) -AND PROMOTING- this new miracle boat of yours. Step 3b is going to be to figure out what to say to your second group of investors to make them pony up after you lose all the first groups money, but that's a story for another time  ;)

Don't get me wrong, I applaud the ambition. But I think it's a bit misplaced unless you have sailed at least half the boats on your own list. I've sailed all the older ones but none of the newer ones. From what I see, I couldn't pick between them and wish them all success.

FB- Doug

For about 2/3 that price a person can build a Classic Moth that weighs about 1/2 as much and has 10 sq ft more SA. Careful shopping can get carbon spars and new sail in that budget.  But most people want to just plunk down a plastic card and walk out the door with a boat.  DIY boatbuilding isn't going to have a big appeal to the mass market.

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Not a solo dinghy, but a nice example of what can be done with a home-built. Jeff Linton's EC boat. 22', about 600 lbs all-up excluding crew and gear. 3 man. Dumpster-diving for parts...Prindle  19 rudders, broken M-20 carbon mast repaired, broken a-cat mast for boom, barter for sails. Plywood, epoxy, and glass. Not ultra cheap, but a hell of a lot of boat and fun  for minimal investment.

 

IMG_0002.JPG

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The EC might be pointing the direction of the future. Watertribe requires a bunch of expensive safety and navigation gear, but the boats themselves are relatively cheap, and the emphasis is more on participation and completing a 'Raid' type event than it is on 'winning'. Entries have been steadily increasing, as opposed to decreasing in traditional racing. Even some traditional 'yacht club types' are beginning to join up, and are having a ball. Something to think about.

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2 hours ago, RKoch said:

Does reinventing the wheel solve the problem?

Any new boat is going to have the same problem as the Aero...a new boat is going to be a bit pricey, and not enough used boats around to bring the price down for entry into the class. 

Neither Laser or Sunfish is a 'perfect' boat, but there's a hell of a lot of older ones available for pretty cheap. And although LP sucks donkey balls, both boats have a pretty good Class organization. 

That said, the Aero does look well put together and interesting. The lighter weight makes car-topping a bit easier, too. 

As for foiling, is it really necessary? It's certainly a roadblock to beginning sailors/racers, and older ones, , not going to encourage tactical sailing,  and not conducive to keeping the average fleet fairly tightly bunched. It also adds complication and time to rigging up and derigging. And I don't think foils are going to be an attraction to frostbiters.

Re foiling I agree you lose the really young/newbies, and the really old (but most of them ain't in dinghies anyway).  But come to a dinghy park around here with a decent program including a junior program and you will find that kids want to foil.  And no matter how old you are (didn't say how fat you are LOL), a proficient dinghy sailor can get up on foils if its doen with the right boat like a UFO.  And then its just a tactical as it ever was.  But I know you ain't a fan of foiling; I get it.

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8 minutes ago, Wess said:

Re foiling I agree you lose the really young/newbies, and the really old (but most of them ain't in dinghies anyway).  But come to a dinghy park around here with a decent program including a junior program and you will find that kids want to foil.  And no matter how old you are (didn't say how fat you are LOL), a proficient dinghy sailor can get up on foils if its doen with the right boat like a UFO.  And then its just a tactical as it ever was.  But I know you ain't a fan of foiling; I get it.

In Sunfish you get 'Tweens to 80s, Lasers not far from that. Had to bust my ass to beat Norm Freeman at a Laser Masters Regatta...he was in his 70s. 

Have no problem with foilers. Have tried a foiling Moth. Got it foil-borne, did a hell of a lot of swimming. It was fun. But it puts a far greater emphasis on foiling skill than tactical skill...does that really represent what solo dinghy racing is about? Is that an ideal inexpensive and simple boat for all ages? I would argue no.

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Inexpensive?  I would argue the UFO is certainly that.  Are you familiar with it?

Simple?  No.  Not as simple as a Laser or Sunfish for sure.  But if its well sorted kit I don't think most people are afraid of that.  I mean my Snipe had lost more strings to tweak than either of above and the kids liked that and the learning that came with it.  But for sure the UFO ain't as simple as a Sunfish or Laser.

But...

If not DIY, and I agree with you that ain't gonna fly, then what you really seem to want is a more affordable Laser or Sunfish with a bit of modernization.  Perhaps a generic Aero?

But even if it was priced at $5K (which ain't realistic) do you really think a cheap Aero sets the world on fire?  That is a paradigm changer?

Face it.  We are old.  Things we like ain't gonna set the world on fire.

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14 minutes ago, Wess said:

Inexpensive?  I would argue the UFO is certainly that.  Are you familiar with it?

Simple?  No.  Not as simple as a Laser or Sunfish for sure.  But if its well sorted kit I don't think most people are afraid of that.  I mean my Snipe had lost more strings to tweak than either of above and the kids liked that and the learning that came with it.  But for sure the UFO ain't as simple as a Sunfish or Laser.

But...

If not DIY, and I agree with you that ain't gonna fly, then what you really seem to want is a more affordable Laser or Sunfish with a bit of modernization.  Perhaps a generic Aero?

But even if it was priced at $5K (which ain't realistic) do you really think a cheap Aero sets the world on fire?  That is a paradigm changer?

Face it.  We are old.  Things we like ain't gonna set the world on fire.

I'm not familiar with the UFO.

For older designs, both Laser and Sunfish do what they do well. They have different qualities, but both suitable for their markets. The problem with them is mostly the builder, not the boats themselves or the Classes.

I haven't sailed an Aero. Looked them over closely at a friends dealership. Interesting boat, I'd like to try one out sometime. I'd say the value is pretty good. The best thing that could happen to Aero is to stick around long enough for used boats to come on the market for about half price of new...that will really grow the class. It might supersede Laser as the solo dinghy if that happens. IDK about Sunfish, as that's a bit different animal. But possibly. 

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8 hours ago, RKoch said:

For about 2/3 that price a person can build a Classic Moth that weighs about 1/2 as much and has 10 sq ft more SA. Careful shopping can get carbon spars and new sail in that budget.  But most people want to just plunk down a plastic card and walk out the door with a boat.  DIY boatbuilding isn't going to have a big appeal to the mass market.

I got the impression that Looper was talking about a mass-produced boat, not a DIY.

Foiling is great, and it may be that foiling -will- be the future of one-design dinghy racing. I dunno, just  plain going faster is fun but doesn't really make it any better. Lots of people, including new young sailors, like comfy slow daysailers.

My own ideas about what a NEW boat design should be- simple and quick to rig / unrig. People are not only strapped for time, they have less patience. People want to flip a switch and go.... and if they don't have to slow down to flip a switch, that's even better.

A few years ago I tried to start up a local regatta sailing the high school programs' FJs. You didn't need to do anything other than show up and pay the entry fee ($50 which included lunch). After two years it trickled to a halt amid complaints about everything from "you should be teaching the kids to sail in Sunfish" to "this is way too expensive." I ended up telling a few of them to fuck themselves and have not been tempted to try again.

FB- Doug

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Hmm, interesting.  I think some makers have come out with a 'do it all range' such as Topper with its Topaz range?  RS came out with the 100, which for a hiker is a very comfy boat and great with the kite out.  I just wish it had a trapeze option because going upwind was so slow, coming from an RS700. Yeah I know I ought to stick with the 700 if I like upwind performance, but I did like the 100's simplicity.  A trap option ought to be included imho. A Kite option is a no brainer for me.  Foiling option? dunno. I have looked at the F101 Tri in the UK, hot looking boat that looks fun without having to foil.    Whichever way, boat manufacturers have thier work cut out. Not so much cash to be thrown around these days.  I would only hope that the appeal of sail will always endure.  Quite like seeing some of the pimped up craft out there. 

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19 hours ago, Wess said:

Anyway, I vote for UFO.  Come on Dave.  get to work and make it happen!

Been called upon. Must respond.

It's not going to be me that makes it happen.  It'll be users that make it happen. Fleet racing comes from the people who own the boats deciding to organize in that fashion. I deliberately don't put together fleets of loaner boats stocked with charter sailors, professionals and dealers because I think that's the quickest way to making a class appear as if it has taken root but the worst way to assure that it does take root. Fleet growth is organic and it comes from genuine enthusiasm and shared learning. It's a peer group first and a starting gun second. We'll see how this goes.....

However, with that said..
We already have a fleet of owners racing in New England and a fleet of owners down in Texas. Both have sailed regattas. We had six boats on the line in Bristol in October thanks to two scratches and a few scheduling conflicts, but even that was a riot (see UFO owner Ezras write up on the thread). Racing in 2 knots on day one was almost as fun as racing in 10 on day two. Totally different configurations, but great competition and both modes strongly reward technique. Now, it's no racehorse in light air, but that's not particularly relevant in a class racing environment. Frankly all I think is necessary for a fleet to be built for Annapolis by June is for all the people interested in it down there to be introduced to one another. There's like ten of you down there who have told me you'd buy a boat if other people bought with them. You are not alone. 
 
Now back to our regularly scheduled content (might I suggest the Force 5?)

DRC

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Well, I'd buy a UFO in a millisecond IF our pond averaged more than 4-6 knots. I still might anyway for the occasional.

Starting from zero three years ago we now have 15 and as many as 20 lasers on the line for  friday night racing all because a sparkplug got everyone excited and THAT led to a fleet purchase of 15 brand spanking new lasers.  So a mixed age fleet from 12 yo's to 70 yo's in boats anywhere from 20 years to 20 days old have at it for 15- 20 days a season.  God I hate this boat at age 65 but what am I going to do - buy an Aero or an EVO ?  It's all about the community as Dave mentions above and maybe the fleet will evolve to a second boat over time but for now it's the Laser 

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What would a Laser cost if the exorbitant mark ups were removed?

The hull is mainly CSM, the deck core is cheap low density rubbish, the Spars cost about $8 per kg, the sails are cheap as chips etc etc.

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31 minutes ago, Major Tom said:

What would a Laser cost if the exorbitant mark ups were removed?

The hull is mainly CSM, the deck core is cheap low density rubbish, the Spars cost about $8 per kg, the sails are cheap as chips etc etc.

You should rent a shop, hire some laminators, sign up some dealers, and get rich. 

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On 11/17/2017 at 10:33 AM, TeamFugu said:

1. Very true.

2. Also true. More than one company would help keep the cost down. Think competition.

3. Tough to do for an updated platform that performs better than the other two.

Barriers to entry, "Just get a Laser. We all have one and you could join us." I hear this almost every time I rig my Swift around Laser sailors. I sailed one for seven years and I'll be damned if I'm going to work so hard to go so slow.

Another question to be asked is why? The two boats are classic and ubiquitous for a few reasons. There are a lot of them. They are simple. They fit the niche. To create an updated design with better performance, better hardware, better sails, etc., you can't hit the price point and there are many already trying to make a case that they should be the next boat.

Just say it Fugu, it's me!  I say that all the time... ;)   Then again, we had an average of about 15 Lasers out each race night this Summer.  Not bad...

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On 11/17/2017 at 11:55 AM, Looper said:

That's my point, does the boat really have to be pricey?  I think that we can all agree that LP marks their prices up, just because they can.  Intensity is proof if that.  New event Optis can be had for 2 grand.  Couldn't that scale somewhat with the right design?

Don't forget, part of that $6,500 you pay LP for a new Laser is because there's a retailer who makes money there and they need to keep the lights on.  There's also money in there for LP to send you schwag for your local event, and to send a fleet of boats to a major event where they then make less margin on the well used boats. 

There are a lot of factors that go into selling a boat like this and everybody forgets about the marketing costs, the race support, the sponsorship...etc.  When you have a direct to consumer model like the UFO, they cut out the retailer margin and the boat can effectively be cheaper.  However, I really appreciate retailers and I think given everything that LP/Vanguard/Sunfish-Laser has done for our industry, I think $6,500 for a Laser is a smoking deal.

That's no knock on UFO for their model but I highly doubt you'll see the boat stocked by West Coast Sailing ever.  

That said, it's not hard to start compiling a build sheet for your perfect single handed boat.  Do it!  Go through the exercise.  We'd love to see what you come up with.  Get that perfect laminate sorted out and get an approximate square footage so you can determine the material costs of your complete hull.  I've done this for 505s and for the 210 class keelboat.  I think you will get your eyes opened, and for that matter help everybody else who doubts the Laser, when you see just how expensive a single handed boat will be unless you can buy 1,000 of everything up front. 

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You can have a boat of similar size weight, and rig as a sunfish.

Unfortunately to get it for under the magical $5,000 figure people talk about it wont be built in USA.

There are  companies outside of USA {not china}  who could put a quality  boat for a little under $4,000 ex factory.

How much under would depend on volume to spread freight costs but it is doable.

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15 hours ago, WCB said:

When you have a direct to consumer model like the UFO, they cut out the retailer margin and the boat can effectively be cheaper.  However, I really appreciate retailers and I think given everything that LP/Vanguard/Sunfish-Laser has done for our industry, I think $6,500 for a Laser is a smoking deal.

That's no knock on UFO for their model but I highly doubt you'll see the boat stocked by West Coast Sailing ever.  

Erm. For the record, that's not what makes the UFO inexpensive. I don't want to nitpick, but it's also annoying when it's assumed that we did what we did by eating all the dealer margin, rather than designing and sourcing our way around the costs in order to lower the price and sustain dealer margin. It's a bit like assuming that a boat was made light by ripping all the structure out.

DRC

Edit: My two cents on the design brainstorm are that gelcoat and vinylestyer are likely the best route to a light, strong and cheap part. And I should probably recuse myself from this conversation going forward.
 

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I for one forward to your informed and experienced hand s on input.

I concur with the gelcoat vinyl ester

comment. Properly and intelligently used perform perfectly well for small inexpensive sailboats

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4 hours ago, Dave Clark said:

Erm. For the record, that's not what makes the UFO inexpensive. I don't want to nitpick, but it's also annoying when it's assumed that we did what we did by eating all the dealer margin, rather than designing and sourcing our way around the costs in order to lower the price and sustain dealer margin. It's a bit like assuming that a boat was made light by ripping all the structure out.

DRC

Edit: My two cents on the design brainstorm are that gelcoat and vinylestyer are likely the best route to a light, strong and cheap part. And I should probably recuse myself from this conversation going forward.
 

Dave, 

It can't be ignored that you don't have to worry about leaving enough money in the sale to help a retailer pay wages and rent.

My "paying" job is to import and distribute ski equipment for the US.  I'm in discussions with another ski company to bring them to the US but they have a direct to consumer model. They're happy to treat us as a retailer where they leave us a little margin but when we tell them we can build a larger presence for them in the US but we want to use retailers, they get cold feet as that means less money for them because there has to be money in a pair of skis for them, us, and the retailers.

On a side note, I enjoyed walking the ski show in Providence with your dad a few years ago when I was working to bring Karhu skis back to the US and I met him to discuss the Rocky Mountain Sharpie.  He brought the Clark skis and we checked out the show.

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