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Old 24th June 2008, 06:40 AM   #10
C249
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"Only Laser/Radial and RSX are really ONE DESIGN . The others are BOX RULE classes, more than one brand produces the boats.
Star have Lilia, Mader etc etc etc."

Sorry, that's wrong.

The 470 class rules say (second line) that "the 470 is a One-Design racing dinghy....". The Tornado class rules say (first line) "This is a one-design class". The Yngling can only be built from moulds that were taken off the master plug; it's a one design according to the class itself. The 49er and Finn are OD classes, according to the class associations, the designers, ISAF and the terms of the competitions from which they were selected. The Star is a one design class.

You can go back as far as the 1950s book by George Elder (who started the Star class association way back in 1922) for an explanation of how a boat can be a one design and still allow some latitude. Basically, with the one designs someone actually designed a physical boat (Cornu for the 470, March for the Tornado, etc) and the class association then allows SOME latitude, historically because no two things produced by mankind are 100% identical. Even the Laser and RSX allow some latitude (a few grammes in weight, etc).

Some OD classes have bigger variation than others, but that doesn't make them development or box rule classes. The "box rule" classes are ones like A Class cats, where they basically say that a boat has to fit within certain dimensions (sail area, length etc).

So why are the Olympic classes now all ODs? They started off with no ODs, but the fact is that Olympic classes that are not OD become extremely expensive. It's almost impossible to write class rules that allow manufacturers to compete to build boats without allowing them to try to find a tiny advantage to give them a competitive edge.

The classic example is the mast the British built to incredibly high tolerances for the slow 11' Europe dinghy; they milled down a one-tonne block of solid alloy to make a mandrel, then made the mast in carbon to designs tested in a wind tunnel, then sanded it down from the inside.....do you think that was cheap? Rich countries can easily out-spend small countries and get a big advantage. Is that fair?

And sometimes you end up with one builder dominant (like Marstrom in the Tornado) so you end up with effectively only one supplier anyway. But basically, why not make it a sailor versus sailor race; why make it a sailor+builder+designer+pit crew+manufacter race?

"not one design, one manufacturer, instead of FOD , have just FW,
just like in other sports like skii, biking, etc... where compatitors free to choose any
brand"

Bike racing's way could be the wrong way. A huge number of people ride bikes. Compared to sailing, only a tiny proportion of those who ride bikes (even performance bikes) compete on their bikes. If it comes to encouraging people to compete, then sailing's way is much, much better.

Windsurfing tends to follow the multi-manufacturer model, and the number of people who race is just minute compared to the one-design (or rating) model followed by boat sailors - despite the fact that there are far fewer classes for it to compete against, FW sells less than a third as many each year as the Laser does.

It seems a bit weird to say "our way is the best" when the facts are so harshly against it. And where in the world is the fun and challenge of beating someone simply because you have purchased better gear?
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