Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Spank the monkey!

On of the funniest things I ever heard happened to a mate of mine a long time ago. Growing up in Birmingham when we were all so far from the sea (we'll call him) Ian woke up one morning with not much to do.. So he thought he'd idle away the time with a spot of gentle dreaming, specifically gentle dreaming of Raquel Welsh...in "Planet of the Apes"

Clamping his head phones on to cut out the noise and with his eyes tightly shut he err.. vigorously enjoyed his moment of fantasy, and when all was done he opened his eyes...... and was horrified to find that a steaming hot cup of tea had been quietly placed on his bedside table...by his mother.

Imagine coming down to breakfast..

I'm not sure what makes me , after all these years, think of Ian when I ponder the split handicap which is seemingly suggested as OK in the moth class .. Its a bit embarrasing really. I just feel every other class will be looking at us and thinking "wankers"

I like Bladeriders, they are well designed and good boats, right now they offer a lot. But sooner or later we are going to have to stop putting up with the wacking off shitty and insulting marketing and say "grow up" if you want to be part of this family.

Just my own thoughts..you may disagree.

Anyway I'll ask the Moth sailors at Hayling Island who sail a BR design because a racing committe member just cc'd me on this email exchange..

Original email
The RYA have announced that the 2008 numbers will be available from 29th February which is Friday week. I'll grab them as soon as I can so we should have updated numbers for the Opening Race if you want to use them.

Thanks. It will be interesting to see what they come up with!
Apparantly, the bladerider x8 and foiling moth may have different numbers!

And I'll forward the original if anyone doubts the above.


Anonymous said...

I guess follows then that an I14, B5 should sail off a different number to a B4 or M12. Or the Mistress should have its own PY..... ? Maybe we should go to personal handicaps like golf -- I will have 950 please!

I am sure Hayling will ignore the book as usual and invent a handicap for both the 14 and Moth. The Moth based on you Simon not the average man in the dinghy park and we know you are far from average!

Actually come to think of it the Prowler number is set already at 690 I believe? So if the BR is set differently in the book? ---Sounds good to me!

But then there will a counterfeit market for Bladerider hull logo's. So we will then need to call out trading standards to stamp out this cheating.

Come to think of it I am confused -- Who is entering races as a BR as opposed to a Moth? And what handicap would I get sailing a BR hull but using a Hyde sail????

Simon Payne said...

Good point well made Michael. Hayling will, as you say ignore the book but unless we clear this up, and given the trouble we had this year, QM might not, and it doesnt make sense at the next Bloody Mary for say Graham Vials and you to start behind Jason and me...I'm all for personal handicaps though!


Anonymous said...

Seams to me that some Australian handicap publishers made a screw-up and you've decided it's the biggest issue in the world, and all down to Bladerider thinking they're are the shits.

As opposed to some Austalian handicap publishers made a screw-up.

Good Blog otherwise.

Simon Payne said...

Thanks Mr err Anonymous. If its such a screw up then why has it been proposed to leave it as is? Rather than fix it? Why try to put so many peoples nose out of joint? It is deeply disrespectful to other builders for a start..Ask em if you dont believe me. In Europe the majority of moth sailors handicap race and we'd all like to start at the same time thanks. If you dont then say so.I've no problem with the F18 style of sub classes but I'm a marketer mate and I can smell a rat in that game a long way off. Anyway as I said you may disagree, lifes like that. But if it was just me I'd probably think I was over reacting, but it isnt, and I'm not.
Glad you like th blog, I'll probably get bored of it when the boat arrives..

Anonymous said...

The absolute height of arrogance from RV and BR.

Lets poll this! is BR full of BS or is it just a mistake??

How is a BR moth faster than any other moth when they of the same class??

Karl said...

I read these particular tea leaves as BR laying crepe for the time in the not-too-distant future when their boat is no longer the bees knees - i.e. when the next manufacturer or builder ups the ante as it were and builds something demonstrably faster.

If I were BR I would want to consolidate the gains made to date, create a stable class racing scene for my boat, and fork off into one design with all the customers I can so I don't have to retool every few years, which is expensive (i.e. less profitable). Once the class racing scene is established around the world new sailors will continue to join, and I will have a nice cash cow to milk, feed and socialize with.

The Moth class has been a very useful organizational scheme for BR to piggyback upon in generating interest, but fundamentally the type of sailor BR are bringing into the class is not committed to the concept of development and I expect many of the newer BR sailors would support a one-design fleet. If BR can establish this and become one design before any other manufacturer introduces and markets a competing product they will have critical mass and a big competitive advantage in the foiling part of the one-design dinghy market because they were the first ones on the scene.

Development and one design mentalities have parted company in the past and will likely continue to do so, though I have to say I think it would be more fun to keep all the BR people and other Mothies together in a development class.

I'm sure BR will want to play the handicap thing down, in order to preserve their relationship with the Moth class and its racing scene while they build critical mass, but as noted above they are going to no effort to change or argue against the idea of the BR having a separate handicap in Australia, and it will not be long before other foiling Moth products from other manufacturers begin to hit the market, hire away some hotshot Moth sailors (ahem) and put some pressure on BR by winning some big Moth regattas. If I were BR I'd prefer to go out (of the Moth class) while I was on top, while my only competition in the development game consists of small builders and amateurs and I can say I am the fastest Moth on the block (whether true or not).

But this could all be pure bollocks, of course.

Anonymous said...

Lets me careful as a Moth Class not to extradite any more potential Bladerider owners from what is an excellent class.

Simon, should the glass not be half full?

Without the production levels of BR, we would still only have one or two worldwide builders, whereby supply cannot meet demand. It was only a matter of time before a mass builder jumped on the foiler band waggon... at least BR have decided to do so under the Moth class rules.

There is no way we would be close to having 100 plus boats at the worlds without BR. I assume the Moth Class wants the recognition that this brings?

I think the correct expression here is... storm in a tea cup! Chill winston...

Simon said...

Karl outlines the business perspective very neatly.

The Moth Class has been aware of this from the outset.

There will probably be a different dynamic in different countries. In the UK, Europe, Australia and Japan, where Moths are well established (80 years of history here), the BRs are already integrated into the fleets. They are friends sailing together at the same clubs in the same fleets.

They don't want to go to different open meetings, start on different club lines and choose between two international championships in the summer.

The boats are being continually refined and de-onedesigned. Soon, even the corporate branding will give way to individualistic paint schemes.

This may play out differently in the US and a few other countries where the BR is the most numerous Moth design. Perhaps the sailors want one design and one supplier? But I suspect at the leading edge of sailing skill and technology, the human desire to refine and be individual will be alive and well in the US too. Were Apple and Google built on the one design ethos. Did you shoot a satellite out of orbit with one design thinking?

BR as you say may have a global plan - but it the customer (sailor) that will decide and it is not obviously in the sailors' interests to stall progress and place himself in the hands of a monopoly supplier of equipment.

The future is diverse, competitive and exciting. The Moth development rule is the ideal framework for exploiting this.

Best wishes to all Mothies, whatever design they are sailing today.
Simon Propper

Simon Payne said...

Absolutely I couldnt agree more! In other posts you'll see how I've stated that the BR is a good boat and we as a class are in excellent shape. Worth re reading, but anyway thats a different subject... My issue is with split handicaps for the same boat, nothing else.

Doug Culnane said...

From my experience in Austria where I hope to establish a Moth fleet...

The BR makes the moth fleet a reality, and having sailed one I too think it is a great boat. So I do not want to be negative about it in any way.

However I have to re-educate people a bit after they have had years of one-design politics from manufacturers. Their natural response is the BR is good because a one design is good, and development is bad. I ask why and I get the usual boat will be competitive and cheap. The truth is that big budgets win races in any class. New boats go faster and are more reliable in any class.

Once people see the fun and benefit of being able to play around with your gear a bit they get a kick out of it. Once they see the cost savings of being able to throw a boat together with discarded bits from other boats they get the benefits.

Therefore if BR sailors want a one-design that is their choose but I hope they do this within the Moth class, and after they have had a insight into traditional Moth culture.

We have a split fleet with lowriders juniors masters... why not have a one-design BR prise, and one for the best home built boat in Austria made by a Brit.

Therefore the comments about new fleets are true. If people hear that the BR has its own handicap then it adds to the new class formula that people have become very used to. This adds to the new class idea which I want to fight, as I want to go sailing with the BR guys.

So lets kill it now. The BR is a Moth and will always be a Moth. BR may do extra BR events and prices to add value to their product and we can not stop that and why should we, as long as it does not conflict with the Moth.

The handicap of the Moth is a problem but we need the following categories with good agreed numbers (although that is easer said than done):


I hope any new guys reading our on-line squabbles will not be put off but understand that I think we are trying to be inclusive and protect the fatalistic class and its spirit. The on-line banter is part of the fun.

Karl said...

Yes I think the situation here in the US is different. I have to say I had a blast sailing with four BRs last weekend - it's the people that make up any class and the San Diego fleet has some great ones. Charlie McKee is one of the nicest, most down to earth guys you could ever hope to meet, for instance, and what a credit to the Moth class to have people like him in it. He said if it were not for BR he would not be involved. So I do not want to paint BR in overly unflattering light.

But I must admit it is strange to show up at what is ostensibly a Moth regatta and find yourself a minority as a development-minded sailor.

The glass half full part is that some development mentality may rub off on the OD people and some of the really good sailing skills may wear off on people like me. The attention to detail of people like Zach Maxam as he talks about how to gybe, for instance, is remarkable, and that approach appears to work for him.

So we are all learning and it is good as long as BR corporate and the BR owners do not get frustrated when their boat's position at the top is challenged by something else, which is inevitable.

Practically on the handicap issue the only way to prevent it would seem to be prohibiting any boat which races as a separate class from competing in Moth regattas. This seems rather extreme, but may be warranted if BR begin to hold events which exclude other types of Moth. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind...

Anonymous said...


Ban the BR!??!

What everyone wants, is as many boats racing as possible. That's what's enjoyable.

Yet you suggest dividing the fleet by say 2/3rds by removing BR boats because they hold a separate event?

This is clearly emotive, but lets keep a rational head on.

This simply isn't workable, nor desirable. The Moth class needs to embrace. If it came to a dog fight, then I'd put my money on a well financed builder that can deliver large quantities of boats to the far reaches of the globe, rather than one aussie builder who builds 10 - 20 boats a year... and has a full order book until late next year!