Re: My two cents on the cost of sails

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Sanjai Kohli

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Oct 27, 2022, 2:33:06 PM10/27/22
to Stephen Aguilar, Laser List, International Laser Class Association District 24, David Anthes
i stephen:
I couldnt agree more - a few comparisons
A knock off radial sail by isails - as good as the laser one $159 vs $650 - clearly Isails turns a profit

On Thu, Oct 27, 2022 at 11:23 AM Stephen Aguilar <sails...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi David how's it going? My feelings on the cost of a new sail. Overpriced we're getting hosed taking advantage of ripped off.

Maybe the price is so high because we have three manufacturers that have guaranteed to supply this quality product to the laser class under contract. Maybe they're manufacturing this product without using child labor and paying their employees a fair wage. Maybe they're buying their materials from companies that do the same thing and they're a little bit more expensive. 

Having been involved in a small sail loft in one of my other lives. We would manufacture for a number of builders. They would set the price and we would have to figure out how to work within that budget and still manufactures to spec and make a profit.

I think what's happened with sails and other parts no one has kept an eye on the increasing costs. We just accept as fact that this is what it cost to deliver this product. We're in one design. Do you believe that an upper section should cost you $650 for a tube. I don't but I think that because it's approved everybody wants one and you can set the price wherever you want. Just like when all these new Builders came online the sell was the price is going to go down because there's more competition. Compare the price of an authorized Builder to a LP boat. One has a sticker one doesn't. One part is approved another isn't.

I am totally a firm believer that you need to make a profit. Unfortunately we participate in a sport where things are expensive. That's the norm. What can we do about it. Maybe change the rules. renegotiate with these manufacturers. Boycott won't work because people will still buy because they need it. And when you need something you got to pay for it. Hopefully within reason which doesn't seem to be the case. Anyway just my two cents. Or maybe I should make it 8 cents because it's a sailing thing.
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Sanjai Kohli

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Oct 27, 2022, 2:38:23 PM10/27/22
to Stephen Aguilar, David Anthes, International Laser Class Association District 24, Laser List
Radial Isail knock off  $159 
Mk2 rooster $300 (made by Hyde)
I’m sure both are profitable both sails as fast as the laser certified ones

The bigger problem is the radial sail is no good for racing after 3-4 days of use

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Emilio Castelli

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Oct 27, 2022, 3:52:35 PM10/27/22
to Sanjai Kohli, Stephen Aguilar, David Anthes, International Laser Class Association District 24, Laser List

Laser is still one of the least expensive thing out there. I guess a Sunfish would be cheaper but even El Toro stuff is more expensive.

And if you want, you can buy replica stuff for practice and local regattas. Or a legal used sail; the new full rig sails last reasonably well.

You can get a competitive boat for $3000; look at Toshi.

But for big events you need some kind of quality control to make sure that everything is within strict tolerances; that costs money.

Are we getting ripped off? Absolutely, Just like any other sailing product in any class.

Still, I don’t think the cost of the hardware is the problem for lack of participation.

E

 

 

Emilio Castelli

www.castellivineyards.com

Tracy Usher

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Oct 28, 2022, 4:16:05 PM10/28/22
to Emilio Castelli, Sanjai Kohli, Stephen Aguilar, International Laser Class Association District 24, Laser List

The price of sails has been debated for about as long as I can remember (which is longer than I would like to remember!). 

The price of class legal sails is primarily driven by the number of steps from manufacturer to consumer. The material is sourced to the sailmaker where currently there are three ILCA sailmakers - one produces in Sri Lanka, one in Cebu (Philippines) and one in China. The sailmakers sell their sails to the builders who then distribute to their dealer network. Not counting the cloth supplier, there are essentially three steps with mark up - the manufacturer, the builder and the dealer. 

There are on order 8000 sails sold per year of all variants (4, 6, 7), my guess is maybe 800 sails per year in North America (I don’t think the class has information on that granular a scale). Assuming a 100% markup by the dealer and $650/sail it really isn’t that much money total per dealer, certainly it helps keep their lights on and operation running. But they are not flying on private jets. 

The cost from the sailmaker is a bit higher than a replica sail - the quality specifications on the proprietary material is higher to start with, the tolerances in the sailmaking are higher (so the sailmakers say), etc. So the cost of the sail from the sailmaker is likely higher (vs a replica manufacturer) but is surprisingly not a lot more than for a replica sail (like in the 10-20% range, not factors of 2 or more). 

The builders take a large mark up on the sail themselves. This helps offset the low margin they get on the price of a new boat, it helps them promote the sport and, yeah, they want to make a profit too (and I think we all would like them to stay in business so they can provide stuff for us). For them it’s a nice chunk of change but, still, they are also not flying on private jets. As they say, in the marine industry you can make a living but you are not going to get rich. 

All of the sailmakers used by the class are paying real wages to their employees and are not using child labor, etc. 

It is my understanding that replica sails are primarily sourced from China and are sold direct. In some cases (e.g. Rooster) they are relatively large operations, in some cases they are “garage” operations with almost zero overhead. In all cases I would assume the margin in this one step from sailmaker to dealer is of order 100% which is already less than what an ILCA builder charges their dealers. So it’s not hard to see why there is a price difference between the two but I think one has to consider the benefit to the class and sport vs just the consumer.

In spite of what people would like to think, replica sails are NOT identical replicas of ILCA sails. None of them are using the same material (as they would like to say)… and Rooster even says flat out they have changed the cut to try to avoid IP issues. 

If replica sails were identical in use and performance to ILCA sails then the Olympic level sailors would be training with them. They are not. They cannot afford to train to equipment they are not going to actually use while racing. 

On every one design boat I have ever sailed in my entire life people have always chased after the mythical perfect sail that would last forever. Sails are like tires on a car, they wear out. The harder you drive them the faster they wear out. Olympic level sailors use a lot more sails per year than us average folk, they use a sail a few major regattas, rotate it into training, then sell or donate them while they still have a usable life to more average sailors. That is still a pretty good life for a consumable at that level of competition, and does even make them a bit more sustainable than in some other classes where old sails simply end up in the dumpster. 

Finally, it should be noted that last year’s shipping issues really impacted the production of the material used for ILCA 6 sails and there was only one option available for sourcing it with long lead times. That led to a supply shortage overall and sailmakers are just starting to get caught up with the demand. 

I’ll save an equally long rant about class dues other than to say I’m continually amazed that people seem to think all the infrastructure in place that they take advantage of when they go race their boat simply materializes out of the ether. Like one day the Richmond club just appeared along with a race committee signal boat and a fleet of ribs and whalers to set marks, provide safety, etc. 

As they say, “there is no free lunch”. 

Tracy

Sent from my iPad

On Oct 27, 2022, at 9:52 PM, Emilio Castelli <emi...@castellivineyards.com> wrote:



Walt Spevak

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Oct 28, 2022, 4:51:49 PM10/28/22
to Tracy Usher, International Laser Class Association District 24, Laser List
Thanks Tracy.

While I grouse about the price of a new class legal sail as much as anyone I also want to acknowledge that the lifetime cost of ILCA ownership is pretty darn good and probably coming down with the move to carbon spars/tillers/tiller extensions and hulls/blades/rigging that last many years.  

My mediocre performance at the Fall Dinghy had nothing to do with my sail, hull or spars and everything to do with my boat handling and strategy mistakes.  BTW, I also liked the 5 (!) 15-25 minute races on Sunday.  Great starting and mark rounding practice.  Plus a reminder that good (or bad) start and strategy affects my results more than the boat.

For an ROI in sailboat racing an ILCA is a pretty darn good value.





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Walt Spevak
415-298-1173 (cell)

Tucker Strasser

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Oct 28, 2022, 5:13:45 PM10/28/22
to David Lapier (dlapier), Walt Spevak, Tracy Usher, International Laser Class Association District 24, Laser List
Off topic but take a look at these. They are fun and less than the cost of a new sail, easy to transport. Strict one design.  We have some down here in Southern California. If I can go yo Huntington Lake this year and it has water I plan on bringing  a few up. Intensity  sails is the US Dealer 

Tucker Strasser

https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=185&v=W4aZBF1THRM&feature=emb_logo

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On Oct 28, 2022, at 1:57 PM, David Lapier (dlapier) <dla...@cisco.com> wrote:



+1  -- The ILCA dinghy is the only boat that can afford to race.    I only buy authorized equipment to support the class and its supply chain.  I know what I am getting when I purchase authorized parts and sails. 

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Al Sargent

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Oct 28, 2022, 5:35:17 PM10/28/22
to David Lapier (dlapier), Walt Spevak, Tracy Usher, International Laser Class Association District 24, Laser List
While sails can be pricey, for many of us, an older sail works just fine when racing.

Case in point: I use my six-year-old 2016 MKII sail -- a "battle rag" that I also use to practice -- in local races and have it used it to get podium results this season. When I lost points in races, it wasn't due to going slow with an old sail but rather to my own bad decisions. 

More broadly, there's been a general shift in ILCA gear towards durability, especially for spars, sails, rudders, and tillers, which does bring down the coast over ownership over the long run.

Many thanks to Tracy for his involvement in these helpful gear changes.



On Fri, Oct 28, 2022 at 1:57 PM David Lapier (dlapier) <dla...@cisco.com> wrote:

+1  -- The ILCA dinghy is the only boat that can afford to race.    I only buy authorized equipment to support the class and its supply chain.  I know what I am getting when I purchase authorized parts and sails. 

 

From: laser-class-d24 <laser-class...@lists.stanford.edu> On Behalf Of Walt Spevak
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2022 1:51 PM
To: Tracy Usher <tracy...@gmail.com>

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Emilio Castelli

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Oct 28, 2022, 8:33:34 PM10/28/22
to Sanjai Kohli, Usher, Tracy L., Laser List, International Laser Class Association District 24

Agree, radial should be heavier cloth, maybe like the full rig.

Would last longer and heavier cloth might also solve the problem of the Cunningham being too low and maybe even raise the boom a little?

For those sailing a carbon bottom, is the boom higher upwind than with the alu bottom?

E

 

 

Emilio Castelli

www.castellivineyards.com

 

From: laser-class-d24 [mailto:laser-class...@lists.stanford.edu] On Behalf Of Sanjai Kohli
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2022 4:06 PM
To: Usher, Tracy L.
Cc: Laser List
Subject: Re: D24 Forum Re: My two cents on the cost of sails

 

Hi tracy:

thanks for the clarity

a $5M annual business is miniscule and the sailmakers/channel are entitled to their markups

However, my only ask is that a new radial sail not lose its racing life in 4 days but maybe give us 4 weeks of racing?

 

Al you could probably beat us with just your spars up - no sail needed :)

 

 

On Fri, Oct 28, 2022 at 1:46 PM Usher, Tracy L. <us...@slac.stanford.edu> wrote:

(Resending from my correct email)



The price of sails has been debated for about as long as I can remember (which is longer than I would like to remember!). 

 

The price of class legal sails is primarily driven by the number of steps from manufacturer to consumer. The material is sourced to the sailmaker where currently there are three ILCA sailmakers - one produces in Sri Lanka, one in Cebu (Philippines) and one in China. The sailmakers sell their sails to the builders who then distribute to their dealer network. Not counting the cloth supplier, there are essentially three steps with mark up - the manufacturer, the builder and the dealer. 

 

There are on order 8000 sails sold per year of all variants (4, 6, 7), my guess is maybe 800 sails per year in North America (I don’t think the class has information on that granular a scale). Assuming a 100% markup by the dealer and $650/sail it really isn’t that much money total per dealer, certainly it helps keep their lights on and operation running. But they are not flying on private jets. 

 

The cost from the sailmaker is a bit higher than a replica sail - the quality specifications on the proprietary material is higher to start with, the tolerances in the sailmaking are higher (so the sailmakers say), etc. So the cost of the sail from the sailmaker is likely higher (vs a replica manufacturer) but is surprisingly not a lot more than for a replica sail (like in the 10-20% range, not factors of 2 or more). 

 

The builders take a large mark up on the sail themselves. This helps offset the low margin they get on the price of a new boat, it helps them promote the sport and, yeah, they want to make a profit too (and I think we all would like them to stay in business so they can provide stuff for us). For them it’s a nice chunk of change but, still, they are also not flying on private jets. As they say, in the marine industry you can make a living but you are not going to get rich. 

 

All of the sailmakers used by the class are paying real wages to their employees and are not using child labor, etc. 

 

It is my understanding that replica sails are primarily sourced from China and are sold direct. In some cases (e.g. Rooster) they are relatively large operations, in some cases they are “garage” operations with almost zero overhead. In all cases I would assume the margin in this one step from sailmaker to dealer is of order 100% which is already less than what an ILCA builder charges their dealers. So it’s not hard to see why there is a price difference between the two but I think one has to consider the benefit to the class and sport vs just the consumer.

 

In spite of what people would like to think, replica sails are NOT identical replicas of ILCA sails. None of them are using the same material (as they would like to say)… and Rooster even says flat out they have changed the cut to try to avoid IP issues. 

 

If replica sails were identical in use and performance to ILCA sails then the Olympic level sailors would be training with them. They are not. They cannot afford to train to equipment they are not going to actually use while racing. 

 

On every one design boat I have ever sailed in my entire life people have always chased after the mythical perfect sail that would last forever. Sails are like tires on a car, they wear out. The harder you drive them the faster they wear out. Olympic level sailors use a lot more sails per year than us average folk, they use a sail a few major regattas, rotate it into training, then sell or donate them while they still have a usable life to more average sailors. That is still a pretty good life for a consumable at that level of competition, and does even make them a bit more sustainable than in some other classes where old sails simply end up in the dumpster. 

 

Finally, it should be noted that last year’s shipping issues really impacted the production of the material used for ILCA 6 sails and there was only one option available for sourcing it with long lead times. That led to a supply shortage overall and sailmakers are just starting to get caught up with the demand. 

 

I’ll save an equally long rant about class dues other than to say I’m continually amazed that people seem to think all the infrastructure in place that they take advantage of when they go race their boat simply materializes out of the ether. Like one day the Richmond club just appeared along with a race committee signal boat and a fleet of ribs and whalers to set marks, provide safety, etc. 

 

As they say, “there is no free lunch”. 

 

Tracy

 

Sent from my iPad

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Stephen Aguilar

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Oct 29, 2022, 1:12:43 AM10/29/22
to Emilio Castelli, Sanjai Kohli, Usher, Tracy L., Laser List, International Laser Class Association District 24
I think they should use the same cloth and cut like the seven only modified to take advantage of the rig bend Including putting the big window in it. Then lower the price to like 495 for all of them. I remember buying a brand new standard for 350-400 right before they came out with the little button. My buddy Todd complained about the price. So the dealer threw in some numbers. This was I think a couple years before they came out with the new rigging. No more hours spent braiding in thimbles tying loops and knots just to watch it self-destruct.

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Usher, Tracy L.

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Oct 29, 2022, 10:11:55 AM10/29/22
to Stephen Aguilar, Emilio Castelli, Sanjai Kohli, Laser List, International Laser Class Association District 24

ILCA did, in fact, try several variations of an ILCA 6 sail with the same material used in the ILCA 7… both in the standard radial cut and also bi-radial. The ultimate problem is that the heavier cloth makes the sail more powerful with much less ability to depower. A significant recut that allows heavier material without degrading the current performance of the boat is a longer project (remember how long to get the ILCA 7 out the door!). 

The ILCA Technical Team has this project still on the list but currently it is a bit lower priority. And the Olympic level sailors are not pushing for an updated sail, they seem to “happy” with the current sail. Meanwhile, even though we have recently significantly augmented our technical team they still have a lot of projects they need to deal with first. 

I should also add that the red sail buttons are something like $10, these are not driving the cost of the sail. When the price of a new sail crossed $400 this was the barrier for when replica sails (which had always been there) started to gain traction. And this was already a few years past the introduction of the red button. I just wanted to add that to make sure people know its not the class that is driving the cost of the sail…

One last thing, if there was an update to the ILCA 6 sail its introduction would be tied to the Olympic cycle - specifically the last qualification event. This means it won’t happen this cycle (because there is no candidate in the pipeline), so it would be 2028 earliest. 

Tracy

Sent from my iPad

On Oct 28, 2022, at 10:12 PM, Stephen Aguilar <sails...@gmail.com> wrote:



Tucker Strasser

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Oct 29, 2022, 10:49:03 AM10/29/22
to Usher, Tracy L., Stephen Aguilar, Emilio Castelli, Sanjai Kohli, Laser List, International Laser Class Association District 24

Emilio Castelli

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Oct 29, 2022, 12:17:25 PM10/29/22
to Usher, Tracy L., International Laser Class Association District 24

Even just moving the cunningham up 5” would improve it.

E

 

 

From: Usher, Tracy L. [mailto:us...@slac.stanford.edu]

Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2022 7:12 AM
To: Stephen Aguilar

Julian Soto

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Oct 29, 2022, 1:43:07 PM10/29/22
to Emilio Castelli, Usher, Tracy L., International Laser Class Association District 24
If you are concerned about cost. I suggest having 3 sails. One for practice (illegal/legal one), a San Francisco race sail for those expected to be windier venues and a San Diego race sail for those expect to be light venues. This will lengthen The life of your sails tremendously especially if you pick and choose your venues depending on your skills we can coordinate with the sails You use. The windier sail should be a Hyde/Pryde and the light air should be North. Also, having a sail bag and a good thick top cover will help or just bring it home. When out on the water, make sure the DH is off when not in use, the outhaul tighter when flapping the sails and boomvang on to the 1st mark/ where the boom is parallel. Last tip, train hard and the equipment will follow. Unless you have a wooden tiller and no hiking strap and stuck in the 70’s.  

Sent from my [fill in the blank]

On Oct 29, 2022, at 9:17 AM, Emilio Castelli <emi...@castellivineyards.com> wrote:



Usher, Tracy L.

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Oct 30, 2022, 11:00:26 AM10/30/22
to Laser List, international-laser-clas...@googlegroups.com

I always wonder why people seem to think a sail from one manufacturer is “better” than another one. The material is the same, the cut the same, etc. The ILCA Technical Team puts in a lot of effort to minimize differences to insure even performance (and one of our technical officers is also an Olympic level sailor doing a campaign for 2024). 

There are manufacturing tolerances which are set by the ability of a manufacturer to repeat target values (e.g. precision in seaming). There is a tension here between narrow enough tolerances to remove any hint of a performance difference and wide enough to not drive production cost… but all data from sailmaker inspections indicates right now that the sails are made the same. 

So… what makes one better than the other?

Sent from my iPad

On Oct 29, 2022, at 10:43 AM, Julian Soto <jujub...@gmail.com> wrote:

If you are concerned about cost. I suggest having 3 sails. One for practice (illegal/legal one), a San Francisco race sail for those expected to be windier venues and a San Diego race sail for those expect to be light venues. This will lengthen The life of your sails tremendously especially if you pick and choose your venues depending on your skills we can coordinate with the sails You use. The windier sail should be a Hyde/Pryde and the light air should be North. Also, having a sail bag and a good thick top cover will help or just bring it home. When out on the water, make sure the DH is off when not in use, the outhaul tighter when flapping the sails and boomvang on to the 1st mark/ where the boom is parallel. Last tip, train hard and the equipment will follow. Unless you have a wooden tiller and no hiking strap and stuck in the 70’s.  
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