New low-cost "hardware store" racing class; input on proposed rules

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Petros, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. sawmaster
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    sawmaster Senior Member

    hey Richard, I think the name of the company that sells the high quality,low cost dacron sails is Intensity sails--I checked google for infinity sails and came up empty.I recently purchased a laser sail from them for my force 5 dinghy (to use in winds too strong for the larger stock sail) and was very satisfied with the way the sail set.Have used it several times in strong winds and although the sail seems to be of slightly less weight than those which are class-approved,(these are not),they show no signs of tearing.They are much better than poly sails and not a whole hell of a lot more expensive.
     
  2. macbeath
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    macbeath Junior Member

    Well, it does seem odd to ask the man to spend more money on what's supposed to be a cheap boat, but it does create a problem with leveling the playing field. I help judge the Quick & Daring boatbuilding contest at the Seattle Wooden Boat Festival, and we've had to make a rule that people can't use used materials, since cost is a judging criteria. You can imagine the problem:


    Judge: That's a great looking sail. How much did it cost you?

    Contestant: I found it.

    I think it would be good to get a definitive ruling before there are hard feelings. Anybody heard from Petros?
     
  3. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Its tricky... It seems contrary to discourage the use of secondhand kit that is both cheaper and better quality than what one can make oneself, but the problems are very real.

    In an ideal world maybe original purchase price would be a compromise criteria, since if the pieces are old enough original purchase price would be nominal in modern terms. But I fear the practical problems are almost insurmountable. There are parts in the Holt Allen catalogue that have been in production for over 50 years, so how the hell do you tell whether it was bought for 2/6d or £20?
     
  4. Segler
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    Segler Junior Member

    You can spend up to USD600 and your sources must be available to anyone. No ambiguity here.
     
  5. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    So if I put my used gear on ebay that would make it OK? And suppose Home Depot don't have what I want in stock the day I go there?

    So far the only interest in this class is in the PNW (Washington state, Seattle area) I am more interested in a cheap, fast, quick to build dinghy that could be sailed worldwide.

    sawmaster, yes you are right, sorry

    RW
     
  6. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    No, and one off secondhand purchases or "stuff lying round in the garage I bought 20 years ago" would seem to be by definition not available to everyone. Yet if it were possible to figure out a way of permitting it folk could have a better boat more cheaply.

    But at the same time it also opens things up for all sorts of abuses. But wasn't this dialogue had about ten (or maybe fifty) pages back?
     
  7. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I don't just design and sail dinghies and multihulls. This last weekend I was sailing this boat

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wDu_q5i6rg

    Built in 1947, the same year the GP14 was designed, which seems to meet the hardware store class perfectly (apart from cost). Times have moved on, not just in hull design and ergonomics, but also in details. Deck hardware, sails, rigging etc have all improved, as I discovered.

    so why deliberately go back to the early days of dinghy design? Restricting costs never works well, whether its for a dinghy or a footballer.

    Richard Woods
     
  8. macbeath
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    macbeath Junior Member

    I think there are a couple of issues that need to be dealt with. The obvious one is that it seems a bit much to either ask Richard to spend more time and money on a boat whose outstanding virtue should be its low cost. The other is that the class rules require that the boat designs should be available to the class to sell for $60 USD.

    Both of those rules seem fine for amateurs without a lot of kit lying about, but I don't see a professional like Richard wanting to sell his plans for that price and splitting the proceeds with the class. So maybe it's just fine that the boat doesn't meet the letter of the law as compliant with the class, because then we'd be asking him to sell his plans cheap to comply with the other rule.

    How about splitting the class? There are boats that comply with all the rules, and the class could sell the plans, and there could be another division where boats comply with the spirit of the rule and the class doesn't get the plans? They could start in the same race, but you could have division winners and an overall winner. More winners means more good will.

    Or, I'm thinking that perhaps we should eliminate the rule about the class selling the plans (which was my idea in the first place) because it would tend to discourage professional designers from participating. That rule should at least be made voluntary.

    In either case, we need to maximize the number of boats on the starting line. I'm still hitting obstacles in trying to do a build, and if I build it's likely I'll choose a design that will be pleasant to own rather than the one I think will be fastest.

    More of us live in cities than ever before, and it's hard to fine a place to build or store a boat in a city unless you have a pretty healthy income, in which case you probably wouldn't be as interested in the possibility of building a cheap boat. This may make the universe of participants smaller than Peter anticipated, so we need as many people as possible at the starting line.
     
  9. Segler
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    Segler Junior Member

    Pretty cheeky thing to say on a thread, entitled, "New low cost 'hardware store' racing class".
     
  10. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Frankly, I don't understand why you are still in this thread.

    The whole purpose of this thing was to create a more economical alternative to the vast number of racing dinghy designs out there.

    Sure. Building cost has to be a prime consideration. This is the whole bloody point. And one of the most expensive items on a sailboat are the bloody sails. Especially on a "racing' dinghy.

    Limiting the wallet is supposed to also enhance creativity and ingenuity, as the usual technical solutions to make a fast sailboat often no longer apply. New solutions must be tried. And ones that will not be used in most dinghy racing because they are inferior to the more expensive ones commonly used.

    No. You have to use the cheaper crap and get it to work better than expected. This may mean abandoning the venerable high Aspect Ratio Bermuda sail for something else, because the cheaper materials you have to use, to fit within budget, just won't stand as well as Mylar or Dacron. Boo hoo.

    The first rig I designed and built was made out of 4 mil polyethylene drop cloths and duck tape. It out sailed a Bermuda rig, made out of the usual Dacron, which was about the same size, with both boats roughly the same size and weight, too. Even upwind.

    The dilemma of the expensive sewing machine is an interesting one.

    This is a reason I think the sail making materials should be specified, to avoid such problems.

    This being said. For the purposes of this class, which has no such limitations, these sails should be legal, as the sail making materials did fit within the budget. And the sewing machine, while being somewhat expensive, was nowhere near the cost of a CNC machine. Such sails could, in theory, be hand sewn, or at least partially hand sewn.

    As for surplus sails bought on the cheap, I see nothing but problems with this. Such sails come in a variety of condition and pricing. Occasionally, someone, especially someone well connected, may be able to get a second rate sail for a third or forth rate price. Is this fair?

    As for the plans price and plans money distribution, I think the rules here strike a fair balance. Why? You might ask.

    Because this sort of thing could introduce new, untried designers, who would be willing to put plans up on the cheap, as this could well be the first time they have ever been paid for their efforts.

    I am delighted to see three boats being built in just one locality. This is perfectly logical, as these boats are a bit of a building commitment. And with three in a generally local area, they bloody well race.

    Even the pdracer class started with just three boats in its first race.
     
  11. macbeath
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    macbeath Junior Member

    In fairness, it was Richard who brought our attention to Intensity Sails, and the inexpensive resource they represent. He could certainly build his boat with one of those sails and still have a successful boat within the cost limit, but he's chosen to use a sail he already owns.

    It sounds like that's not a popular move, but surely we can resolve the matter without telling Richard that he doesn't belong on the thread. I think he's made very good contributions to this thread, and would like to see him continue doing so.
     
  12. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I was just referring to his statement (which I quoted), which seemed to negate the whole idea of this thread.

    Perhaps I was a bit harsh.

    I apologize.
     
  13. DriesLaas
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    DriesLaas Weekend Warrior

    Ah, this thread is the highlight of my day. I really do enjoy the bickering.

    We have spent many hours discussing the way this set of rules work, which quite frankly should have been put to better use designing a boat.

    Here in SA we have a wonderful company called BG Boat parts, with which I have no association except being an occasional customer. Check them out on the interwebs. They do a complete range of good quality low cost dinghy fittings which are ten times better than what I can make by hand, and it really is dirt cheap.

    I will never make fitting by hand if I can get BG parts. Why? Because my time also has value. If you ask my wife and family, whom I actually like and enjoy spending time with, they would agree.

    So if you attach some nominal value to a man-hour, and limit the total cost in materials and labor, it would make a lot more sense. People shy away from sailing because of the cost involved, and the time taken from other activities in their hectic lives, to build a boat.

    If I had to do this, I would propose that someone can use second-hand gear, but for the purpose of the cost calculation, use the new-gear cost. This will ensure repeatibility should someone want to build a similar boat for himself, which I assume is one of the goals for this whole exercise.

    And another thing: What if I have a cnc machine in my workshop which I designed and built myself? I am not allowed to use it. I do by the way and sure as hell am going to use it to make myself a better boat at MUCH less man-hours. I offered CNC machining at cost to the guys in my vicinity, if they wanted to build a boat. One boat has seen the light, 23 sheets of plywood later! At least I didn't have to cut it all, we could lasercut the thinner stuff.
    So that offer stands for this class, if anyone wants to come to Richards Bay in South Africa to get some panels cut. Great daysailing !
    (I even have a completely developed set of toolpaths for a PD Racer that self-jigs)
     
  14. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Cutting your panels with a CNC cutter is perfectly legal under these rules, as long as such isn't the only way they can be cut. The way Petros put it, it was clear to me that's what he meant. He was referring sophisticated hardware, which was so precisely made, no other method would do.
     

  15. tdem
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    tdem Senior Member

    It is interesting that so much effort is being put into trying to duplicate existing solutions on the cheap. The completely out of the box lateral thinking isn't really happening yet.

    I built a boat for well under 600 us which has already seen 10 knots plus in moderate wind conditions. Doesn't fit in the rule as it's a small proa.

    As Richard says you can't beat the modern rigs at their own game. But their game is very restricted. Hardware store wing sail will probably leave them in the dust.
     
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