US sailboat industry down 7% in 2006

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Chris Ostlind, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. TimClark
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    TimClark Senior Member

    Can't an 18 go faster than a Moth?
  2. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    18-cat or mono?

    Well, Tim in conditions suitable to both boats the foiler Moth has beaten the A-class cat numerous times. As to beating an Aussie 18 I don't know of any confirmed results but I have been told that the foiler is definitely faster upwind in foiling conditions-and "probably" downwind but I just don't know for sure. But now there is Thomas Jundts foiling 18 which should be interesting to watch..
  3. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Your tail of being inspired by the 505s seems to dovetail neatly with what (as far as I can see) works. You saw a boat that was challenging and fast, but within your reach (which isn't the case with most sailors and the really quick boats; just in terms of rigging hassle alone an 18 Foot Skiff etc is just not practical for the average good sailor).
    And you saw it in action at your local club; you didn't see it once, at a distant regatta. That's what happens a lot in places like the UK where dinghy sailing is doing well.

    One thing I've noticed recently is how a bit of work and optimism seems to be enough to turn the right class around. The way these things operate like a network seems to underline how important momentum is; tell one guy that something is growing and he'll turn on some of his mates, and some of them will turn on other friends, and it seems to cascade. But on the other side, when we stop working and start saying "sailing's dieing, it's the fault of X or Y or the old classes" then word also spreads quickly, and the sport drops away.

    One thing that can't be denied is that regardless of what's happened to boat prices compared to inflation, they are now more expensive compared to other consumer goods. When the French Vaurien (13 foot ply boat that launched the '50s-70s dinghy boom in France) came out, it cost the same as two bicycles. Now a department store bike costs less than a rudder.

    Maybe if we worried less about new boats, and more about keeping cheap old boats out sailing (and making money for fittings manufacturers, sailmakers, shipwrights etc) we could compensate for the rise in boat costs.

    Chris, although you said there's high-performance small boat sailing in SF, from what I can find out there's not the same level of connection between Optis etc and fast boats as you get in many clubs in other countries.
  4. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    What a Drag

    Just about anything can go faster than a Moth foiler when there's a plastic bag around the foil.

    Ask Australian, Rohan Veal, how he lost the World Championship last summer in Denmark in the last race of the event. The Achilles Heal of all foiling craft is the stuff they can hit, or with which the foils can get wrapped, when they blast along.

    You'll, no doubt hear something out of Doug about this, but there's something he can't deny, though he will try to pretend it isn't a factor. When a boat can go as fast as these boats can, with the inherent susceptibility they have to virtually anything that is in the water column where the foil operates, they will eventually have a meltdown crash. When Doug openly addresses that problem, acknowledging the reality, you may have a chance to engage him in an equitable discussion from that point forward. I suspect he will not accede the point and he'll keep on dropping his hype bombs about foiling as the Second Coming of the Heyzoose. Just wait and see...

    Veal's issue with the plastic bag kept him from acquiring enough points in his last race to lock-up the title. The French boat, Hydroptere was steaming along at speed in the open ocean and hit something. Well, at least they say they hit something as opposed to simply having the foil tear-off from stress. Either way, it points out the vulnerability of the form as a high-speed craft.

    Not exactly the kind of thing you'd like to see happening to a bunch of folks who just spent a wad of cash on their water rocket and now have to swim it back to the beach.

    You will not be seeing these boats in the rental fleet at Club Med and that reality is a death sentence for any craft wishing to become a People's Anything. When vacationer's can't use these boats on a tropical beach in front of a hotel, the truth of the matter will be irrefutable... they're made for a niche audience.

    You, of course, can decide for yourself.
  5. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    I sail a Taipan 4.9. They were one of the classes the F16 was designed around. Although when racing as a one design the Taipan does not use a spinnaker, many Taipans use spinnakers when racing in club races. When I've raced against them, the various F16s appear to be quick (competitive with A Class and F18s) but hard to control in strong winds. Their downwind speed depends on having the right angles for the spinnaker, and on handling issues. They are great downwind, though. The yardstick here is 71; same as an A Class. The F18 is 70.

    I doubt very much whether F16s are a cure-all for keeping kids in sailing, as very few teens sail F16s, Taipans or similar fast cats here. Two years ago my club had 6-7 Taipans racing, with or without spinnaker - now there's one and sometimes three, all without spinnaker.

    Maybe we're going in the wrong direction? Extreme sports still seem to be much less popular than football, cricket etc. My eldest (17 years old) sailed Tornadoes and in the F16 type nationals when he was 12, but he no longer sails as computers are more interesting to him. Number 2 son had a Sabot (sometimes hard to handle little pram) and now does computers. The 12 and 13 year old are right into windsurfing, on slow old longboards that are simple, tough, and easy to handle.

    The cat club has Tornadoes, A Class cats, F18s, F16 types, Hobie 14 types, and Nacras, so most of the boats are fast. The fleet includes recent national and world champs. It's also dwindling in numbers. There's only one or two teens in the whole club. The other cat clubs in town aren't doing very well, apart from the Hobie 16 fleet at one other club.

    In some places (New Zealand and the UK) the Opti fleets are booming; NZ has about 180 boats in their nationals titles in a country of 4 million! My other club moved from Sabots (similar to an Opti but bermudan rigged and faster) to having Optis as well, and our lean-to-sail classes are booked up for the next three years. Radials and Laser 4.7s are also really attracting kids in places like the UK and Australia.

    One thing I've noticed is that when we used Sabots for training, many kids brought up on computer games were terrified when they capsized or got stuck in irons. When much of your life is about the Sims or blasting non-existent lasers on Doom, real life and the uncontrollable elements can seem very scary. There's no "exit" button in real sailing.

    Kids these days skate, but so did we when I was a kid, and the kids now are the kids who have kneepads, wrist protectors etc. They're not used to being knocked around, and while many of them love speed it may turn many of them off until they can sail well enough to feel in control.
  6. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    Many Moth sailors have commented on the effect of weed and trash on foils: a minor annoyance no more no less. As it is on any high performance boat.
    Funny, Rohan Veal ascribes his loss to several other things and NOT to trash on his foils!
    As to what happens when you hit rock with a Bladerider on foils read Rohans blog at ( Tues 13 Feb.) Whats that? No damage?
    Trash/weed on foils is no more a problem on the Moth foiler than it is on any other high performance boat and anyone who says different just doesn't know the facts....
    As to Hydroptere and ocean racing foilers: I've long said that the only way that foilers will be practical for ocean racing is with some form of radar/sonar to spot objects at or just below the surface in time-objects like tree trunks or containers. Well,since Hydropteres incident on an ocean crossing she has been fitted with just such a system and the pioneering work she is doing in this area wil make ocean racing foiling possible and much, much safer than flying blind.
  7. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    The thing causing the most 'stir' amongst youngsters round here at the moment, is the coverage the two girls from the RWYC have got for winning the Mirror dinghy Worlds out in South Africa recently.

    The boat doesn't feature. The inspiration has come from the fact they were girls, they beat all the blokes and adults, that they got to travel to South Africa, sailed in the sun in Decmeber, made it onto TV and into the papers and got to drink champange.

    So these days, if it's lifestyle that sells, this sort of exposure is nothing but good.
  8. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Maybe we shouldn't focus som much on the boats :)
    Maybe other factors are more important for the kids?
  9. TimClark
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    TimClark Senior Member

  10. Raggi_Thor
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    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Hot chocolate with cream in the club house after regattas?
    replay the race on a video screen?
  11. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Are we our own worst enemies?


    Nice thread start by the way on the state of the US sailing market.

    I was reading a Woodenboat recently and they discussed the Cuban/West Indian Chalana - basically a very low buck home built skiff-like racing class that has flourished there for years. What keeps the ball in the air? Money (but not lots by our standards - @6K US to enter the game). A race circuit designed to attract and involve the beach-bound public.

    One barrier I see is the traditional patrician attitude towards sponsorship and corporate advertising. The Aussie 18's became the pinnacle of unlimited development classes due to corporate money. Aussies said "screw you" to the IYRU a long time ago on the topic. The Mirror dinghy became a best seller due to it's media-sponsored design. Why can't the sailing elite accept that corporate sponsors could fund decent boats for sailing schools in return for sail banner privileges? Every other sport has got corporate sponsorship and advertisement everywhere (gone snow boarding lately?), but sailing is still pinching it's drippy nose and sniffing about keeping the docks clear of riff raff.

    Although I believe this thread has acknowledged the carbon/kevlar/composite foam core hull as the only viable path forward, I think there is always an alternative to compromise on materials slightly to attain 80% of the performance for 20% of the price.

    I think that designers could create easy to build, cost effective high performance sailboats that could knock the extreme-sports generation's socks off - but there is industry will and commercial appeal lacking. People don't keep building and selling Lasers and 50 year old designs because they are better - it's because they make more money, pure and simple.

    I don't think the industry establishment wants to have low-cost high performance options available. I don't think yacht club commodores want Allstate mainsails on their club training boats (AAMI is an insurance company!). I don't think North America is ready to publicly admit we are 30 years behind in building competitive, modern fleets of high performance boats (and sailors). No North American wants to admit the French are MUCH better at extreme high performance offshore sailing, and the Australians are better at everything else that floats.

  12. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member


    Doug: We'll do this one last time as apparently, you still haven't fully absorbed the reality. I know it's difficult for you to address the fact that your virtual savior machine has a serious vulnerability, but them's the facts and no amount of wishful thinking is gonna change it. Weed is a problem on any high performance boat. Why else would big boats designate one of the crew to keep the foils clean while racing, or install weed cutters on the leading edges? There’s no need to cut-away that which represents no problem, now, is there?

    On Veal's second at the World's last year... he and Payne were virtually tied going into the last race day. In fact, Veal led Payne by one point and all he had to do was cover Payne through the race and he would have clinched it.

    Payne got a great start in the last race of the day and Veal found his foils wrapped with a plastic sack, forcing him to drop the boat, lay it over and get the crap off the blades so he could have any chance whatsoever. While this was going on, Payne sailed away, never to be seen again by Veal. The one point championship lead became a three point disadvantage with the crumple of a plastic bag.

    Unfortunately for him, the idea of "any chance" never really materialized, did it?... and Payne walked away from the fleet by 17 minutes to claim first place in the heat and also in the overall Championship.

    Here's the race recap and placings, which are also supported by the postings by Veal on his site from last year's event. (If he hasn't taken them down) He (Veal) had a clear shot at a repeat until he had the bag incident, which blew him back to fifth, and that eventually became his toss-out score for the event.

    Yes, I heard that Veal was suffering from a sore knee and he couldn;t really sail the way he wanted. Strangely enough, it didn't seem to be a problem at the beginning of the day when he had the one point advantage. I'm of the opinion that folks who operate at this level of sport get to cop to their maladies before the event, make a decision to go, or not go and then the BS stops right there, on the spot.

    I just watched Kobe Bryant throw-down 35 points against the Utah Jazz while he was in the middle of having the flu. 35 points, Doug, while running a fever. Veal's sore knee and one point championship lead look like a pretty good deal when compared to Kobe's draw last Monday night. Amateurs get to whine, Doug. Pros simply have to sack-up and get with the program.. or sit it out, if it's really that bad.

    Foilers are susceptible to any crap in the water. If you think otherwise... you're dreaming of a Pollyanna world in which unfettered foilers deliver your morning newspaper while you sit on your butt on the porch smoking a pipe in a silk robe. Time to get over it, Doug

    Last word on the issue
  13. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    Any boat will go slower with a plastic sack wrapped round it's underwater appendages.A foiler will suffer a greater loss of performance than the alternative types of boat.Just consider whether a Laser with a yard of weed caught on it's rudder will be able to beat a competitor who has remained unencumbered.None of which really relates to the substance of this thread.
  14. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Yes, of course, W. Feet. This was a sidebar discussion regarding the appropriate potential of a Moth type foiler as a suitable small craft that could effect change in the small craft sales figures of the US sailboat market. I indicated that I felt it concluded to that end and I'd be happy to move along with the greater discussion.

    I loved Bistro's comments regarding getting 80% of the performance at 20% of the cost. A few years ago, I purchased a new road bicycle from the local shop. I closely eyeballed the various levels of outfitting, the gear changers, the brake systems, suspension, etc., until I was head spinning from all the various price point levels for the machines available.

    It became apparent that I could get 90% of the full-tilt rig with less than 70% of the expense. Since I was not going racing and I wanted a nicer than average bike with some developed level of fit and finish, it made no sense whatsoever to buy the high end of the offerings as I'd never fully realize the potential and it would be money wasted.

    I feel the same way about boats for the average recreational sailor. A People's Boat, if you will, should fit that same, buying power paradigm in which a huge margin of fun can be had for the least amount of money. In that price point is the greatest value for the time.. and the money expended. For casual or beginning boaters, nothing else makes any sense at all and it is probably about ego or fantasy that other marketed positions are pursued.

    My 16 year old son could serve as a perfect example of how this all works. He's currently into longboard skateboarding. He's gone through something like six different boards and maybe a half dozen different truck and wheel setups in the last two years, searching for the groove that fits his boarding style. He's fairly rough on his equipment (OK, pretty much all teenage boys are rough on their equipment) so the boards come and go sometimes because they got thrashed pretty hard.

    He has now settled into a fairly average priced board with really good trucks and wheels and has gotten very good on that ride. Not the fastest, or the most turn responsive of all the rigs on the hill, but the best rig by far in all-around use.

    And therein lies the successful design idiom for young people and the Average Joe when it comes to a fun, People's Boat for sailing. Give them a truly affordable, all around product with most of the features of the go-fast rigs, allow for the boat to be "customized" somewhat through the addition of upscale hardware so that the ride can be tuned for the capabilities of the user and turn them loose. Nothing expensive, so it’s no great loss if it gets stuffed into a jetty or dock and it has an Average Joe measure of reparability if it is cracked-up, so the owner can be back on the water in very short order.

    It's no secret why you see Lasers everywhere... they fit the above description, they are fun to sail and the Average Joe can get with the program pretty quickly (as in minutes) after being shown the boat for the first time.

    The second part of the issue, once the boat type is covered, is in the organization of the events that are set to encourage the new and on-going young sailors, with a minimum of official hassle involved. I've seen too many yacht clubs in which the little guys learn about protest flags as soon as they learn about a gybe. There's something really wrong about that.

    Perhaps we should let the kids drop-by in the yacht club after the bigger boats race so they can see their elders haggling with one another over the most ticky-tacky BS imaginable. That should permanently put them off of sailing for good. Might even cure some of the nonsense between the elders, too, if they know they are being observed by their kids... or maybe not?

  15. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    CT 249 Senior Member

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