RS Aero Wins One Person Olympic Dinghy Trials-to Replace Finn

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, May 4, 2019.

  1. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 16,380
    Likes: 281, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Melbourne, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Last edited: May 4, 2019
  2. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 794
    Likes: 15, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 76
    Location: UK

    gggGuest ...

    Umm,
    1) the Aero hasn't won anything yet, all it has got is a recommendation from the committee. There's a long way to go yet.
    2) the trial is for a possible alternative to the Laser, nothing to do with the Finn
    3) the Aero got the recommendation mainly on off the water issues
    other than that you're quite correct.
     
    OzFred likes this.
  3. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 16,380
    Likes: 281, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Melbourne, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Thank you for straightening me out. However, the headline and story are from Sail- World. They said that the RS Aero "Won" the equipment trials and I quoted them.
    The Finn is/was a great Olympic Class boat and I thought a comparison between it and the RS Aero might be enlightening.
    Sorry about the "..to replace Finn." in the title.
     
  4. wet feet
    Joined: Nov 2004
    Posts: 432
    Likes: 28, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: East Anglia,England

    wet feet Senior Member

    I would be very impressed if RS were to say to the IOC "Having seen how you treated the Laser designer,we would prefer not to have our boat included in your trials.".I have long believed that Olympic sailing does nothing to benefit the wider sailing community and absorbs resources.I also live in a country that does well in Olympic sailing.The design progress of which Doug writes was achieved by designers,scientists,boatbuilders and sailors and wasn't led by anything the IOC stipulated.
     
    Doug Lord likes this.
  5. OzFred
    Joined: Nov 2015
    Posts: 432
    Likes: 40, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: Earth

    OzFred Senior Member

    Not going to happen. From the RS Sailing web site:

    "We trust World Sailing’s Council will agree and select the highest scorer from the long evaluation process."​

    I think you could say much the same about any Olympic sport. The Olympic Games exists as a sports competition, it's not a research and development exercise or intended to progress individual sports. It's an event to celebrate sports people and their achievements on a global scale and foster good will among competing athletes and nations. It has also spawned the Winter Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Youth Olympic Games, five Continental games (Pan American, African, Asian, European, and Pacific) and the World Games for sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The IOC also endorses the Deaflympics and Special Olympics.

    As an exercise in fostering sports competition between nations it's been a huge success, though it has had its fair share of issues along the way and continues to do so. Expecting it to be a paragon of sporting virtue is unreasonable, but overall I think it's done more good than harm.
     
    CT 249 likes this.
  6. OzFred
    Joined: Nov 2015
    Posts: 432
    Likes: 40, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: Earth

    OzFred Senior Member

    Indeed. The evaluation results show that the Laser out ranked the Aero on retail price, athletic suitability and performance, which are key criteria for most sailors.

    Had the Laser been steadily modernised over the decades by a program of modest upgrades to the materials and construction techniques, it may have fared much better. I think that could easily have been done without changing the fundamental boat in any significant way. Sticking doggedly to 1970s technology was always going to limit the boat's longevity, it's amazing that its popularity has lasted as long as it has.
     
  7. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
    Posts: 1,670
    Likes: 74, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 467
    Location: Sydney Australia

    CT 249 Senior Member

    On the other hand, the list of the top-selling classes in the world goes something like Opti, Laser, Sunfish, Aero, Feva, 420, Tera, Topper, Finn, J/70, 470, Formula 18. In terms of current popularity the Opti, Laser, 420 dominate. So sticking to '70s technology seems to do pretty well for many classes.

    Personally I'd be happy to see a hull that may last better at top levels, but would that reduce turnover and therefore impact on the profitability of the builders? Most people really don't need a faster hull since that is not the limiting factor in their Laser sailing. A change to the rudder pivot point to allow the rudder to be more upright and perhaps allowing foam hiking pads and a device to stop the mainsheet snagging could be good and easy upgrades, though. One problem the class is having is that other upgrades are increasing the stress on other parts. That in itself is interesting, because as far as I know things like the Mk II Standard sail were heavily tested before release, but failed under the pressure Olympians put on them. As Julian Bethwaite mentioned on SA, such things are likely to happen to any Olympic class.
     
  8. OzFred
    Joined: Nov 2015
    Posts: 432
    Likes: 40, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: Earth

    OzFred Senior Member

    In my relatively limited experience, in classes where boats can be built of wood or fibreglass (e.g. Sabot, Sabre, Impulse, 125), the fibreglass boats tend to be more popular even though they cost a lot more and a well–built wooden boat can keep up with the best. So all else being equal, sailors will likely pick boats built with newer materials and techniques (I think) for their perceived better longevity and easier maintenance.

    But back to the evaluation. The two big areas where the Aero beat the Laser was in standardisation of equipment and quality of product. Those could have been addressed through better manufacturing processes even without changing materials.

    The Lasers used in the evaluation were from the 2018 World Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, so presumably built by LPE. If this video is how LPE make their Lasers, and if the techniques are mandated by the construction manual (which I believe only licenced builders are allowed to see so I don't know whether they are or not), then it's no wonder the Aero has much better quality. Surely things like CNC cutting of cloth, electronic dosing of chemicals, robot assisted placement of cloth and application of resin, etc. can only make the boat cheaper to build while also increasing quality.

    I also don't think better quality and longevity would hurt sales, particularly given major championships are sailed in new boats and that existing boats seem to be sailed way beyond their expected life span. The class should be sustained by growth, not planned obsolescence through what is now sub–standard quality.

    PS. I owned a second hand International 420 for about 3 years. Given the rate that it deteriorated and cost of maintenance, there's no way I'd consider buying a new one, or ever buying another. The class was very popular at a local club about 15 years ago (which is why I bought one), producing a number of world champions (one of whom is a well known 470 sailor), but has been virtually non–existent locally for the last 10 years. The last person I know who bought one swapped it pretty quickly for a 29er that cost double what she got for the second hand i420. I still have a soft spot for the i420 as I think it's a boat where females seem to be able to hold their own with males using identical equipment.

    PPS. The Sunfish claims to be the most popular boat in the world. It was originally built of wood, but was changed to fibreglass. It's also had irregular minor upgrades over its life. So updating materials can be good for a class. ;-)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  9. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
    Posts: 1,670
    Likes: 74, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 467
    Location: Sydney Australia

    CT 249 Senior Member

    I don't think there's much doubt the Australian Lasers are built better in general than the British ones, but yes there is room to improve the consistency. I don't agree that quality is sub-standard, though. I tend to think that the class has a culture of treating sails and older boats quite roughly, and that has a fair bit to do with their reputation for not lasting. Since I stopped sailing them seriously I've had slow old boats and fast old boats and the slow ones were just the ones that had been treated badly or worked so hard that many other designs would also have lost performance. My "new" 1991 boat is in excellent condition and at the only regatta I've used it at, it beat two former world champs in my division in the windy and choppy race and didn't seem to lose against sailors who have been in the top 10 at the Olympics and the World Cup.....the issue was my lack of practise and particularly at the starts.

    Arguably, the Laser's success speaks for itself and to its model. In spite the claims of some, it wasn't a success because it had strong corporate backing; quite the reverse. It came out at a time when its rivals had the support of vast corporations that built things like cars and nuclear missiles. I'm not sure if there would be anything really wrong with using foam sandwich OR keeping the current basic construction but modifying it to reduce costs, but we'd need to make sure it worked as intended. The single skin 'glass tends to be pretty good for the rough and tumble of club racing; whacks that can tear a hole in a sandwich boat often don't seem to leave a mark on the Laser.

    When you referred to newer materials I thought you meant foam/epoxy or carbon, not glass instead of ply. Single skin 'glass is only about three years newer than practical lightweight waterproof plywood as a form of dinghy construction, so as far as age go they are pretty much identical.
     
  10. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 16,380
    Likes: 281, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Melbourne, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    From Euro Sail:

    RS Sailing Open Letter to World Sailing

    In the coming days World Sailing will make decisions that are likely to affect our sport for the next couple of decades and we feel it appropriate to share our views.

    Over the last twenty‐five years we have created RS Sailing and built it into the world's leading small sailboat brand. We have changed the face of small boat sailing in many parts of the globe, we have made friends on every continent and shared beers in many sailing clubs. We are proud of RS Sailing's achievements, made not by a few people but by many sailors who believe our sport can be better.

    We have not got everything right, but we have listened to the sailors and done our best to create boats and events that are right for the future of our sport. That is why we're now the brand leader.

    We always knew the decision regarding the Olympic single‐hander would be highly charged and the odds are stacked in favour of the incumbent. But the coming decisions are not just about the Olympians; this universal sector drives the youth pathways and the opportunity to build women's participation as well. The sport is currently in decline in many regions and we all share the primary responsibility to reverse that trend.

    The Evaluation was clear. Detractors will always find details to argue but the fact remains the people involved were unanimous in their view that the RS Aero offers clearly the best opportunity - for the youths, women and Olympians.

    The boat is ultra‐light, dynamic and better suited to working with a range of rig sizes for light to heavy sailors. It uses high tech construction for competitive longevity. It is backed by the RS organisation, seen as the most capable of delivering consistent high quality to the world through our existing infrastructure and an international FRAND production network on every continent.

    Look what happened to cycling when the equipment became light and sexy - the sport exploded.

    Conversely, the current Equipment design is fifty years old and heavy. Whatever the rigs, the hull is heavier than many of the sailors it seeks to serve… Lift your bike, ride your bike and think about it...

    The issues between the various organisations that build and manage the current Equipment are well documented and long running. They make life harder for many sailors and organisers. Recent communications make it clear that solutions have not been agreed. The issues and potential for litigation against all parties involved distract from growing our sport and threaten World Sailing's reputation - indeed sailing's reputation within the Olympic movement.

    So, over to you World Sailing. The experts you selected have told you that the RS Aero is the best Equipment for the future of sailing and we have proved ourselves credible partners. The current Equipment was second ranked, even without factoring in ongoing commercial issues. You can select new Equipment; you can simply ignore the information laid out by the experts and make no change; or you can take some time to consider what is best for the direction of our sport. A smooth transition is possible - perhaps starting with the women's fleet or the youth pathway.

    We offer you a chance to inspire the next generation.

    We offer the RS Aero.
    Yours,
    Alex, Jon, Riki and Martin
     
  11. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 16,380
    Likes: 281, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Melbourne, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  12. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
    Posts: 1,670
    Likes: 74, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 467
    Location: Sydney Australia

    CT 249 Senior Member

    "Look what happened to cycling when the equipment became light and sexy - the sport exploded" say RS.

    What? Look at histories of cycling and where can anyone find that link made? The sport declined for many years after WW2 as bikes got better. In the UK, where RS is based, the sport's recovery kicked off at almost exactly the time the UCI put in a minimum weight. Look at Cycling UK's official graph at
    https://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default/files/media/cycling-statistics/cycling-statistics-11a.png Other stats show more of a lift since 2000, but that was when the rulemakers BANNED lighter bikes.

    Michael Henderson's British-centred book on cycling history, for example, examines the recent cycling boom in detail and says nothing about weight despite the fact that Henderson is a self-confessed techolover.
     

  13. Dolfiman
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 755
    Likes: 360, Points: 63
    Location: NICE (France)

    Dolfiman Senior Member

    I agree with you that the RS argument is inadequated because in the cycling example, lighter does not mean more functions for the user, just a bit more performance.
    But "becoming lighter" at such can be a relevant argument when associated with thresholds below which more functions are open. The dinghy first revolution was to make them light enough to allow planning speeds. Even more lighter, as proposed among others by RS for the Aero, can be justified when only one person can do all the handling of transport and launching: put the dinghy on the roof of the car, put it in the water, ...as long as the extra cost of that lightness meets its market.
     
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.