Originally Posted by Unregistered
"49er grew with Olympic selection"
Well, the class wasn't launched before it was selected; but are there many places where it is the most popular skiff type? I know of nowhere that has other skiff types where the 9er is the most popular, despite its strengths.
Yes, but in one of its biggest, strongest areas (at least) that growth has been in kids, women and Masters, and the number of men in the "Olympic" age group has dropped; last time I checked, the 18-35 had gone from 75% to 25% of the 'big rig" fleet, and the big rig fleet itself has dropped.
"I would guess including the radial rig version - both olympic specific developments from existing fleets; without olympics neither would exist."
Sorry, that's wrong. The 49er was NOT designed for the Olympics. The Radial was NOT designed for the Olympics. I've interviewed 3 of the 5 figures involved in the 49er's conception (Frank, Julian, Peter J but not Dave O or Otani), and all three of those who created the Laser and Radial (Hans, Bruce K, Ian B) about the conception of the classes.
So your hypothesis is the olympics are the kiss of death, a popular feeling. Probably not always supported by statistics; I still stand by my statement, the 49er grew with olympic selection, I reckon it would be far fewer without the chance of olympic glory since you could have joined an existing class e.g. R Class, 14, 12, 16,18, cherub, javelin, etc etc in many places; the olympics and selection as a class for national authorities is what gave them a shunt. The 29er has the same thing, with being selected by many national authorities. Incidentally, the comment of 'I see no where where the 49er is the most popular' has not too much relevance since i never suggested it was the most popular; it is however a class with a few hundred sailors worldwide though is it not with worldwide status?
Selection by govt or yachting associations is very similar to the olympic selection in that suddenly a bunch of vessels are often bought by the tax payers in some way, and then people have an OD fleet and a reason to sail that boat rather than others.
As for laser radial rigs thanks for the correction, I had not heard of it; in fact i never saw girls sailing lasers, I saw them sailing europes (in NZ anyhow). Yes, Laser sailing is suffering a bit because of the new blood coming in and sailing at a much higher level, that is what can damage a fleet no doubt if you start sailing and not being able to win anymore; M24 fleet has a corinthian division for the non pros (and let's face it, guys like Ainsley, Hamish Pepper, Rohan Lord etc they are professionals) so maybe lasers need that as well?
So you are saying if there was no IMCO from the early 90s and no longboarding in the olympics that longboarding would be healthier than it is now? That's a big call Chris! I know you tend to believe that: OD is the cheapest way to go, olympics kill classes, speed kills classes - but if the IMCO wasn't in the olympics would anyone have kept making or sailing them at all?
The Kona should be an infinitely better board for the market it is targeting than the IMCO was; and it should be, it has more than 10 years worth of improvement time. If anything, IMHO the growth in longboards has been a carry over from all the other innovations in windsurfing that pushed people back towards low wind sailing on the wide boards; after taking that to 1m wide huge rig boards, people started looking at how to push the lower limit even further and into subplaning, partly as a result of olympic selection as well.
That has occurred with the board brands and it has somewhat occured with consumers. There are still a ton of windsurfers who have no interest in racing, and there are still a ton who have no interest in longboards (and if for someone who doesn't like racing, there is a good chance they will never be interested).
BTW I have checked, it is the phantom 380 longboard that I liked; the one I think in production. Great board. Ok fun in wind, great fun in the 4-8 knot range where formula sucks - I would never get one except to race, but would make a fun race board I think, a lot more fun than the few seconds I had on an RSX!