I am trying not to pursuade ACat people's opinion but rather show experience from the moths and compare the relative positions of the classes.
To show where the classes are in comparitive revolutionary times you can look at the class reports to ISAF.
In the 2002 report the moths reported 15 new boats and only 70 built in previous 5 years. http://www.sailing.o...port-.pdf
In the 2014 the numbers are 114 and 970. http://www.sailing.o...ort-.pdf
The 2014 ACat report shows 250 new boats in the year and 1150 in 5 years. http://www.sailing.o...ort-.pdf
The returns do not give the numbers of association members but I suspect that the ACats far exceed the moths as I think they have a much stronger club racing culture in more countries.
My point is that the foiling revolution in the moth class obsoleted a very small number of boats, and really saved the class from oblivion. And even though the Moths are seen as a great modern success story the real numbers from the last year show that the ACat is actually more successful, with bigger numbers of new boats over the past 5 years.
I realise that some of you think that foiling is the future but obsoleteing such a large fleet of boats must be a big worry. And I realise that there are a good number who like the boats to stay on the water, the way they always did, at the risk of looking so last century. And I know that neither the pro or anti foiling people have enough numbers to rule. What I wonder is who do you think will be buying all the new boats to make a competitive foiling ACat fleet up to the present numbers.
The first foiling success in moths was Brett Burville winning a couple of WC races in 2000. It took until 2005 for Rohan to win his first WC and at that stage there was only John Ilett could build fast foilers. He made about 10 a year and you had to wait a long time if you wanted one. It took a few more years and several more builders pouring a lot of money down the drain before Bladerider spent huge amounts in promotion and production, and made boats fast enpough to beat John's. The class stated to take off again, but the spending rate meant Bladerider then went bust. Luckilly Mach2 was ready to fill the void.
My point is that the Moth success came from a very rocky road, the class staggered at least from 2000 to 2007 when Bladrerider production took off, and many builders have tooled up with big ideas and never sold enough to cover costs. You already have several successful builders. There is a good chance that some might not make fast foils and will lose some money. They may have to dump the class for business reasons.
Mach 2 now has competitors but still dominate the market. Some say that $25000 is a lot for a moth but its still about half what you will pay for a new ACat with full foil package. Moth sailors tend to be successful 30 or 40 somethings but there are some well off youngsters and even retireees. If the boats were double the price I suspect that the class would be a lot smaller and the age spread would be older, much like the ACat spread.
So will your older aged ACat sailors spend the big money on a new fleet of foiling ACats? I do not see the foiling A attracting the younger people the moth class attracts because of price firstly and I suspect also on performance. Upwind foiling still seems to be a mystery to Cat designers.
It would be a real shame if the ACat fleet shrunk to only a small number of cashed up professionals and a few brave geriatrics. It would be a shame if the class chose to stay on the water and the top sailors left to go foiling It would be an equal shame for the class to split into two. I hope you can collectively look carefully where you want to go and make a sensible decision.
Very interesting analysis, and I would add some other considerations.
A Class is more than a class, is kind of a culture and a wide community.
In every club where As exist, on the average you find this ratio: 2-3 boats participate to regattas, 8-9 more boats simply go out the w.e. sailing with other better sailors or participate to club regattas, beginning or trying to perfect their skills. Normally these 9-8 sailors own an old and cheap boat, they are kind of entering our world by the back door (I did so). They are not A Class members, but they are already part of A Cat world. They like to sail with better sailors because their boats, even if not totally competitive, are close performing to the newer ones. One day, when they will be more skilled and experienced, they will sell their old boat and make the effort to buy a better one to become part of the racing sailors, and become members of the class. They also represent the market for better sailors to sell boats considered no more totally competitive.
Once we would choose the way of full foiling boats, the gap between these sailors - that make the main humus of growth of the class - and the others will be so wide, and they will be in a moment so outdated and outperformed that they will feel out of A Class world and culture, and will slowly abandon. And I don’t think splitting the class is a good idea, because would interrupt this beneficial osmosis.
I understand the solution is not easy, but I believe that the first thing to do is to identify the purpose, i.e. to go towards full flying or not, and each “party” should campaign to obtain a 2/3 majority. It will take time, but our class is in an historical moment where some time is needed to reflect. Any sudden on emphatic choice would be bad.
Than the rules will follow, it is not impossible to write a decent rule, there will be experts studying the issue and finding a solution, not pretending to be a final solution but the better solution for a certain historical period. Pretending to find a final rule is contradictory on an evolving class - technique must go on followed and controlled by rules.
Meanwhile, we can go on sailing our “imperfect” boats, that in any case are still wonderful. If you own a DNA or similar you are not forced to fly, play with the sheet, the angle and regulations an your boat will not come out of the water. With present setting you have to decide to fly, the boat does not do it by herself, and in most cases being not a Pro you will find flying not profitable, so nothing dramatic has changed on average sailor’s life.