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Old 28th August 2008, 07:31 PM   #131
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What other class has actually grown when it went Olympic?

Lots of the dinghy classes have died out (in terms of having widespread fleets) after becoming Olympic, or become much smaller. The Olympic dinghy classes normally get fewer boats racing than similar non-Olympic boats.

Remember when they said that the RSX would get huge fleets because it would get the FW sailors and the IMCO sailors together?

Why risk hurting FW?
49er grew with Olympic selection; Laser is definitely growing at the moment I would guess including the radial rig version - both olympic specific developments from existing fleets; without olympics neither would exist.

There are lots of reasons why things grow and die; being an olympic class need not be the kiss of death; choosing a board a little too early in the design process (RSX), making it uneccessarily high tech and then over priced (RSX), launching it with a rather average rig and design issues that had to be addressed (RSX) and then not letting anyone buy it who isn't campaigning for Olympics (RSX) would seem to be good reasons to make a class die if it is no longer the Olympic class.

I am still a fan of the 4 year cycle update similar to the 2 years formula cycle update; goes to a panel each time in the olympic year, and then the selection is made for the following olympics based on prevailing winds, best technology and to a brief created by the industry for a OD 4 year cycle board that meets a certain price point, can hold racing in 3-30 knots, has ideally 1 rig, is reliable, has solid worldwide distribution, ideally fits within an existing rule, etc etc.

The IMCO shows what happens if you play with evolution.

I just don't see how formula would suddenly die if you started allowing a single formula board into the olympics. I don't see the longboard proponents suggesting that the IMCO caused longboarding to die; if anything that was the only lifeline keeping them alive in racing for a large part of the world until the recent resurgence; and the resurgence of non pumping OD longboards like the Kona don't have too much to do with the IMCO and RSX type boards anyhow, and yet have if anything gained from the efforts the industry put in (Exocet included) in creating the holy grail of the 3-30 knot racer which led to the Kona in some respects.

Why the industry should base itself on the boat building industry which doesn't have nearly the level of cost effective innovation in it I have no idea. We are more similar to the snowboard industry; I don't see anyone still racing GS in soft boots on a burton backcountry when they could be rocking a Kessler with Hangl plate.
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Old 29th August 2008, 03:05 PM   #132
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"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.

"Laser is definitely growing at the moment"

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. And the Laser had massive fleets before it went Olympic; much bigger than any board class has these days.

"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.

IMCO is interesting. Sure, it may have helped keep longboards going, although D2 died when the Lechner was selected.

On the other hand, at the end of the IMCO's Olympic days, there were only two (limited) production longboards in the world. The IMCO ended its Olympics in 2004; in 2005, the Kona One started the regrowth and now there's about a dozen longboards with centreboards in production. The fact that the regrowth started straight after the IMCO got dumped may indicate that the IMCO may not have kept longboards alive.

BTW we can produce new boards but can we produce classes that quickly?

I'm not saying the above conclusions are necessarily accurate (at least some of the facts definitely are) but shouldn't this stuff be put up for consideration?
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Old 29th August 2008, 05:26 PM   #133
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"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!
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Old 29th August 2008, 07:03 PM   #134
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I never said that the IMCO killed longboards, but the fact that longboards almost died while the IMCO was in the Games, and then revived very soon after, is interesting. Sure, it could be just coincidence, but are we sure?

Like a lot of these sort of discussions, maybe all that's demonstrated is how complex it all is? I stuff it up by coming across as if I know the answers, but a lot of the time the whole point is that maybe none of us do.

Stats on other Olympic classes are interesting; I have in the past checked them for France and Germany. You may be right, I may be coming from an Anglo-Saxon viewpoint and can be forgetting that some of the Olympic classes are (sometimes due to official policies) quite popular in some areas.

BTW in places the only places that had existing indigenous production skiff types (UK and Aus) the 49er is less popular than the B14, its older, slower, smaller, non-Olympic stablemate. But yes, it did get into other areas because of its status.

The thing that often gets me is that this is probably the sort of thing that should be formally and openly studied by ISAF.
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Old 30th August 2008, 06:15 AM   #135
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I will say this again.....If you want to race in 0-25 Knots plenty of tactics and no pumping needed, bring back the Division 1 board MISTRAL SUPERLIGHT length 380cm width 68cm volume 260 liters WEIGHT 16 kgs it had a 6.3m2 sail and thats all it needed, ofcourse you could modenise the sail if you like. I would be more than happy to race again with this board. If anyone wants a photo I can send you one.
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Old 30th August 2008, 07:19 PM   #136
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Hi Al,

Please note that the wind ISAF policy is 6 to 25 knots for windsurf.

All the best
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Old 2nd September 2008, 09:32 AM   #137
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Will the Starboard One Design Class remain if not selected for London? for example raced as a division inside Formula on the same start line.

As someone who already races the RS: X this would be a great opportunity (one set of equipment) to race in the Formula Class without investing in the amount of equipment necessary to be seriously competitive in the class.

Realistically the Starboard One Design will not be as fast as top line Formula gear but I cant see it being to far off (same ball park when compared with RS: X vs Formula) raced well I am sure the concept will work.

Thanks
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Old 5th September 2008, 08:43 AM   #138
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Any progress with the above question?
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Old 5th September 2008, 12:03 PM   #139
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Hi unregisterered,

Thanks for your post and the interesting question. It's a bit too early right now to consider or comment on that option. Our position right now is that we are 100% comitted to the Formula One Design bid as an Olympic Class for London 2012, first and foremost.

To have 100% planing windsurfing in London will simply be so exciting for so many windsurfers and for the general public who will be watching the Olympics in four years' time.

As to launching FOD as a non-Olympic class, there would be many dimensions to consider first, most importantly what would help the Formula format grow further. So we're taking it one step at a time. What ever will help windsurfing racing more accessible and grow, we'd like to support it. For the time being, we believe heart and soul in FOD for London 2012.
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