Allowing mirrors to be built from plans

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29 Jan 2006 12:08 #11397 by ASW
Replied by ASW on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
Martin, in complete contrast to my last post.
I spent yesterday afternoon fitting a new bottom to a 37k Mirror for a friend in our club. He had been given the boat by another club member, it is sound and complete apart from the bottom panels.
As he has a very limited budget and as yet no aspirations towards championships, he bought 5mm marine 5 ply. He now has a completely sound, fair and accurate bottom panel with a straight plate case. There is enough ply left to replace the transom skin which is tatty and with a bit more elbow grease he will have a great boat to sail for less than £100.
The whole point of this is, having encouraged him to get sailing and racing, he now faces the prospect of his boat being classed Illegal if he wanted to go to an open or championship.
In my experience in the Fireball class I have encouraged loads of people to go to their first open or Nationals and almost without exception those people have continued to compete in the class.
The Mirror class association cannot afford to ignore the people at the entry level, the racers will always be there with new equipment and the latest spec bits who are prepared to invest money into their sport (myself included) it is the grass roots club sailors who the class needs to support and encourage.There must be loads of old Mirrors sitting unwanted that could be rejuvinated. In fact our club has another freebie on offer, looks like a similar situation and another bottom panel replacement - dilema! do i use legal panels or keep the cost down and use another source with the risk that no-one could use that boat competitively. Wouldn`t it be a shame if a couple of keen junior sailors could not attend a Champs because their club boat was out of class.
Please move the rule book from the dark ages to modern times.
If not, take a look at the Enterprises to see an example of Dinosaurism. One of the most drastic rule changes made was to allow boats to not have carrying handles on the foredeck!!! wow I bet that really made a difference.It certainly didn`t stem the flow of people who started sailing RS200's instead.

Cheers,
Andy



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29 Jan 2006 15:07 #11400 by Trevor Lloyd
Totally agree, my point exactly.

N2O

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  • Flycatcher
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30 Jan 2006 13:32 #11403 by Flycatcher
Replied by Flycatcher on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
As the owner of 2 mirrors, and also having moved into an Enterprise I feel I can't let the previous statement pass without putting in my tuppence worth into the debate.

There have been a lot of branches covered in this topic so far but to me it seems to be throwing up the polarisation that exists between the "top (junior) races" nad the groundroot "club member/novice"

As I see it the Mirror class in the UK currently suits the young, enthusiastic, well financed competitor pretty well. But most people who get into Mirrors do so because the older boats are largely sound, available and relatively cheap.

I have moved into the Enterprise for competition because there were/are no Mirror opens within a reasonable travelling distance.

On the other hand the Enterprise does have a number of area competitions which does give easy access for the novice. The point about the handles I think rather misses the point. Maybe they are an anachronism, but one thing is certain an old Enterprise can still be competitive against brand new FRP boats. Largely because within the class rules it is easy & cheap to maintain. No one licensed supplier for panels. And there are very few classes with better national championship entries.

In spite of the forgoing I am, and always will be, very enthusiasticly pro-mirror, but I do feel that the class should be trying to maintain its position as an easy (cheap) class to get into, and make the accessability even better. Indeed I think its arguable that the Class Training days should be held where there aren't many squad sailors, to encourage more (juniors & adults) to get into mirror racing. (Rather than preaching to the converted).

Tony Latham
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30 Jan 2006 14:18 #11404 by ASW
Replied by ASW on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
Tony, the Ent is a good boat.
At that time, having just built 8 Ent's that finished in the top 20 at the Worlds, i was wishing the class would go from strength to strength and to address some of the longstanding important issues and anomalies concerning measurement & building Ents not to fiddle with very minor rule points.
The point about the handles was that whilst the class was struggling to maintain numbers due to more modern boats being more attractive at the time (RS200 etc...), all the class association could come up with in the way of modernisation was to allow handles and spray rails to be removed from the foredeck.
I totally agree with your other points, let's hope the rules are looked at soon and end the monopoly on Mirror panels.

Cheers,
Andy



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  • lucia70033
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05 Feb 2006 16:17 #11446 by lucia70033
Replied by lucia70033 on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
sorry i know this is a bit off topic but anyone who is worried about not having a measurement certificate is welcome to come to the eastern travellers. it's a great opportunity to gain more experience and improve your racing skills.

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  • HannahJ
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05 Feb 2006 20:47 #11447 by HannahJ
Replied by HannahJ on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
speaking of which, is there a calender up somewhere for the south east/ east traveller series, because it isn't on the main calender....

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  • Simon Lovesey
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06 Feb 2006 09:41 #11449 by Simon Lovesey
Replied by Simon Lovesey on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
Eastern Traveller events now on the main schedule, please can someone in the East arrange for the external Eastern Traveller site to be updated

MCA Secretary

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06 Feb 2006 17:03 #11451 by lucia70033
Replied by lucia70033 on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
the dates are
8th April- Deben
29th/30th April- Brightlingsea
13th may- Up River
11th June- Hunts
2nd July- NHEB (North Herts East Beds)
16th July- Ely
14th October- Cam
but some of them might be changed so wait a while and i'll keep you updated

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06 Feb 2006 19:25 #11453 by lucia70033
Replied by lucia70033 on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
i'll get the eastern traverllers site updated as soon as posible. we don't have access to it at the moment. sorry

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  • cjyardley
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18 Feb 2006 21:03 #11505 by cjyardley
Replied by cjyardley on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
This has been one of the most interesting topics in the forum for ages and a lot of good points have been raised. Not wishing to be seen as one of any particular 'camp', I would however like to add my support to a number of previous correspondents comments and perhaps summarise some general way forward suggestions.

The Mirror was until the mid 1980s about the cheapest way of getting a good dinghy on the water - a lot less than the cost of any other similar class (Gull / Heron / Otter) and indeed this was the whole point of the Class - it was vastly cheaper than anything else. Back in the good old days it was so cheap folk who had never considered sailing were buying kits and having a go without much thought about whether or not they could do it etc - the kit was ludicrously cheap (in 1971 the kit was £75 - the finished boat was only about £140 as compared to a finished Gull which was well over £230). That was what made the Mirror popular and sold 62000 odd boats by 1980 - the fact that there are not 62000 more since is largely a testament to cost.

I would really like to see the Mirror that cheap again - there are thousands of folk who would love to have the chance to build a really cheap good dinghy but who will simply not be able to risk or afford the current cost.

Can we not get round the ply issue? Other classes (as the Enterprise chap so rightly said) dont worry - never have and dont have any problem - compared to other possible changes proposed to the rig etc this surely pales into insignificance in performance terms - lets find a cheap good source of ply and sponsor it through the Association so we know its provonance is OK. After all the original boat had ply that was more or less the cheapest around to keep the price of the kits down - now we are forced to source 'cheap' ply at expensive cost - its completely contrary to the original concept.

This plans thing - yes why not - surely again this is reasonable, most other classes have the option of building from plans and it hasnt killed their builders - a healthy class supports healthy builders. If we could get boat hulls built for £350 that would be a wonderful boost to the class. There is increasing demand for old boats (see ebay) which is increasing year on year because folk want to sail - wonderfull. At the same time the older boats (due to poor quality ply I have to say - thats why the boat was so cheap originally - nothing wrong in that) are getting beyond hope - the stock of repairable hulls is rapidly diminishing, and what does give the Class a bad name are the rotting hulks that poor newcommers to the sport pick up and find are no use and un-repairable.



Edited by - cjyardley on 18 February 2006 21:06:18

Edited by - cjyardley on 19 February 2006 18:39:50

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25 Feb 2006 14:32 #11594 by Martin Egan
Time for another megapost <img src=icon_smile_dead.gif border=0 align=middle> from me.

As I understand it, the Enterprise class (like Cadets and other boats of that era) had their plans published from the beginning. That's why there is no licenced kit or panel manufacturer for the class. Mirrors have only ever been available as a kit.

Going back to a point brought up by Tim Smith, Trello and Dave Hughes about old boats with certificates and the current rules. When the class became International there were a lot of changes to the measurement rules in order to limit the possible variations in hull shapes (under the original rules I understand you could, and did, get huge variations). This was when the measurement stations were brought in, making things a lot tighter. In the UK the prescriptions of the UK MCA were changed to allow the hulls of old boats to be "grandfathered" up to UK Nationals level. This means they can be legally raced at UK events up to and includling the Nationals, so long as the hull complies with the class rules in force when they were certificated. This prescription is still in force.

I think the panel replacement rule came in as a response to a situation that arose in Sidmouth around 1991 when a large number of boats were completely or almost completely rebuilt using locally purchased timber and ply. I understand that in some cases the sail numbers of existing boats were used and so two boats existed with the same number. These boat were measured and successfully raced at MCA events. There was a lot of concern within the IYRU (now ISAF), RYA and Class at the time about this practice. At the time the International rule 7.5 required "... Materials used in alterations, replacements and repairs shall be equivalent to those originally supplied with the boat." However, the UK MCA prescriptions went further saying (14d) "..... A boat repair or rebuild that exceeds one third of the original hull shall use Kit part supplied by a licened Kit manufacturer and a new boat number or a rebuild identification shall be issued".

So back in 1991 the sort of repair that Andy has carried out, replacing the bottom panels of a boat with locally purchased timber was legal both in terms of the International rules and the UK Prescriptions at the time.

If Mirror sailors from that era had been happy to leave it at that, then there would have been no need to change the rules. I wasn't involved with the change, so I don't know why the UK prescription was not adopted, one problem may have been that ISAF won't allow imprecise phrases such as "..one third of the original hull.." in new rules. It would have to be more specific (such as, say,"...no more than 5 panels ",...)

Reading through the posts it seems to me that allowing more scope for repairs (back towards what was allowed in 1991) would address may of the issues raised in this forum. As I see it, the problem for those of us charged with making the rules, is one of control - how do we allow genuine boat repairs but without allowing it to be used as a mechanism for either building a new boat without paying a building fee (infringing ISAFs copyright) or building a boat with a race advantage over boats built from genuine kits ?

Don't forget that ISAF use the number of building fees paid each year as a measure of activity within the class. You may see it as an unnecessary overhead, but given the small number of new boats being built each year, it wouldn't take much to start making it look to ISAF like the class was less active than it was.

If the class (in the UK and worldwide) want to allow repair using locally purchased timber or allow building from plans, then the rules can be changed. But there are a number of concerns which the class will have to address and possible consequences, in particular:

<b> Control of materials </b>
I've already touched on this - how do we ensure the correct material and the correct thickness or size has been used. There seems widespread agreement that this should be done, but how ? How do I measure, for example, the thickness of a stern deck or an aft bulkhead (no hatch) on a completed boat ?

<b> Control of panel shape and, in turn, hull shape</b>
How do we ensure that the panel shape of each new panel conforms to panel shape in the kit specification ? It's the shape of the panels which largely determine the shape of the hull. Some of the panels (like the bulkheads), can't even be fully accessed. Even where some sort of template could be laid on a panel, I can envisage difficulties telling where a panel ends and the ajoining panel starts. Even if it can be done, it will, no doubt, take longer to measure the boat. You might find fewer and fewer people prepared to undertake boat measurement and to get a boat measured will cost more money.

<b> Protection of ISAF copyright </b>
How do we ensure that allowing genuine repairs using local timber is not used as a mechanism for avoiding paying a building fee ?

If we allow building from plans, then they will have to be professionally produced (i.e. will cost money) & ISAF will want a fee for each new boat built - I don't have an exact figure, but the building fee will probably closer to £100 than to £10. Once again, how do we ensure that we don't get boats build without numbers or that old numbers are "re-cycled" and used on new boats ?

Still waiting to hear where I can buy 5mm gaboon marine grade 3-ply.

That all for now <img src=icon_smile_dead.gif border=0 align=middle>

PS - Andy, did you take the decks off (in an afternoon) ? If not, how are the inside bottom panel to side panel joins taped ?

Edited by - MartinEgan on 25 February 2006 14:44:08

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  • flyingpig
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25 Feb 2006 22:09 #11604 by flyingpig
Replied by flyingpig on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
Epoxy/taping joints inside tanks is great fun .... if you have previously made inspection hatches and a few extra long tools. I've just done it with my transom skin, and I'm merely a bungling amateur, unlike ASW!(A small digital camera is quite useful for looking round corners too!)I have to confess though that I cut a panel from 5mm 5ply as supplied to me by a certain well known builder of Fireballs.

pigs can....and do.....

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25 Feb 2006 23:59 #11606 by Trevor Lloyd
Hi Martin et All

Hull dimensions and rebuilds
Measurement and hull shape can (could) be measure using ISAF approved and stamped metal templates (as per the Contender Class), not rocker. Measurement using this method involves putting permanent station marks on the hull (not to be removed) and confirming the hull shape with go no go gauges (round bars). As has been acknowledged here and on certain builders web sites builders do tweek hulls to be quicker and don't build out of the box, but they are dimensionally correct. Also if the hull is obviously built to an extreme and that the measurer deems that this is 'not in the spirit of the class' the measurer is allowed to refer to ISAF, this has been done. One Contender that measured but had obvious chines, built by a professional was not allowed to be repeated.

If someone rebuilds a 30k or so boat it is very obvious from the colour of the timber etc if it is new. That boat entering any championship should be questioned or at least be seen to be so, so as to deter this type of non compliance with the spirit of the class. Also by carefully adjusting the plans it could be made exceedingly more complex do total rebuilds around the transom, ie build around a central spine and permanently mark the thwart?

Control of Materials.
Again within the contender class, the measurer is entitled to drill holes to confirm deck \ hull thickness if he suspects the hull is built from illegal materials. Any boat seriously under weight or failing a simple swing test would be suspect. Believe me most contenders are varnished cold moulded hulls that no-one wants to see unnecessary holes in! Also breach of this could be deemed unfair sportsmanship!

Plans
I have a set of genuine full size plans for a contender £35.00, pretty cheap. I will have to pay a licence fee when I build it and it'll be about £130 to get my ISAF plaque. The great thing about this is that it doesn't matter how long I take to build it. When it's finished, to get my measurement certificate I'd need my Plaque receipt to get a sail number. Only then could it be given a measurement certificate. Even with this and materials it'll be a cheap boat and importantly cheaper than a kit today.

I think it is important to remember that if someone can build a new boat rather than rebuild an old boat it will always be worth more than the rebuilt old boat! Also a lot less like hard work to build and refinish. I am sure that they would recoup more than their investment. Also a lot of the older boats, quite frankly will never be competive. My son would never have enjoyed sailing as much as he does today if I had only purchased a £500 'banger' that was never capable of winning and needed repairing every 5 minutes! It has spurred him on hugely!

Boats without Numbers.
Not much use as they can't be raced and will have no real value except as a tender. Saw that many times in the 70's when people built fireball that didn't measure.

In terms of your comment of Ply, I believe I have found a source and am currently considering whether to import and resell. I am sure that if the professional builders want to do so they could do likewise.

Phew, hope that little lot makes sense.

Cheers All

N2O

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26 Feb 2006 10:27 #11607 by ASW
Replied by ASW on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
Hi Martin,
No the decks were not removed.
If you are very careful when you remove the bottom panels you leave the tape intact on the topsides and tank sides.
I used a 6mm router to cut a groove around the chine using the topsides as a guide leaving about .5mm to be cleaned from the tape. The rest is removed by hand with a chisel leaving the tape as a glueing shoulder. The tape is usually so thick with resin it remains quite stiff. The new bottom panels fit inside the topsides and are held in place with new .75mm copper ties drilled in adjacent to the old ones. These are cleaned back when dry and taped over from the outside as normal. A good source is twin & earth electrical cable. The joints need to be from epoxy as polyester resin has little strength or glueing ability.
When applying the tape - to new or old, mask off the area either side of the tape. Apply epoxy/polyester to the area and apply the tape along the joint, making sure it is straight and the weave is neat and true. With a dry brush gentle smooth the tape down allowing the resin to soak into the tape. With a hot air gun/hair dryer! do the same with the dry brush but gently heat in front of the brush - this allows the tape to soak up the resin even more. Finally, touch in any dry areas with resin. If the joints are to be seen, ie deck areas, gently sand the edge of the tape to remove the edge loops and fair into the surrounding timber. When epoxied/varnished over you will hardly be able to see the tape!
All the above assumes that you wear protective gloves, face masks and eye protection - when appropriate.

Happy boatbuilding,

Andy



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26 Feb 2006 12:45 #11608 by ASW
Replied by ASW on topic Allowing mirrors to be built from plans
Martin, with reference to the possible consequences of rule changes.
I have just checked the Fireball class rules. They appear to cover these issues - dimensions would need amending for the Mirror of course.

1. Control of Materials - I`m not sure why the type, grade, no of plys etc.. is such an issue - a minimum panel thickness is adequate.
The hull minimum weight rule takes care of this issue. If you want longevity from boats state a BS1088 ply with 5 plys for bottom panels and bulkheads.
Fireball rules state: Panel Thickness - For category 1 construction(wood) the thickness of the centre bottom panel, bilge panels and centreboard case side shall be not less than 5.4mm, and the thickness of the topside, fore and aft transoms, bulkheads, tankside and decking shall be not less than 3.6mm
2. Control of panel shape and, in turn, hull shape - The mirror hull shape is not exactly complex. The current rules allow a large tolerance on all measurements most section measurement around
+/- 20mm. If i built a new boat from a kit i would modify the supplied panels to acheive the required shape within these tolerances - where is the difference?
The measurements are already in place, original panel shape is irrelevent - a new/old hull must fit these measurements if it doesn't - it`s not a Mirror.
3. Protection of ISAF copyright - Any new boat built pays a builders fee - Fireball £117, Solo £125.72 I think the Ent is similar. Numbers are issued on payment of this and the issuing of an ISAF plaque.

There are many other classes including the above that use similar construction methods to the Mirror and do not appear to have any problems with these issues.

Thanks for your time,
Andy



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