Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)

  • Richard Larson
  • Topic Author
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 13:46 #20081 by Richard Larson
Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed) was created by Richard Larson
I've been reading the posts on the Mark III. I've seen the design drawings, and photos of the proto-type. Personally I find the boat ugly - a big plastic washtub. But I'd like to raise a non-aesthetic worry about the Mark III, namely, that it's design reflects a serious contraction in the Mirror design philosophy, and, by extension, in the Mirror Class.

We all know the Mirror's distinguished history: it was designed by Bucknell and Holt as a way into sailing for people without a wad of cash to drop on a yacht. It's design was frankly, brilliant. The blunt front end and beamy middle don't exactly evoke images of grace and shark-like sleekness. But you could sail it. row it, fish from it, car top it, it was stable in all sorts of threatening conditions,- oh yeah, and you could race too, if you felt like it. MIRROR MANIA from the 70s shows that people sailed their Mirrors everywhere: England, Scotland, France. Ten years ago, in that grand tradition, Sandy MacKinnon sailed & rowed his Mirror JACK DE CROW from Shropshire to Sulina, Romania on the Black Sea.

Racing was never the main story on the Mirror and certainly not, so far as I can see, what distinguished the boat in the past. And racing represents a doubtful future for the boat as well. Why? Because there are boats in that same size/weight range that are faster and more exhilarating to race. Consider, for example, the new Pixel by Bruce Kirby (aka "Mr Laser") :

http://www.sailingworld.com/article.jsp ... 1&exclude=

Terrific boat. I know. This spring I lost a campaign to introduce Mirrors in the juinor sailing program of my yacht club. The boat of choice: the Pixel. Mr. Kirby's designs have an excellent track record. When it was introduced in the 70s, the Laser decimated every single-handed class in its size range around the world. It's possible the Pixel will have similar success. But the Mirror has something the Pixel doesn't: you can cruise it. row it, fish from it, car top it, all those things that Holt and Bucknell designed into it years ago. If I'd had a glass Mirror with the properties of the original Mirror I'd have had a better shot at convincing our club. But that's not what we're getting with the Mark III, so it seems to me.

So far as I can see the Mark III Mirror is a simply racing/training boat, inferior on all counts to a boat like the Pixel. If I understand correctly, the MK III will have a swivel block permanently fixed to the thwart for center main sheeting. This will make the boat unrowable (unless one is, or wishes to be, a eunuch). As far as I can see there is no provision made for hanging a Suzuki 2.5 HP off the transom to take the wife & kids fishing. It's no longer an all-rounder, and nobody even seems to pretend it is.

I don't wish to be confrontational, but let's be direct. We have examples of what happens to all-around classes when the racers take over. It's not pretty. Sandy Douglass, one of the best dinghy sailors America produced, designed several great boats in his time. His first was the Thistle, which was based on the Intn't 14 and originally conceived as an all-rounder. But he lost control of the class to the racers. It's now a high-tech racing machine, with lots of spaghetti in the cockpit. and even though it was designed in the early 60s, its hull numbers remain relatively small. Later Douglass designed the Flying Scot, another wonderful all-rounder. But this time he and the class had their heads on straight: no go fasts, no hiking straps(!), no traveler!. The result? The Flying Scot class hull numbers have doubled those of the Thistle despite being designed a decade later. The boat continues to grow in popularity despite the relatively small proportion who race. And the boat continues to attract wonderful world-class sailors, like the late great Graham Hall.

So, here's my question, fellow Mirror-folks. What do we really want? Do we want a plastic racing/training Mirror, like the Mark III apparently is. Or do we want an update of the Mirror as Bucknell & Holt originally saw her: a general, versatile flexible boat that will continue to appeal to families, and which people can do a million things with - even row/sail to Romania. Oh, yes, I guess they could race it too. If the "Mark III" has indeed lost the properties of the original boat (now somewhat condescendingly referred to as a "classic Mirror" by people with lots of fancy racing gear) then I believe it ought to be seriously rethought. Personally, I rather race a Pixel.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • LukeDolman
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 15:21 #15556 by LukeDolman
Replied by LukeDolman on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
Folks, I'd like to add some weight to this.

What Richard is far too humble to say is that he is acting president of the newly reformed US Mirror Class Association (26 boats and growing - we have enough now to join the IMCA in our own right I understand) and possibly the foremost proponent of the Mirror Dinghy in the USA at the moment. He is currently building two Mirrors and is one of the founders of www.usmirrorsailing.com . What started as three of us testing the water last May, in a country where the Mirror is virtually unknown, has grown to a website getting several hundred unique hits a month, an active wanted and sales page and daily email contacts from various people around the country wanting advice and information.

Most of those questions are "where can I get a boat?" The demand is there but for various reasons the supply is out of kilter with the demand. Yes, we can buy a kit but these are built to an extremely high standard in Canada. Excellent product but by definition, not a cheap entry to Mirror ownership. That leaves the second hand market which suffers from two problems - firstly there aren't many Mirrors here, secondly it's a huge country.

To me, the US can be regarded as a prime emerging market. Disposable income levels are extremely favourable, there is a 'can do' spirit which I think would make marketing DIY boat kits an easier sell than even the UK. There's more space - people have garages and barns to build and store boats. The summer weather is good all over the country and excellent all year round in much of it. There are plenty of lakes and thousands of miles of coastline. Boating in all it's forms is big business here, including fishing, cruising and simply lolling around on a hot day with a cooler. That's more along the original ethos of the Mirror than a boat purely aimed at racers and it's a market that seems to be virtually untapped.

So how do you make the Mirror attractive pricewise? I've posted my support for making plans available on this forum before. However, in retrospect I'm not sure that's going to save the class. Compared to an Optimist - possibly the best model for that approach - a wooden Mirror is a far more intricate and complicated beast to build from a plan. Of course it's do-able but I'm not sure it's the complete answer. Yes, we could find a builder for the MkIII over here but, to Richard's point, I'm not sure either that it's a good enough product on price or racing performance to win out against something like the Pixel. Plus I honestly believe that the US market has an opening for a good wooden all-rounder in "The Naughties" in much the same way that that market existed in the UK in the sixties and seventies.

To use the cliche "In my humble opinion", what we need to address is the cost of the wooden kits. At which point you have to ask the question, why not have them built in a cheaper country and import them? I have oak furniture from Brazil in my house which is of fabulous quality and was half the price of anything that could be made in the north-western hemisphere. And how about China? The Pixel is made there for precisely these reasons. I'm as patriotic as the next person when it comes to where my purchases come from but the fact is that the world has changed and I would rather buy a Brazilian-made Mirror kit for half the price than see the class slowly die out. As a family man with endless other commitments, that's frankly the only way I could afford to own a new one at the moment.

Luke Dolman

Acting Secretary, USMCA



Edited by - lukedolman on 05 September 2007 16:27:24

Edited by - lukedolman on 05 September 2007 16:28:12

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Roger Clark
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 15:51 #15557 by Roger Clark
Replied by Roger Clark on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
I have found your post interesting, but I do not agree with a lot of the content relating to Mirrors. The Pixel may now have been adopted by your club, but I doubt if it will hold its appeal as long as the Mirror.

Whether we have a Mk III Mirror or not will not make any major difference to the future of the class. It is a recognised RYA and international training boat for juniors. Although not a pure sailing one design, the Mirror retains all the factors you mention like being able to be used for rowing and fishing. The high volume hull design makes it a safe and stable platform to sail. It is very easy to learn to sail on and interesting to race competitively.

The big plus factor for the Mirror over the Pixel is the ready supply of boats to suit people of varying wealth, they can be bought for a few hundred second-hand through to about £5,500 for a Mk III in full race trim. The appeal of the Mirror has been widened by the addition of GRP Mirror from Trident and the new Mk III from Winder. Many people do not want the maintenance of a wooden boat so the plastic versions will appeal to them. Personally I prefer a wooden hull, mine is 29 years old and does not look more than a few years old as it has been well maintained.

You mention the revolution that the Laser caused to other single-handed classes. Having raced a Laser some 30 years ago, I know they are not a safe boat like a Mirror but a racing machine that is designed to skim over the water. They are easy to capsize in inexperienced hands, unlike a Mirror that is difficult to capsize. I personally do not know the Pixel, but even if it is a detuned Laser, it will still not be an easy boat to learn to sail on. I feel it may have the reverse effect of encouraging youngsters to sail and turn them off.

When I am out on the water teaching my 10 year old daughter how to sail, I am always hear comments from sailors of other larger dinghies, keelboats and cruisers that they learnt to sail in a Mirror. Do you hear that about the Laser?

I have checked out details of the Pixel at the link you gave (published in 2005) and at
http://www.brucekirbymarine.com/pixel.html
http://www.sailpixel.com/
It appears the first boats were only sailed in the winter of 2004/5, so it is a very modern design. There are no details relating to a British website for information and sales according to Google. What I was very surprised by was it was being produced in China. It has been designed for those who can sail already and utilises modern production techniques. Will it be easily repairable like a Mirror, I doubt it. It is a boat you sit on like a Laser rather than in like a Mirror. I do not doubt given time it will develop as a class, but it will have a price barrier against many starting sailing as only new or slightly used examples will be available.

Your club has taken the decision to use the Pixel and although you did not agree with it at the time, you appear to readily accept it. All I can say is I hope your club have enough people with lots of cash in their pockets to make for successful racing. You certainly will not have an open racing circuit for a number of years or a dedicated youth training scheme like the Mirror. May I wish you and your club happy sailing.

Roger
59725

PS this was written before I saw the first reply.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Roger Clark
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 16:04 #15558 by Roger Clark
Replied by Roger Clark on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
In response to Luke's comments I feel sorry that he does not have access to a ready supply of Mirrors or secondhand parts. Besides what is available from this website, have a look at http://search.ebay.co.uk/search/search. ... ror+dinghy

to see what boats and spare parts we have available at any time. If you had this in the US I feel sure the Pixel would not find such a ready market.

Roger
59725

[url][/url][url][/url] <pre id=code><font face=courier size=2 id=code> </font id=code></pre id=code>

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Simon Lovesey
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 16:34 #15559 by Simon Lovesey
Replied by Simon Lovesey on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
The brief to Phil Morrison in designing the MK3 was for a production GRP Mirror that was easier to build and more robust than the original GRP boat, whilst maintaining the unique features of the Mirror.

Everyone who has seen the new MK3 has commented how successful he has been. The original GRP was built largely to the wood rules, this meant lots of unnecessary fiddly mouldings trying to reproduce a wood boat in plastic.

The first Mk3s will almost certainly end up on the racetrack, but there should be no reason why they cannot be rowed and motored by those so inclined. You do not have to have a centre main, thus freeing up space. The prototype has already been car topped.

The Mk3 keeps the Mirror at the forefront of small family sailing boats, it gives us a production boat that could be easily manufactured around the world, the original GRP boat was just too complicated to facilitate this.

The IMCA is also actively investigating reducing the costs of wooden kits etc

In over 40 years, no one has come up with a better small boat, many have tried, these modernisations all help this process.

With regards boats like the Pixel, they would appear to be 30% bigger so unfair to make a comparision

Photos
http://www.sailracer.co.uk/galleryviewe ... rror%20MK3

MCA Secretary

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • LukeDolman
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 16:40 #15560 by LukeDolman
Replied by LukeDolman on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
Hi Roger - many thanks for your reply. I'll let Richard respond for himself but I think it's fair to say we're keen to gain a better level of understanding as to where the MkIII fits into the general picture and whether the classic all-rounder will continue to have full support in it's main markets. Comparing your post to Richard's really highlights to me just how different the UK/US markets are and maybe we can bring a useful perspective to the debate given that emerging markets seem to be at the forefront of International MCA thinking.

To clarify things a bit, I'm a Brit and have only lived over here since May 2005. I bought my own boat on eBay (from somewhere near Gloucester!) a few months before we shipped out here, so I know just how easy it is to find good secondhand boats and equipment and the place the Mirror holds in terms of British sailing, club racing and RYA development and training. I bought our current boat as my kids were getting old enough to sail and I had had a much-loved Mirror when I was a kid. The decision to buy another was as much based on nostalgia and familiarity with the boat as it was on the fact that I could readily pick one up for 400 quid and I suspect the same goes for many, many folks buying Mirrors these days.

The problem for us here is that it's not just the Mirror that's virtually unknown but pretty much the whole bigger picture - the Enterprise, the Wayfarer, the GP14... The US had it's own scene going on while we were all sailing Mirrors and graduating up the Jack Holt ladder and that scene embraced the Laser, the Sunfish, the Flying Scot and the Snipe with much the same fervour. As a result the Pixel is pretty much a default choice due to it's pedigree, despite being a brand new design. And actually, it IS really nice. You do sit in it rather than on it and it looks like a great, stable kids trainer whilst also being rather cool too. The fact that you can't row it or strap an outboard on it is as small an issue to it's target market as it seems to be to the target market for the MkIII. And that's really where Richard is coming from I think.

Cheers
Luke

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
05 Sep 2007 17:23 #15561 by Burl Solomons
This is a very intersting topic, but what everyone seems to have missed is:

A) Wooden boats are still extremely competitive - the current European and British National Champions have a wooden boat.

B) Has anyone mentioned Mk1 Mirrors ceasing production??? No - of course not!

C) When the original Fibreglass mirrors came out in the mid 80's we had this argument, everyone said it was the end of the wooden Mirror, but most of the boats were still wooden, even 20 years later.

I agree with you, freeing up the plans for self build would certainly increase the number of new Mirrors out there - I think the cost of buying a wooden kit these days might put a lot of people off! Not many people here have much space to build, so the Mk3 seems a logical idea if you want a serious race boat with low maintenance. The number of new boats sold has been quite low for a number of years now. Maybe this will re-invigorate the class, for new wooden boats as well, considering all the new proposed construction rules.

If you want to knock around in it, you can easily pick up a boat from Ebay UK for £250.00 with road trailer and launching trolley - yes, it will have a few battle scars, but then at 30 years old, what wooden boat doesn't?

Burl

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Richard Larson
  • Topic Author
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 18:38 #15563 by Richard Larson
Replied by Richard Larson on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
Thanks for the responses. In my earlier post:

I was not questioning any of the Mirror's wonderful properties. On the contrary, I was expressing a serious desire to see none of them lost. Mr Lovesey states: "In over 40 years, no one has come up with a better small boat, many have tried, these modernisations all help this process." One can fully agree with the former and still question the latter.

I was not doubting the value of a GRP Mirror, or revisiting what is apparently an old debate. I prefer wooden boats myself and, as Roger Clark and Burl point out, well-maintained wooden Mirrors ae very competitive and last extremely well, especially with modern epoxy barrier coating techniques. But the fact is that many clubs want a GRP boat because they perceive a lower maintenance cost. So be it. Let's have a GRP Mirror.

I was not comparing the Mirror to the Laser as a boat for learning to sail. I was simply pointing out the remarkable success of Kirby Inc. and the corresponding likelihood that the Pixel will be a success. (The Laser continues to roll on, most recently displacing the E-dinghy as the women's single-hander for the next Olympics).

Wrt Pixel, I respectfully disagree with both Mr. Clark and Mr. Lovesey about comparisons. The Pixel is designed specifically as a two-handed youth training boat for the gap between Optimist and 420. That it is 13'9" rather than 10'7" is irrelevant. That it is heavier is irrelevant. Clubs with youth training programs think in terms of transitions: everybody starts the juniors on Optis; everybody (in the US anayway) eventually transitions the racing-inclined to 420s. The issue is: what comes between? What used to come between in the NE US was the Bluejay, the boat in which I learned to sail. The Bluejay class is defunct. Kirby designed Pixel as its successor, and his judgment once again appears to have been accurate: clubs on Long Island seem to going for the Pixel to replace their dying Jay fleets. With regard to my own club's decision, I'm still quite divided. The carbon spars on the Pixel are extremely robust. The hull is extremely stiff epoxy GRP. Even our kids will have difficulty sinking them. But in fact the kids love them. The boat is extremely modern & sexy, and a great ride.

(BTW, with respect to the Pixel being built in China, it was apparently the only way Kirby Inc. could deliver a hi-tech boat with a $6.5K US pricetag. Luke Dolman has suggested that the Mirror Class explore something similar. I agree.)

I did not, of course, intend any disrespect to Phil Morrison the MKIII designer. I simply wonder about the charge he was given. Forgive me, but I don't see rowlocks on the MkIII in any of the photos. Are the gunwales reinforced to take them? Nobody (at least in the messages I've read) has talked about whether the aft transom is reinforced sufficiently to take a motor. Is it? Has the center-swivel block been designed for quick release so that you can pop it off and switch to rowing? The classic Mirror was pretty rugged. Looks to me like the gelcoat on the MKIII gunwales will take a licking - no aluminum rub rail. The only discussion I've seen of the boat so far has been from racers talking about weight, stiffness, rigging - all the things racers typically go on about. And looking at those photos on the link Simon Lovesey provides, there sure do seem to be a lot of lines in the cockpit now, don't there? Right up there with the Europe. When was the last time you day-sailed one of those?

I'm not trying to be a dog in the manger. I love the Mirror. I think it is a truly great boat. People, perhaps rightly, have put their hopes in a well-designed, cheaply produceable GRP Mirror to reinvigorate the class. I think it's possible, as long as it stays a Mirror in its fullest sense.
-Richard Larson (70369/26688)

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
05 Sep 2007 19:55 #15565 by Trevor Lloyd
Richard et All

The new mk3 mirror could well signal, within the UK at least, a significant change in the mirror class. Historically this has been the case with every class Winder has built boats for. If other classes are anything to go by these new boats will last the competitive test of time, with good residual values.

Whilst the center main is built into the thwart, it is not compulsory. You can rig with aft sheeting if you want to. Whilst it may not have been designed with rowlocks, I am sure that if a new purchaser wanted a reinforced transom when ordering a new boat it could be accommodated.

Classic Mirrors, when I first muted this was not meant to be patronizing, it a very successful formula in other classes hit by the quality of messrs Winder & Co. Currently this only applies to boats older than 69020 in the class as agreed By Simon Lovesey and Myself. The fist classic mirror winner at the UK nationals was this year and has been an investment to try and keep the more traditional and cheaper boats competing. Whether it will work is a matter of opinion, personally I hope so as it a rather nice trophy.

The racers are probably keeping the MCA active in the UK, unfortunately most non-racers don't bother joining, if they don't like what's happening then they need to join the IMCA and use their vote.

As it happens I have a home built wooden boat completed this year, quite rare in the UK these days. Yes, it does have all the bells and whistles, and it will never have oars and or an outboard. It has been built and fitted purely as a racing machine.

I have been proposing a number of changes to allow the wooden boats to compete (racing I am afraid)with the new light stiff MK3 at the UK AGM. The result was agreement on a working party to discuss the potential changes, rightly so, as no one person can make the decisions for a class on their own. The result though is that, no-one will see any constructional changes for probably 3 years with the drawn out modernization path we have to go through. Long enough for wooden boat building in the UK to die pretty much altogether, as has been seen historically in other classes.

I have also been trying to get a relaxation in the building rules, i.e from plans to reduce costs and providing quality CNC manufactured kits manufactured to a known quick shape at sensible prices from the far east. Hopefully the kits would come complete with a throw away building jig. These moves are more aimed at emerging markets than the UK as we are no longer a country that builds boats for pleasure. I don't want to go through the why's and wherefores here as I'd be writing a book.

Suffice to say I believe the Mirror has a place as a world leading trainer and day-sailer, maybe not with one design of cockpit though.

Trevor

MCA Eatern Rep
GBR 69583 & 70437

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • LukeDolman
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 20:08 #15566 by LukeDolman
Replied by LukeDolman on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
Hey Trevor, many thanks for a great response.

With regard to the why's and wherefores of why the UK no longer builds boats I've already discussed my thoughts on the social, economic and cultural factors with Mr. Larson. I was p'd off enough to emigrate - I think that says it all.

Cheers
Luke







Edited by - lukedolman on 05 September 2007 21:09:34

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Richard Larson
  • Topic Author
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 20:48 #15568 by Richard Larson
Replied by Richard Larson on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
Trevor:

"If other classes are anything to go by these new boats will last the competitive test of time, with good residual values."

For whom? The progressively smaller number of sailors who will race the Mirror?

"The racers are probably keeping the MCA active in the UK, unfortunately most non-racers don't bother joining, if they don't like what's happening then they need to join the IMCA and use their vote."

Let's clearly distinguish two things: the boat and the class. If the boat we're selling well. If lots of people we're getting into the Mirror, would the number of MCA members be relevant? Not really. Low numbers in the latter would simply indicate that the class was out of touch with the boat. The Flying Scot, which I mentioned in my original post, is a case in point. Numbers in the Flying Scot Sailing Sailing Assn continue to drop. Yet the boat sales continue strong. People love the Scot! Question: who/what is that a problem for? Answer: not the Fying Scot. It's simply a presumption of the racing community that they own the boat. They don't own it; they just use it.

"The result though is that, no-one will see any constructional changes for probably 3 years with the drawn out modernization path we have to go through. Long enough for wooden boat building in the UK to die pretty much altogether, as has been seen historically in other classes."

We'll see. There are actually very few precedents to go on here. It's true that there are many classes in which hulls originally made in wood are now GRP. But the Mirror was originally primarily a home build boat. I think a more accurate comparison for the Mirror is the Optimist, How many wooden Optis are built these days. Well, uh, a lot actually. Our club has built numbers of them over the years, to replace those our kids send to the bottom of Port Jefferson Harbor. We have a whole set of master boatbuilders around here who put them together.

"As it happens I have a home built wooden boat completed this year, quite rare in the UK these days. Yes, it does have all the bells and whistles, and it will never have oars and or an outboard. It has been built and fitted purely as a racing machine."

I'm just finishing up one myself and I absolutely will equip it with rowlocks and build a motor mounting bracket. After all, there's more to sailing than racing. Right?
-Richard Larson

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
05 Sep 2007 21:34 #15570 by Paul Hansen
Hi All

Having seen the Mk III, the boat heralded as the boat that may end the dominance of wooden boats I was rather shocked <img src=icon_smile_shock.gif border=0 align=middle>

There are no scuppers and the decks channel the water into the cockpit, in heavy weather I believe this may be a negative point in the new design. One boat also had a large amount of gel coat flaked of in a ding, would this have been as bad with a wooden boat? Whilst this boat may be extremely stiff it does not necessarily mean that is as robust as a wooden boat.

In fact I came away fronm Brightlingsea feeling that all boats are as competetive as one another, meaning that boats will hold their resale value <img src=icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle> one of the classes main selling points.

It seems to be another choice for customers rather than a show stealer.

Interestingly Guy Wilkins missed Saturday due to a family holiday, therefore sailed with no discards and came 11th with a gaff rig. Are we perhaps becoming hung up with develpments rather than sailing ability?

Paul

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • LevanteIRL67592
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 21:44 #15571 by LevanteIRL67592
Replied by LevanteIRL67592 on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
I don't really understand your issue here. If you don't want to race your boat, what impact does the Mk3 actually have on you? It's not as if the MCA are going to take our beloved wooden mirrors and replace them with GRP ones! And it's also not as if they're going to ban production of mirrors for cruising as well.



Edited by - levanteIRL67592 on 05 September 2007 22:44:50

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Richard Larson
  • Topic Author
  • Visitor
  • Visitor
05 Sep 2007 22:11 #15572 by Richard Larson
Replied by Richard Larson on topic Mirrors - What We Really Want? (topic renamed)
LevanteIRL67592:
Suppose it were true, as I think it is, that a GRP Mirror is important for the health of the class - not just for racers, but for the *whole* class. There are various reasons for believing this.

-The amount of disposable leisure time for wooden boat-building is increasingly limited. People just don't have time to build boats anymore. (This is a point that Trevor alluded to.)

-The cost of Mirror kits has skyrocketed since 1962, whereas the amount of disposable income has not kept pace. Building from a kit is no longer the low-cost entry into sailing that it once was, especially when one's time is factored in.

-Clubs, the place where many kids get their first experience in sailing, and where they form their "boat attachments", do not want to invest in wooden boat fleets, which they see as "un-modern" and demanding excessive maintenance.

Whatever the reasons, suppose one believed that having a GRP Mirror available was important for the class. Then the design of that boat would be important too. It's not a matter of anyone taking away our wooden boats. It's a matter of what the Mirror will be in that form. If this hull truly can be produced at low cost, substantially lower than the cost of a wooden Mirror, then that may eventually be the hull that predominates in the class. (And if you are skeptical about this, check on the rate at which the People's Republic of China is buying up world stocks of marine plywood.) If all this is true, then it's important to consider the design of the GRP Mirror. What do we want it to be?
-Richard Larson

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
06 Sep 2007 06:05 #15574 by Burl Solomons
My wooden Mirror was built in 2000 for racing. It has one mast step, no rowlocks, and is at minimum weight. However, I have fitted a 2 HP outboard on the back on a few occasions so I can buzz round Christchurch Harbour chasing my 8 year old in an Optimist, and then tow him back up river against the tide when he's had enough.

At £5,500 for a ready to race boat, the Mk III is seriously expensive!! I really think that wooden Epoxy coated boats will be with us for a long time yet, and when you think a wooden kit is a whopping 2 grand cheaper at the moment, a lot of people are going to be encouraged to give it a go and build their own, especially if the class frees up the plans and construction techniques - the cost will drop considerably.

The class represents not only racers, but everyone involved in Mirror sailing. It is a point of contact for anyone who owns a Mirror if they wish to get in touch. They can be put in touch with local clubs and organisations by the MCA. Let's face it - you talk about training and the Pixel, the success of the Laser - what are these boats for? You can't go cruising in a Laser, can you?? Training kids at clubs and teaching sailing all has one purpose in mind - RACING!! It's up to people to step back from racing if they just want to potter around these days. Think how many clubs there are on lakes and reservoirs - you can't go cruising on a half mile long lake, can you?

Burl

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.292 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum

Latest forum posts

More Topics »

Forthcoming Events

03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
03 Aug 2019
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Bassweek Annual Regatta
11 Aug 2019
Poole Yacht Club
UK National Championships