Will IT stop classes dieing out?

General chat about boats
Chris 249
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Post by Chris 249 » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:09 am

I was sorting through the emails of people I've come in contact with as we try to revive a class I'm in, and I noticed how many of them I had found or communicated with through forums, emails etc. Then I thought how easy a Googlepages website is to put together.

It makes one wonder; will improved communication allow small classes to hang around longer? In the past, to try to keep a small class going with snail-mail and PR through print mags was pretty tough, and it must have been easier to fold up and walk away.

The way the Development Canoe has been sorted out is another tribute to what can happen these days.

Will this counterbalance the influence of the way SMOD companies make their boats obsolete? Maybe it underlines how we need a "Formula" style approach; if we have even more small classes and fewer boats in them but they don't fade away, either chaos or new thinking could be the result.

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Post by chris » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:34 am

It's like many things in life...money versus sense. Capitalism rules.
There are so many examples.
Firms want to keep increasing car sales to run their business vs we need to reduce cars on road.
More and more electrical gadgets are 'invented' and sold vs.the need to reduce consumption.
so new boats are introduced to the market, after the initial interest is over then another new model is introduced to create another wave of enthusiasm and so on.
I suppose this human nature rather than logic at work.
It strikes me that good old development classes had it right all the time. you have it all. new designs that are at the fore front of technology plus all that goes with an established class. It's then a case of finding a balance between keeping devolopment rolling and not abandoning last years boats. so that those are kept sailing too. So vintage wings, graded flights in natioanls and CVRDA will have an important part to play.
The only loosers maybe commerce - the large boat builders wanting to marking xxhundred of their latest model before the next one takes over.

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Trevor C
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Post by Trevor C » Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:03 am

Very good points raised. Without the CVRDA I would feel rather alone - the only classic wooden dinghy sailor at the sailing club. It is very nice to hear compliments about my Alb. (Ed, nobody has said what a shame it is not a swordfish) and people are amazed at how little it costs comapred to their plastic offerings. I agree that there are companies looking to maximise profits from their next design etc. but this does result in continuing interest in dinghy sailing generally. If people do a little research they are less likely to be parted from their cash for something that may soon be out of date - much better to buy something which is out of date already!!!

My sailing club sold its Wayfarer fleet two years ago and bought Laser 2000s. It is now in the process of selling the 2000s and is considering buying....Wayfarers! I have suggested that the Alb would be a better option but they want a boat with a spinnaker - fleet of Pegasus then...if only.
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Post by Ed » Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:19 pm


I am sure your Albi is just georgeous.....they are great boats and I love em. If I was a serious racer, I would have an Albi over a Swordfish any day. But I'm not and I mainly love boats for how they look and make me feel.

I never thought that saying that the Albi was made by adding a splash of GP14 to the Swordfish would create such a stir.

Generally my thoughts were far more in line with this thread.

I agree with Chris, my original point was (in other thread), the big boat manufacturers have been pushing new designs on us since Fairy Marine and are still doing so, whether we want them or not. The big guys just can't make any money out of the Dev classes due to the continual changes in design etc. So they spend their money on advertising, PR and support for a continual line of new and basically ephemeral classes of boat.

So again, I agree with Chris, the best way forwards is with the Dev classes. I think it is a pity that there have not been more new dev classes to support the move to newer wetter skiff type sailing. Wouldn't it of been good if RS had said: Here is a new 'set of rules' for a single handed skiff....and here is our enterpretation - the RS 600 - and challenge Topper etc to come up with something better within the rules. Or if some serious builder had taken up Jim Champs CH++ rules and produced a boat. This is basically how the Merlin started of course. I just think that Dev classes have so much more to offer than one-designs.

But coming back to original topic.

Yes, I am totally sure that email, websites, mailing lists and forums make the task of supporting a club membership much much easier. As I am sure you all know, The CVRDA was started with the intention of only using e-communications and printing nothing. It has done this and it works...and in its own little way is thriving. A few years ago, Andy Hayes only had under 20 Peggies on his register and 3 boats to the nats, he now has twice that on the books and 6 boats at the nats. This is all totally due to the internet.

So, yes e-communication will help small classes to keep going.

But it is also our strength and part of our mission to both help classes last out as long as they can....and then when they can't keep it going, then to amalgamate them into the CVRDA in as seemless way as possible.

No other class has really done this except the Peggie, and in a smaller way the Mercury and the Jollyboat. But I think we are still open to suggestions of how we can support struggling classes. It was just a pity that we chose to turn down the Marauders when they asked us to help in some way. In retrospect, a mistake.


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Post by Rupert » Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:04 pm

I've only ever been a development class fan in a theoretical way...too much of my sailing has been in one designs. The latest offering from the devil, the RS500, has had the 2nd one delivered to Whitefriars tonight, with 3 more on the way, to make a fleet of 5. The one out tonight looked to be having the best fun of all the boats out there, with N12 guru Jim Aldis crewing and calling the shots, they were up with an old, well sailed Fireball, but couldn't get through its dirty wind... I'm hoping to get a regular crewing job on one of the new boats soon.

So Where was I before the pastis took over?
Oh, yes, not all new boats are bad. The 500 looks like it does the job the peggie was designed for all those years ago. Of course, the bow sprit limits things, but it also makes it easy for a crew like me to jump in the boat and have fun, without showing himself up too badly like I do in Hornets...
Damn, rambling again...Yes, websites good for old classes.

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Post by roger » Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:32 am

Rupert, I dont remember you showing your self up in the Hornet. I think we won didnt we. The only time Ive beaten Keith on the water and on handicap. Why does everyone think the Hornet is difficult to sail?
The old planker is definitly easier than the newer revo and we didnt swim very often.
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Post by Nigel » Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:56 am


I think a sympathetic handicap system at your home club helps a lot in keeping these older boats on the water. The RYA seem quite rigid in assigning handicaps to only those boats with sufficient returns. This is fine for the serious racers but for the people that just want to have some fun, racing an older boat in mixed fleet racing can be made problematic. I noted the comment in another thread regarding handicaps in the Pill race. Possibly similar minded people suggested I sail the Harrier of 985 a couple of seasons ago (no logic or explanation!). Well done to the CVRDA for taking age and condition into account - if only you could do it for the crew as well :). How about add 5 for each dodgy knee and each stone overweight?

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Post by Rupert » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:15 pm

Not difficult to sail, just difficult to get right...Once the spinnaker is up and pulling, the tactical options are far greater than in a bowsprit boat, especially on a small lake. However, the time spent hoisting, gybing and dropping by an out of practice crew in any conventionally spinnakered boat can eat into this advantage. It is easier for an average crew to look good in an asymmetric.

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Post by Rod » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:19 pm

Been lurking for months so I'll pop up now with a comment. Having been involved with a design that eventually went SMOD and also with development class design (70's Int 14's, development IC's to the old U.S National Rule and now a Classic Moth) the thought processes going into the design are entirely different. A SMOD is interested in market share and should be designed safer for it;s targeted sailing populace. The development class is pure speed under the rule. For example, to design a SMOD hull that needed a T-foil rudder to be sailable would be extremely foolish.

In SMOD design, hull design is a small part of the equation; layout of rigging, ease of use, durability, visual presentation, all are big factors. Looking over at the UK SMOD scene from the U.S, I hve several observations (maybe wrong). The RS crew finally realized the skiff scene was not going to cut it as a business model and have gone after the two man/women hiking dinghy market with their RS200 and RS400 (don't know the RS500 - someone fill me in). And despite the wowsy reviews from the sailing press for any new design coming down the pike, the UK sailing consumer is just as likely to opt for an existing class.

Finally, food for thought, here's my specs for a new develoment class. Two man racing dinghy designed for husband wife crews. LOA max 4.7 m, Beam min 1.22 m, min hull wt. 65 kg. , single plank allowed for crew only, SA aroond 470 size, somewhat higher aspect full battened, assumetric hoisted just above hounds.

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Post by JimC » Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:29 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Rod</i>
gone after the two man/women hiking dinghy market with their RS200 and RS400<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

The RS400 was their first design in fact. But yes, I agree that the SMOD designers job is quite different to the development designer's one, and arguably more difficult.

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Post by alan williams » Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:45 am

Hi Rod Sounds like a light weight Hornet with asymmetric kite for those who can't handle a proper Kite. Cheers Al

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Trevor C
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Post by Trevor C » Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:55 am

I have not heard of a SMOD, are they quite rare, do they have a kite?
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Post by davidh » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:09 am

Well said one and all.

As one who tried to help keep a dying class alive (the Marauder) I can confirm that in the end it all just got too much like hard work. Instead I went and changed to a plastic fantastice (complete with bowsprit) and had a couple of seasons sailing. What made the difference was that I spent 95% of my time afloat and sailing and only 5% sorting the boat....and dealing with 'issues', whereas with the marauder it had been the other way around.

Most of us get enough crap in our everyday lives without seeking it out in our sailing too, we're all busy, time is precious, it should not be a great suprise when people opt for the easier options.

As to SMOD v development....... way back in the early 70's the IYRU wanted to go that route and drew up plans for a '4.5m open development class'. As far as I know it never even got off the drawing board, the pressure from the existing classes (at that time the 470, Fireball and 505 leading the pack) just didn't leave room for a 'tweakers' boat. That said... it 'should' happen.

Take the currently crazy situation with the Musto Skiff and the RS700. Remove their sail logos and the try to tell them apart out on the water from 100m. Two closely matched boats both carving out a niche - how much better to do a Merlin Rocket style shotgun marriage and bring the two together under and open single hander rule.

Will it happen in the current commercial climate - I doubt it very much which is a shame as it leaves two good boats 'exposed'. Look at the RS600...... how quickly people moved into that from the Contender and other classes only to move back out again, back to the Contender for full on international competition or onto the 700 for more thrills. Guess we're back to the old arguement of 'evolution not revolution'..... an arguement that has ensured that the real survivors in the dinghy world have been (not exclusively I must admit) the develeopment boats

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Post by Rupert » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:41 am

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Trevor C</i>
<br />I have not heard of a SMOD, are they quite rare, do they have a kite?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
In the olden days the SMOD was the St Mawes One Design. These days it is the Single Manufacturer's One Design, and is often taken to mean a badly built, overweight copy of a better boat, built simply to milk the dinghy sailing market of it's money. This really can't be the case, though, as there just isn't enough money in dinghy sailing to make it worth it. We are therefore left to conclude that there must be a cunning plan to all the new classes, which I for one am missing.

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Post by Rupert » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:45 am

And another thing. Do you thing it is time to re-introduce the International Moth to the pre unification rules (with tweaks to allow for modern pracice) to have a singlehanded development class that mortals can sail on water with banks, weed etc? The classic moths are big in America, but seem very set in the past, with designs from the 1960's being built, rather than new designs? I'm sure Rod can set me right on all that!

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