Illegal C420 at Nationals

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
In my experience, most kids don’t care what kind of boat they are sailing - they are social animals and get their kicks out of being with other kids. The smiles on the faces of the 12 yr old Opti kids coming off the water is no smaller than the smiles of the 16 year old 420 kids or the 18 year old 29er kids.
(Just edited adding the word Opti)
My experience, teaching, helping with the summer camp and junior programs at two clubs, has been that the only kids that do not care about the boat are still learning the basics of sailing. Once a kid gets the hang of it they quickly start looking around the yard.

My experience has also been to watch most of what I used to think would be future sailors, walk away because they are bored. I do not volunteer anymore because I'm all too familiar with the "pathway". Not in the mood to discuss why in this thread, done it enough in others. Too many people that think what was good before is good enough now, making this discussion too exasperating to engage in again. Kids do not participate in most sports with the same gear their grandparents used. And a 50th percentile twelve year old boy/girl is 40kg/42kg. A 41kg kid should have moved on from an Opti by then. In practice an athletic kid will be in the 75th percentile or 47kg/48kg, way to heavy for an Opti.
 

Bill5

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The gear has not changed that much other than the materials. And kids who are losing interest in soccer don’t get revitalized because shoes look cooler. Baseball teams don’t retain players because the glove is lighter.
And excuse me for not getting the weights correct for the boats. Point is - kids of all shapes and sizes seem to be having a real good time at our club and the dozens of other clubs I have visited in all kinds of boats. The fun quotient generally relates to better conditions. If it’s windy, everyone has fun. If it’s a shifty 5-7, even adults aren’t having a bunch of fun.
 
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H-77

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I think that keeping kids in junior classes (especially the opti) for too long certainly plays into the higher-than-it-should-be attrition rate in junior sailing. It's not even because they're slow, it's just that it becomes downright painful for an adult-sized kid to sail one.

That said, as long as you aren't making kids sail them into their 30s, I don't see a huge issue with 420s making kids lose interest. They move reasonably quickly. If you actually use the kite, that adds even another dimension of fun.

One of the issues I have seen with 420s is that they're rather unforgiving due to their rather mediocre stability, especially with light crews. Putting a couple of 12-year-olds with moderate (but still limited) experience on one in heavier conditions can create other problems - you don't want to scare the kids too much. That's where the M15 (with it's flatter bottom) may have some advantages. Just some food for thought, since I've seen this problem scare off some of the more timid kids as they transition from optis.

By far the biggest problem has nothing to do with the equipment and everything to do with burnout. It doesn't matter what the kids are sailing - you could put them on E-scows or 505s and the problem would still be there. Making the kids sail 6 hours a day, six days a week, for half the year, and putting too much pressure on them to do well at regattas takes the "fun" aspect out of the sport, and the moment it becomes their own choice? They find something more fun to do.
 

garland823

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That said, as long as you aren't making kids sail them into their 30s, I don't see a huge issue with 420s making kids lose interest. They move reasonably quickly. If you actually use the kite, that adds even another dimension of fun.
For my money, I think the biggest issue with the 420 isn't as a junior boat, but that it and the FJ are the most common boats in the college fleets (note, I did not sail in college). I was pretty much done with 420s after 4 years of high school and junior sailing. Another 40,000 starts in the same old boats might have turned me off of sailing altogether. They're too small for two adult men to sail together (although that fact certainly helps bring some women into the sport). However, some of the issues are with the college sailing system in general - you're sailing the same dumbed down boats (2 sails, no trap or spin) 6 months a year for 4 years, and they're the same boats you sailed 6 months (or 9 months) a year for 4 years before that. Maybe it would be worth considering having either the spring or fall college sailing season emphasize more advanced boats.

As a junior boat I think 420s are pretty good. My junior sailing was at a club that had a core of serious sailors, but the kids/parents willing to travel more than an hour or so for regattas was a minority. Most kids were in it just for something to do during the summer. 420s work for both types. I know not everyone who is pushing for a 420 replacement is saying "29ers for everyone!", but if you get too far to the 29er end of the spectrum you risk pushing the less serious kids out.
 
420s (we are talking about proper International 420s here, yes?) and 29er are both "Youth" boats. Unless you are are "youth" sized (I know an excellent 29er sailor who's female and in her 50s in both age & Kg) then you probably want to be moving on to something more suited to your size wen you grow up. They cater for different folk; arguably the 420 is more tweaky and suits those who like to tune and play with gear whereas the 29er appeals to those who like the speed first. Each is tactical once you've got the hang of them.

I'm not convinced either boat is a good fit for college sailing... but don't really have a clear picture of what that means in the USA and what it's trying to achieve. If you are at College you are either pretty much off the Olympic pathway or you are balancing two very demanding schedules with little or no time for "college sailing", as non-elite sailors would understand it.

Is the US version of the 420 used for team racing, like Fireflies in the UK?
Even with the kite, the i420 is way underpowered for fleet racing by grownups.
 

bsavery

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For my money, I think the biggest issue with the 420 isn't as a junior boat, but that it and the FJ are the most common boats in the college fleets (note, I did not sail in college). ...

420s (we are talking about proper International 420s here, yes?) and 29er are both "Youth" boats. ...

I'm not convinced either boat is a good fit for college sailing... but don't really have a clear picture of what that means in the USA and what it's trying to achieve. ...

Two very relevant comments /s.
Admittedly I'm only slightly more insightful in my experience, but did sail in college 20 years ago, and occasionally coach HS locally.
The goal HS and College sailing at least in the USA, is for short, level, boat handling focused races. Looking to get more races in instead of length. Venues are varied, rivers, lakes and small bays are most common for accessibility. Generally something like spins, traps, skiffs, etc are too fast for these venues.
One can debate whether that is the "best" sailing, but that's the basic setup. For those FJs and 420s are ok and fairly ubiquitous. Normally either the venue provides all the boats so needs a fleet of 8-16, or teams bring a few each (on the west coast) so they all have to be the same.

When I was in college it didn't feel like the boats were too small, but that depended on the wind a bit. 420's definitely feel less weight sensitive than fjs.
 

garland823

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The goal HS and College sailing at least in the USA, is for short, level, boat handling focused races. Looking to get more races in instead of length. Venues are varied, rivers, lakes and small bays are most common for accessibility. Generally something like spins, traps, skiffs, etc are too fast for these venues.
One can debate whether that is the "best" sailing, but that's the basic setup. For those FJs and 420s are ok and fairly ubiquitous. Normally either the venue provides all the boats so needs a fleet of 8-16, or teams bring a few each (on the west coast) so they all have to be the same.
I'll admit we're getting off track, but this thread did turn into a complaint about the continued use of 420s.

My point is that if a kid sails all through high school, they sail 8 HS seasons in 420s/FJs on short courses, and then if they decide to go to the next level and sail in college, it's another 8 seasons of 420s and FJs on short courses. There's been a fair amount of talk about young sailors quitting the sport on this thread, and the boat is blamed. I think the 420 is fine as a junior boat, but a system where you sail it in 20 races a weekend, 2 seasons a year, for 8 years, is crazy.
 

martin 'hoff

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I'll admit we're getting off track, but this thread did turn into a complaint about the continued use of 420s.

My point is that if a kid sails all through high school, they sail 8 HS seasons in 420s/FJs on short courses, and then if they decide to go to the next level and sail in college, it's another 8 seasons of 420s and FJs on short courses. There's been a fair amount of talk about young sailors quitting the sport on this thread, and the boat is blamed. I think the 420 is fine as a junior boat, but a system where you sail it in 20 races a weekend, 2 seasons a year, for 8 years, is crazy.
Past the 2nd season, is anyone learning anything?

When kids and youngsters stay too long in a class, they ossify. Their learning muscles check out. There may be other reasons to keep going - but from a sailing point of view, after 8 years of same, any major change you'll lose everyone. "Is out of my comfort zone" is the tell.

Overstay optis or 420s or anything really.

In the Nacra 15 fleet we have plenty sailors with a couple years of 420, but folks who have done more than a couple years of 420 look less comfortable.
 

Roller Skates

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Y'all act like you can only sail one boat at a time. There isn't a solution boat. The solution is sailing and racing multiple classes of boats concurrently. You need to be in three classes. Something you love sailing, something that you're working skills in, and something you can have some success in.

420 (Club, Interscholastic, and International) are all great pieces to the puzzle.
 

martin 'hoff

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Y'all act like you can only sail one boat at a time. There isn't a solution boat. The solution is sailing and racing multiple classes of boats concurrently. You need to be in three classes. Something you love sailing, something that you're working skills in, and something you can have some success in.

420 (Club, Interscholastic, and International) are all great pieces to the puzzle.
Yeah but kids in club programs don't get to do that. That i think needs to change.
 

Steve Clark

Super Anarchist
Flame on.
I helped develop the Club 420 as co owner of Vanguard Sailboats. Club 420s helped send my kids to college.
That being said the Club 420 hasn’t turned out quite as we intended.
We intended the boat to be a stepping stone between basic sailing ( Optimists) and more advanced dinghies/skiffs ( 470, 505, I 14 etc.)
We did not expect it to be the elite double handed junior fleet.
We intended the boat to be cost effective and easily maintained as club owned fleets to make learning the skills like trapezing, flying spinnakers and planing independent of buying a boat. This was intended to open sailing up to more people regardless of their wealth.
The Class decided it was better to have multiple builders because they believed that competition between builders would result in better quality and lower prices. These free market capitalist fantasies usually end badly. The current fracas was entirely predictable, enjoy the bed you made.
The market for this boat is at best several hundred per year, and not really big enough to carve up between a number of suppliers. Thus the multiple builder play only assures that everyone loses money. Which isn’t good for the health of the class.
Everyone seems to assume that the Club 420 looks the way it does because we were stupid and didn’t know any better. In reality, many of the core features of the Club 420 came from college coaches. At almost every turn they sacrificed performance for durability and ease of maintenance. The junior sailing model was simply adding trapezes and spinnakers to them. Once they start being sailed in open fleets, the class insists that the builder not change anything, so don’t expect the most up to date thinking in an established one design class.
In conclusion, the Club 420 is a pretty good boat for what it was intended to do: teach kids how to sail trapeze dinghies. If you insist on trying to do more, it gets less and less satisfactory. This isn’t a fault of the boat, but of the program. I spent years trying to design the next boat, but in fact it already exist. They are 470s, Fireballs, 505s, I 14s, 49ers etc. All these boats are built and sold but not bought in the United States for some reason. The solution is obvious, but it isn’t good form to bitch out your customers.
If you want you kid to sail more exciting and or sophisticated boats, Fucking Buy Them One and learn how to take care of it.
When I was 20 years old, I couldn’t buy the boat (International Canoe) I wanted to sail. So I built the damn thing. 50 years later, I still can’t buy the boat I want to sail (110) so I am building one of them.
Flame Off.
SHC
 

robalex117

Super Anarchist
No sure LP are building much of anything at all these days other than the Sunfish . 😀
Actually they are building Lasers or whatever you call them and can't build them fast enough. They are about $2,000 less than the legit ones and are flying off the shelves. I know the big dealer in New England, USA can't get any of them since LP has limited production and would rather sell in Europe which is easy shipping. My understanding is all production has moved to Portugal.
 

Xeon

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Actually they are building Lasers or whatever you call them and can't build them fast enough. They are about $2,000 less than the legit ones and are flying off the shelves. I know the big dealer in New England, USA can't get any of them since LP has limited production and would rather sell in Europe which is easy shipping. My understanding is all production has moved to Portugal.
Come on fellow keep up. Try reading the LASER/ ILCA threads on this forum 😀
1) Production moved to Portugal over 2 years
2) Ask the Sunfish sailors what the build quality is like now.
3 ) How come the Sunfish class have the same supply problems when the Americas is the only place that buys sunfish ?
4)LP say they are selling loads of boat into Germany but no has seen them . They could be going to sailing schools and holiday centres though. Time will tell where the truth is.
6)There is no sign of LP Laser selling in any numbers in the Uk and lreland. I’ve seen a couple come for up sale in the uk but you cannot give them away. As soon as someone asks if they are ILCA legal they are withdrawn from sale .

Plus the fact the number of boats LP have lost the rights to build in court suggests things are not going well.

Not that long ago they were saying they were the largest maker of sailing dinghys in the world.
Now they only build 3 boats ( well four in the Portstar ever makes production) of which only the Sunfish sells in any reasonable numbers .
I remember Performance sailcraft in Banbury from the 80s/90s . It’s sad looking at the remains of the company now . 🙁🙁
 
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robalex117

Super Anarchist
Come on fellow keep up. Try reading the LASER/ ILCA threads on this forum 😀
1) Production moved to Portugal over 2 years
2) Ask the Sunfish sailors what the build quality is like now.
3 ) How come the Sunfish class have the same supply problems when the Americas is the only place that buys sunfish ?
4)LP say they are selling loads of boat into Germany but no has seen them . They could be going to sailing schools and holiday centres though. Time will tell where the truth is.
6)There is no sign of LP Laser selling in any numbers in the Uk and lreland. I’ve seen a couple come for up sale in the uk but you cannot give them away. As soon as someone asks if they are ILCA legal they are withdrawn from sale .

Plus the fact the number of boats LP have lost the rights to build in court suggests things are not going well.

Not that long ago they were saying they were the largest maker of sailing dinghys in the world.
Now they only build 3 boats ( well four in the Portstar ever makes production) of which only the Sunfish sells in any reasonable numbers .
I remember Performance sailcraft in Banbury from the 80s/90s . It’s sad looking at the remains of the company now . 🙁🙁
Just know that the person selling them here in the states can't get enough of them.
 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
Baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, swimming, football, track, hockey, skiing, golf, tennis, rugby…
The gear has not changed that much other than the materials. And kids who are losing interest in soccer don’t get revitalized because shoes look cooler. Baseball teams don’t retain players because the glove is lighter.
And excuse me for not getting the weights correct for the boats. Point is - kids of all shapes and sizes seem to be having a real good time at our club and the dozens of other clubs I have visited in all kinds of boats. The fun quotient generally relates to better conditions. If it’s windy, everyone has fun. If it’s a shifty 5-7, even adults aren’t having a bunch of fun.
The gear used, pads, helmets, shoes, have all evolved immensely. Equipment from 1972 is very different from that of 2022, whereas a C420 remains virtually unchanged. You also picked sports that have very little equipment. What of a bicycle, or a surfboard, or ski? The equiment involved bare next to no similarity.
 

Bill5

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The gear used, pads, helmets, shoes, have all evolved immensely. Equipment from 1972 is very different from that of 2022, whereas a C420 remains virtually unchanged. You also picked sports that have very little equipment. What of a bicycle, or a surfboard, or ski? The equiment involved bare next to no similarity.
If one were to put carbon spars and laminate sails on the C420, and even an assy, would that make a difference in interest level/enjoyment?
And, as Steve Clark pointed out, there are faster more hi-tech boats available. Just need a bunch of money.
Anyway - the equipment discussion of sport vs sport is difficult and the way I commented on it was awkward. Kids literally grow out of their gear, sometimes multiple times in a year. And there are dozens of choices in skis, bikes and the like, i.e. there is no one design. And the reason kids quit sailing has been beaten to death in a number of threads, but the C420 can’t be held accountable that much. And kids quit lots of sports all the time.
 

pqbon

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Baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, swimming, football, track, hockey, skiing, golf, tennis, rugby…
The gear has not changed that much other than the materials. And kids who are losing interest in soccer don’t get revitalized because shoes look cooler. Baseball teams don’t retain players because the glove is lighter.
And excuse me for not getting the weights correct for the boats. Point is - kids of all shapes and sizes seem to be having a real good time at our club and the dozens of other clubs I have visited in all kinds of boats. The fun quotient generally relates to better conditions. If it’s windy, everyone has fun. If it’s a shifty 5-7, even adults aren’t having a bunch of fun.
I can't comment on all of those but skis and golf clubs both are still massively changing and evolving. My skis from the 90s and early 00s look and function nothing like the 80s and nothing like the skis today.
Golf clubs might not be always visible but the properties of clubs are always evolving and a suprising ammount of design evolution.
 

Bill5

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I can't comment on all of those but skis and golf clubs both are still massively changing and evolving. My skis from the 90s and early 00s look and function nothing like the 80s and nothing like the skis today.
Golf clubs might not be always visible but the properties of clubs are always evolving and a suprising ammount of design evolution.
I wish I had never said anything…

How many current popular dinghies were designed in the 20th century?
If people changed out their sailboats every year or two, (like golf clubs or skis) what would that look like? Would participation increase or decrease?
The only 2 person dinghy in NA that seems to be growing quickly is the Melges 15. It is far from hi tech and weighs 230 lbs.
If my son/daughter said to me “Dad, I am going to quit sailing. I find the C420 does not meet or exceed my performance requirements”, my response would not be nurturing.
 


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