Lasers - Applying a Blow Torch

BobBill

Super Anarchist
4,611
101
SE Minnesota.
Gouvernail wrote: "For some reason we are the generation who have refused to pass responsibility on to the kids." +1.

The reason is evident, however.

 

Wess

Super Anarchist
Why do you folks keep saying kids will not step up? Is this just old fart complaining about the next generation as they have for every generation since the dawn of time? Maybe its where I live and because we are so deeply involved with institutions like USNA but I see many, many great kids stepping up to do amazing things all the time... and I don't just mean service to country. I mean service to community. They seem very willing to get involved with things that matter to them, when they believe they can make a difference.

 
I think there's actually a recent occurrence that illustrates the type of status quo thinking that Gouvernail is railing against. The class has just recently completed a long process to design and approve a new sail design due to complaints about the cost durability of the original sail design. I don't know all of the details, but the effort engaged the approved sail makers to spend quite a bit of effort and thus expense on designing the new sail. That investment reinforces the class' obligation to the class approved sailmakers, which maintains the status quo. The market, on the other hand has solved the problem in a much more cost effective way. A $600 sail that only lasts a few regattas is a hard pill to swallow. Some enterprising individuals out there realized that they could make identical sails and sell them at 25% of the cost. Those sails in some cases were also more durable since they used slightly heavier sailcloth. The class could have have changed the rules to allow those sailmakers to pay a royalty and make class legal sails. Say, $50 per sail. It creates an additional revenue stream for the class and reduces the cost burden in the sailors. The sailmakers previously granted a monopoly would either have to adjust and stop making obscene margins off of your class members or lose 100% of the business. With thousands of boats out there you have a ton of leverage that you aren't using because you are so dedicated to the traditional relationships that tell you you have to grant these monopolies so that you can maintain a supply. The class already has a market, you no longer need to create one. As long as the market exist, suppliers will come forward to supply the market. It's obviously strong enough of a market to support the traditional suppliers as well as a thriving grey market.

 

Bruce Hudson

Super Anarchist
3,251
847
New Zealand
I think there's actually a recent occurrence that illustrates the type of status quo thinking that Gouvernail is railing against. The class has just recently completed a long process to design and approve a new sail design due to complaints about the cost durability of the original sail design. I don't know all of the details, but the effort engaged the approved sail makers to spend quite a bit of effort and thus expense on designing the new sail. That investment reinforces the class' obligation to the class approved sailmakers, which maintains the status quo. The market, on the other hand has solved the problem in a much more cost effective way. A $600 sail that only lasts a few regattas is a hard pill to swallow. Some enterprising individuals out there realized that they could make identical sails and sell them at 25% of the cost. Those sails in some cases were also more durable since they used slightly heavier sailcloth. The class could have have changed the rules to allow those sailmakers to pay a royalty and make class legal sails. Say, $50 per sail. It creates an additional revenue stream for the class and reduces the cost burden in the sailors. The sailmakers previously granted a monopoly would either have to adjust and stop making obscene margins off of your class members or lose 100% of the business. With thousands of boats out there you have a ton of leverage that you aren't using because you are so dedicated to the traditional relationships that tell you you have to grant these monopolies so that you can maintain a supply. The class already has a market, you no longer need to create one. As long as the market exist, suppliers will come forward to supply the market. It's obviously strong enough of a market to support the traditional suppliers as well as a thriving grey market.
On the surface, that is an outstanding idea.

It is however a step away from SMOD concept.

The sail is a fascinating part to the legal landscape that the class finds itself in. I am fairly sure that the owner of the new sail design is the ILCA, whereas the main parties have (had) a contract that recognises Kirby Inc as the owner of the hull.

Whether or not these 'practice' sails have some different performance characteristics - real or imagined - they will be found. In the mean-time, for many fleets they have lowered the cost of sailing 'Lasers' at the many clubs that allow their use. My personal preference is to use the genuine sails, for me, the three practice sails that I have tried all have a different feel to them.

I believe the new sail design is a step in the right direction. For me, personally, I would not have minded if it was a faster sail than the old one, which would have 'forced' many more Laser sailors to buy one. Let's face it, the older design lost it's shape after about 50 days sailing - so it's no real big deal. With the higher volume of sails, the ILCA and builders could have achieved a lower cost, and possibly recovered the cost of the patent application.

I am given to understand that the new sail has an additional levy imposed on it, one that is meant to recover the cost of a patent application. What the makers of the new sail have achieved is a similar price to the old sail, with greater durability. Every Laser sailer I have met wanted the better at a lesser cost, and I believe that was achievable - it's just that there was no desire for that. I see that the revenue from sail buttons went from US$74,838 in 2013 to US$107,607 in 2014.

An openly managed owners association would provide minutes of meetings that outlined the cost structures, the number of sails sold and the cost of the patent application being recovered. This is so the membership can be confident they are doing a good job and working in the interests of the ILCA membership.

That is not the case with the ILCA.

Aside from the total revenue gained from the sale of sail buttons in 2014 and prior, members have no understanding of why the sails are so expensive. The ILCA World Council in this regard are not serving their membership well.

 

tillerman

Super Anarchist
6,195
3,031
Rhode Island
I think there's actually a recent occurrence that illustrates the type of status quo thinking that Gouvernail is railing against. The class has just recently completed a long process to design and approve a new sail design due to complaints about the cost durability of the original sail design. I don't know all of the details, but the effort engaged the approved sail makers to spend quite a bit of effort and thus expense on designing the new sail. That investment reinforces the class' obligation to the class approved sailmakers, which maintains the status quo. The market, on the other hand has solved the problem in a much more cost effective way. A $600 sail that only lasts a few regattas is a hard pill to swallow. Some enterprising individuals out there realized that they could make identical sails and sell them at 25% of the cost. Those sails in some cases were also more durable since they used slightly heavier sailcloth. The class could have have changed the rules to allow those sailmakers to pay a royalty and make class legal sails. Say, $50 per sail. It creates an additional revenue stream for the class and reduces the cost burden in the sailors. The sailmakers previously granted a monopoly would either have to adjust and stop making obscene margins off of your class members or lose 100% of the business. With thousands of boats out there you have a ton of leverage that you aren't using because you are so dedicated to the traditional relationships that tell you you have to grant these monopolies so that you can maintain a supply. The class already has a market, you no longer need to create one. As long as the market exist, suppliers will come forward to supply the market. It's obviously strong enough of a market to support the traditional suppliers as well as a thriving grey market.
The continuing widespread success of Laser sailing at the grassroots level owes a lot to the availability of these "practice" sails. Pretty much every local fleet around here allows them now.

I met someone the other day who told me that one of the main reasons he had bought a Laser was because of the widespread availability of inexpensive "not class legal" parts. Not just sails. Foils. Spars. Etc. Etc.

Whether or not our current class officials want to embrace, ignore or fight this trend, I guess they are constrained by the current class constitution which gives the Laser builders veto power over any class rule changes such as legalizing these cheaper sails and parts.

The truth is that most of the boats racing in all these thriving fleets all over the world are not, strictly speaking, Lasers at all any more. They are "boats that used to be Lasers before their owners bought a sail and maybe a few other parts that don't comply with Laser class rules."

Is it a problem? Maybe not. We keep the game cheap and more people can play.

Maybe it's even a selling point for the class?

 

Bruce Hudson

Super Anarchist
3,251
847
New Zealand
I think there's actually a recent occurrence that illustrates the type of status quo thinking that Gouvernail is railing against. The class has just recently completed a long process to design and approve a new sail design due to complaints about the cost durability of the original sail design. I don't know all of the details, but the effort engaged the approved sail makers to spend quite a bit of effort and thus expense on designing the new sail. That investment reinforces the class' obligation to the class approved sailmakers, which maintains the status quo. The market, on the other hand has solved the problem in a much more cost effective way. A $600 sail that only lasts a few regattas is a hard pill to swallow. Some enterprising individuals out there realized that they could make identical sails and sell them at 25% of the cost. Those sails in some cases were also more durable since they used slightly heavier sailcloth. The class could have have changed the rules to allow those sailmakers to pay a royalty and make class legal sails. Say, $50 per sail. It creates an additional revenue stream for the class and reduces the cost burden in the sailors. The sailmakers previously granted a monopoly would either have to adjust and stop making obscene margins off of your class members or lose 100% of the business. With thousands of boats out there you have a ton of leverage that you aren't using because you are so dedicated to the traditional relationships that tell you you have to grant these monopolies so that you can maintain a supply. The class already has a market, you no longer need to create one. As long as the market exist, suppliers will come forward to supply the market. It's obviously strong enough of a market to support the traditional suppliers as well as a thriving grey market.
The continuing widespread success of Laser sailing at the grassroots level owes a lot to the availability of these "practice" sails. Pretty much every local fleet around here allows them now.

I met someone the other day who told me that one of the main reasons he had bought a Laser was because of the widespread availability of inexpensive "not class legal" parts. Not just sails. Foils. Spars. Etc. Etc.

Whether or not our current class officials want to embrace, ignore or fight this trend, I guess they are constrained by the current class constitution which gives the Laser builders veto power over any class rule changes such as legalizing these cheaper sails and parts.

The truth is that most of the boats racing in all these thriving fleets all over the world are not, strictly speaking, Lasers at all any more. They are "boats that used to be Lasers before their owners bought a sail and maybe a few other parts that don't comply with Laser class rules."

Is it a problem? Maybe not. We keep the game cheap and more people can play.

Maybe it's even a selling point for the class?
I agree with you Tiller Man.

It's my experience that the official events that I have competed in (in the last 3 years), have not allowed the practice sails, but appear to allow other parts (goosenecks, self bailers, and foils being the only parts I'm aware of.)

 
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torrid

Super Anarchist
1,089
437
It's my experience that the official events that I have competed in (in the last 3 years), have not allowed the practice sails, but appear to allow other parts (goosenecks, self bailers, and foils being the only parts I'm aware of.)
Sail is the only thing that is immediately obvious as far as being class legal. Anything else would require a detailed inspection, and that only really happens at worlds-level events. And if there is no inspection by the regatta organizers, I suppose it would be up to other sailors to protest for enforcement.

Found myself in a situation a few months ago at an open two day regatta. I think I was the only one there with a class-legal sail. I suppose I could have been an ass about it, but in reality I was glad to have other boats to race against. And I certainly would not have been popular with the other sailors.

 
I think there's actually a recent occurrence that illustrates the type of status quo thinking that Gouvernail is railing against. The class has just recently completed a long process to design and approve a new sail design due to complaints about the cost durability of the original sail design. I don't know all of the details, but the effort engaged the approved sail makers to spend quite a bit of effort and thus expense on designing the new sail. That investment reinforces the class' obligation to the class approved sailmakers, which maintains the status quo. The market, on the other hand has solved the problem in a much more cost effective way. A $600 sail that only lasts a few regattas is a hard pill to swallow. Some enterprising individuals out there realized that they could make identical sails and sell them at 25% of the cost. Those sails in some cases were also more durable since they used slightly heavier sailcloth. The class could have have changed the rules to allow those sailmakers to pay a royalty and make class legal sails. Say, $50 per sail. It creates an additional revenue stream for the class and reduces the cost burden in the sailors. The sailmakers previously granted a monopoly would either have to adjust and stop making obscene margins off of your class members or lose 100% of the business. With thousands of boats out there you have a ton of leverage that you aren't using because you are so dedicated to the traditional relationships that tell you you have to grant these monopolies so that you can maintain a supply. The class already has a market, you no longer need to create one. As long as the market exist, suppliers will come forward to supply the market. It's obviously strong enough of a market to support the traditional suppliers as well as a thriving grey market.

I am given to understand that the new sail has an additional levy imposed on it, one that is meant to recover the cost of a patent application. What the makers of the new sail have achieved is a similar price to the old sail, with greater durability. Every Laser sailer I have met wanted the better at a lesser cost, and I believe that was achievable - it's just that there was no desire for that. I see that the revenue from sail buttons went from US$74,838 in 2013 to US$107,607 in 2014.
Assuming that the revenue isn't rounded and the button cost is an integer and hasn't changed between 2013 and 2014, those numbers would imply that the revenue of a sail button is $3.00 per button. I'm not sure that's accurate as it would require almost 25,000 sails to have been sold in 2013 and almost 36,00 to have been sold in 2014. So let's try a more conservative estimate of 1,000 sails in 2013. That would make the button revenue about $75. I believe the current cost of a class sail is $530 and the non class sails can be found for $140. So, even if the current non class sails added the cost of the button, they would still only cost $215. Their current price certainly already contains some profit so that would mean that the additional expenses or profit on the class sails is $315. That's either highly inefficient manufacturing or rather obscene margin. Either way, I think it's clear that the current arrangement is highly beneficial to the sailmaker at the expense of the sailors who make up the class.

I guess the real point in all this is that when you have a group that has been in leadership for a very long time they tend to form personal relationships with the builders and the sailmakers. Those personal relationships can impede proper governance of any organization.

 

Bruce Hudson

Super Anarchist
3,251
847
New Zealand
Assuming that the revenue isn't rounded and the button cost is an integer and hasn't changed between 2013 and 2014, those numbers would imply that the revenue of a sail button is $3.00 per button. I'm not sure that's accurate as it would require almost 25,000 sails to have been sold in 2013 and almost 36,00 to have been sold in 2014. So let's try a more conservative estimate of 1,000 sails in 2013. That would make the button revenue about $75. I believe the current cost of a class sail is $530 and the non class sails can be found for $140. So, even if the current non class sails added the cost of the button, they would still only cost $215. Their current price certainly already contains some profit so that would mean that the additional expenses or profit on the class sails is $315. That's either highly inefficient manufacturing or rather obscene margin. Either way, I think it's clear that the current arrangement is highly beneficial to the sailmaker at the expense of the sailors who make up the class.

I guess the real point in all this is that when you have a group that has been in leadership for a very long time they tend to form personal relationships with the builders and the sailmakers. Those personal relationships can impede proper governance of any organization.
There is some great logic there JuanNephrota, yes it would seem likely that exactly has you say the individual sail button cost would fall somewhere between $3 to $75.

But that's not the point.

The main issue to me is the sustained 'reluctance' by the World Council to release information. This leads to speculative comments like yours above, and the rumours (accurate or not) of information being passed on - which includes me passing on that the new sail has a levy to recover the cost of the new sail's patent.

One could view that this is a culture of secrecy, and in my judgment is no way to run an organisation like the ILCA.

At it's worst, it breeds complacency within the ILCA World Council, which is not used to the proper scrutiny of it's membership. So for example, when it was time to hold a very important change such as in 2011 change to the fundamental rule, the officers of the ILCA's efforts went lacking. Specifically, there was a difference between the online wording and printed proposal (the online version was changed); there was conflict between the world council and national bodies: specifically, the UKLA urged members to not vote immediately - whereas the world council urged members to vote immediately; sloppy statements were made regarding the historic nature of agreements - as it turned out, the builder's contracts were renewed regularly.

To me, a great step forward would be one where the ILCA World Council writes better minutes and makes them available to their members. (Caveat - if the ILCA World Council already does this, then I know members who do not know how to access them). A great solution can be seen with the ILCA-NA, who keep minutes and has them publicly available on their website.

But back to the sail buttons. The most recent information relates to the 2014 calendar year, and was just over 11 months old when released. I find it incomprehensible that more current information is not made available to the membership. It's likely that the 2015 revenue figures are already available, but won't be released until Dec 2016. That delay made sense in 1986, but not in 2016. (My expectation is that the ILCA has a modern accounting system.)

Meanwhile we can't say for sure how much the sailmakers get per sail, how much margin the builders get, or how much the ILCA levy to recover the cost of the patent is. But yes, we can speculate that the cost of the buttons is likely to fall between $3 and $75.

 
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Bill5

Right now
2,995
2,591
Western Canada
Although some of Gouv's words are beautiful. My personal favorite is "wasbinntgevdumos" from Post 3031. But, like orange, it's hard to find a word that rhymes.

 

aroy

New member
15
0
Gouvernail said:
I very much appreciate the Fact Andy Roy posted here. I sincerely hope he and all the other ILCA officers will use this forum and whatever other forums they can find to regularly disseminate information and voice their opinions.

Not so much about all the lawsuit stuff.

These forums are a great tool which can be used along with whatever other tools we have to both gather and disseminate information about our fabulous game.

Just a few minutes every once in a while spent by class officers, fleet captains, regatta chairs, and anybody else who cares would turn this forum onto a cornucopia of information about our game.

Where to buy toys

Where to buy parts

Where to find fleets

Where to find regattas

Where to find repair help

How to fix things yourself

Where to stay near regatta sites

Where to eat

What to wear

Where to buy gear

What gear works or lasts best

Strategy

Tactics

Custom rigging

What is class legal

Seeking hosts for events

Talking up upcoming events

Reports on ongoing events

Pictures ( I posted a couple hundred photos in dinghy Anarchy after the 2009 Halifax Masters world's. The thread had thousands of hits.

No one has lifted a finger to do anything similar since. )

(Al Clark is all over Facebook and that is great!!! )

Road trip stories.

Birth announcements

Funeral announcements

Wedding announcements

Laser racing needs a community to work. The only currently healthy communities are of the masters and the super funded top level competitors

I see the FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT job of the Class as gathering and disseminating information.

I see the newsletter and the Internet and phones and the mail as the tools for making sailing happen .

Last thing in this rant

The purpose of the newsletter is NOT to employ a publishing company, please advertisers, look pretty, or give officers a forum to tell what the class is doing

The Newsletter is a tool for the class ( which is also a tool ) to disseminate information.

Ads are nice in that they tell sailors where to purchase the toys they need to play.

Photos of people having fun are seductive for those considering coming to play with us

The newsletter is a tool for putting information in the potential sailor's hands

Since 2002 I have referred to the NA newsletter as "content free."

The absurdly expensive format is devoid of space for the dissemination of the very most important information and regatta reports. It is regularly published with no reports from many districts. ( there are phones both in the class office and the homes of every district chairman. There are no excuses for failing to create a district report)

Allan Broadribb taught me we could not possibly have put all the information in potential sailors' hands we used to publish without the fabulous inexpensive newsprint tabloid.

He was correct.

Lots of people are not playing with us today because we failed to invite them and tell them the myriad of stuff they needed to know to be able to show up and play

The pretty newsletter is useless and a total waste of time and money

The NA class has not had a newsletter since 2002. The class sends out that pretty thing with ads and no content

I used to print up an extra 2000 copies per issue so I could leave them at yacht clubs, hand to local folks to use as promotional material or give to the Opti kids to help develop better reading skills

The expensive newsletters are useless

Absolutely useless

Lost opportunity because the money and time is being spent on something useless

Am I clear??

The class grew for 35 consecutive months while I was making most of the things described above happen

I believe we share the same goals .... Lotta fun lotta friends lotta sailing great competition

The fundamental goal / purpose of the ILCA is NOT TO BE A WELL RUN ORGANIZATION.

The purpose of the ILCA is to make the game better.
Fred, I'll try to provide some more input to this thread from the my perspective as a member of the ILCA. But again, to you and other rock throwers out there, I believe we do have the members best interests in mind and if I didn't think that was the case, believe me, I'd resign in a heartbeat.

A comment to your mini-rant regarding the NA quarterly newsletter and to correct you on a key misconception. during several of our monthly NA Exec phone meetings when we've been looking at the finances, I have brought up the newsletter and asked questions such as, should we go to an e-version rather than mailing? Each time I've brought this up I've been reminded of the same thing: the newsletter does not cost a dime and it is actually a solid revenue generator as a result of the advertising. And the advertisers really like the newsletter and want to keep supporting it; and, from what I understand, they prefer the printed version to an online version with the thinking that people will look at it more than once as it lies around their coffee table.

As for your claim that there is no content, that in my opinion is not the case. I think it's a good publication, but you of course are entitled to your opinion since it's a subjective topic. We regularly receive and publish excellent articles from fitness experts and race coaches on such things as drills and other go fast tips. Most major regattas have a write-up in the TLS from someone who raced in the event, and we are continually pushing and encouraging the District Secretaries to send in news, results, pictures, NOR"s for upcoming regattas, etc., etc. Any Laser sailor who wants to contribute to the newsletter is more than welcome to do - we are always looking for submissions.

 

aroy

New member
15
0
Gouvernail said:
Sorry my effort to help is received as an attack.

I fully recignize many good people are swimming as hard as they can

I do not mean to be throwing rocks.

I may be lousy at it but I am and have been throwing life preservers and food packets for years.

Apparently the life rings are thrown too hard and hurting more than helping

I absolutely support having a newsletter packed full of as much information as will fit.

On line information dissemination lacks the force of a sheet of paper

Once again, the purpose of the newsletter is to help the game and is a tool to be greedily used to disseminate information.

The purpose of the newsletter is not to satisfy advertisers.

The purpose of the newsletter is not to generate funds

The purpose of the newsletter is not to provide a job for a publishing team

Four times a year the newsletter can be our chance to put information and seductive invitations to play with us in people's hands.

The simple fact is, the newsprint format had at least five times as much space between the ads to be used for disseminating information.

The ONLY reason we only had 64 pages during my three years was the difficulty of creating fun to read content for filling more pages.

Please don't take the following as criticism!! Please take it as an old student of the management and promotion of sailing telling you what he thinks.

I believe the newsletter is doing a nice job of serving the wrong interests and failing miserably to serve its real best use.

It simply lacks the available column inches.

The job of our secretary is not to sell ads and publish those ads in a pretty newsletter. The job is to gather and disseminate information

The job is to fill a big fat quarterly newsletter with the sort of information that causes our game to prosper.

A poor workman blames his tools

A great mechanic usually supplies himself with fabulous tools

A guy who has used fabulous tools to accomplish a job is telling you, "you guys are not using the right tools."

Using the shiny newsletter is sort of like using an expensive chisel to turn a screw. It costs more and does not work as well as a good old screwdriver

Just think what you could do with FIVE TIMES AS MUCH SPACE !!!

Maybe I am the wrong guy to be heard.

I believe the class would benefit from hiring Allan Broadribb to spend a week working with and helping to refocus the efforts of the association

Thank you for all your time and effort!!!

Of all the people on the planet I am among the very most able to appreciate every second spent by you on helping my favorite game.

I know what you do

I know how long it takes

I know exactly how you are paid ...., and it damn sure isn't money or anything else you can spend

Thank you
Thanks, Fred, and I totally get what you're saying. Good constructive dialogue.

Andy

 



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