Credit Crunch Sailing

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Nigel
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Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by Nigel » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:31 pm

Hi David,

in a previous thread you said "Again - the trick in all of this is to find the 'angle' - what is it about any of these boats that will make for an interesting article? Find that - and the rest is easy!"

There may be an article in sailing during the credit crunch - i.e buy an old boat for not much money, source your sailing kit from Lidl, ebay etc. and join in the CVRDA circuit.

We could get some publicity out of it.

Nigel

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jpa_wfsc
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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by jpa_wfsc » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:10 pm

Seems to me a lot of us have multiple boats - equals multiple sources of enjoyment but also of cost! I wonder if what we do is really lower cost than buying a new(ish) SMOD and just going sailing, with little or no maintenance and repair bills?

How would you ever find out? I'm not going to try the experiment for sure!

I'm reminded of Sir Thomas Lipton's comment about America's cup sailing - its like standing in a cold shower tearing up £5 notes (in the 30's a £5 was a lot of cash).
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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by clibb » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:23 pm

As I recall it Lipton said "If you have to ask the price you can't afford it". I think it was Ted Heath who liked ripping up £5 notes in cold showers ! It was after one of Lipton's challenges that someone else said "Brittania rules the waves - America waives the rules"!!

Nick

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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by neil » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:29 pm

The trick is to never to add up what it costs.
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Nigel
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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by Nigel » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:44 pm

Hi all,

I thought it would be an interesting comparison - e.g. SMOD £5k, Drysuit £200, Chandler's costs for Buoyancy aid £40, boots £40, gloves £20 etc. versus eBay boat £200, Lidl wetsuit £30, eBay Buoyancy aid £15, Lidl boots £10, Lidl gloves £5. - A bit like one of those Top Gear challenges - can you go sailing for less than £300?

I usually find my old tubs demand time rather than money. My newer boat is the one that gets the expensive new sail etc.

Nigel

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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by STEVEB » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:41 pm

Hi,
even better have a look on Freecycle, offered today "Enterprise dinghy in seaworthy condition", I did not see it but it was a fibreglass hull/wooden deck composite version. So no need to splash out £200 of hard earned cash on a boat! :lol:
Steve :wink:
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davidh
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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by davidh » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:29 pm

Nigel,

When things all went T*ts up at the magazine, I had just spent the thick end of a week researching a quite interesting piece on sailing in the current climate. Had the mag not folded, you'd be reading it now - what I don't know yet is if the new publishers will take it.

If you were a regular reader of DSM, you'll know that I covered the impact of ebay on the sailing scene, I seem to recall concluding that whilst bargains COULD be had, there was a lot of dross and Caveat Emptor (It's that Michael Brigg influence again) ruled.

But - as I said earlier - and many times before that - Cheche la femme! (MB infulence yet AGAIN) or at least find the 'angle'.

The one I'd picked up on was to look at previous recessions and compared the state of the dinghy market pre and post recession - quite an interesting exercise I can tell you.

I then tried to apply the lessons of the past to the potential future for the sport and to be honest, did not like very much what I saw! By then I had the working title and more than enough info to produce a meaningful article (though I guess that is a highly subjective statement) - which is now sat on my desktop awaiting a decision.

The good news is that the new publishers seem to be well switched on, so I am hopeful that the mag will continue to offer a place where I can get the views of the real boat sailing weekend club member aired.

What I did have - FYI - is a wonderful quote from the owner of one of the most important companies supplying certain essential items of gear to the sport (and for now that is as close as I would get to 'naming names')

He made the observation that there is now an almost total disconnect in the supply chain, between those who struggle to pay for their gear.... and the elite who get everything gifted to them. If you sail an XX YYY for instance, how do you feel that you're paying a premium on your gear to subsidise the small number of top sailors who actually pay very little - if at all?

That too is an angle that I've looked at, but as I'm not ready to be burnt at the stake for heresy, will say no more off!

But a good idea all the same, keep them coming!

D
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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by Rupert » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:43 pm

I'm pretty sure we keep 4 boats going for less than the price of one new one, but at the cost of time. And having bought new sails for the Firefly, I've spent more than normal in the last few months. The last sails lasted 12 years, though, so provided the new ones last 10, that is still only £33 a year...
As for the XXYYY, the Laser class have asked for a premium price for everything for years to pay for advertizing, which is what supplying free gear is, so why souldn't a company with 2 letters and 3 numbers in thier boat name? In return you get a thriving class, hopefully.
Rupert

Nigel
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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by Nigel » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:59 pm

Hi all,

David, I will look forward to reading your article in DSM shortly (I have a subscription). I did not know it had folded but did note the "change of staff" so thought there may be more to it. It must be tricky relying on advertising revenue in the current climate.

I worked in the newspaper industry many years ago and soon learnt that the "news" was only there to provide the requisite percentage of collumn inches between the adverts. The more advertising they sold, the more news had to be written to meet the percentage targets. I hope DSM does not start getting thinner as a result.

Perhaps I am a little cynical but people do seem to be aiming for big margins on anything related to sailing. Try buying a trolley wheel at a chandlers for example. You could get one for half the price at Towsure or get one for the same price with a wheelbarrow attached from a DIY chain.

Nigel

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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by DavidC » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:41 pm

This is a subject David and I have discussed in detail at times and one has to be very careful to distinguish between the image and the reality. Of course the Laser itself is a successful class in terms of numbers but since it has the five rings the division between sailors is so great that they need many levels and the top and bottom will never meet.

Some of the SMOD classes have a strong following but do not assume that that is the same across the board. When one looks behind the gloss the truth in many cases has a sour taste.

In some quarters it has always been that the "Yachtsman is a holy cow to be milked as often as possible" and prices reflect this. In truth the small numbers in production runs compared for example to the car industry do not help prices. Although with an estimated 800.000 less cars being sold this year here the future car prices may indeed go up.

It is very easy to put all sailing into the same bracket and from outside every sailor is well off. To go dinghy sailing to potter around and have fun is very cheap and certainly no more the £500 including joining a club and insurance. However if one wants to go racing then the costs start to go up until you reach the "elite" who are spoon fed - not withstanding their obviously high level of talent. Don't forget that this level of spoon feeding extends a long way down the sport through the many squad type systems even if not directly as cash.

Which brings me to my main point and one which makes me very sad. The boats we all love often require most of the "cost" to be in time. However the time requires a good level of practical skill. Whether we go for the "cabinet making" quality that some of us work to or the good, solid and smart it all takes a practical skill. Younger people today do not seem to have these skills in any way. Working in dinghy parks a screwdriver is an object of novelty. It is not all their fault. The education system with "multi-material" workshops using any tool for any job and where no pupil must ever hold anything remotely sharp is hardly going to help. Equally when no "talented " young sailor is expected to rig their own boat then they will never learn nor take responsibility for their actions.

There was a boat returned to the builder because neither the parent nor sailor knew how to re-tie the shock cord! A friend of mine was coaching some optimist sailors when a girl called her over. When asked wht the problem was she said her mainsheet had come un-reeved. When it was suggested she should sort it out, she said that she did not know how and her mother did that job. Being a nice calm evening she was left there to think about it and have a "learning" experience. Is this the future for the sport.............? :(

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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by JimC » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:03 pm

DavidC wrote:Is this the future for the sport.............? :(
Well the girls sailing 29ers at my club see to be pretty switched on to the day to day maintenance aspects of their boats, so I don't worry too much. I'm sure in the general world the skills to take a boat apart and put it back together will become just as rare as the skills required to take a car engine apart and put it back together are these days...

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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by davidh » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:55 pm

It just so happens that I'm something of a fan of some of the SMODs, there have been some great boats built and in comparson with some of the dross that people have put out, "as good as many and better than some" springs to mind - there is an arguement that suggests that overall the SMOD comes out just about 'neutral' with regard to the wider sport of leisure sailing. Nor is it my way to trash other boats and designs - unless someone wants a boat test done and then, if I'm asked to be objective, I will be (which is why I guess I don't do many boat tests)

What does wind me up though is the institutionalised 'gouging' (or fleecing in UK parlance) on things such as sails and masts.

There is no reason why a SMOD builder cannot make the dimensions of the sails available to all - then say...oaky, build a set, we'll measure them, if they pass, then you're a registered builder, welcome to the club! That way the commercial pressures that can help bring costs down start to filter through and sailors get a better, more transparent deal.

One onl;y has to go to another forum and follow the (at times) heated debate on what are classed as 'replica' sails to see just how the arguements about allowing builders to 'recoup' their investments can be easily trotted out.

Likewise hull weight! Why not say what the 'nominal' hull weight is for a boat (and what this include or excludes) just as per the rules in any other class, then leave it to the people who are paying their hard earner money out to decide. We've already had the dicussion on another string (and must not go off topic so I'll be brief here) about variation in hull weights in certain classes.... well, I'll also point out that in the same timescale, a Hornet hull than had been turned into a rowing skiff appeared on fleabay. And the connection......

The hornet had never ever been sailed, as during it's construction the rumour spead around the class that the boat was 16kg overweight. THis was never proved one way or another - yet just the rumour was enough to consign the hull to the rafters of the boatbuilders shed, an unloved and unwanted victim of the sailors wish to have a boat built down to weight. Was the boat overweight... I do not know, for it was never proved one way or another. It could have been though, simply by placing it on a load cell and reading the figures..... for I bet everyone in the class (and that means you too Alan W) can recite the Hornet Hull weight in their sleep.


And that is transparency. If you know what any measurement on the boat should be... then it is a simple matter to prove it one way or the other!

It is this transparency - and the growing belief that the 'joe bloggs' sailor is paying more than he need do that will cause the biggest upset in the months ahead for those who fail to see just how being a little bit more 'open' could transform their opportunities.

and as for the last part of Dave C's email...watch out for a Piece, coming your way soon, titled "Whatever happened to Bob the builder"

D
David H

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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by STEVEB » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:44 am

Hi,

happy to say that DSM are printing an article of mine next month in the practical projects section :D so I am also glad to see the magazine has survived and my 2 year subscription monies are safe for now.

It would be interesting to know the ratio of replica to genuine laser sails being sold at the moment, they seem to go well on ebay and rooster are having a sale too. :?:

Steve
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davidh
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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by davidh » Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:54 am

Steve,

I look forward to reading it! Having been in touch a fair bit recently with both the new and old DSM teams, I'm feeling more hopeful now than for a long time. Of course, nothing can be done to replace the lost revenue from last year - nearly all the contributors were badly hit when the mag folded - I lost a whole years income in effect - hence my boats all have to go and I'll be helming an XX YYY (and yes Rupert, you were right with the deduction) owned by someone else for the coming season.

With regard to the uptake of sails.... it is patchy. If the club has a strong tradition of class racing for Lasers, then it is doubtful that you could appear on the start line with a 'Rooster replica' (not the 8.1m, a straight copy) without incurring a protest. At a club where you're just part of the handicap horde, you'd probably be fine.

I think the point is proven by looking at the replica sail market. I doubt very much that these sails are 'given away' so there must still be a profit for the makers - yet they are priced below that of the main supplier. Where does the difference go? I include all the major players in this arguement, rather than any one single builder.

WQhat has this got to do with the CVRDA and classics, is this another detour off topic.?

Not a bit of i!! The credit crunch period could work well for those classes where top sailing can still be had without spending a small fortune. Par example, Brooksey posted some strings about a top class 505, a damn good boat, that was going cheaply. For under £2000, you could be sailing one of the best, if not THE best all round perfromance boat yet to grace the dinghy scene. Likewise Contenders, Oks, Solos, Ospreys, Fireballs, even the doughty Hornet, all can be bought at a good price (with care) to deliver not just good sailing but enjoyable competition.

Time will tell!!

D
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Re: Credit Crunch Sailing

Post by JimC » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:41 pm

davidh wrote:What does wind me up though is the institutionalised 'gouging' (or fleecing in UK parlance) on things such as sails and masts.
Check out car spares and the like... There is nothing unique about the sailboat industry. Complete new vehicles are always on a tiny margin compared to the spares and servicing. As SMOD manufacturers seem to go bust fairly regularly you can hardly say that its price gouging...

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