FD Class in UK

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alan williams
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FD Class in UK

Post by alan williams » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:24 am

Hi
I was talking at the Dinghy Show to the Sec. of the FD Assoc. He said that the class is now dead in this country with no open meetings being organised. I last heard there were only 8 active FD's in the country. Much of the decline I feel has been the attitude that we do not want are old boats sailing as it's bad for are image by the Sec.. I expect that the competitive boats will be sold to Europe and the only boats remaining will be the old ones which will need our support. I'm hoping that we may now see a few more of the older classic FD's appearing and sailing with the CVRDA. The low numbers are not suprising as a new FD is now £35,000 and people were actively discouraged into not buying old boats!!!!! How the mighty have fallen by their own hand. Good news is that there are several old FD's around suitable for restoration.
Cheers Al

Rupert
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by Rupert » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:48 pm

That is sad.

I'd love to see an event with a couple of FD's, some Jollyboats, 505's, Ospreys, that kind of thing attending using the cvrda format, but we don't seem to attract them. And because we don't attract them, often the venues we are invited to suit the boats that tend to come to the meetings, so we get further away from the FD style venue than ever. Roadford might be about the best? Classic FDs and Finns sharing a venue? Sounds like a great spectator sport!
Rupert

roger
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by roger » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:14 pm

I would love an FD but they are so bloody big and you need a big crew.

Very sad that the class has declined so much.
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alan williams
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by alan williams » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:01 pm

Fd's are fine at Roadford plenty of space as witnessed by sailing 350 Grahams boat. Sad that they will soon be gone in this country, they are going from strength to strength abroard.
Cheers al

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PeterV
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by PeterV » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:11 pm

I should have bought a longer garage!
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davidh
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by davidh » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:09 pm

I regret to say that where the FDs are going now, my reading of the runes suggests that the 505s will follow! There are some crazy situations out there, as the FD class is well nigh defunct, yet where are the Worlds this year.......Largs!

Now look at the 505s - their 60th anniversary and a great opportunity to really get some interest at the Dinghy Show. They didn't lack for boats there, plenty in fact - what was missing was any sort of cohesive 'narrative' about the class or any attempt to engage with the owners of older boats.

As for getting the 'heavy metal' boats along to classic events, it really is all about the venue. I'd love to be looking at bringing the 505 (yes Roger, THAT boat) but I'm not really keen to try to sail the boat just anywhere - Roadford would work, as would Blithfield, the club at Corus (used to be British Steel). Rather than just get one boat along, it might work to try to get a number of the bigger boats, the 14s, Jollyboats, Ospreys, Hornets, F'balls, 505s and the like, as that makes more sense that sailing one boat of that ilk against others rather than trying to race it against the Minisails, a Firefly and other 'high handicap' boats.

D
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Rupert
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by Rupert » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:38 pm

Clywedog can cope with Flying 15's, so I assume would be OK for the big dinghies, too, so the 2014 programme has 3 possible venues. I quite agree with David that getting fast boats together is far more satisfactory than trying to handicap against the slow boats - just too many variables for it to be accurate.

The problem is getting the big boats out - as has been said, they are a lot of work to keep up together, take up space, you need an experienced (and probably big) crew to stop the swimming, and a lot of skill as a helm. This does limit the appeal compared to a Minisail, say. It really does have to be a well thought out ownership programme, not an impulse buy. I'd imagine the FD, like the Jollyboat, could be sailed 3 up, both to get more weight in the boat, and also, if owned as a syndicate, to keep the costs down for each person.
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ent228
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by ent228 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:32 pm

Yes, the FD dying is a real shame, I do a bit each year in a Soling, a lovely boat to sail and also a pretty much dead class in the UK.

I got to thinking about these classes dying out and was reminded of S curves.

see this link: http://markballett.com/wp-content/uploa ... rves10.png

Over time a class/product starts, improves,stabilises and then if new things are not introduced appropriately, eventually dies.

The Laser had the Standard (then the dead M) then the Radial and now the 4.7, all examples of renewal for the manufacturer, however this maybe the end of the line for the Laser 1, though Laser will continue to bring out new types boats in an attempt at company level renewal.

On Sailing Anarchy there is news of the RS Aero, its got a 30kg hull, will have three rigs and looks wonderful. It should replace the Laser as it has everything and more that the Laser 1 has not been able to incorporate due to political pressures.

If Laser had been able to do an Aero they would be able to renew and move on, but they didn't/couldn't/wouldn't and may decline because of this failure. The Laser 1 has been a good cash cow for them and they have nothing to replace it with.

Back to the FD, 505 etc. They start, improve, stabilise, and then there is no way for them to renew. You can't introduce a lighter one, or a cheaper one or a simpler one, easier to sail one or..a prettier one............by their very nature they are doomed by the restrictive rules that created them.

No renewal means no life and a lingering death.

Some classes can do renewal. Moths, MRs, Nat 12s, ICs (Ordinary, Asymetric and Development), 14s, are some that come to mind, and I'm sure you will be able to think of others.These are the ones that will be around for a while, though I think the 14 has almost worked through all the possible renewals and will now fade away, even if they stick foils on a 14 it will not be enough as they have lost their identity/brand awareness. You have to have the right sort renewal.

Sometimes you can get a renewal by changing the personnel running the class/product, getting a product champion, but older decaying classes are unlikely to attact such people, so that way is closed to most. (an exception might be the Star for instance, look at the backers behind the Star sailors League)

Which is good news in a way for all of us who never thought we'd be able to own an FD as they were just too expensive.....and have no desire to race them.
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Pat
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by Pat » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:54 pm

We even had an FD at Clwedog last year - hope he'll return.
Maybe those who have logins could post things on their class forums and facebook pages promoting the cvrda events at Clywedog, Roadford and Blithfield and also Bosham for older boats from these classes. The more we get talked about the better.
(Half Cut and What a Lark Removals Ltd)

alan williams
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by alan williams » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:53 am

Hi Pat
I'm sure Julien will be sailing at Cloggy. He's based at Plas Meni. Juliens a good example of what can be done with an older FD. I know for certain that a certain person said that it was pointless sailing a wooden FD. That it would never be competitive. What does Julien do not only restores a wooden boat but then goes on and wins the FD Nationals with it.
Cheers Al

Tony L.
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by Tony L. » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:52 am

I’ve only just seen this discussion chain & can’t let it pass without comment from by someone from within the FD class

Many of the statements made by Alan are either misquotes, factually incorrect or misleading/taken out of context.

What the thread does do however is identify the challenges we as a class are facing and having to address/manage however being a non-Olympic ISAF International Class the issues are so very different to those a of National Classes and finding solutions that bit more difficult as we can’t work in isolation.

It’s good to see active discussion on Forums such as this however they can also be very dangerous if the source information is inaccurate and there has no input from the class in question.

In the fullness of time I can write a more comprehensive response however I’m not sure this Forum is the place for that to be posted.



Tony Lyall

IFDCO/BS National Secretary
IFDCO Vice President Development

alan williams
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by alan williams » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:40 am

Hi Tony
I can only apologise if I had got the wrong end of the stick. We have also talked about the older FD's before and recognised that in the main they cannot take the rig loading that the modern boats can take, but would provide good introduction boats in my opinon. I hope that the class recovers as you know that I think that the FD is the finest of the high performance dinghys. My dream boat would be a Mader Fd but my bank manager would have a fit if I brought one. What has happened to the class in general in the UK is also happening to the other trapeze boats designed in the 50's and 60's and is not an isolated case. . World wide I know from talking to you that the trend is upward with fleets in Europe expanding so why is it that the trend in the UK is towards SMOD classes or giving up sailing completely. Could it be that people are looking for instant out of the box boats requiring no maintainance few ropes and that are easier to sail were the partying is a important as the racing or that peoples purses are over stretched and something has to go the boat. Once again I'm sorry about misinterpreting what was said.
I would love to see an invigourated Fd fleet.
Regards Alan
Ps With the Worlds at Largs are you getting a boost in numbers

Tony L.
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by Tony L. » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:58 am

Thanks Alan

We are not seeing a massive surge of interest in the UK Class as a result of the Worlds being hosted at Largs. As it stands it looks like there will be 8 GBR boats which is just one more than we had at our Nationals last year.

I could write for hours about the various reasons for the demise of the FD in the UK….. such as no UK builder, proliferation in the number of new classes, perceived costs, lack of good 2nd hand boats and so it goes on blah, blah blah, but that’s all for another time.

Tony L

Julian
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by Julian » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:39 pm

Hiya all!

While I dont post much on the site, I do follow the forum quite closely, and its great that people are talking FDs at the moment.

So here's my tenpenceworth.

I have been sailing an FD for the last twenty years, a 1979 Bob Hoare wooden boat. During that time I have raced seriously, both in the UK and Europe. I think that this has been the best fun it's possible for two people to have in rubber siuits, well in public anyway.

Myths

1. YOU NEED A GORILLA AS A CREW. Yes, but only if you want to race seriously in 20kts plus on the sea, anyone of any size can enjoy the boat, I'm 65 kg, and Cath, my wife and long term crew, is only very slightly more. The rig can be depowered easily as the breeze builds, you will lose out uphill, but so what, I'd rather be a downhill flyer anyday. The crews work is heavy, the genoa is bigger than a full laser rig, and can need three hands to sheet it in in a breeze, but the helm isnt doing much anyway and can always help.

2. THEY ARE HARD TO SAIL. Yes, but only hard to sail fast. An FD comes with almost 2 m of beam on a very flat hull, I can stand on the gunnel by the shrouds and the boat stays upright. There is loads of form stability, and also the handling is very docile and sedate. You have endless quantities of power, but as long as that is controlled, it is just a wayfarer on amphetamines. With the complex rig, they are bloody hard to sail fast, but I think thats part of the appeal.

3. THEY ARE EXPENSIVE. Undoubtedly, if you need to buy a new one to use to win the worlds. Mine, very similar to the one currently on Ebay, cost £850 twenty years ago, so I think I've had my monies worth. Fortunately my background means that I am able to give the boat the love and care it needs, and good second hand kit has always been available - three sails used for a single championships for five hundred quid makes a lot more sense to me than over two grand for a new set.

4. THE CLASS IS DEAD IN THE UK. We are in exactly the same position as many other classes, as sailors in the UK have moved from piston to jet engines, from analogue to digital, from steam to electric traction, so the older classes of mad bastard racing dinghies have all suffered, probably more than the more sedate traditional classes, eg Solos, because it takes a pair of young fit mad bastards to sail a performance boat. I do see impending doom for a number of the trad. performance classes, and having sailed a 49er and 29er, I can see the appeal which I once felt for the Osprey, Hornet and FD now being directed to the 800 and 49er by the current generation of sailors in their twenties. The FD is obviously more affected due to both its perceived difficulty, and the costs. If I was a wealthy old git still wanting to do trad. performance sailing then I could buy a pair of new Osprey for the same money, or a nice weekender! There is still a small FD hardcore in the UK, WHICH IS ALL THERE EVER HAS BEEN. I went to Weymouth Olympic Week twice in the 80s, and there were then half a dozen Olympic hopefuls, and half a dozen boats racing for pleasure. We have lost what were then called the racehorses, but now still have the same number of ponies.

I certainly have absolutely no regrets about playing in FDs for the majority of my sailing life, and as the years roll on I am still convinced it is the top sailing dinghy for me, as it does sailing through the Swellies to the pub for lunch better than anything else I can imagine, I love getting epoxy in my beard - new transom over this winter - and I love sailing with youngsters who would otherwise not have the chance to experience what dinghy sailing is really about, three sail reaching on the edge of reason in the sunshine.

Right, four final points,

1. Anyone wants a go, at either end, buys me a beer at Clywedog in the summer.

2. Anyone buys the boat that is for sale at present, I would be very happy to hold their hands in terms of advice and support. That also goes for anyone in CVRDA who is interested in any other trad performance race boat, I've been doing it since 1973, and I am happy to talk about it to anyone interested. CVDRA does seem to be orientated around smaller boats, and I like the idea of more big dinghy stuff

3. One day I'll do my introduction bit, suffice to say now that in historical terms I can go from ships boy in a clinker Nat 18 with a wooden mast, through racing a Maruader, and a Chelsea Morning international moff, to 49er club level coaching.

4. Pat, you said you wanted articles for the website, if you enjoyed this rant then please mail me with wot address / format you would like them in.

Hwyl fawr i chi i gyd

Julian Bridges

ent228
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Re: FD Class in UK

Post by ent228 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:50 pm

Actually Tony, where better to say your piece?

Once something has been said it cannot be unsaid. It might fade but it will take a long time to be forgotten.

Here we all are thoughtful, polite and have a huge amount of varied experience, also we all talk to others outside this forum about our passions.

To post a reply on the Y+Y forum or SA would probably be a waste of time, so post it here where you can be certain of a respectful audience.

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