Where the sport is heading.

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by CT249, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

  2. CT249
    Joined: May 2003
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Cool article, thanks. I spent a couple of hours admiring that scene in Hamburg on a trip there three years ago. The little artificial lake has a perimeter of less than 6km (what, 4 miles?) and yet it has about three sailing clubs including one vast one, no less than 50 active Dragon class yachts, regattas with 60 or so Optis, small yachts, and little marinas with dozens of Congers (slow, cheap little dinghies with cuddy cabins), Lasers etc, and beautiful classic German designs. There seem to be boat hire places that hire out the lovely varnished classic H Jolle gaff dinghies. The little dinghy marinas have cafes and restaurants, and it all seems to be very popular and very accessible.

    There's a cool piece by Luca Devoti underneath that one - never thought I'd see Big Bad Dennis as a role model, but Luca makes a good point about the way finely-trained athletes wearing crash helmets can actually turn people off the sport.
  3. Barra
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    Barra Junior Member

    Hamburg sailing.

    Yep the Sternchaser events are a lot of fun. Our club usually has one towards the end of the season when handicaps and boat performance are better understood.

    It all falls to pieces when conditions or tide changes after the early boats have started.

    Its still a lot of fun.:D
  4. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    I'm not sure where the future lies, but a Class that works in part on a social basis seems to be pretty sucessful. Obviously the boat has to pretty reasonable and attract enough to it, after that the sailors themselves seem to share some responsibility for the success of the boat. Builders etc can help too, as you note some UK classes have converted wood to FRP and made the thing look modern(ish) and along with cheaper to build quality is higher.

    Costs are a thorny issue, and probably always will be. Hi tech carbon composites are not cheap by their nature, or 3D moulded sails. On the plus side, at least there are enough classes for most sailors to find a niche. Not sure about today, but a few years back (in the UK) some of the Olympic class sailing at National level was a very backbiting affair with few sailors socialising or even speaking to each other. Complete contrast to some of the Junior classes - Optimist, Cadet, Terra that I see today - unles the parents are real slave drivers... Also in the UK some Olympic classes are almost non existent apart from use in trials etc. You'd struggle to find a dozen Ynglings (when an Olympic Class), and maybe not too many Nacra 17s?

    Obviously we are blessed with a plethora of Classes, literally hundreds. Maybe it's just the 'natural' way that the better ones come through, and newer designs often use that strength as a basis for a new design. Something RS have done pretty well.

    It's good that the sport has a multitude of boats that someone can learn in, and quickly become competitive. The oposition if you like is other leisure activities including stuff like computer gaming, it's important to keep an easy way in. Most Clubs are pretty welcoming and this helps a great deal especially if they are not 'stuck up'.

    Ultimately I personally actually like being in our larger environment and feeling connected to the outside around me. It's the same for serious hill walkers and other outdoor activities, different environment, different challenges. I like racing but it is not the only reason I get on the water, oh yes, I happen to enjoy it!
  5. jonas a
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    jonas a Junior Member

    I think one problem is that in many countries there is too much focus on one design in dinghy racing. Yes, in junior, Olympic and other more high end racing it makes sense. But in club regattas, it would probably be better to race handicap, even if it makes winning more of a lottery. But at least, not being part of a certain class wouldn't stop you from racing
  6. jonas a
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    jonas a Junior Member

    ...and wrt foiling. To reach a bigger part of the masses, you would need a hybrid that is decent and safe to sail for sailors with different skill levels in a wide range of conditions.
  7. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready


    I don't know about a "hybrid" but there's no question that the key to growing dinghy foiling is to provide easy to fly, comfortable foilers that take off in light wind(5 kts) and are relatively inexpensive.
    The larger Quant 23 keelboat foiler is already breaking the mold for foiler performance in light air-taking off in around 5 kts, foiling upwind in 8 kts, doing 20 kts in an 8 kt wind-and able to be singlehanded on foils!
    It seems that there are new, innovative foiler designs emerging almost every day and I imagine the best is yet to come.
  8. David Cooper
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    David Cooper Senior Member

    Maybe technology will change the way we do handicap racing. It occurs to me that you could do away with the buoys altogether and use waterproof smartphones with GPS instead to tell you where to go and when you've reached a turning point, and there would be a number of advantages to this. Firstly, you don't all have to round the same point, but would merely have to cross a line before turning to head for the next line. That would add complexity in working out the best course to follow because it might not always be best to follow that shortest possible course. These lines needn't be straight, but could curve in such a way as to make a fairly small zone the most viable target, but this would still give you a wide choice about where to cross the line before turning. Crucially though, for handicap racing you could have different lines for different classes, making the course smaller for slower boats such that they're all sailing versions of the same course in the same weather conditions for the same length of time. The course would have to be designed with the aid of a computer program which would also be able to shorten (or lengthen) the course during a race just by moving the lines closer together (or further apart), and it could change the alignment and placings of the lines too to adjust for major wind direction changes.

    Another thing that might happen with the aid of new technology appeals less to me, but it might attract more of the Pokemon generation into sailing - you could collect tokens during a race by sailing off course a bit here and there and convert them into seconds subtracted from your time at the finish, so this would introduce an amount of judgement as to whether it's worth going for them or not, but again a computer would decide where to put them for each boat in order to offer identical rewards/costs to everyone in the race. This would mean you might on occasions gain time by turning back to pick up a token that's fifty yards behind you, so you'd need to think fast. (With the computer tracking all the boats, it would be possible for tokens to be offered in ways that don't introduce any collision risk from boats suddenly doing unexpected things.) I can imagine this kind of thing being a fun addition to some children's races, and where you have a big fleet of Optimists where the ones at the back just get further and further behind and have no hope of catching up, you could offer better tokens to the ones at the back to compensate them and give them a chance of winning even though they're still at the back of the fleet. Of course, the front runners would ignore all the tokens and go for placings on absolute position instead, so there'd always be two races within a race, and that means that nothing would be lost from including this new kind of game into the action - it simply leaves the people at the back of the fleet less depressed as they're always still in the hunt for something.

  9. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Small waters.

    The moors round where I live - Huddersfield in Yorkshire, are peppered with little reservoirs, many of them built as headers to the canal system in the 19th century. I wouldn't be surprised if there were 8 or 10 little sailing clubs within 5 or 6 miles; all with basic club houses, kitchens, sometimes bars, and small fleets, often club boats for hire at maybe £6 a session, and memberships from less than £100 per year. (the larger the water the larger the membership fee!) Here's a couple of the smallest. On the largest, you might be get a leg of 750m. For reference, the thin blue lines are a 1km grid.



    Frankly, I'm a bit amazed that there is demand for so many clubs, but they command great loyalty, seem to survive on a shoestring and good will, and the very tight courses make for interesting racing and fast learning.

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