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jonsilk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jonsilk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2010 at 12:34

Reading this thread is of great interest and maybe the class has found itself at a watershed.  As some will of you will know, I left the class a number of years ago (selling 2156 to Harry) when I changed clubs, sailing Blazes, RS400s and finally modern Merlin Rockets. Unfortunately, since then I have been forced to give up sailing due to a bad back, but still hold the Hornet in such affection as probably my favourite boat, that I often think of trying one again with a fit young crew to pull the boat up the slipway!

Moving on, I have felt for some years that the class needed to allow more development especially using modern materials. I believe that certain elements should be retained which make the Hornet a pleasure to sail and an excellent sea boat, for example outside hull shape should be very restricted along with the current sail plan size. From my experience of the Merlin Rocket and the Blaze, I would add to Steve's comment, that newer boats should be quicker than older ones. Not dramatically, but enough to make people buy them. You will often find that despite the margin improvement in the newer boat, there is always a good sailor proving that the old ones are still good boats. This slow and steady improvement will not necessarily kill the class, but will perhaps encourage a quality bulider to take the class on. Just look at what Winder Boats has achieved for Solo's, Fireballs, Merlins, Mirrors etc. They have applied engineering expertise with great boat design and consistancy in build quality. Allowing people to experiment with materials, will allow for the hull weight to be reduced, possibly greater stiffness, maybe greater performance. Again from the Merlin experience, it has paid to have a promdominent builder, but the class does not restrict others from having a go. It is just that Winder builds great fast boats time after time.
 
Along with a new builder of the hull, I believe the other area that should be considered for development is the rig. Carbon rigs are great, though not cheap, and the possible advantages to the boat would include bringing older overweight boats back into competitiveness (by initially at least maintaining the overall weight at 126KG(?) with a stated class plan to reduce the weight over a 5 - 10 year period), the boats performance improves against it's handicap (thus encouraging people to get the boat as so much club sailing is now on PY, look how long it took the Merlin PY to fall from the introduction of Carbon rigs), encourages sail makers to develop shape and try new materials as people will be buying new rigs (thus improving performance again). I am not a fan of restricting sail makers if avoidable. Market forces helps keep the prices down.
 
I feel the class needs to take a chance, otherwise maintaining this cheapness, will just result in more boats going to Poland (I think they are buying the boats purely because they are so cheap and carry weight) or people buying older boats for parts and keeping them in a barn!
 
I hope this is constructive and helps the debate.
 
Jon
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John Shelton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2010 at 13:53
Both good inputs Steve/Jon - appreciated
 
To answer your first comment Steve, none of the builders I talked to shied away from such a project - they all find the Hornet an attractive proposition. After all, there's good potential there not only for boats, but chandlery, sails, foils etc. And we are also offering them moulds pretty much for free, so no real huge up-front investment.
However, I've been a bit hesitant myself, as I've only been back in the class 3 years, so I've tried to avoid trampling on sensitivities (not always successfully) and there is an undercurrent of conservatism in the class. Is it a silent majority?
I am not going to waste my time getting a potential builder fired up and ready to go, only to put them in a straitjacket of preconditions.
 
I think this discussion is crucial, and I hope we continue at the championships. At some point though, we have to say - let's do it, and move forward
 
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Southpaw View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Southpaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2010 at 20:25

I think some good points are being raised and I hope that the threads of this discussion will continue at the forthcoming AGM.

 

The class, I feel, needs to establish an offer (a package) it can take to any prospective builder. One that is commercially attractive to the builder but will not destroy the heart of the class as far as the members are concerned. But I say that against a backdrop of the class being in need of change to avoid any further decay or its own death.

 

We also need to remember that the last year we had any new boats was 2008 and these boats do not represent the creame of the class. Despite the fact that they look modern. The point being that the longer we go without any new boats the more difficult it may be to "jump start" the class back onto the road to full recovery and to capture a sizeable market. If my memory serves me right a total of 19 boats have been built since 2000!

 

I accept unreserveably that we must not be pannicked into any cause of action but we do need to take some positive action shortly. 

Peter

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richard garry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2010 at 20:34
John, which moulds are you offering to potential builders?. Presumably the new D/C  design deck mould or the Speed/Hoare moulds.
If it is the former, then we already have the next generation Hornet, without compromising the outside hull shape. The boat was strong, the weight in the boat was lower down and weight distribution was good. Its deck mould has been very cleverly designed to bring it up to 21st century thinking, without the need for loads of different moulds to construct.
 
If people are saying newer boats should be faster , then have it made out of  out of expoxy, that will make it stronger and lighter. It could have been done, but that wasn`t the thinking behind the original business model.
 
Having sailed 2188 for almost 2 years, i was generally very pleased with how the boat performed ,having not sailed a Goodwin hull shaped boat before.
The only problem i had was not having much development done on the sails with the new Alto mast that had just come out at that time. This meant the boat was just slightly off the pace in certain conditions.
I belive that if i had put Cumulus on with a suit of Macs, the boat would have performed better across wind range. The Alto was the next stage of developement for tin rigs, hence the reason for going down that route.
 
Not sure that we need to go down the carbon rig route, but can understand the thinking behind it.
 
Perhaps instead of looking for a  one "white knight", why not set up a consortium and run the business ourselves if people belive we have the right product and are prepared to put some time and money in ( just like people have done with the their local failing pubs). This might look attractive to people looking in from the outside, as we are in control of things rather than possibly one individual.
 
Need to rest my battered finger from typing now, see you at the champs.
 
Dick G.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2010 at 21:29
As far as I am aware, the association owns the hull and Speed/Hoare deck moulds and we also forked out a large lump of our funds for the new deck mould. All boats built from these moulds have to have a fee paid to the association as a result.
I agree, the new deck mould is fine - actually I've never sailed in one, but it's probably more comfortable at the front than Tim's venerable design! I also like the 'old' deck mould - very well thought out.
I would favour epoxy - more for longevity reasons than anything else - the FRP boats are showing their age.
By the way, we've been using an Alto mast for a couple of years, and it seems quite quick, without any major sail tweaking (although the furtwangler has been modifed since Starcross), but the Cumulus is a good all-rounder for lighter crews. Carbon? Well, I'd like to try it at least, but it would need some dispensations for a season or two and exclusion from Champs results perhaps.
 
A communist Hornet? Hmm, there's an idea. I'll have a think about that. I also have a nice Coombe hull you could take a mould off Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Southpaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 July 2010 at 17:54
I am not sure about the "Communist Hornet" approach. We need to get the boat back into the eyes of the sailing world. A high profile/good quality builder would be an advantage in this regard. If the class decides to proceed with development as an independent group I think we will be sidelined. Personally, I think the day of the totally independant class is over. The future, I believe, is with the sailing marquee. 
 
I do agree that the DC deck layout as it looks very modern and may be a good starting point as we approach a builder.
 
But for me the main point is to get the ball rolling soon as the longer we leave any decision the more difficult it will be to get the build/development programme started.
 
Peter
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Tom Guy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 July 2010 at 13:41
Our "Alternative class" label came about because the obvious comparisons with our friends the Fireballs. Interestedly, they have concerns themselves about their future. Even Fastsail gets a positive mention.....

(no mention of carbon fibre or reducing weight at this stage...)





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harry Ashworth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 July 2010 at 15:10
all good AGM stuff! I am (deliberately) watching all this, anyone with a view and coming to Sandwich please feel free to 'bend my ear'at the weekend before AGM 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 July 2010 at 22:04
Thanks for the link Tom - lots to read there. Can't think why they think the Fireball is in decline - we had 18 boats at the Shoreham Open last weekend, and I wish I'd been amongst them instead of firing guns.
I think Steve Goachers letter is surprisingly bleak, but the other contributions provide a better balance. Maybe there is more legs in Fastsail after all - Steve Greenhalgh's comments are worth pursuing.
 
But I think the Hornet's problems lie a bit deeper - I wouldn't suggest major surgery, but the thought of the Fireballs turning their gaze on their own problems will only make more competition for what we might want to do.
Or alternatively, we should start working together for the good of symmetric class racing some other way.
Did anyone get a chance to talk to the 505s at Stone the other day? The Ospreys are a bit snobbish at the moment, as they are still basking in their Hartley renaissance
 
PS : what are your views on carbon fibre and/or reducing weight, just for the record?
 
Harry - glad you're watching, but care to add any more comments before we meet at Sandwich?
 
We could collate and print this lot out, so we have fodder for the discussion. I suspect (wager) that the majority at the championship will not have seern any of this......
 
Originally posted by Tom Guy Tom Guy wrote:

Our "Alternative class" label came about because the obvious comparisons with our friends the Fireballs. Interestedly, they have concerns themselves about their future. Even Fastsail gets a positive mention.....

(no mention of carbon fibre or reducing weight at this stage...)





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Southpaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 July 2010 at 08:07
Thanks for the last post John. I would like to raise several points.
 
1) It is possible that the Fireballs are simply reacting quicker to the problems we should have reacted to years ago. Remember the Fireballs sail numbers exceed 15,000 so in the past they had some sustained major growth periods. Last years growth of 22 boats (I believe) was a wake-up call for them.
 
2) As other classes similar to our own are experiencing problems those that recover have the "antidote" to our own problem. In other words the class must look at the solutions that they used and accept we may have to follow suit.
 
3) I agree with printing out this forum topic to act as an aide memoire at the AGM. Hopefully the discussion that takes place will produce an action plan.
 
4) Symetric sailing is far from dead, most of the Assymetric classes from the early 1990's are virtually dead. (eg. Boss, Iso, Buzz, Spice, Laser5000, Laser4000, V3000...... though I admit that the 5000's are enjoying an "Autumn renaissance and the 4000 had a successful Europeans.) So Fastsail will probably be part of the outcome of the discussion.
 
Finally, great to hear what others think rather than the usual suspect.
 
Peter
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