Should the IMCA make plans available?

  • LukeDolman
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06 May 2007 14:23 #19858 by LukeDolman
Should the IMCA make plans available? was created by LukeDolman
Hi Folks

My fellow US MCA activists and I have been discussing how we can promote the Mirror Dinghy in the USA and trying to determine the current show-stoppers in doing so. Richard summed up our thoughts very well on the Mirror Discussion Forum and (with his permission) I'm posting his query here too. As a bit of further background, dinghy sailing in the US is something of a minority sport so we're not just battling competition from other classes but also the fact that dinghy sailing for most people is a completely alien activity. For that reason alone we feel there is an urgent need to provide a lower cost entry to Mirror ownership. Anyway, over to Richard...


"I know this question has been raised before, but can anyone explain the logic of why the IMCA does not sell plans for the Mirror Dinghy?

I know the argument usually offered: selling kits & boats, but not plans, controls quality and one-design uniformity. But is this a good argument?

The Int'l Optimist Dinghy Ass'n (IODA) licenses boats, kits and plans. Serious racers now buy GRP boats from licensed firms who build the hull to very precise standards. And the price of Opti racing hulls and parts is sky high. (E.g.,, under the new IODA rules, you can't race with wooden foils on your Opti, and a set of the new mandated epoxy foils is approx $650!)

BUT in the meantime the availability of plans makes it possible for clubs to build Optis hulls for their junior sailing programs. (Ours does.) Kids learn to sail in those (much!) cheaper boats, and race them informally, and if they really get the racing bug, they can go for the racing hull. The upshot: there is room for all levels of involvement and so the class goes on.

The Miracle Class (another Jack Holt design) makes available: fully-made boats, wooden hull kits, and a full set of plans with building instructions.

I think this is something the Mirror Class should also seriously consider. GRP boats are unavailable in the US, and very expensive in the UK. And the price of kits has now gone way up: $3000 in North America, and even more than that in the UK. As I have written elsewhere, there are so many alternatives to the MIrror in its price range, it's not easy to make a case for it, despite all of its virtues.

It seems to me there needs to be the possibility for people to build entry level Mirrors, the way they can build entry-level Optis. I see no real reason why the IMCA shouldn't sell the plans.

Do you?

-RLarson (70369, 26688)"

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  • toddy
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06 May 2007 17:37 #14914 by toddy
Replied by toddy on topic Should the IMCA make plans available?
Yes plans should be available. They should be made from an approved ply (a modern freely available ply)
The boat has to be measured anyway to race, so conforming to size and weight is ensured.



Edited by - toddy on 07 May 2007 17:49:39

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  • LevanteIRL67592
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07 May 2007 23:30 #14921 by LevanteIRL67592
Replied by LevanteIRL67592 on topic Should the IMCA make plans available?
If a builder for the Mark III can be found in America this should drive the price right down again.

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08 May 2007 09:50 #14923 by Trevor Lloyd
I absolutely agree that we should be able to do this for all the reasons I put forward before.

I intend to propose this and a number of other items at the UK AGM this year. We would, I am guessing here, need to have an agreed international view point to progress this, then seek agreement from ISAF, agree plaque costs, plan costs etc.

Those countries that wish to progress this option may like to propose this also this year at their AGMS's so that we could get international consensus as quickly as possible.

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  • LukeDolman
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08 May 2007 14:06 #14924 by LukeDolman
Replied by LukeDolman on topic Should the IMCA make plans available?
Great replies folks, this is actually a far more positive response to the question than I was expecting.

With regard to finding an American builder, I know Lorne Bellamy is working on several projects in Canada, and he supplies to the USA. Still it's a cycle that we need to break and it's going to be a tough one as things stand - tiny market, tiny sales, higher price, tiny market... I'm afraid not familiar with the Mark III. Can you possibly give us a bit more info on what it is and how you think it could drive down the price?

Richard, Mark and myself ARE the AGM for the US MCA at the moment. I think it's fair to say you have our concensus on this one! <img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle>

Cheers
Luke

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  • LevanteIRL67592
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08 May 2007 21:41 #14929 by LevanteIRL67592
Replied by LevanteIRL67592 on topic Should the IMCA make plans available?
The Mark III is essentially the same boat, the basic hull shape is exactly the same, but a top builder has had a look at the design, and has tweaked it so that the boat can be built with I think 2 moulds, instead of the 10+ that are used now, mainly by wholesale changes to the layout of the interior-no cubby holes, less complicated bulkhead arrangement etc. He estimates that a Mark III mirror will be able to be built in 2 days now, instead of over a week, and that material costs will also go down.

The new design has not yet been ratified by ISAF, but it is very exciting for the development of the mirror class as a whole, even if purists like me still prefer a nice wooden hull!!

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