Print Page | Close Window

New Boat Builder

Printed From: RYA National Hornet Association
Category: Public
Forum Name: General
Forum Description: For topics that don't seem to fit anywhere else
Printed Date: 13 December 2018 at 22:17
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 10.18 -

Topic: New Boat Builder
Posted By: Southpaw
Subject: New Boat Builder
Date 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.


Posted By: John Shelton
Date 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


Posted By: Harry Ashworth
Date Posted: 14 July 2010 at 08:03
well said John

Posted By: Jono
Date 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

Posted By: Southpaw
Date 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?




Posted By: Tom Guy
Date 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!)

Posted By: John Shelton
Date Posted: 19 July 2010 at 11:32
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?

Posted By: Jono
Date 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

Posted By: John Shelton
Date 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

Posted By: Steve Cooke
Date 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

Posted By: jonsilk
Date 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.

Posted By: John Shelton
Date 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

Posted By: Southpaw
Date 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. 



Posted By: richard garry
Date 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.

R Garry

Posted By: John Shelton
Date 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

Posted By: Southpaw
Date 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.


Posted By: Tom Guy
Date 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...) -

Posted By: Harry Ashworth
Date 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 

Posted By: John Shelton
Date 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...) -

Posted By: Southpaw
Date 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.


Posted By: John Shelton
Date Posted: 29 July 2010 at 09:54
I just read the Fireball discussion in more detail and I notice that there are suggestions for carbon and other developments - just to get things into perspective.
I notice that Nick Hurst at Shoreham has nsome views, so I'll have a chat with him to see if there are some common possibilities. The Fireballs at Shoreham are a bit perplexed about our dedication to the Hornet, but we normally beat them to a pulp, and who knows, maybe we can persuade them to the dark side one day.
We should also think about the youth side. I think the average age of the Hornet fleet is going up every year - I never expected so much competition for the over-50 prize! Some of those cheap boats on eBay could be purchased for peanuts and given to youngsters to play with

Posted By: Harry Ashworth
Date Posted: 29 July 2010 at 17:06
John, sorry no time pre Sandwich, please consider printing copies for the benefit of non-forum viewers

Posted By: Floozie
Date Posted: 30 July 2010 at 19:59
Hi everyone
I think committing to a builder, making compromises, and giving them the rights they need to make money out of selling hornets has to be the way to go to move the class forward. It could even be agreed to waive the comission charge to use the molds if nesessary. the class has paid for them, we could look at it as an investment to the future of the class instead. we have to do every thing we can to move forward, including taking big (calculated) risks
i'm sure any builder would be happy for us to add a clause that any one could still build (or have built) their own Hornet out of wood, so the class could still mantain some of its diverse look (that is part of its great character) into the future.
Jo 2115

Posted By: roger
Date Posted: 02 August 2010 at 13:11
As a no longer paid up member I dont know if I am entitled to a say in which case please ignore.
As the owner of one of the oldest Hornets around in very unmodified condition it is obvious how much the boat has moved with the times since 1952. Although the hull shape is still basically the same they have certainly moved on a great deal.
If the class had stayed with the same rules and materials as were state of the art in those days the class would have died long ago(wooden mast ,cotton sails).
I think the proposal of a negotiation with a new builder and may be give up some of the independence the class has enjoyed in order to move forward then the opportunity should be taken as it may be the last chance you have.
The class has a great Heritage and history and there is no reason it cant go forward with the support of a builder such as Rooster but it does have to be worth their while.
Boats as diverse as the Osprey and the Graduate have all had shake ups lately and it has done them no long term harm.
I say go for it now while you still can.

Posted By: Mud of Maldon
Date Posted: 04 August 2010 at 20:31
As the new membership secretary, could you please let me know why you are no longer a 'paid up' member?

Posted By: roger
Date Posted: 04 August 2010 at 20:38
Mainly because I no longer have a competetive boat but also we hit on some hard times and all extras had to go. I sold all my boats except Shoestring and the family geep but neither re worth much.
I dont need to be an association member to race cvrda so I have let it slip. When I win the lottery I will buy the first new Hornet.Smile

Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 05 August 2010 at 15:00
Returning to topic if I may.

The Championships completed and the AGM has passed. Is there any plan to publish the results of the discussion that took place sooner rather than waiting for the AGM minutes to be published in several months time?

In my opinion from reading the forum posts a definite strategy is developing about what needs to be done and I for one (before I return to the class) am interested in the next steps to be taken by the class.

Over to you.


Posted By: John Shelton
Date Posted: 05 August 2010 at 18:34
If I may summarise, the general consensus of the class is to move forward and take some decisions without being too precious about the Hornet. A small sub-committee will be formed to (re)take up contacts with potential builders/partners, with a view to allowing sensible changes to the boat, without it changing drastically, and losing the essence of what makes a Hornet. All agreed that the builder has to have certain freedoms to make it commercially viable.
One suggestion was to revisit the idea of a larger spinnaker, and after a 'viewing' on the beach, I think it fair to say that 99% of people were for the idea, so this will be progressed sooner rather than later.
Also, a motion will be put forward at an EGM (possibly to be held at the Herne Bay open) to allow modern sail materials, a la Fireball. It was felt that their exclusion in the rules re-write was an oversight.

Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 06 August 2010 at 18:03
Thanks for the post John, but I do have one concern.
The builders who have had a very positive impact on the class they now act for have been able to recomend changes. So much we know. Generating changes have been part of the commercial viability of the project.  
Surely leave the spinnaker as it is and let the builder work with the sub-committee to redesign/adapted the sail plan.  The more the builder feels he can influence the more commercial he may feel the project is.
I am glad to read that the essence of the Hornet is to remain, especially as we have a number of woodern boats in good condition even though the last wooden boat was built about 12 years ago.
So we are moving and that is great. Any idea on a possible timeframe for action? 


Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 14 September 2010 at 20:16
Just a sort of postscript to this thread.

I note that the Supernova is now being produced by Hartley. The first thing they did was redesign the cockpit of the boat (did the same with the Osprey) and it is now reputed by those who sail the boat that the revised design is much better. Hartley have started their numbers at 1000 and have sold at least 14 boats so far.

The trend of established classes joining major boat-builders continues.

It is interesting that Rooster had been involved with the Graduate class for a couple of years before they started building boats. Steve Cockerell being National Champion for the two years before the first Rooster Graduate was built. I believe he started by looking at the rig.

I think we are in a very strong position to offer a good package.

We have our own mould as well as a rig that could be developed further. The class rules allow for a certain amount of development without having to change the class rules. Also we have a class structure and an open meeting circuit.

I look forward to hearing the results from those taking part in any negotiations, although I expect it will be sometime before there is anything to report.


Posted By: Harry Ashworth
Date Posted: 16 September 2010 at 08:15
I hope to get the minutes out soon ( we have no secretary). We resolved that a sub-committee would take this forward.

Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 18 October 2010 at 21:20
The issue of linking up with a new builder is easier said than done.
I was looking through some old magazines recently and came across the 2000/2001 brochure issued by Speed Sails who had just begun to build Hornets for the class. I was dismayed to find that their catalogue did not mention the Hornet but did mention various other boats built and equipped by Speed Sails. There was a loose sheet of A4 included which set out the price list for the Hornet, this was included because I had requested one (per the covering letter it seems).
I am not critising Speed Sails in anyway as I rate that company very highly and in particular Richard Estauhouse (even though I cannot spell his name).
But it does show the need to get the package/agreement right with the proposed builder/developer.
Clearly we must give the appointed sub-committee time to progress this matter but may I ask have we established whether there is a frame of reference for them to act. In other words has the class decided what its initial "wish list" would be for the builder/developer to consider.


Posted By: DaveChiv
Date Posted: 30 October 2010 at 00:21
I have just had a read through this subject offer a couple of comments. I was involved in the changes of several of the classes that have been mentioned and seen the the fall out and ongoing problems that still exist under the carpet with many of the manufacturers classes. Please be very careful before you sell your soul to the devil he will take everything and the devil has many faces.

The main thing I noted was that the "builder" wanted total control and I mean total. No more wooden boats, ownership of the copyright and basically the right to do what he wants when he wants with no reference to the class whatsoever. That is what ownership really means!

Of course the class needs to move forward but there are plenty of builders to talk to. The class rules allow an enormous variation in materials and shapes of foils and decks without the need for any rule changes.

Be careful that you do not end up with something that is called a Hornet but is nothing that you recognize! Working with a builder is one thing, being dictated to is another.

Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 30 October 2010 at 22:38
I for one appreciate your comments, Dave. I am sure that the sub-committee formed will ensure that we do not trade the soul of the Hornet just to produce a few more boats.
Clearly, this is a question of balance -- a trade off of sorts.
One thing I do note is that no one has actually published suggestions of how this balance will be achieved. What will we give and what do we expect to receive in return. Perhaps we need to get this sorted out.
Dave, may I ask have you any thoughts about how this balance could be achieved.


Posted By: Loosieland
Date Posted: 30 November 2010 at 21:28
What a long thread but clearly an important one. Thank you John for your history leason.
I accept that we need to align ourselves with a builder committed to seeing the class grow and it is class growth that will keep the Hornet alive. But I do not think it is enough.
We need to be committed to the builder and comunicate with them.
The Devon Composite situation is a good example. The boat when shown at the 2008 dinghy exhibition caused a substantial exchange of e-mails over the legality of the cut away transom. I know of one potential newcomer to the class who was put off by the fact that the "New-style Hornet" could be illegal. His thoughts were that such matters should be resolved before production even started. He was thinking of ordering a boat reminiscent of the ISO he used to sail but not so extreme.
Also, in the thread there is little (in my opinion) concerning how we are going to support the builder. This is important if Yachts and Yachting classes review is to believed. Evidently one new boat was built during 2010 and that discussion are now underway with a new builder.
Clearly, details of the new builder cannot be disclosed if we are at the discussion stage but if the discussions are advanced then we need to  plan how we will showcase the boat and prevent any mistakes from the past being repeated.
Let us hope that there is life in the "Old Girl" yet.


Posted By: John Shelton
Date Posted: 01 December 2010 at 11:12
Thanks for your comments. I agree that it has to be a two-way relationship between class and builder. I have to say that it didn't work out that way with DC and many of the problems could have been averted.
I think your ex-ISO sailor had a very good point, the but the fact remains, the new boat was illegal until we fixed the rules. If there had been better communication (for 'better', read 'any') with the builder, that issue could have been quickly sorted before production.
But the bizarre thing is that, after the interest at that Dinghy Show, we didn't have any brochures, price lists or even a phone number we could tell people to call.
Is that the builder's responsilbility or that of the class?
Anyway, water under bridge.
BTW - don't always believe what you read in Y&Y classes review Wink

Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 02 December 2010 at 13:29
Thank you John for that cautionary tale about our immediate past builder.
I suggest readers look at Yachts and Yachting current edition page 076 to see how a builder should co-operate with a class. Rooster Sailing have taken out a full page advert based on the theme of co-operation between builder and class to produce a great boat to sail.
We need something similar and I am sure the appropriate sub-committee have this already on board.
You must not underestimate the damage done by the class having to fix the rules to make the new boats legal. I had just become an ex-Laser 5000 sailer when the "discussions" about the Hornet 2008 began and it put me of joining the class and so I went and bought an International Canoe, rather than persevere and find a new crew. I now have a new crew and my IC is up for sale.
I was delighted to read of the new boat and builder discussions, then I was brought down to earth by John's closing comments.Cry
Finally, tut tut John. Posting to this thread at 11:12 am. Should you not be at work!!! At least I posted this during my diner hour.Wink


Posted By: Heather
Date Posted: 30 December 2010 at 15:03
I notice that we have our 60th aniversary coming up in 2012 and this would be great to link in with a New Builder and various class activities. However, because getting a New Builder, one who will really support the class and be supported by the class will not be that easy I was wondering how things were progressing with the talks. Indeed can the name of any potential New Builder be disclosed.
Bearing in mind any development of the moulds (basically the decks) and any other suggestions (the spars and sails) will take time if we are to get it right are we in fact running out of time. I doubt if we could have anything ready in time for the 2011 Dinghy Show, which would have been a great lead in to the 2012 show and year.
So I was wondering if there is anything to report.
ps. I am not being critical just curious as to how things are developing.


Posted By: sven_8t4
Date Posted: 16 January 2011 at 17:03
As another former loving Hornet owner I too am curious as to how the new builder saga is going, my girl 2047 was a great boat but with no regular crew and work commitments I had to give up sailing all together for 18months+

On a side note when i was a paid up member of the class for over 2 years I only ever recieved 2 bulletins / AGM notices.

On a final note I had another Hornet tomorrow and sell my Int 14 in a flash.

Former owner of 'Slippery When Wet 2047'

'Up & Buzzin' 2180
'Renaissance' Hornet 2100

Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 24 January 2011 at 10:46
I agree with Heather and sven_8t4 in being curious as to how matters are progressing and wonder if the sub-committee have anything to report.

Making arrangements with a new builder will, I believe, be very difficult as the recession will have taken its toil on many builders. Despite the large number of classes in Yachts & Yachting stating "1" new boat built during 2010. Including the Hornet Wink .

Another problem is the boat is too large for a builder to built by themselves. Ever tried turning a Hornet over single-handed. So many sole-traders/ small builders will not be able to help. For instance Andrew Simmons who builds the Comet range of dinghies has had to lay of his two assistants because of the recession. The result is that despite a very limited number of orders for the boats he can now only build the Comet single-hander as he can build that by himself.

It is now, of course, a waiting game and perhaps the class should consider the boat to be shown at the Dinghy Show. We need to show a modern image so, in my opinion, the boat chosen should be one built by Devon Composites. A beautiful wooden boat will look nice but will not appeal to those who visit the stand.

But if they are interested and ask about the builder what are we going to say. I shudder to think.



Posted By: Harry Ashworth
Date Posted: 24 January 2011 at 13:25
There is  a committee meeting tabled for tonight. Watch this space please.

Perhaps some of the contributors to this thread might consider joining the association before saying 'we' in their posts.

Posted By: Harry Ashworth
Date Posted: 25 January 2011 at 11:55

The class will be exhibiting at the Dinghy Exhibition, but it will be a very fine example of a wooden boat. The class remains the owner of the moulds from which the recent, Devon Composites, boats were built.  As this thread discusses there is no builder currently able to offer to supply a new boat. Pending further, formal, correspondence with Devon Composites I can say no more the present. 

Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 05 February 2011 at 22:53

Harry, first of all thank you for all the hard work the sub-committee has put in concerning the important matter of appointing a class builder.

Perhaps in view of your most recent post it may be a good idea to close this thread and wait till we hear the outcome of the matter with Devon Composites. I for one would not wish to post anything that could cause a problem.
I am sure that when a new builder is appointed we will all hear about it. 


Posted By: sven_8t4
Date Posted: 25 June 2015 at 16:55
Did anything  more come of this? 2011-2015?

'Up & Buzzin' 2180
'Renaissance' Hornet 2100

Posted By: Southpaw
Date Posted: 26 June 2015 at 21:05
I started the thread which was stopped as there was nothing more to be said for the time being. The thread was then superseded by other topics. But the topic was not forgotten.

We do need to start production of new boats as a priority if the class is to survive and I am confident that the matter is in hand. 

I do not think that building a new boat is, in itself, the answer to anything. We need a builder who is committed to promoting the class and good enough to be supported and promoted by the class. So that the new boat will be the first of a steady (albeit slow) stream of boats built.

But perhaps in the meantime we need to maximise boats attending open meetings and the class in buying a Hornet will help show-case the boat at these events.

I have recently bought a Hornet and hope to be sailing in soon, crewed by my daughter - and she puts her "old man" to shame.

Hopefully we can start discussing the matter, any thoughts four years on.




Print Page | Close Window

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