RYA National Hornet Association Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Public > General
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - New Boat Builder
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

New Boat Builder

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123 5>
Author
Message
Southpaw View Drop Down
Committee
Committee


Joined: 08 June 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 154
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Southpaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: New Boat Builder
    Posted: 12 July 2010 at 13:04
I have just read the Minutes from the 2009 A.G.M. (one of many things I will do on my birthdayLOLas well as going to the dentistBig smile) and I was delighted to read that we could have a possible link with Rooster.
 
Looking at what they have done for the Graduate and the Streaker classes this may the best thing to happen to the class this century!!
 
It is unlikely I will get to the 2010 AGM so I was wondering how are discussions developing? Please spill the beans if there are any to spill.
 
Peter 
Southpaw
Back to Top
John Shelton View Drop Down
Members
Members


Joined: 30 January 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 538
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 July 2010 at 16:03

OK, I'll get the ball rolling on this one....

Yes, we did have exploratory contacts with Rooster, and I think it could have gone further, but I think there should be wider discussion about this. I think it's worth summarising where we are, and then add my comments about what could be done.

Our problem is not that we don't have a builder, but that we don't have a builder who is prepared to promote the class. For a builder to take up the baton, he has to to see some way of making money from the venture. That generally means having some sort of control over the package.

If you look at the history of the class, there were many builders like Cory, Rigden, Terkelsen, Doe etc churning out boats when the Hornet was a new exciting type of boat, safe in the knowledge that there would be takers for anything they built, from a nice fixed price list.

Then along came Malcolm and drove a bus through the rules with Revolution, Super Zonka and Short Circuit. Actually, that could have killed the class stone dead had Malcolm not then gone on to produce a 'standard' Goodwin Hornet with spin-offs via Tim Baker and Rob White - we should at least be grateful he did that. The only variations since have been the boats built by Richard Lovatt and Tim Coombe, and home built Goodwin kits and variations. Good for the class, long-lasting boats, happy Horneteers.

Your committee (while I was having a Hornet sabbatical, so forgive me if the details are wrong) then acquired the hull mould from Tim Baker, developed a new deck mould, and the Speed Hornets were born, latterly the Hoare Hornets. As I understand it, they were a difficult build, and it's not clear if either builder made any money on the project - not a recipe for further investment.

IMHO, this boat is excellent - comfortable layout from a crew point of view - but questions about build quality and longevity. Personally, I would like to see further development on this line, similar to what Dave Edge did with his own boat.

A new deck mould was then developed by a project managed by Ivor Woodland, which the association subsequently paid for, and the 'Hornet 2008' was born. Unfortunately, it was slightly outside the rules, but that was easily rectified. I think 5 or 6 of these boats were built, on the premise that anyone with a Goodwin could take the rig off that, and plonk it into a new hull - i.e. aimed at existing Hornet sailors? I think only 2186 and 2188 were totally new boats, i.e. rigs/sails/foils?

Again, IMHO, these boats look well-built, and attractive to new sailors, and they seem to be competitive in the right hands, but a nice evolution, rather than blowing the class apart a la Malcolm. The only problem I can see is that there doesn't seem to be a price list and we don't know where to buy them from. There's the rub.

So the problem is not really that we don't have a builder. But the class association owns the moulds, so as long as the builder pays us the royalties for the use of the moulds, then anyone can build a Hornet.

So where does that leave us with the likes of Rooster?

Well, let's step back and take a look at other classes. For example, the Osprey class was rather like the Hornet class - a great boat but being eaten up by the SMODs, and uncertainty about the builder - a hardcore of enthusiasts, but in decline (sound familiar?). Richard Hartley stepped in, bought the rights to the class, redesigned it with Phil Morrison, and launched the MkIV. The class nearly imploded amongst fears of overnight obsolescence, so it was high risk, but it is probably fair to say that the Ospreys have been re-born. This was their Goodwin moment. And as it's turned out, the old boats are still competitive, while allowing the new boats to have modern contraptions such as carbon masts and modern sails. It's a place I would like to be with the Hornet.

But Hartley was never going to make that investment (not inconsiderable by all accounts) without control over the boat's destiny. He owns the class. The RYA owns the Hornet.
He did it again with the Wayfarers, again with much pram/toy throwing including our friend Mike Mac, but you can't deny that the class is thriving now the dust has settled, and they certainly haven't lost their class stalwarts/enthusiasts. I saw Mike in a plastic boat the other day.

You can draw a parallel with Rooster and the Graduates/Streakers, but again, Steve Cockerill has a lot of control over those classes - he developed the rig/sails, and he makes his money on not just the boats but the accessories too. One of the first questions he asked when we made contact was "how much can I develop the rig?". Our starting positon was "you will do nothing unless the class/RYA approves it first" - not too attractive a proposition.

Along with these builders' activities goes marketing. We drool at the Hartley, Rooster and P&B (Fireball/Scorpion) stands at the Dinghy Show. All of this is funded by the builders, not the classes, so the builders need to know that they control their product, otherwise it doesn't make financial success.

OK, let's not get carried away - there are other models. We don't have to sell our souls to that idea necessarily. For example, you could take the moulds to any builder (I even spoke to Alan Bax at P&B) and they will build a Hornet for anyone, but it would cost. And why would anyone do that while it's possible to buy an older boat, refurbish it and put it at the front of the fleet for peanuts. Been there, done that.

But that approach can't last for ever, not least because a lot of good boats are leaving the country, probably never to return. We also have to think about our image of 'lots of fun for little money'. It's a downwards spiral and ultimately negative.

When I look at the Hornet in mixed company, alongside Ospreys & Fireballs, I think "what a good-looking boat - why don't more people sail them?" and we all know the Hornet is a fantastic design. But we have to get real.

Sorry to ramble on, but I hope this starts a full and frank discussion which needs to be continued. If I had a hundred grand to spend, I'd do what Hartley did - that's pretty much what he spent on the Osprey project. But I don't, and unless we can find a suitable philanthropist, we have to start somewhere else.

I apologise profusely if my retelling of history is not absolutely correct - I don't have an axe to grind. I have a few ideas, but I don't want to start a war, so I'm being as even handed as possible, to encourage views from others. Time to clear the air.

Over to you

Cheers
John

Back to Top
Harry Ashworth View Drop Down
Members
Members


Joined: 01 June 2004
Location: wolverhampton
Status: Offline
Points: 735
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harry Ashworth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 July 2010 at 08:03
well said John
Back to Top
Jono View Drop Down
Members
Members


Joined: 06 January 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 47
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jono Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 July 2010 at 09:12
From my limited knowledge of the last 10 years or so that all seems pretty accurate.
 
I think the whole basis of the issue is that the Hornet has always been marketed as a cheap, alternative class, the problem with that is that there are now so many boats available that you can get a lot for your money if you are careful. For example, I now sail a 5 Tonner which cost less than £1300 to buy and is pretty much mint condition. Now i'm not for a moment suggesting a hornet is competing with that class but there are many other newish classes that you can buy a boat in for not a huge amount more than you can buy a hornet for, without having to put any time into it before sailing it, must remember that a lot of people these days just want to get out on the water and dont want to spend time making a hull water tight before hand.
 
As a 'youngish' person, 26, I would love to see the Hornet become a bit cooler, which I think the DC boat was going some way towards doing as it does look cool and is much more comfortable than the older designs. I still think it could be taken that bit further as per what John has said, i.e. some newer materials, a drop in weight restriction (definitely, definitely possible), and so on. I know all of that doesn't sit well with existing fleet members but at the end of the day, very few new people are going into the class and the customer segment for a new boat isn't those already in the class, already with a boat.
 
How many kids coming out of 470s step into a Hornet or is it more likely a 29er............
Wizard 2186
Back to Top
Southpaw View Drop Down
Committee
Committee


Joined: 08 June 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 154
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Southpaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2010 at 22:10

First of all, thank you John for giving a potted history of the Hornet build. I must admit I do recognise much of what you have written.

 

Although I sail an International Canoe my loyalties lie also with the Hornet and it is sad to see this great class go into decline - but is it terminal decline?

 

The Hornet was my introduction into sailing when my father owned 690 built by Rigden (sliding seat). My last Hornet was GBR 2113 a Goodwin (trapeze). Also like Jono I moved from the Hornet to a Laser 5000 – to be specific GBR 5252. I was even sponsored!! From there I moved back to the International Canoe.

 

Back to the Hornet.

 

In my opinion you have to decide whether you wish sail in a class or the corpse of a class. Because the class is rapidly becoming a corpse. How many do you expect at this year’s Nationals?

 

Such idea’s as: the alternative class, cheep to sail, more “bang for your bucks” etc never work, they are well tried routes.

 

Also speaking figuratively your pram is not very big and you now have few toys. So I believe your options are not as many as you may wish them to be and hence the class may have to swallow some bitter pills to survive.

 

The day of the Independent class are surely over, the exhibition at Alexandre Palace proves that to be the case. I know the class affiliation to the RYA but this has not stopped the Graduate class and it should not stop the Hornet class either.

 

Cosequently I feel that the class should concede its independence to a builder who will promote the class and if that leads to change then so be it. At least you will have a Hornet class and  not the corpse of a class. Please remember that the Hornet started life as an undercanvased overweight boat with a sliding seat, look what it has changed into.

 

This arrangement (aligning with a major builder) works and you can add the Kestral, Firefly and Gull to the list of boats already mentioned in John’s earlier posting.

 

I hope that the future is discussed in detail at the forthcoming AGM. Unfortunately I will not be going as I will be at Sonisphere Festival listenning to the likes of Iron Maiden etc……..

 

What do others think about conceding to a major builder and to work with them to save the class from extinction?

 

Peter

Southpaw
Back to Top
Tom Guy View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group


Joined: 04 February 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 571
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 July 2010 at 09:42
Originally posted by Southpaw Southpaw wrote:


Cosequently I feel that the class should concede its independence to a builder who will promote the class and if that leads to change then so be it. 


As long as the builder doesn't take the Hartley route ("its my boat now and I'll do what I want and I'm switching off the class forum until you accept it"), I suspect it is the changes as opposed to the loss of independence that really concerns most members. What sort of changes would you accept? (Warning -  members have expressed their views on earlier posting!)
Back to Top
John Shelton View Drop Down
Members
Members


Joined: 30 January 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 538
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 July 2010 at 11:32
Peter
I think your comments are towards the bleak end of the spectrum, but you make some good points. Jono too. Bear in mind however that the 5000 is a dead-end class - no new boats will be built - ever, and I can't see anyone making major spends on their boats (sails/masts) when they wear out. There comes a point when the insurance premium starts to outweigh the cost of purchase Wink
 
I am expecting around 25 boats at the championships, so there's life in the old dog yet, but we need to discuss this at length over beers and at the AGM.
What changes would we accept? Well, I think the main issues are around all-up weight and materials, and neither of these need to obsolesce existing boats.
I'm also fairly sure that if a builder is presented with the moulds as is, why should they bugger about with the hull shape too much?
I think we have to stop being too precious about the Hornet - it's time to sacrifice control in favour of a new future.
Based on conversations with several builders, I think that all they would want is new materials, some sort of control over sails (exclusivity?). After all, what other features of the Hornet are so out of kilter with other modern boats? If the Scorpion/Graduate is attracting new blood, then the Hornet is only a bigger and faster version
Any more comments out there?
Back to Top
Jono View Drop Down
Members
Members


Joined: 06 January 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 47
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jono Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 July 2010 at 12:19

Ultimately there is not an awful lot wrong with the Hornet at all, hence the reason I sailed one for a long time, and I still have 2186 at the moment and occasionally sail another with Simon White.

 

Its more of a case of thinking about the marketing of the class (which didn’t happen during the DC relationship) and if the only way to do that is for a builder to take control then perhaps so be it.

 

To be honest, the class very much mirrors our club at the moment in that there is a base of people who enjoy sailing but perhaps don’t want much else and don’t want to get involved. This makes it diffcult for potential new owners because as far as they can see if they join this forum, there are only a handful of people who are interested to talk about these critical issues, 2 of whom aren't actively sailing the class right now.

 

Much more engagement is needed with the fleet (not an easy thing to achieve), if everyone is talking, things become more active and this becomes apparent around our clubs and to future owners.

 

I do agree that perhaps its time for a little update to a few things, this has to happen at some point to ensure the class can compete with other ‘similar’ type boats out there, I really don’t think the class should pigeon hole itself into thinking its competing with other single trapeze boats out there, I don’t honestly think that’s the case, any 2 person reasonably quick boat is a competitor.

 

The questions should be about why are RS, Ovington etc so popular, a lot of that will be the way they look, the fact you just put them in the water and go, it makes life easy for people to performance sail without having to work on their boat every winter.

 

The important thing is that the Hornet still keeps its soul out the back of what ever decisions are made, although I made the RS comparrison earlier, I would never want to see the Hornets end up as a souless plastic boat, the character and history is an important part of the class and the boat. As well as that there is nothing in the world prettier than a wooden boat, it would be a shame if any decisions were made that completely blows them out of the water (pardon the pun) on the race track.

Wizard 2186
Back to Top
John Shelton View Drop Down
Members
Members


Joined: 30 January 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 538
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 July 2010 at 11:45
any more input on this thread? I know that the forum membership is only a small subset of the Hornet sailing fraternity, but it would be nice to have some wider views?
Come on, don't be shy
Back to Top
Steve Cooke View Drop Down
Members
Members


Joined: 31 March 2010
Location: Essex
Status: Offline
Points: 37
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve Cooke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 July 2010 at 18:04
I accept that certain committee members have discussed the situation with potential builders, who have quite understandably shied away from taking the project on without having control over the development, but did any of them give any indication that the position of the class was retrievable, and if so, what would, in their opinion, need to be done that is not possible at present?
 
Unless we have someone within the class who is a marketing guru, would it not be an idea to see if an objective view gave us any chance in the current climate of austerity, and if so, what approach we should adopt.
 
I just think that with our passion for the boat perhaps blinding us to what may be obvious to a non-buzzer, we might benefit from an unbiased outsider's view of the future of the boat.
 
Also, why is the class growing successfully in Poland - what are they doing that we have possibly missed? Have we been too proud to ask them?
 
I do think that we have been selling ourselves cheap by giving ourselves the tag of "the cheap thrills boat", with the implication that we don't want anyone to come pot-hunting into our cheap as chips class with a full-on all-singing all-dancing top spec boat making all our lovely 35year old boats immediately obsolete. I think we ought to value the heritage of our boat, and celebrate all the top names that have been through the class, and say how they thought it was worth sailing and that they learnt their skills in the class to take on in their yachting careers. I don't think we should be frightened of change as long as we keep control of the development so that new boats, built by any means, aren't streets ahead but do show an improvement. I was rather surprised that the general opinion of the Speed boats was that the class was relieved that they showed no improvement on the existing fleet. In any other class, surely the new boats would have been expected to be better and the challenge would have been to see how close the old ones could get, and generate the aspiration to have a newer second-hand one or even a new tool. This has been my motivation - to see how close I can get to the front with a boat twice as old as the top bunch, and then when funds permit, maybe acquire a new(er) hull to prove that I really am rubbish! We seem to compare ourselves sometimes with the Fireball class, but they went through a hiatus when a builder came up with either the wide or narrow bow shape ( I can't remember which) and all the boats were suddenly outdated. What then seemed to happen, as with Phantoms, Merlins, 505s, Int14s etc that allowed development, was that they started having some success in major handicap events which got them publicity and big names were attracted to the class (not necessarily in that order!) and I think it's that which we ought to be giving some focus to.
 
In my past I had a couple of years in the Scorpion fleet, which was a very simple craft and had enthusiastic fleets and a reasonable nationals turnout. It had a decline and reduced to a few boats in a few clubs, but then the rules were relaxed and rigs became very sophisticated in the same way that 505, Merlin and Albacore rigs could be altered, and now the class is looking at 100 boats for its champs. Yes, the boats of the 70s and 80s have been outclassed but like in the Merlin or Albacore fleet, there is still a place for the old boats at inland venues where the stresses of waves don't break them, and more can be gained by one or two good shifts than a 3 Kg weight benefit (better to stop eating the pies).
 
My point is, after all that rambling, please let's allow development for those that want it, and if sailmakers, sparmakers etc see that we're willing to spend money on our boats, as opposed to our cheap thrills badge, they may want to get more involved. It may be too late and we're chasing the impossible dream, but lets give ourselves a chance to get modern.
More power, more prizes, more pain, more glory
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123 5>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 10.18
Copyright ©2001-2014 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.080 seconds.