Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

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Ed
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Ed » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:21 pm

Rupert,

too true!

I have always wondered what Uffa Fox's thoughts were on the 'changes' to his design to make the Albi...

Anyone know anything?

cheers

eib
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by ACB » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:31 pm

Rupert wrote:But look at what happened to the National 15' class, the Swordfish! National status didn't help it at all when Fairey's decided to alter it and produce the Albacore, stopping production of the Swordfish. If the Firefly had been less of a success out of the blocks, maybe without the Olympic boost, would it have gone the same way?
Permission to split a hair, here?

Faireys continued to build the Swordfish for ten years after they started building the Albacore - in fact the Albacore "outlasted" the Swordfish in production for three or maybe four years only, so far as Faireys were concerned - and it was the "manufacturer's class" - the Albacore - which went on to be built by other builders (the majority of Albacores by about 4:1) and became a National Class in its own right - albeit a slightly odd one in that it was a restricted class not an OD (mainly, I think, because there were never any "official" drawings for it wh8ilst Faireys built it and the drawings came long after the first couple of thousand boats)whilst the RYA approved "National Fifteen" / Swordfish never found another builder.

I think Faireys, in the "good old English craft tradition" were happy to turn out both (thereby showing a lamentable failure to understand mass production!)

I don't know of any comment by Uffa on the Albacore, and I suspect that he was happy to be thought of as the "designer" of a very sucessful dinghy without formally taking credit for it!

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Rupert » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:30 pm

10 years? I never knew that!
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by ACB » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:25 pm

Albacore started 1954

Swordfish stopped 1964

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Chris 249 » Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:38 pm

DavidC wrote:I think that we really must distinguish between a class that is built by one manufacturer and a manufacturer's class.

The Firefly might indeed be the first boat aimed at the mass market and produced by one manufacturer. However, it is fundamentally different now and always was from the current SMOD's. The Firefly was adopted as a National Class in 1947 at which point the YRA set up independent rules, specifications and independent management. This means that no changes can be made without the approval of the class association and the (now) RYA. The class association has an interest maintaining its class and therefore hopefully the class continues and survives. The right to build can be re-allocated by the RYA if and/or when the current builder ceases.

The current SMOD's are totally different. The entire rights to the class are owned by the manufacturer. He alone decides what he will do and when. Any class association will have no say in the boat and any rules will be so vague as to provide no protection whatsoever. The manufacturer can build the boats any way they want at any weight or standard and the customer will get what they are given. He can stop production or destroy the tooling at any time and tough luck on those that have invested in that class.

Everyone has a choice although I suspect that the pro's and con's are not always fully known by new buyers and some of the boats do have a place in the market I am sure. However as always - buyer beware.
Yes, the difference between the Firefly type SMOD and the Laser type SMOD are significantly different. Maybe we should think up a term for the Firefly-type SMOD?

The main point about the FF was that it seems to have been the first widespread (as distinct from some local classes that may have had similar rules) boat in which the manufacturer supplied the entire boat, and the class rules prevented gear from different manufacturers.

I have to agree, the way some of the SMOD builders will effectively destroy a class is pretty shocking (and surely shortsighted, since long term success must depend on repeat customers) but it seems to be pretty rare in dinghies outside of the UK.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Chris 249 » Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:56 pm

Ed wrote:David,
I guess you either like the idea (illusion?) of all racing in identical boats....or you don't.

eib
On the other hand, you can love racing a SMOD and also love racing a development class. It can be like fine coffee and fine wine; different but both wonderful in their own way.

BTW, I still have never come across actual proof that the major international SMOD classes have variations significant enough to worry about, despite all the rumours.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Chris 249 » Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:56 pm

Oh, and thanks AG and Rupert for some excellent information re cat-rigged Fireflys!

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by JimC » Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:34 pm

Chris 249 wrote:have variations significant enough to worry about, despite all the rumours.
It seems to me that thetighter the rules of the class then the smaller the variation that the competitors will consider to give a noticeable difference:-) Personally I've never worked out how to evaluate how much of a given performance difference is the boat, how much the sails, and how much the sailors...

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Ancient Geek » Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:02 pm

It is my case it is only aneckdotal evidence but from 100% reliable sources that for instance in the Laser Class prior to the 2000 Olympic Regatta Ben Ainslea (Or his man?) picked their way through in excess of 30 hulls before finding one that was not twisted and was somewhere near miniimum weight!
I hear similar issues with other manufacturers too, er not prepared to be specific?
And if you want to win in the SB3 class you take it to a speciaist to be faired and reinforced, which more than doubles the cost!
What I think it does say is there is no way you can get out of preparing the boat what ever the class no matter how old or the reputation of the builder and being vigilant to keep it up to scratch, especially in hull condition and its ability to support the rig properly.

On another thing on this thread Ranelagh Sailing Club in the 1950's to 1960's had two truly excellent launches for recsue and mark laying one was a Swordfish hull with an outboard the other an Albacore hull with an inboard engine. Both hulls were provided by Alan Vines a Ranelagh National 12 Sailor who ran Fairy Marine at that time. Not sure what that says about the merits or history but it does say they were strong hulls!
Simples.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by JimC » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:40 am

Ancient Geek wrote:It is my case it is only aneckdotal evidence but from 100% reliable sources that for instance in the Laser Class prior to the 2000 Olympic Regatta Ben Ainslea (Or his man?) picked their way through in excess of 30 hulls before finding one that was not twisted and was somewhere near miniimum weight!
The Laser class at the Olympic regatta has supplied boats allocated by lot and there is no minimum weight rule as such for the Laser class. There are builders instructions for the manufacturers, that's it.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by DavidC » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:51 pm

Phew, I think I need to offer a few comments.

ACB. There was no requirement for a class to be a one design to have national status. Whilst most of the world had either OD or Development classes we had the half way house of a "restricted" class as well. The Albacore and the Hornet were both restricted classes. Generally it referred to fairly tight hull shapes with a lot of latitude on other areas. It was a choice not a requirement. I don't know the exact date of the official drawings but they certainly exist and match the Fairey production. I have used the full size drawings in Albacore measuring although their measurement method leaves something to be desired.

Chris, I think you are right, we do need to distinguish between the types as there are major differences, particularly in ethos. I am afraid that you will find it difficult to obtain the "evidence" but those of us who work in the trade see a great deal and the differences are appalling at times. The rumours don't know the half of it at times.

Jim, I think you are right about working out the difference - people have been trying do do it for a long time. It has been argued that wide differences sometimes give better racing.
You comments about the olympics prove my point in the honesty stakes. You are right in that the class rules suvh as they are do not have a minimum weight, but it is part of the builders specifications. The tolerance is however, to say the last comfortable! You will never know whether the boat you buy is the end of the tolerance you would like or not. Well not without weighing a full dinghy park of new boats to gain some data. The tolerances for the boats to be used at the Olympics we much much tighter and in fact they had to go through well over 100 hulls to get the number they needed that were within the tolerance required. Only after that we they accepted and then allocated by draw.

On a personal note, I have been involved in this sport on a technical and building side for over 25 years and it leaves a our taste in the mouth these days when I see all that goes on. :( :cry:

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Chris 249 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:17 am

Obviously, Ben (or his assistant) know what's up. but on the other hand other world Laser champions say straight up that they don't try to pick out "special" gear. I've also borrowed gear off my former arch-rival, a three-time world Masters champ, when he was the class technical officer and I could see no difference between his stuff and my own.

In the Tasars, weight varied hugely for a while (59 to 74kg IIRC) so I've had experience of the massive weight variance. Even the heaviest boat at the nats could still get 6th or 7th out of 76, though, which isn't a bad result for a 20 year old boat with old gear. The Tasar class just pressured the builders until a minimum weight of 68kg (based on the average weight of active boats) was instituted.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by ACB » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:30 am

DavidC wrote: Phew, I think I need to offer a few comments.

ACB. There was no requirement for a class to be a one design to have national status. Whilst most of the world had either OD or Development classes we had the half way house of a "restricted" class as well. The Albacore and the Hornet were both restricted classes. Generally it referred to fairly tight hull shapes with a lot of latitude on other areas. It was a choice not a requirement. I don't know the exact date of the official drawings but they certainly exist and match the Fairey production. I have used the full size drawings in Albacore measuring although their measurement method leaves something to be desired.
David - the oddness I have in mind is the the Alb is a restricted class not an OD despite having started as a "builder's class" - I'm not suggesting that there is anything odd in restricted classes as such!

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