Moulded sails -- future rule change?

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Lester
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Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by Lester » 04 Sep 2011, 14:07

Now that we have the interpretation, it might be worth discussing any future rule change -- do we actually want moulded sails in the class, or not?

There are pros and cons.

Moulded sails for our toy boats is a 'new' technology which may in the long term make all our lives easier. In ten years time we might all be wondering why we ever bothered to join panels. The volume of demand and closed nature of the IOM class makes this technology cost-effective whereas in the other classes it would probably be prohibitively expensive. From this point of view, it would be a 'good thing'. Moulding is likely to permit a much larger degree of control of the sail shape albeit at some cost (possibly considerable cost). If this extra degree of sail shape control can be converted into conspicuously better performance than can be achieved with conventionally shaped sails, however, we are departing from the concept of a class where rules are designed to restrict/contain the performance and cost of the equipment. If the ability to make infinitely different shapes seems attractive to sailmakers/sailors then time and money will be invested until results are better than Zvonko's. The cost of such sails will probably rise and it may be that conventional sails become very much second best, thus removing all the small sailmakers from the competitive scene. That would hardly be good for the class. We have seen similar in the big boat scene where a handful of big name sailmakers dominate the leading edge market.

Does anything in the past have a lesson for us?

Right at the start of the IOM there was a discussion about carbon fins. Some thought the class should be restricted to wooden fins (and rudders), or if carbon was permitted, the fin should be restricted to some kind of minimum thickness. Others thought the fin should be free. In my view, 20/20 hindsight suggests that carbon should not have been allowed in the foil appendages. I've always thought that an IOM should be a class which anyone could build from scratch on their kitchen table. Well, perhaps not quite anyone (I couldn't!) and perhaps not quite the kitchen table, but you get the idea. It turns out that indeed a perfectly competitive IOM can be built on a kitchen table, EXCEPT for the foils. So, a missed opportunity back then to keep to the class intentions.

Perhaps we should hang on to that idea, and try to ensure that a competitive IOM does NOT necessarily need the skills and equipment of a master technical builder. My suggestion would be to remain conservative, and on balance we should change the class rules so that moulded sails are NOT permitted.
Lester Gilbert
http://www.onemetre.net/

RoyL
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by RoyL » 04 Sep 2011, 23:40

I never thought this day would come, but I am in virtually complete agreement with Lester Gilbert on this issue. Numerous "big" boat classes have prohibited the use of molded sails for exactly the reasons Lester sets forth. To get a molded sail right takes considerable expertise and specialized equipment beyond the means of the casual builder. But, when molded sails are done right, historically they end up making all other sails obsolete for competitive racing. I would hate to see the IOM class end up in a place where there is only one or two suppliers of competitive racing sails at prices of hundreds of dollars/pounds/euros....

Zvonko
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by Zvonko » 05 Sep 2011, 13:07

I have to disagree with you to, since biggest problem in big boats is that you have to make mold 20m to 40m big to be able to mold the sail and that NS have protected technology from everyone else to use and then he could increase price.
Soon it will be free fore every one to use and you will see that price will drop to same or close to not molded racing sail, now it is 10% more.

In models you do not need big mold or theology and everyone can do ti.
I do it in my grandfather garage 3m X 6m where I also assemble models.

Bruce Andersen
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by Bruce Andersen » 06 Sep 2011, 06:32

Let the incredulity begin - I also agree with LG!

I feel that the notion of allowing molded sails will adversely affect the class, either by driving costs higher or worse still, have someone produce a "perfect" sail that renders all others to the dustbin, similar to what the Scapels did to all the other Marblehead designs when they hit the market. That class is just now starting to show some life again (and is still pretty much dead in the US).

Although a tool upon which you mold a sail can be made on you mother's kitchen table, it might not produce a sail with a competitive shape, so you make another tool, then another tool, etc. The costs add up and must be passed on the the consumer. Of course, you could simply have someone CNC the tool to what you feel is the perfect sail shape, but that's costly too (assuming you know the perfect shape!).

Then the issue of how to hold that shape comes into play - what are you going to laminate in between the layers to prevent stretch or can you find a magical single ply material that has zero stretch once molded?

Additionally, big boat molded sails are designed for a rather specific wind range and I don't imagine IOM molded sails would be any different. Now we'll start coming to regattas with a light, medium, and heavy #1, #2, #3 rigs and guess which one of each should be measured in for that regatta based on the wind conditions. Starting to look like your Marblehead rig bag eh? 3 rigs/boat are expensive enough!

Certainly allowing molded sails fosters a spirit of discovery and invention, and could allow IOM'ers to invent a "better mousetrap" on the kitchen table, but on the whole, I think it's a bad idea for the class.
Bruce Andersen - USA 16

Zvonko
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by Zvonko » 06 Sep 2011, 10:02

[quote="Bruce Andersen"]

Then the issue of how to hold that shape comes into play - what are you going to laminate in between the layers to prevent stretch or can you find a magical single ply material that has zero stretch once molded?

Additionally, big boat molded sails are designed for a rather specific wind range and I don't imagine IOM molded sails would be any different. Now we'll start coming to regattas with a light, medium, and heavy #1, #2, #3 rigs and guess which one of each should be measured in for that regatta based on the wind conditions. Starting to look like your Marblehead rig bag eh? 3 rigs/boat are expensive enough!


End of quote

I would say that this is same for moulded and panel sails, so if no one did it now way would he start?

I believe that no one will go that far with investment because this is not big enough market to cover big investment (Do not worry NS wont start making model sails not enough money for them)


In my case:

I believe that after this small starting problems, and they are small since I did finish 7th in WC with sails build 2 months before and with wrong shape for that condition. I will soon have sails any shape I wont and do not see that any better technology could do better only the same.


I am interested to see who is says what so next time you write on this subject please write one of suggestions:

1. I make my sails

2. I make and sell sails

3. I buy sails from: ???????

4. Other ?????????


You will see that guys that are making there on sails on the kitchen table do not talk about price since they will still make there one sails, they are even now not competitive with one or two exceptions. So way would they care.

Only people that buy sails are concern about price and probably because his sails maker told him it is space technology and that sails will go double in price, what is nonsense.
For now I sold all my sails for 50EUR or less.

Regards
Zvonko Jelacic
I make and sell sails

RoyL
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by RoyL » 06 Sep 2011, 15:15

"Do not worry NS [North Sails] wont start making model sails not enough money for them." Actually, not true. I'm friends with Tom Whidden president of North Sails and we have talked about 3DL for models. If someone places an order, they will make the sails. Their very, very large and expensive machines and patented process can easily be adapted. And I would expect pricing in the 200 to 500 euro range.

Nigel
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by Nigel » 06 Sep 2011, 16:22

Well I don't make sails and have used sails from various lofts incl. but not limited to Sailetc, BG, Housemartin and Stealth Sails.

Irrespective of the production method there is no "perfect" sail regardless of the production process. Looking at the wind range an IOM topsuit has to cover you well never achieve this, as the gap to bridge is far to large.

If you want you could already spend considerable money on your sail quiver. One of the sailmakers above offers 4 different options for the draft of the sail as a standard. So already allowing sails to be optimized / limited to a certain wind range. If you have specific wishes and talk to any of the above you can get tailor made sails optimized for a venue or wind range you want to sail in.

You can be sure that any of the top skippers preparing for an EC or Worlds will spend time looking at the wind and water conditions to be expected and fine tune the rig and sails to best suit them.

I would be reluctant to change the rules at this moment possibly closing the door on a technology that is going to see equipment cost come down instead of going up.
Nigel Winkley
GER 87

Lester
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by Lester » 06 Sep 2011, 16:43

Nigel wrote:I would be reluctant to change the rules at this moment possibly closing the door on a technology that is going to see equipment cost come down instead of going up.
Hi Nigel

This is a key point, of course. My thinking is that there is a profound difference between closing an opened door, and opening a closed door (smile)... It is usually impossible to close an opened door if much traffic has passed through, while it is usually very easy to open a previously closed door whenever it seems the time is right.

At the moment, the door is open, and only Zvonko has really passed through. Over the next months and years, I would expect that many will join him, particularly in view of the remarkable development of radio sailing in CRO. The door can be closed now, but this window of opportunity has a limited duration, after which it would probably be unreasonable to attempt to force it shut.

On the other hand, if the door is shut now, it can always be opened at a future date. Zvonko and others would be able to continue development(*) to the point where it can become clear that, not only will there not be any dramatic cost increase or performance improvement, but that there will be a cost *decrease* with no necessary performance effect. A responsible Class management could then reasonably ask the Class if it wanted to permit such sails.

(*) There is provision for permitting experimental rules in racing events, and if done with the support of the Class management such permissions would be relatively easy to obtain.

I think the issue is one of risk management, and finding a sensible way for the Class and its owners to decide how the rules should evolve, rather than IOM evolution being driven by builders and nothing being done by Class management until it is maybe too late...
Lester Gilbert
http://www.onemetre.net/

Nigel
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by Nigel » 06 Sep 2011, 18:23

Lester, after after what happend with Taxalium and the luff attachment on sails from NZL in the past, it is obvious that IOMICA is happy to slam doors shut where they think it is right. :roll:

At present the "techies" have come to the conclusion that the sails Zvonko is making are class legal. The number of people actually discussing this matter on the forum is by no means giving an idea what the IOM community thinks about this development. I suppose it is now down to an NCA to propose a CR change and put this up for vote at the AGM.
Nigel Winkley
GER 87

Dave Alston
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Re: Moulded sails -- future rule change?

Post by Dave Alston » 07 Sep 2011, 14:03

There is certainly no evidence to suggest that Moulded Sails will make any substantial difference to the IOM Class.
The process being trialled by a number of people is fundamentally the same as Vacuum Forming. Given the extremely stable nature of Polyester Film, Melinex or Mylar, the shape of a sail so formed is largely determined in the moulding process. The Luff cut does have some influence on shape. A Manufacturer can be confident that a Sail formed in this way it will hold the same shape as all other sails produced on that mould. This allows a manufacture to develop a sail design.

Those that do make sails will confirm that the first challenge in acquiring this skill is to be able produce two identical sails. I concluded after about 10 attempts, that because of the diminutive nature of the sail I would never achieve this and abandoned the blocks made a full-size adjustable panel bench and have made sails on it for about 2 years now. You can find examples of this technique on the Web.

The production of a Vacuum Form Mould is neither costly nor complex and is much the same process as making a plug and mould for a hull. The decision to use a plug form or hollow form or a combination of both is determinant upon where you are prepared to sacrifice film thickness, the sail edge or body. Success of the methodology is dependent upon the innovation and skill and willingness of the manufacturer to invest time and money. Starting from scratch, tooling costs for an “A “ suite of Sails should be of the order of £900, £300 in material and 50 hrs of labour, depending upon the resources available.
The initial tooling cost is OFFSET by a definite reduction in assembly time and improvement in consistency. The Tool Life Expectancy of even the simplest arrangement far exceeds the annual production of most manufacturers whilst the operation cycle can be a short at 90 to 120 seconds.

Do not be confused by the process used by North and other Full Scale manufacturers. The process employed is entirely different. This process is not easy to scale down in order to produce a sufficiently soft, light and thin enough ply, 30 to 50 micron.

Similarly do not be confused by the term 3D or more correctly 3 dimensional. This is mostly a promotional term.

All modern IOM sails are 3 dimensional. It is the development computer software to translate a 3 Dimensional shape into 2 Dimensional panels within the confines of economic material usage. This approach has removed the “cut and try” aspect of sail construction.

This has also lead to a skill shift, the transformation of the old sail maker with pair of scissors, knife, needle and thread to designer using laser cut panels and well planed coordinated reinforcement.

To me, the pleas for conservatism and predictions of RUINATION and ETERNAL DAMNATION can best be described as MISINFORMED, PURITANICAL and MELODRAMATIC.

As much as one might like to believe the Class should be restricted to home design, building methods, using wooden fins and flat decks few IOM sailors make their own Sails fewer still make their own fins rudder or boats and fewer still make their own winches.

This is not because they do not have Kitchens, Garages or Sheds, they simple do not want to.

One simply cannot agree that it is or was the intent or concept of the One Meter Class to restrict PERFORMANCE and quite clearly any efforts made to restrict cost have FAILED DISMALLY.

It is a well established fact that the notion a universally perfect sail and hull is quite simply unattainable. If this were true I am sure Mr Gilbert and others would have found the secret by now. It remains and will forever the skill, some luck, of the Sailor in optimising his technique, tactics and settings harmony with the prevailing conditions that determine success.

The maintenance of tight hull construction material has not reduced the selling price of hulls. Quite conversely it has increased it beyond all proportion. The deadly combination of FASHION, PREJUDICE and tight Class control is, in my opinion, only PROTECTING a cottage industry and has directly increased the costs to the consumer.

Mr Gilbert, to me, your sentiments might have some degree of credibility if you competed in events using your own designed, home constructed hull or sails made by you from flower wrapping film. However you do not, you use top end equipment and own virtually every accessory available.

Similarly one might sympathize with your CONCERN if you were technologically ignorant. However again you are not.

And so I must ask myself why are you so intent upon inciting despair and promoting :cry: unnecessary and needless rule changes.

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