Now we've lost Paralympic Sailing - what if we lost Olympic sailing too?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by WhiteDwarf, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 840
    Likes: 29, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 76
    Location: UK

    gggGuest ...

    I'm not sure there's much evidence that actually happens. Breakthrough boats are very few and far between, and the converse side is that with a Laser, for example, you write a cheque every year for guaranteed extra performance the moment you step in the new boat, whereas in a development class it takes time to work up a new boat, so there's less temptation to do it so often.

    There's an argument that the extraordinary competitive longevity of modern high tech boats is as much of a problem as a benefit because it means there's less of a flow of nearly but not quite competitive boats into the second hand market.

    In today's world though I think any solution that involves home building will fail. It requires three things, time, space and mechanical skills all of which are in far shorter supply than they were in the 1960s. Many of my sailing colleagues simply have nowhere they could build a boat at home.
     
  2. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 2,396
    Likes: 156, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 871
    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member

    I like your scheme for growth & involvement there, one of the two or three large hware chains certainly have the capacity to develop that & the inclusive point a terrific thought & direction.
    In the past 60s? there was a weekly series chronicle construction of Hartley ts16, apparently helped gain traction for the class & decades ahead of our current tv reality set, some celebrity competition could go a long way.
    Remembering back to 70s the 125 class & a larger model maybe 145/165? with a few kids at my school assisting Dad with construction- pretty cool really.

    Just gunna strap on me splatchers and go for a stroll across the flats...

    Jeff
     
  3. WhiteDwarf
    Joined: Jun 2011
    Posts: 131
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 80
    Location: Sydney

    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    I550 is a great boat Timber - there are lessons from your promotion

    Timber, Thank you for your post.

    The I550 is a terrific looking design, and your group have done a tremendous job promoting it through social media. Its an object lesson as to what can be done today.

    You also point out the "father to son" element in the homebuilt classes, and that this is fading. I believe that this decline can actually be reinterpreted as an opportunity. It is true that fewer families now have a good set of tools, and many - apartment/unit/townhouse dwellers lack the space for a large or prolonged project, or storage of a large boat, once completed. These are facts around which the concept must work.

    (in Australia - New South Wales) the minimum height of a car park floor in a complex is 2.4M, the same length as the old sheet of plywood, which was a factor in determining length for Optis, Sabots and yes, Firebugs among many. Such boats can stand on their transoms at the back of a parking space, and allow participation in the sport, even when the value of waterside real estate precludes clubs providing boat storage.

    This discussion is looking beyond junior training boats, and again I refer to the YouTube of a "Firebug sailing race", this class shows that it is possible to design a boat that youths and average size adults can race competitively as a step-up from smaller classes or a step down if the Laser (or whatever) is becoming too much of a handful.

    It is competitive for adults and definitely fun. The other lesson I would take from the Firebug is that much of the fabrication can be "kitted" before major construction commences. If the centreline web and bulkheads are made first and the timbers are sectioned on a table saw, then the time on the jig can be as little as a long weekend - greatly reducing household pressures! That means it can be taken on as a family project and the skills developed or retained. The combination of short building time and support from a building coach (post 41 item 4) would go along way to overcome your concern gggGuest; which is not to say that your point is invalid, just that it might be surmountable.

    And those skills acquired building have real world value - I was a manager for some 25 years. In that time, I learned that most qualified candidates for jobs could do about 90% of the task instinctively and about 10% of the task would require training because it was job specific. After confirming their competence regarding the 90% of the task, my next interest was "what else does this person bring to our team?" I would generally favour candidates with demonstrated practical skills as such skills are always useful, even if it is assembling kits of office furniture. On that basis, a youth applying for their first job, or first degree course will stand out, if they have done something substantial, and building a boat easily falls into the category of substantial. Other managers I know, take a similar view, even if they express it differently.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. WhiteDwarf
    Joined: Jun 2011
    Posts: 131
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 80
    Location: Sydney

    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Messaging to go with strategy

    If the 8 point strategy above has merit, and no one has completely blown it out of the water (yet!) it would need a series of messages to promote it.

    For the very young - early primary, card models, download the pdf, print out the pages on card and assemble a card model for colouring. "The adventure of a lifetime begins." [Note Selway Fisher encourage builders to make card models before cutting timber - see there website, Stevenson Projects did so until recently]

    Mid Primary school - Use same plans for balsawood model. Paint it with model paints and sail it across the pool or in the bath. "I've built my first boat."

    Late Primary school (Year 5) - "You've learnt to swim, now's the time to learn to sail"

    Year 6 - "Time to do it for real, a real family project."

    High school - "I built my boat - You buy your team's strip at their shop." - Yes, someone suggested that "nerds" were a part of the target market.

    Participation in active competition - For example, the Firebugs are discussing a "Trans/Tasman" event in 2016. - "Not bad for a kid's CV - I built - I sailed - and I competed overseas."

    The Hard years - 11, 12 and university - "I built the boat (perhaps I built it with dad), it's not taking up a lot of space. Let's keep it, it will be fun during the holidays."

    Early adulthood - "It's easy to carry on the car roof and fun for two on holiday, and hey, I built it."

    Marriage - "It's fun, it was an important part of my family and it will be for ours!"

    Broken home - "You can still do positive things for and with your kids."

    Older sailors - "Fun without the problems of a bigger boat, and cheap, you use your time, not your dollars to built it and it keeps you involved."

    Grand parents - "Yes we are still capable, and it will take you a little while before you can beat me, in yours."

    Great Grandparents - I don't know what I would say to him, but one Firebug builder in NZ is 95 years. - Perhaps I would simply say, "Well done!"

    Messages such as these, would fit into the social media landscape and encourage participants to continue with the project, or move on to a more demanding class, above all it would keep them as part of the sailing family.
     
  5. wet feet
    Joined: Nov 2004
    Posts: 808
    Likes: 154, Points: 43, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: East Anglia,England

    wet feet Senior Member

    We seem to have drifted from the original context of this thread a bit.The health of the recreational sailing hobby is one thing and the loss of the sailing discipline from the Olympics is another.I am quite concerned about the former and would welcome the latter.
     
  6. WhiteDwarf
    Joined: Jun 2011
    Posts: 131
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 80
    Location: Sydney

    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Wet Feet, I absolutely agree with you about the health of recreational sailing. If sailing ceases to be part of the Olympics it will be both crisis and opportunity. Crisis for those whose primary focus and funding is based on the elite focus of the sport, and opportunity for those of us at the grassroots.

    Yachting Australia has a report by GEMBA on its website, it shows stagnant participation in sailing which is perceived as expensive, elitist, disadvantaged by a late starting age and frankly, difficult to belong to. It also shows a heavy loss of participation in the later years of high school. Losing the Olympics would be an opportunity to "reset" the narrative. To ensure that any such reset is beneficial to the grassroots of the sport, I believe that sailing will need to have new narratives for sailing ready to go. I think a number of participants in this thread share the view. We have one model under discussion so far. It would be terrific to have more ideas and I for one should be delighted if someone, offered others.

    One concept is not enough. So please add your ideas of the best direction to take in this eventuality.
     
  7. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 2,396
    Likes: 156, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 871
    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member

    I really dont have an our in the water/sail up on the Olympic thing but it certainly gives those that aspire to top level a goal to sail towards, nature of humans.. some will. That Sailing has apparently been dropped from Para Olympics for whatever reason kinda looks uncool that that event cant have a parralell to Olympics... seems to be excluding that fraternity that may be up for it & equipped with the motivation, just seems/sounds shortsighted- dont know the background on it though.
    The Rec sailing participation seems to be running at a very low volume, in my industry traditionally your typical wharf rat/sail club knockabout kids might go into boatbuilding/sailmaking, from discussions with industry players they dont seem to be attracting apprentices to service the existing market, the demographic that surrounds sailing venues in my area seems to encourage every youngster to become CEO of company.... not sure that works in numbers though...... & the hard yards spent in apprenticeship in boating/sailing industry can pay divedends even in this modern world.
    White Dwarfs scheme has merit on many levels, looks like he has spent considerable time & rational thought on it, from my perspective it could through school based/ home based interest help drive the right young people into a very rewarding industry... not every one can be a CEO & not everyone a Shipwright but the two intertwine in society & at club level as do heaps of others, thing is there's massive social & personal benifits derived from sailing & command of small craft by young people gives a terrific attitude & personal responsibilty. WDs scheme looks at bringing the numbers & interest up at the entry level, the size of boat cheapish & has alternate uses as tender, kids fishing all good stuff, might even go as for as saying that in the varnished/well presented state in 50 years or so would make a great wall hanger for the retired champion ..... as the start of something.
    The aspect of resume building through construction of cool stuff I can attest to, my oldest Son built a Teardrop camper for design tech at school, self loads on/off a flat bed trailer, got a good mark for it & HSC but landed short for medical degree(research), had a meeting with Dean & could represent genuine interest & the ability to see a job through- a related anecdote, wouldn't always work but I support my kids through funding endeavours such as this, cant really afford private schooling & doubtful of benifits, thats a personal choice by every families circumstance, but can give the time & materials to assist in my own way.
    The school I went to had canoe/kayak building, I never did it as already had one but gave the opportunity for a cheap entry to watersport, of course motivated Teachers are key to this angle.
    Just a perspective.
    Jeff.
     
  8. CT249
    Joined: May 2003
    Posts: 1,332
    Likes: 130, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 215
    Location: Sydney Australia

    CT249 Senior Member

    WD, you and many others have some great thoughts and the Firebug programme is great.

    The discussion about development classes in the context of reviving sailing and home building brings up some interesting issues. The NS14 you used as an example is a great boat, but the modern NS is not really a boat that lends itself at all to building at home in ply. Even in the '70s the shape was constrained by plywood construction but that wasn't a problem when most boats were timber, or developed from shapes derived from wooden boats. The current competitive NS14, with its hollows and bumps, would appear to be an impossible boat to build in ply.

    The ply boats can also suffer issues with getting comparable rig tension to carbon boats, AFAIK. And some top builders have pointed out that the complexity and costs of top-line gear and rigs mean that a competitive boat is too expensive to warrant an experimental hull shape, therefore most people have moved to just using production moulds even in development classes. The top development-class builders I spoke to in the UK saw this as pretty much an inevitable revenge effect of modern technology in development classes.

    Sure, some boats can still be built in ply (and modern tech can allow some very interesting kits) and you can build at home in carbon, but there seems to be a lot of evidence that building in carbon is less enjoyable than building in wood, in most eyes.

    BUT.... there ARE still successful home-build classes, with the Sabre probably the real success story in Oz. People who are new to boatbuilding are turning out new ply Sabres in a few weeks at half the cost of a new Laser, or less. The Firebug is also doing well. Both these classes are cheap because of the limitations on rigs and other fittings. The Sabre bans vangs with more than 8:1 advantage, tapered spars, mylar sails, etc. In a way the F18 cats do the same thing as the Sabre, because the rules ensure that comparatively cheap hulls are competitive. The F18 can be an indication that development classes can still work, albeit in a different way to the classic development class concept. The F16, in comparison, is more expensive to build and far less popular despite its other advantages.

    So maybe the "problem" with development classes is not the lack of skills, or building space (although these do have a major effect without a doubt), but the rules that permit expensive construction, rigs and fittings and the flow-on effects they have. So maybe if development classes are to grow again, they need a change in their approach to ensure that the design spiral is unwound and the costs are reduced. It's a bit off topic but I was lucky enough to be able to ask Russ Bowler about the enormous success of the Beneteau 40.7. He mentioned that it was a deliberate example of a boat where the design spiral was un-wound. For example, the bulb was kept small because while a bigger bulb would have improved stability, the improved stability would cause higher loads and therefore require more expensive gear. Sadly, the development classes tend to ignore this sort of stuff a lot these days. I was thinking about returning to a development class I love but they just changed the rules and allowed an extra $3000 of gear if you are to be fully competitive at top level .....forget it, I'll spend the money on a nice holiday.

    PS - I forgot that the Sabre forum consensus is, sadly, that the ply boats don't last in competitive form as well as the foam ones. I suppose it may be not as much of an issue in a simple boat like the Sabre, where keen home builders can build a new boat every couple of seasons and sell the old one at a good price as it has not been out-designed.

    There was an interesting piece on the Sabre forum from champion sailor and boatbuilder Brett Young about the difference between ply and 'glass in Sabres;

    n the days that the Plywood boats ruled over the FRP ones (I felt we'd never start winning at one stage), people had more leisure time and could burn an extra 100 or so hrs hollowing and pairing ribs and frames down for weight. Boats were normally in a nice warm and non humid dining room. Wives now banish such important things to the shed or man cave. A decrease in 3 degrees can see you use up to a third more resin for no real benefit. Humidity is a weight and longevity killer. Our moulding room remains at 21-23 degrees and 39% or below in humidity all the time unless we are baking. Our foil and epoxy room remains at 26 degrees......makes a huge difference to amount of resin used and strength of cure. Back in the ol' days you couldn't get economy versions of epoxy as with the 3:1 and 2:1 types now available. These 2 don't even rate close to the 4:1 and 5:1 versions from West and SP for strength and useability. I think about half by memory but certainly a very noticeable difference.

    In the past the ply boats were stiffer and lighter than the FRP boats. Plywood by its own structural sandwiching and glue joints is naturally and inherently stiffer than foam......just FRP builders have improved their techniques, while Plywood Sabres have been built with out the spare hours to chase each gram, heavier and lower quality ply, heavier and weaker epoxy resins and less warmth and higher humidity out in the "man cave" .


    Brett's viewpoint about the interplay between changes in domestic ideals and the competitiveness of ply boats underlines the complexity of these issues. Sadly, this complexity is ignored by the people who do silly things like promote foiling cats as "the future of sailing." I've got a fast cat and have sailed foilers but geography and economics mean that if foiling cats really were "THE future" then ,my wife and I, and just about everyone else, would have no future in the sport and therefore the sport would have no future.
     
  9. WhiteDwarf
    Joined: Jun 2011
    Posts: 131
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 80
    Location: Sydney

    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Thank you Waikikin and CT249

    Both your entries are very much appreciated, and reassuring that there is some merit to this discussion.

    The comments by Brett Young are very salutary, and invite several responses, including discussions with the industry, regarding optimised formulations and training - there needs to be a safety focus where modern chemicals are used. Another reason to get such a programme organised nationally.

    The Sabre (I have only seen one) appears to be an excellent boat as a step-up from a craft like the Firebug. In fact, I understand that Lindisfarne SC in Tasmania "graduated" a group of builders, through 'Bugs to Sabres with considerable success. (I am open to correction by better informed people, but understand that each class generated over a dozen boats.) In the urban context, the merit of the 'Bug is not it's performance, it is the match of convenience/accessibility/adequate performance for adults and younger people.

    [Note - Lindisfarne promoted the Firebug solely as a junior boat therefore requiring a progression path; this clearly this undersells the 'Bugs capabilities]

    Regarding the NS14 - I concur that the class today is highly developed and few, if any boats are built in wood, I cited the class as an example of a success going against the one-design orthodoxy.

    Cost and (for homebuilt boats) time are perennial issues. One solution adopted by at least one dayboat class in the UK is a limit on the frequency with which sails can be replaced, a similar rule might be considered. While the building coach postulated earlier would assist modestly with quality/weight control and construction time.

    Another narrative of merit, addressing a different cohort, mainly the older dinghy sailors, is the very successful Classic Dinghy and "lost classes" scene which is emerging in the UK and USA.

    http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/175159/Going-Classical
     
  10. wet feet
    Joined: Nov 2004
    Posts: 808
    Likes: 154, Points: 43, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: East Anglia,England

    wet feet Senior Member

    I think what we are discussing in an oblique way is the difference between sailing as a recreational activity and sailing as a career choice.If you are sailing simply for enjoyment,you are free to choose a class to compete in and it may be a purely local class or it may be one with wide international appeal.If you are on the Olympic conveyor you have no great deal of choice and your National authority will probably point you at the class they feel you are most likely to succeed in.They may also provide the boat and coaching support as well as an income-as long as you perform.

    The purely recreational sailor may look out of the window in the morning and decide that the conditions don't look too good and it might be a better idea to devote the day to other family activities.The Olympic aspirant will have to follow the physical training programme and also put in a few hours on the water,maybe evaluate a new sail and perhaps make an appearance for a sponsor related function.

    If you sail just for fun its still possible to enjoy international competition if you choose a class with a good international appeal.It may mean that you have to find a way of paying for the boat to travel,but with a number of organisations now hiring containers to fill with boats this needn't cost the earth.I believe some classes allow competitors to just bring their own sails and find boats locally in order to keep costs down.

    The last twenty years or so have seen our dinghy market changed by the manufacturers of strict one designs with the Laser philosophy of no changes at all permitted.This eliminates the home building option and a good few of the newer classes are fairly high performance with carbon spars and laminate sails.All well and good in a number of ways but the cost is a bit steep for the younger sailors trying to get established in life and dealing with student debt.By the time they can afford such boats,the muscles and reactions aren't quite as sharp as they were and the boats don't get afloat all that much and then families come along...

    The more traditional classes don't match the advertising spend and consequently don't generate the image,even if they do have the background infrastructure to sustain a healthy existence-and some do quite nicely.The link in the previous post is worth reading as the classic dinghy scene is full of enthusiasts and they are doing it purely for enjoyment.I can't say I envy the Olympic aspirants as each country will only be represented by a handful and the rejected ones will have to cope with the notion of being failures,maybe a useful lesson in itself.Post Olympic life leads to?Perhaps a series of contracts as tacticians on keelboats,maybe an America's cup campaign-but with the very physical nature of foiling cats thats not the same as the pension plan that the old keelboats represented.I suppose an alternative career path would see the old Olympians finding employment managing the campaigns of their younger brethren.So whose sailing enjoyment or employment would suffer if the five ring circus dropped sailing?
     
  11. WhiteDwarf
    Joined: Jun 2011
    Posts: 131
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 80
    Location: Sydney

    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Fair point Wet Feet. The great local classes, dinghy and keelboat with which Britain is blessed, Loch Longs, X-Boats, Victories and the more recent incarnation of the type like Squibs will endure because of their strong connection with the local communities. The Merlins and Nat 12s et. al. have their place.

    Should we lose the Olympics, we will lose several things; government funding (most); advertiser funding (significant); interest from non-sailing families (they seldom stay committed so this may be insignificant); but most significant, the narrative into which many of our younger sailors have now been acculturated. Another issue might be called Government ear - They listen for the sound of gold medals, we need a new message to get their attention, when a channel needs dredging or a proposal could damage a sailing area.

    The GEMBA report for YA identified a lot of the difficulties that sailing faces in Australia (and our weather is kinder than the UK). I started this thread to seek new ways of articulating the identity of sailor, to hold participants in the sport and attract new ones.

    http://www.yachting.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/yac-product-positioning-brand-strategy.pdf

    Should we lose the Olympics alternative narratives will be important and they will be needed quickly to ensure that they replace the momentum that could be lost from the sport otherwise.
     
  12. timber
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 25
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 15
    Location: Pagosa Springs, Colorado

    timber Junior Member

    WD,

    I agree with your statement:

    Should we lose the Olympics alternative narratives will be important and they will be needed quickly to ensure that they replace the momentum that could be lost from the sport otherwise.[/QUOTE]

    Also, and this might be blunt, but low enthusiasm for the Brazilian sailing venue and its monumental pollution levels and problems might be a good starting point for a real examination of venue selection and ocean pollution problems. but I don't hold out much hope for that.

    back to the Original Posters question about Para Olympic sailing. Does anyone care about putting these sailors into polluted waters give a damn?
    T
     
  13. WhiteDwarf
    Joined: Jun 2011
    Posts: 131
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 80
    Location: Sydney

    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Timber, I can't say I know much about site selection for Olympic sailing in 2016. Was the pollution ignored originally, or was a clean-up promised and not, at this time, delivered?

    I do remember the massive efforts which were required to set right the course at Qingdao for the 2008 games. Was the carpet of weed that they experienced predictable? I am sure that the organisers incurred a substantial additional expense, against a modest contribution to the overall revenue of the Summer games.

    Neither situation can bode well for future sailing at the Olympics, I suspect.

    Thank you for your input.
     
  14. WhiteDwarf
    Joined: Jun 2011
    Posts: 131
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 80
    Location: Sydney

    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Red Bull's YouTube "Is this the future of sailing"

    For those who have posted to the thread pointing out the extreme elitism of those pushing expensive high performance craft, you might look at the following:-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyVPBob9qvI

    My response to Red Bull's question would be, absolutely NO. The best of the best may indeed get to this level, but in so doing, they will suck the oxygen out of the grassroots sailing clubs - where even the most enthusiastic and ambitious youngsters will start their sailing. Thus, if Red Bull have their way, the whole sport will suffer.

    I admire the athleticism of the participants and acknowledge that they have skills I never achieved, but I also wonder how they would go in a tricky tactical environment against a bunch of grey bearded veterans in a less radical class. I don't think I would put my money on those youngsters if they were racing with the Etchells on Sydney Harbour or more modestly Squibs or XODs and Cowes. There is a lot more to sailing than blasting up and down a windward leeward course without challenges of tide and tactics.

    A Balance between spectacular sailing and the rest must extend beyond the Olympics.
     

  15. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 2,396
    Likes: 156, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 871
    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member


    I think I may be a little more V than redbull

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azvCG0EroOM

    J
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.