Big Al stars in Y&Y

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Rupert
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by Rupert » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:30 pm

:lol: He isn't in that pic...
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Nigel
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by Nigel » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:18 pm

:lol:

Does anyone remember the TV series "The Tomorrow People"?

(Max - you may have to ask your dad!)

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Max McCarthy
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by Max McCarthy » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:19 pm

I will do!
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by MartinH » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:32 pm

Nigel wrote::lol:

Does anyone remember the TV series "The Tomorrow People"?

(Max - you may have to ask your dad!)
I can, and it makes feel old :cry:
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by davidh » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:00 am

I've still not seen the article so GRRRRRRRR........ I hope I will get that pleasure tomorrow as I'm meeting Y&Y! The outcome of that meeting will be, I hope, something to bring a big smile to a number of you (nay, most of you) on here. Yes... even the Osprey sailors.... for I really do think the boat is fine, a very pleasant and rewarding boat. But.... it has to be taken in a slightly different perspective as the sport changes. But first... 'that' genoa on the FD!! I can understand that some people don't 'get' the FD for unless you're old enough to remember their glory days, the class never really made it here. Get over onto the continent and it's a very different matter - even now you can get 140+ boat fleets at FD events. As it is hardly a 'popular' boat many people would never have had the chance to sail a state of the art, up together FD - so what are they like in terms of a sailing 'experience'.

Put simply...they are an awesome beast, all the more so when sailed on one of the great open water courses.... Hyeres, down in the South of France, or Kiel, up on the Baltic (set against these great venues Weymouth sounds rather...british.... but in a south easterly you can get some great swell sailing there too). Here, with room to crank the boat up, going upwind in breeze is one of the great all time sailing experiences. There is so much power there, you cleat the main, play the traveller and just thrash away.....amazing! But.... to do this requires an above average knowledge of how to set up a rig as getting the slot right with that 150% overlap is crucial

As for the 505, that is, put simply and by whatever criteria you wish to apply, the best all round dinghy there is. It doesn't matter if you're ghosting along. powered by the catspaws on a lake somewhere, or crashing your way through the crunching chop of San Francisco, the 505 just works...maybe not quite as quick upwind as the FD but a far better performer downwind - and that was before they put the big kite on it.

BUT..... builders or no, the 505, along with the Osprey, are both struggling for support in the UK. The days when 80 boat fleets were nothing to shout about have long gone, numbers have leeched away and now the Nationals are a 30+/- 5 event. You don't have to go back that far to find 100+ boats for a 505 Worlds Qualifer - that's just to get one of the 12 coveted places at the Championships. The FDs are a small minority fleet in the UK, but at least they, and the five-0s, have that cushion of international support. The Osprey, as a national class, will stand or fall on what happens here - and that is where my words all start to make sense. For the UK scene is not really representative of the bigger international sailing picture. It is quite Uk specifific, where the presence of so many other classes is one of the major contributory causes of the changing fortunes of our senior performance boats. I don't know what the long term future is..but I do have some very real concerns for the direction that the sport is heading down here in the UK. There are plenty of examples of good boats that have lost their place...if this was Big Brother and I had to predict who was next to get evicted I'd probably say the Hornet: and therein is the issue...no great 'yoof' appeal, a national rather than international boat...and as Rupert points out, once this has gone wrong, it is very hard to recover from there.

Gosh..there is enough material for a whole magazine load of articles there. I really do wish the Osprey fleet well....for it was a great boat BUT...and it is these buts that will determine if there is a long term future for the boat...or not!
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by Rupert » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:51 am

Classes can make a comeback, but it seems the successful comeback kids started the process before they started to fade. The Fireball's reaction to the 90's assy revolution is a good example - the class were wise enough to change the rules to allow Winders to build a boat at a cost which was closer to the price of a smod, and then pushed the boat, the racing and the international competition as hard as they could - things that the Iso didn't really have. Not putting a bowsprit on was also a rather good move!

The Osprey has a lot going for it compared to all its more recent rivals - an excellent sea boat which carries the weight of 2 proper sized people - but I guess the danger is that it ends up like the Redwing, as a local class at just a few clubs, rather than as a National fleet. As such it would probably survive in better numbers than most of the boats that have come since, but not see proper growth.

For me, the class to watch is the Enterprise - why is it suffering, when the Solo is going from strength to strength? 58 boats at the last Nationals is still a good number, but well down on a few years ago - time for the blue sail fight back, or has the loss of the cruising market to the rotomoulded boats and the success of the RS200 meant the class will never reach the heady heights again?

As far as the 505 goes, I think it has really priced itself out of any mainstream market, and become the toy of either rich men or people willing to forgo anything else for the sake of owning one. Lovely boat to sail, though, even if a shortarse like me has trouble climbing out over the sidetanks to get on the trapeze!
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by pierre » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:58 am

Good points all really.

I'd just remind everyone it's perfectly OK to race an
Osprey with 3 people, and indeed, one of the Poole peeps
was allowed to race at the 2011 Nationals with two girls as crew, with a double trapeze.
All up, 30 stone in the boat
Good bit of PR and very accommodating of the Osprey fleet. No different to having
the usual sturdy Osprey crews really, and more family friendly perhaps.
Anyhow, here is a link to the article that might be of interest.
http://www.ospreysailing.org.uk/index.p ... s&Itemid=2
I'd be interested in comments.
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by Obscured by clouds » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:11 am

I can only add anything from a keelboat perspective since that's where my roots lie but I can't help but think back to something my Dad said back in the sixties, when the Dragon was ousted from it's Olympic spot by the Soling. He was glad, because it made the Dragon a little more accessible to the weekend sailor, now the elite tag was removed. He reckoned it was the death knell for the Soling in the UK, because it would become far too technical for most - and in the UK at least he was spot on.

When I bought my Soling K82 back in the early 90's I found 6 [or was it 7] separate lines for controlling the jib shape, as well as loads of string for controlling mast rake etc.

Once I'd rationalised the rig, I found that it went just as well as before, in fact it went better, because I could concentrate on keeping her in the groove rather than fiddling with a load of knitting in the bottom of the boat.

Ok I've wandered off the subject but I do wonder sometimes if our propensity to fiddle with designs, to the extent of new stuff constantly arriving on the scene has made it well nigh impossible to consolidate anything, with the counter argument being that since old designs are rulebound and impossible to update they are bound to disappear.

Not having sailed a broad range of dinghies I can't really comment on build quality but I was one of the Race Officers for the RS Nats back in the late 90's and was amazed at the turnout. It appeared to me at that time that the RS 200 = N12; 400 = MR; 600 = Contender; and so on - so it was ultimately goodbye to all those classes.

What actually seemed to happen is that since there were lots of reasonably competitive 12's, MR's etc out there peeps went out and acquired one in addition [lots of ready credit was handy :)]

If you stayed with me this long you will note that I tend to ramble so I think it boils down to this:
Olympic status + hotshots/arms race/elite = ultimate extinction nationally [with the cop out that a strong base beforehand will ensure survivability [lazer]]:
too much leeway in the class rules will lead to an arms race/over technical boat = decline; too stringent class rules = stagnation/ decline/ aficionados only/local class
Boat in a box [MR/N12/moff/I14] = development/support/room to speculate/ future

Think back to the 50's in the first big expansion of dinghy classes, and what went before - was there a gnashing of teeth and tears regarding the demise of such classes as the I12, 12m sharpie etc. I don't know, I was'nt there.

One thing I'm sure of though - there's still room for a simple high performance dinghy that those in 'the bottom middle of the fleet' can aspire to.

If the amount of interest I got in Unit 2/7 at the Topper Nats was anything to go by, I know what design that is :)
Last edited by Obscured by clouds on Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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davidh
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by davidh » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:40 am

Tony....well said Sir!

If you know someone who is a keen RS sailor, can I suggest that you get hold of the latest RS Magazine and read my column on the inside back page. Now I'm not an RS sailor, nor do I have an commercial involvement with them, I'm 100% independent and made it clear that I would only write on that basis.... Give the RS folks their due, at no stage have then clipped my wings over what I have wanted to say in their pages (to the point that this latest mag includes a picture of the Contender.... in the RS Mag!). But if you can get a copy of that you'll see that I've debunked the myth that the Rs400 was built on the notions of the merlin, the 200 on the national 12 and so on (FYI - if the 200 is predicated on anything, it is the Enterprise). I think Rupert put his finger right on the spot with regard to his worry about this class....they have the new mouldings, Rondar as a builder but one could question, with some justification, if this is too little too late. From our perspective, it matters not, for the early Ents are already welcome in the CVRDA, as indeed are the early Osprey and Hornets....but one does wonder if the writing is there up on the wall, for those who care to read it.I'm not saying any of these boats will fail...but I am suggesting that the model of Clubs and Classes that served the UK so well is facing an uncertain future.

With regard to the Unit, there were two issues with the boat. Firstly, despite being a first class sailor, David Thomas accepted that he was coming up against some of the top sailors in the world at that time come the Trials. The other issue was weight: Between Weymouth and la Baule, most of the entries must have gone on a strict diet, as the all up weights seem to be markedly reduced. David and jack (Chippendale) both acknowledge that had they done the same to the Unit, they would have been even closer to the Contender (which surprise surprise only really starred when the breeze kicked in). But both made the same observation; the IYRU selectors had already made their minds up and were really now just looking for the justification to make their decision known. It was obvious enough that come the end of the Medemblik Trials, even top class sailors in other boats than the three favourites (Contender, Unit and jeton) starting indulging in other competitive activities - but on shore!!!!!

A couple of years ago I wrote the 'Single handed combat' series and suggested back then that the market for the single hander was still wide open. Since then we've had two good boats - the Devoti D-One and the RS100, yet neither of these really 'hit the gap'. Rupert mentioned the Solo....how long before someone casts an envious eye at that area and comes up with a modern version for the 'new' breed of sailors!!

D
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by JB9 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:25 pm

The Jollyboat is still going strong at Port Melbourne YC and is nearly always sailed with 3 though only 1 on trapeze. I think the Osprey Class should be applauded for showing some flexibility in this area. When I saw the Hartley Opsrey at the dinghy show I was very impressed despite there being no wood anywhere and the price, though far from cheap, was more reasonable than a new 505.
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by PeterV » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:39 pm

Some good points in the previous posts. When I started racing (1972!) all the big handicap events had 20 or more FDs turning up. Maylandsea Bay had a strong fleet, Leigh on Sea (my club) had quite a few but Thorpe bay retained its very large Hornet fleet for the top dog position. As the FDs became more technical and costly they took themselves out of reach of the club sailor.
Finns had already died as a club fleet apart from Chichester harbour and Essex where they maintained numerous strong club fleets and a good regional open meeting circuit, but these fleets were difficult to maintain because a big cheque could get you a significant performance advantage on most of the fleet. When Lasers came in the club sailing in Finns pretty much died.
The 505s have followed the FDs in becoming too expensive and technical for club sailors, but, as Rupert said the Fireballs have very successfully avoided this, by effectively creating a SMOD within the class. For all other high performance boats the market has become diluted between too many SMODs (Laser 4000, RS800, ISO etc) all chasing the same market.
The Finn is seeing a resurgance because the latest top dog design has been around for long enough for club sailors to afford them secondhand and the boat lasts a very long time in competitive condition. However the Phantom class has also followed the Fireballs example to create a very successful pseudo SMOD.
The Enterprise has survived until now because of longevity too, but the fleet has really been attacked by the RS200 (at my current club too). But the strength of the Enterprise has also been its class association and some smart moves (which may include the new Rondar boat) may yet ensure its survival.
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by davidh » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:12 pm

bringing this all back on topic, I have now seen a copy of the Mag. Sadly, the constraints on space meant that about 40% of my original copy got lost on the cutting room floor - in this 'lost' part of the story were some fairly key details but in the end the copy had to be cut to fit the space. In addition, any apparent 'jerkiness' in the way the story is told is not (I hope) down to my skills or otherwise as a writer but more a case of chunks of text being removed.

What I'll do is ......well, hop over to a new thread that I'll be starting today and find out there, else it would be the biggest case of thread hijack going.... but suffice to say that the news is good.

Before leaving this thread, can I just correct one widely held misunderstanding. It's true that the FD, then the 505 both became expensive beasts to buy and maintain. But that is just one facet of the story: If you wanted to really crack either of these fleets, then the answer lay across the water in the competition available out on the Continent. It was no longer a case of doing a foreign event, for a trip over the channel one every year or so was not the answer. Success in any class comes with not only time in the boat, but time spent sailing against the best. Certainly in the 505 that meant a season that started in Italy, took in a few UK events before heading off to Kiel...back again for the spring Bank Holiday here (usually Grafham or Rutland) then Switzerland/Silvaplanna, Kiel again, a trip up to the Nordics - it was almost a relief when the UK nationals came around but there was no peace for the wicked, as you'd be then packing for Garda. The point of this travellogue is clear: It may have been an expensive boat to buy, but it was something else to campaign one successfully(BTW - the FDs were the same but started their seasons ever earlier with ski-yachting at Cannes and Hyeres). I was in a lucky position, but even so, we must have burnt through the money (never stopped to think about that).

Nowadays, there are not many people outside of the squad systems that can live like that. So, unless you've had a big win on the lottery, sail a boat within the squad system - or set yourself other goals!

D
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by Obscured by clouds » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:44 pm

good points David.

If I may go back to my Yoof, when I sailed Dragons. by the time August came by at SCYC I would be racing nigh on every day for the whole month - The Dragon August series iirc was 19 races with 15 to count. I looked forward to a gale, just to get a day off! I never had a holiday job - apart from prepping Dragons for my father. We had 12 of them in winter storage at one point.

Owners took the whole of August off just to move down to Abersoch purely to race. It was'nt just the Dragons either - 1/2 raters, Squibs, and assorted dinghies races the whole month

This would'nt happen any more; the money is probably still around, but the time isnt
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alan williams
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by alan williams » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:18 am

Hi Guys
I'm really flattered to think that I could be mistaken for Iain MacDonald- Smith or Rodney himself. I'm helming 350 in the top photograph with Phil Howlin an old Hornet sailor and friend. The Photo was taken by I think Ed on the sail past at the 10th Anniversery of the founding of the CVRDA at Roadford Lake SC the birth place of the Assoc.

Cheers Al
Last edited by alan williams on Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

keithr
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Re: Big Al stars in Y&Y

Post by keithr » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:07 pm

Thanks Alan

We did this for release throughout Wales so quite a surprise to see it pop up on Y & Y

link: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/1 ... Rollinson-

Thanks for your kind words.

Keith
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