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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 10:32am
Originally posted by Sam.Spoons



If the manufacturers hadn't been so determined to sell us a new board even year maybe windsurfing would be a lot healthier than it is now. The outlawing of custom (read low production volume) boards in the transition from Div 1 to Raceboards, followed by the manufacturers dropping them and trying to sell us something totally unsuitable for 90% of venues and sailors (i.e. Formula but previously dedicated slalom boards or low volume wave boards did similar damage) killed off grass roots windsurfing.†


It wasn't the manufacturers that 'killed off' windsurfing, it might have been magazines promoting only high wind, it might have been the advent of other sports entering the windsurfing supply chain, but it was definitely the RYA restrictions on one man schools in the late 90's closing literally dozens of independant schools by RYA inspectors who coincidently owned larger commercial centres allied to the RYA's then pathway scheme. One Ironical failure was that a particular school owner was not sufficiently power/rescue boat trained, (he ran the inshore rescue service for the RNLI at Pevensey) It was the RYA mismanagement of the sport that effectively killed it, just as the same mismanagement is killing off sport dinghy racing as we write.

It's all too easy for the upper echelon of one sector of a given marine business to collude with the powers that be within the RYA for its own ends, which are not necessarily ends that benefit the sport as a whole. Now once upon a time Windsurfing had a committee of vested interests working alongside the RYA head of department, it was this committee that brought about Div 1 for instance in an effort to limit the effect Div 2 was having on racing accessibility. It was also tasked with maintaining a retail structure, since it was felt the failure of the dinghy market business model had limited the wider promotion of that sport. It didn't take long however for the dinghy types to cheat the system (which was designed to only use products sourced via Retailers thereby continuing their support of the racing market,) and it dissolved into broadly what you have today.

You have to ask yourself, why is it that Holland, a country very similar to ours has such a successful windsurfing market and ours has gone away, and I would point the finger squarely at our sports Governing body. It is why all the new sports that come along are kept away from their ministrations, Kite, SUP, Wing. It's too late to do much for windsurfing now, but those of us that experienced the complete disaster the RYA wrought upon us know to keep any new sport out of their grasp.

Edited by iGRF - 24 Nov 21 at 10:33am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 10:41am
Originally posted by davidyacht

Originally posted by Sam.Spoons

If the manufacturers hadn't been so determined to sell us a new board even year maybe windsurfing would be a lot healthier than it is now. The outlawing of custom (read low production volume) boards in the transition from Div 1 to Raceboards, followed by the manufacturers dropping them and trying to sell us something totally unsuitable for 90% of venues and sailors (i.e. Formula but previously dedicated slalom boards or low volume wave boards did similar damage) killed off grass roots windsurfing. 

I think the sport developed up its own a**e, however the same could be said for quite a few dinghy classes, where previously a helm could pick up a newbie crew and be half competitive.  

Without wishing to drag the thread further off topic (but I'm prepared to risk it...) I partially agree, it was a new sport and rapid development was to be expected, where it all went wrong IMHO was when the initial development had arrived at Raceboards and medium volume short boards that the average sailor could sail. The manufacturers needed to sell more product and the windsurfing media wanted new stuff to write about so they jointly promoted this years 'new big thing' (DSB, Formula or WHY, difficult or impossible to sail by the average club sailor) and ignored the grass roots (as did the training bodies who, effectively, cast of their youth sailors into the wilderness if they failed to make the grade.

iGRF, Don't get me started about the RYA back in the '90's and their 'Team 15' setup who wouldn't organise event that shared the water with UKBSA adult race events, the consequence being that nearly all young racers were lost to the sport when they turned 16 'cos they didn't know anybody racing the adult series'. If they had raced alongside us they would have got to know the local sailors rather than having to join in with a new group (pretty intimidating for a 16 YO who has never raced alongside adults before). 


Edited by Sam.Spoons - 24 Nov 21 at 10:51am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 3:06pm
Don't know much about it, just that my club building had a large windsurf shop and school and disappeared overnight, eighties or early nineties, a moon light flit.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 3:31pm
So all that windsurf stuff aside is dinghy racing ever going to see a resurgence enough to satisfy any boatbuilders to commit to new performance models or are we now destined to reach for the lipstick and find new pigs to apply it to?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote H2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 4:12pm
Is dinghy racing really that broken? I mean there are a number of classes with their biggest turnout at nationals this past year. Open meetings are well attended for the classes on my scope. This years "great lakes" winter series kicked off last weekend with 87 boats at Draycote. Plenty going on out there Graeme; I am not sure that racing is broken but I am not sure if makes sense for builders to keep pushing out new models for the reasons I outlined above.

Edited by H2 - 24 Nov 21 at 4:13pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 5:29pm
I think dinghy sailing/racing is approaching the healthiest it's been since the '60s but dinghy building was always, mostly, and relatively, a cottage industry. Even the likes of RS and the various Laser/ILCA builders are still pretty small fry in terms of turnover and number of employees. But I don't see that as a bad thing, it's a niche activity and would gain little by becoming 'Corporate' IMO.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 6:36pm
Never going to be like automobile manufacturing, changing models every ten years, old models usually gone in the next ten years, that's what griff the salesman wants, you can read into what happened with windsurfing, new model, new model, shame the owners into a new board every couple of years,what board do you have, WHAT, that's so last year.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 7:40pm
If quality of racing is what is important to you, then there are a few classes where the depth of competition is probably as good as it has ever been, this is aided and abetted by the aging demographic.

There are also a number of clubs where racing is in a good place, but not as many as in the 70ís.

The problem with bringing new classes into the market is that you are consigned to handicap racing until there is a critical mass, which might never arrive, and residuals donít work until this point has been reached.

The only way to overcome this is to come up with a boat that is so much fun that you can accept racing in a handicap fleet.   

If you are trying to draw dinghy racers from established one design fleets it has to be a very good offer.

Details such as daggerboard vs. centreboard are trivial compared with the big picture.

Kieth Callaghan has to be commended in pulling this off with the Hadron H2


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Post Options Post Options   Quote A2Z Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 9:29pm
Originally posted by davidyacht

The problem with bringing new classes into the market is that you are consigned to handicap racing until there is a critical mass, which might never arrive, and residuals donít work until this point has been reached.
The only way to overcome this is to come up with a boat that is so much fun that you can accept racing in a handicap fleet.

Iíve often thought that a kickstarter campaign would be useful. Take deposits for a new class but promise to only build if you get, say, 25 deposits. And return the deposit if you donít get 25 takers. Helps the buyer know they will have critical mass racing and helps fund the tooling for the builder.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 21 at 11:34pm
Originally posted by 423zero

Never going to be like automobile manufacturing, changing models every ten years, old models usually gone in the next ten years, that's what griff the salesman wants, you can read into what happened with windsurfing, new model, new model, shame the owners into a new board every couple of years,what board do you have, WHAT, that's so last year.

I don't think it was quite that simple but there's a lot of truth in that, thankfully dinghy sailing has manage to avoid that mindset, mostly anyway.


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