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Author Topic: Junior Sailing Input Desired  (Read 15431 times)
Daniel Hearn
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Posts: 111


« on: March 19, 2009, 04:53:49 PM »

Before Discussion Board activity fades to a trickle with the close of the season upon us, the North American Ice Opti Racing Association would like to invite input from all interested parties to guide decisions that will be made for next season.   

Goals
The overarching goals of the association’s “unofficial” organizers are to facilitate the development of a class that will allow kids to:
•   get into ice sailing as inexpensively as possible
•   learn to love the sport and participate safely
•   compete on a level playing field
•   gain skills that would allow them to advance to other ice sailing classes
•   have a very positive and fun experience

Guiding Principle
Keep things simple (eliminating need for all kinds of technical rules) and as inexpensive as possible.

With these things in mind, your input on the following topics would be welcomed:
1.   Runners
-   What should be allowed/disallowed?
-   Perspective:  Juniors should be limited to one set of runners per regatta.  The runners should be any plate runner that would be considered legal within the DN class.  Insert runners would not be allowed.   (Yes, this would prohibit the thin, Macur-style runners used in Europe).
2.   Sails
-   Should multiple sails be allowed?
-   Perspective:  Juniors should be limited to one sail per regatta, except in the event of damage requiring a substitution approved by the race committee.  Sail changes on the Ice Opti are more of a hassle anyway.
3.   Ballast
-   Should Juniors be allowed to carry weight; and add or remove the weight prior to different races in a regatta?
-   Perspective: Carrying weight should not be allowed.  Doing so defeats the purpose of requiring that the boat floats in open water.  Practice would give an advantage to lighter weight skippers in certain conditions who would then be able to manipulate this variable depending on conditions.  Would also add more hassle with additional equipment that would have to be taken out/returned from the race course. 
4.   Sail Height
-   Should the height of the sail be restricted on the mast?
-   Perspective:  Yes-- Juniors should be required to carry their sail in the normal Optimist Dinghy sailing position.  (Luff grommet should be within 4” of the top of the mast).  Want to avoid potential practice of carrying it down low, like the DN, and thereby creating a safety hazard due to compromised vision.

Daniel Hearn
US5352   
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Geoff Sobering
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2009, 06:16:40 PM »

1.   Runners
-   What should be allowed/disallowed?
-   Perspective:  Juniors should be limited to one set of runners per regatta.

I would suggest that the only way to eliminate the "runner quiver" is to restrict sailors to "one set of runners per season".

Cheers,

Geoff S.
US-5156
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Man Why You Even Got to Do a Thing
Ken Smith
ADMIN

Posts: 289


sail often, travel light


« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2009, 08:35:25 PM »

Dan,

I like all the restriction ideas you listed. 

If picking one runner, given no other considerations, I would pick 3/16 plates for the opti.  Reasons:  lighter weight, more versatile (better in snow), and adequate in all conditions.
Drawbacks:  Not in production, not available used, and not legal on a DN (But I think they should be, don't hold your breath).

Second choice is the same as your first choice.  DN legal plates. 

Runners and sails:  One set per regatta.

Ballast:  Must be fixed to the boat for every race and should still float.  I can make a table (spreadsheet) if you want for a few key offsets that would give you a buoyancy estimate.  If buoyancy is greater than weight, plus a fixed margin, the boat will float with the skipper.  Your no ballast option may be OK too, but if its howling, the light skipper is at a disadvantage big time.

Sail height.  Are they doing that?  Is teh mast length fised and measured?  No opinion here.



« Last Edit: March 19, 2009, 08:40:35 PM by Ken Smith » Logged

Ken Smith
DN4137US
Daniel Hearn
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Posts: 111


« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2009, 08:37:04 AM »

Geoff, Ken:

Runners:  I would be even more pleased to see the restriction be one set per "season."  Agree that the best "one set" would be 3/16" plates, but lean toward choice #2--legal DN plates-- because of the availability issue.

Ballast: Thx for offer, Ken.  (Let's wait for more input and see what the "people" think.) Your buoyancy estimates could very well eliminate the safety concern.  In my mind, safety has to be the top consideration regarding ballast, with performance a distant second.  Regarding performance, if we go the permanently attached route, then I would think that should have to apply for a "season" also.  Agree, it would help the lightweights when it's howling, but a heavier skipper can't shed weight for a regatta that is forecasted to have light wind conditions.  (goal: compete on level playing field)

Sail Height:  Not happening yet, but as the parent of a lightweight, I've thought about it.  The standard Opti rig could easily be dropped down quite low.  Again, our safety goal comes into play.  On this one, I'd just like to see us avoid a potential issue before it even happens.  In Optimist Dinghies, I assume mast length is fixed and measured.  I'm just assuming everyone is using a "standard issue" Opti mast.  It is my opinion that we should discourage activities that push the technological envelope to gain competitive advantage.  Particularly if such an activity could compromise safety.   

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DN 805
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Posts: 267


« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2009, 10:18:21 AM »

Sail position on the mast in the International Optimist Class (soft water) is determined with a short stripe on the luff of the sail needing to align within the space between two stripes around the mast.  I don't know the exact location of these stripes, but this system is easy for all to comply and easy to see and enforce.

The Ice Opti rules with respect to hull construction are loose.  They don't have to look like DNs, though the Ice Optis in North America currently look like DNs.  I'm not sure about the rules, but if a hull can be built that is essentially an open boat with no sizeable area enclosed  it seems the best approach to assure flotation capabilities is to not allow ballast.  And no ballast means  less hassle for the sailors.

Absolutely the runners should be DN plate runners falling within DN specs.  Used ones readily available.  And the weight on the ends of the plank stablizes the boat.

It is difficult to regulate the number of sails and runners per season.  The way to beat that game is to buy or build a new boat every couple of weeks, which would certainly not be good for Class development.      Better to regulate per regatta to one sail and one set of runners. 

DN 805
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Geoff Sobering
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2009, 10:32:26 AM »

The way to beat that game [per season limits] is to buy or build a new boat every couple of weeks, ...

I was intending that the runners (and any other equipment limited that way) would be registered to the sailor, not the boat.

Substitutions would be allowed (just as currently within a regatta) for broken/damaged equipment with the appropriate form and explanation.

Cheers,

Geoff S.
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Man Why You Even Got to Do a Thing
Don Williams
Newbie

Posts: 13


« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2009, 07:38:40 AM »

In regards to runners:
What are the dimensions and style of the various runners that have been seen in US and Europe?
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Daniel Hearn
Class Member
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Posts: 111


« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2009, 08:47:13 AM »

Don:

Restrictions on runners in Europe are minimal.  Here's a link for details:  http://www.icesailing.org/

Summary:  inserts or plates

Inserts:  length 914 mm max/no min; thickness 3 - 6.8 mm; height 50 - 76 mm
Plates:   length 760 mm max/no min; thickness 3 - 6.8 mm; height 95 - 127 mm

They also use T's.

Daniel
US5352
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Fity Five---0
Class Member
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Posts: 21



« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 10:57:25 AM »

My .02

As a parent who is going to build an opti or two.  I think keeping it a tight one design, would keep the costs down. Having just a plate runner the same as a DN rule would help this. 
Keeping the cost's down and making it very simple having it be more one design w/ minimal options will make it more affordable to more parents and increase potential participation.

DN 5050
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Geoff Sobering
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2009, 12:35:32 PM »

I think keeping it a tight one design, would keep the costs down.

Just a bit of background.  The main impetus for have loose(ish) specs was to allow folks to use spare equipment that they have "lying around".  DN plate runners are distressingly expensive new ($700 for a set from Sarns), and used ones are sometimes hard to find.  If you have an old set of non-plate runners (ex. non-stainless T's) then it's cheaper to use them rather than try and get a "class legal" set.

With all that said, with enough class-support (ex. help finding low-cost/used plate runners) then the advantages of the more restrictive specs in keeping the class more one-design are substantial.

Finally, one should note that I believe the proposed "any plate runner that would be considered legal within the DN class" does allow some pretty exotic runners (ex. the $525 (ea.) 440C "Slipper" runner that Composite Concepts makes).  We might want to consider a spec that is more specific (ex. non-stainless plate with Aluminum bar stiffeners).

Cheers,

Geoff S.
US-5156
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Man Why You Even Got to Do a Thing
Bob Gray
Class Member
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Posts: 194


« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2009, 05:19:54 PM »

  Last year a friend of mine said he was interested in an opti for his son. I pulled up the plans and specs on the Opti site and was impressed. They restricted the important things and left the rest open enough so you could put together a decent boat for a reasonable cost. It seems to make it easy to fit the child as well as the pocket book. With kids you never know if they'll even like a sport or stick with it. I really like the idea of one sail and one set of runners  for a regatta, but aside that, leave the specs the same as they are in Europe. They don't hurt anything and we don't want to have two competing organizations.  If we build an Opti, it will have a set of 30 inch 3/16" plates that we can build for under $150.
                                                                       Bob
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Rick Lemberg
Class Member
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Posts: 19


« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2009, 05:47:44 PM »

This is my first year involved in the opti,I built one for my grandson  and have been watching the developement of the class for the last couple of years.I watched the opti centrals this year and to tell you it was great to watch the kids out sailing and being envolved with all the other ice sailors .I think if we keep the boats as simple as possible ,one set of plate runners per regatta would be fine and they could be bullnose or the gator type,these skates work great in all conditions.thier are a couple of plates being experimented with at very low cost,Bob gray from traverse city has a set he built out of stainless with wood stiffners and has held up great. I myself have built skates ,it takes time but you can do it cheep $200. or so.I think if your just starting out with a Jr.sailor put together what you can and go sailing.the biggest problem I found  was finding ice time this year .every time I wanted to take my Grandson out it snowed .We are both looking forward to next year allready.      Think Ice   Rick Lemberg   4155
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Geoff Sobering
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Posts: 461



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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2009, 11:11:36 AM »

One possible solution to the equipment issue would be to establish two fleets, one with strict one-design limitations and another "Open Class" using the more permissive European-style specifications.  For now, I'd expect that most sailors in NA would compete in the "Open" fleet.

Some background might be helpful in understanding the motivation behind the discussion of specifications for a Jr. class.  The soft-water Optimist class has become extremely competitive, with an "arms race" in gear to match (and this is with quite tight one-design rules).  For example, look at the range of spars available - topping out with 7075 alloy tubing, and different stiffness sprits: http://www.optiparts.com/products/spars.asp  Shocked

Some people are concerned that with loose specs. once the Ice-Opti becomes popular the most competitive (and well funded) sailors will push the limits of the rules to obtain an (unfair) advantage and discourage other sailors from participating.  Unfortunately, experience with kids sports in the US would seem to support this fear.  Sad

OTOH, establishing super-specific rules can raise the "barrier to entry" for casual sailors, hindering the expansion of the class and discouraging new sailors from "giving it a try".  I know Daniel's motivation to start this discussion is to try and find a "happy medium" that encourages new sailors to come out and get involved (even without perfect equipment) while at the same time more serious sailors are not discouraged by the cost of competitive equipment.

Cheers,

Geoff S.
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Man Why You Even Got to Do a Thing
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