David, there's a lot of sense in what you say. We have been lucky enough to have been spared the wasteful excesses that saw so many similar SMOD classes hit the water in the UK, to the detriment (arguably) of all. Of course, in the past the same thing occurred with other classes, but many of them are long gone and some (Merlin and Rocket, for example????) saw sense and combined.
It's sad to hear of classes that create the atmosphere of which you speak; we don't get much of that here AFAIK although it has to be said that Laser sailors often don't create a strong club/class atmosphere these days.
Michael, may it not be best to leave national stereotypes out of CVRDA discussions? By the way, Fosters is famous for being the Australian beer that Australians don't drink.
Re "there is little surprise to find that SMOD's work well in Australia along with Fosters, Castlemaine and formula Chardonnay for the average priced palate."
Sorry, the facts indicate that you have it the wrong way around. Actually, SMODs are much more popular in the UK than in Australia.
The most popular 20 classes in Australia are; Minnow (like an Opti but with looser rules and often home-built), Laser, Laser Radial, Etchells, Sharpie (development), Flying 15, Hobie 16, Couta Boat (timber gaff fishing boat of open design), Paper Tiger, Sabre, 125, OK, 420, Int. 14, Heron, 16 Foot Skiff, Cherub, Tasar, A Class, NS14.
That's 9 multiple builder ODs, 1 OD with a single hull builder (Etchells); 1 OD with very open rig and hull construction rules (16); 4 SMODs (Laser, Radial, Tasar, H16); 4 development classes (A Class, Int 14, NS14, Cherub) and one very loose classic class. Most of the ODs here still have strong home-build aspects. There are some junior classes missing from my list, but they would probably be three ODs, one development class and a SMOD, they wouldn't affect the trend.
Apart (perhaps!) from the 29er and 49er, there hasn't been a really successful new SMOD dinghy here since 1976. It would be nice to see the MPS and some of the RSs work down here, as I'm sure we're losing people from sailing because there are gaps in what we offer.
In contrast, the UK top 20 seems to have 7 or 8 SMODs (the Firefly has just one builder at a time and comes complete with supplied rigs and sails and therefore could be close to the original SMOD, couldn't it?) one OD with a single hull builder (Squib); 9 ODs; and 2 development classes (Salcombe Yawl and Merlin).
The US top 20 seems to have 5 SMODs, 8 tight ODs with a single hull builder appointed by the association and multiple sailmakers etc (Etchells etc), one very tight OD with two hull builders but SMOD rig, and 6 "normal" ODs.
In other words, if there is some 'nasty national characteristic' that leads people to SMODding, it may not be something that should lead to finger-pointing!
None of this is attacking British sailing, which in many ways should be the envy of the world and the model the rest of us should learn from. I wouldn't doubt that 505s are bigger in Germany but isn't dinghy sailing as a whole smaller and less healthy there?
One of the things that interests me is that the UK fleets seem to be so strong (although this is an impression from a distance and I hear club fleets are struggling) and therefore maybe now the SMOD builders and traditional classes have both worked out how to avoid the destructiveness of the past.