I'll admit it - I am a luddite.
I keep an eye on the State of the Art for anything that is useful to more affordable craft which is why you will find efficient foils and efficient mast/sail combos on my recreational craft designs.
Give me a handicap that reflects 10% of the price difference and I will blow your I14, 505 or 49er out of the water! My weapon of choice would be the Goat Island Skiff - but I don't know if you could even compete with the 8ft PDRacer which costs the same as 20 decent pizzas or the same number of movie tickets - INCLUDING sail.
49er in the Gold Series at Weymouth
Them's fighting words I know.
In the end I believe in freedom of choice - if you want to spend $30,000 on a racing boat for two people - that's your prerogative - but don't think for a moment that someone is going to join you at a time when a basic boat for a kid is $5000 or a boat for an adult starting out is $10,000.
We can get a kid or an adult on the water in a new boat for $350 - and that is including a sail.
The kid's box with sail - the Optimist is around $5000 - or that was last year. Our box with sail for adults (it can carry two but races with one) will cost between $350 and $1200 - and that is EVERYTHING. Variation in if you can scrounge reasonably cheap stuff or whether you have to pay full price at a shop.
Kids sailing Optimist Prams
Maybe it will even be good for your 49er or 505 fleet in the long run to have boats that cost $350 to introduce people to the sport past-time that you and I both love. Or at least I hope it does.
At the moment, like I said, people have the prerogative to do what they want (like I said).
The result is that they are choosing something other than sailing.
The clubs, class associations and sailing admin people think it is because they have to now compete against video games.
The Goat Island Skiff
The people who have been the most responsible, but the least to blame have been the class associations that have allowed the prices of technology incorporated in their boats to rise and rise. Many of these boats were designed to be cheap and simple. They are least to blame because exponential rise of costs is only visible in retrospect.
The real reason is an XBox and 5 games are the same price as just a sail for a junior sailing boat.
In Sydney where I grew up there was a dinghy sailing club in just about every cove and beach on Sydney Harbour, Pittwater and Botany Bay. Now - tell me - how many are there? A dozen?
OzPDRacers doing what they do best
Don't tell me it is land tax on club land etc - I used to sail out of a club that used a rented garage - and I knew a good half dozen clubs that operated the same way.
Sailing is the best thing - but it is also stupid.
Oh yeah - what is the value of the boats on the right from the top down.
$25,000, $5000, $2500, $350
Michael Storer plans sold here