Survey on changes to the Solo topic

Ian McDonald posted this 30 August 2019

Changes to the boat were considered fairly recently. All of these changes were rejected.

During the period of review, I understand that sales of new boats slowed hugely. Why is the potential damage to our suppliers being incurred again?

I was seriously considering buying a new boat ( before my knees give out!). This idea is on hold and I suspect I will not be alone.

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Ian McDonald posted this 25 October 2019

I am sure that nothing to split the class was ever considered.

But certainly I am going to have a major push at my club to encourage all of the Solo sailors who sail just at club level and currently are not members, to join the Association for 2020 and benefit from the many advantages of doing so.

David Greening posted this 14 October 2019

3kg is just short of half a stone ... I would be quite concerned if I was carrying half a stone more than someone else that in could do nothing about. Let’s not have a two tier class.

Ian McDonald posted this 14 October 2019

Thank you for the update Doug.

Could I just remind you that many of the older boats do not have 3 kilo of correctors to remove if the minimum weight is reduced?

If I am the last owner of a no corrector boat who is still an Assoc member, then I accept my "fate". But I think there are still many older boats who would like to continue being part of the class.

Jeremy Shinton posted this 14 October 2019

Well said Mike Wilkie, Hope you are well !

Doug Latta posted this 14 October 2019

Hi Mike, I’m not going to here respond in detail, but I will just mention a couple of things: 1. At the request of the members at the AGM a survey was issued to members to determine items they - the members - would like the committee to consider further. 2. The response from the survey was to be used only to guide the committee, it was not a vote. 3. Should any change be further considered by the committee worthy of going forward, this would be via a ballot of all voting members, and a vote would have to be carried by 2/3 majority. 4. There was a committee meeting held after the End if Season Championships where this matter was the main agenda item. 5. The Committee consider all matters, and as elected by the members we would hope that the members will trust us to make the correct decisions for the class. 6. As soon as a couple of action points are resolved from the meeting a clear announcement will be made as to the outcome of our deliberations.

In the meantime I urge you neither to panic or to be unnecessarily exercised but to rely on a good outcome for the class, fully supported by the members.

Stuart Gibson posted this 14 October 2019

I agree.

Stuart Gibson S5613

Graham Don posted this 14 October 2019

I would like to think I’m not alone in my thoughts. We need to put a stop to this madness and get back to sailing the Solo we love. S5352.. Mike Wilkie.. Couldn't agree more well said G.Don 5356

Last Edited 14 October 2019

Mike Wilkie posted this 14 October 2019

Mike Wilkie Solo 5352…in response to the survey that that was sent out to the membership with reference to purposed changes to the Solo. Before I come to the survey results… a little about me for those members who may not know me. I’ve sailed a Solo since 1982 not as long as some, but longer than most, in that time I’ve mixed it with most of the top sailors that have come and gone in the class, then have done well then moved on and some have returned back to the fold, I’ve had moderate success over the years, Scottish Champ, for my sins I even won the Scottish travellers, driving up from Surrey to mix it with our Scottish brothers, multiple open winner. In recent years things have not been going to plan for me, 2 replacement knee operations on the same leg, and to top it all it’s failed again! In that time since 2008 I’ve had issues with my leg, it never once in that time did cross my mind to stop sailing my Solo or changing class to a less challenging one. Why would I, when what you see is what you get in the Solo? It’s in my DNA as it is probably in many more of us, Which brings me onto the proposed changes… Firstly, how many of the members that completed the survey and have been members for, say, more than five years voted for the changes? And for those that did, ask yourself why you decided to come into Solos in the first place? Was it because you had friends already sailing the Solo, or had you heard what great competition you get in Solo fleets, or that the Solo could be found the length and breadth of the country? Or perhaps you fancied getting your name in bright lights as it was known as an old man’s boat, and it would look good on your CV to go down in history as class champion, then found out its quite challenging, or perhaps you just liked the look of this quirky single hander or you heard that the people that sail the Solo aren’t a bad bunch and the camaraderie is pretty special too… but most of all its a ONE DESIGN - which means that you don’t have to worry about changing the boat every time a change comes along. That’s the beauty of a ONE DESIGN, it’s a good safe investment, keeps its value and is easy to sell on. Before FRP the Solo’s were mainly constructed of wood: you would spent your money on what you considered the best builder that your money could buy… so when FRP came along that was the death knell for wooden Solos and to be fair FRP boats are good value for money…not soon after, you had a choice of a MK 1 or a MK2 that was allowed within the class rules thanks to Jack Holt…the Solo way back was designed manly for home construction.. then as the Solo became more popular, professional builders came on the scene and would put their own mark on things, the Lovett’s, Beckett’s Runnymede Dinghies and then you had the Gosling’s and Thresher’s of this world, and all keeping to the plans, you never saw the need for major change, gentle changes have happened over a long time to what we have today, a cracking dinghy called a Solo… So we jump forward to what we have today: we have a Solo One Design still. Today’s builders, in general, build a very good product and still manage put their mark on things. The Solo has a great following all over the UK..Holland..Portugal..and down under in OZ…(I feel that perhaps we should be pushing more to spread the word out and about in Europe of what a GREAT boat we have...not trying to destroy it!) I voted against the proposed changes. Why would you want to change the great product that we have? The changes would devalue the Solos that we currently own, who in their right mind would want to buy a second-hand Solo that will look nothing like the proposed new Solo. You would have two different boats each called a Solo… how’s that going to work? How many Solos do we have out there? Getting on for 6000 give or take a hundred or so. For those that are hell bent on taking us into a black hole, are they prepared to compensate us for loss of money on the investments in our Solos that we have made? …I think not! If these people, and they know who they are, by all means go ahead with changes; I’m sure there is a builder out there would love the chance to carry out the changes. I’ll be first in line for compensation on my investment. The Solo is an iconic dinghy with all its warts, and all, that’s why we love it! For me this bit is very important...on the Solo website the Survey Results says, I QUOTE :- “We the Committee are currently working with the RYA and Builders with the intention TO FAST TRACK TO A VOTE ON RULE CHANGES” Where on earth does that come from? Does that mean that we have no say in our destiny? I don’t think so. All that has happened there was a survey on possible changes. The Survey says that 760 people were sent a survey and 423 replied out of that 221 replies have been read by the committee, THE COMMITTEE CONCLUDES THERE IS A CLEAR MANDATE TO INVESTIGATE CHANGES FURTHER. This not in my opinion democratic. How many of the 423 have voted for change? The Committee have said 221 have been read...again I ASK YOU out of the 221 read, how many voted for a change? I believe within The Solo rules there has to be 2/3rd or 67% majority for changes to go through. This is a very important issue: the whole membership would have to vote, not 221 surveys read out of the 423 returned. I thought this was put to bed about 2 years ago when Will Loy was president. To those of you who are hell bent on taking us down this road to disaster, I’d like to say: I have no problem with you taking your ideas to a builder of your choice, having your new boat built and calling it what you will… But it can’t be called a SOLO! As you can see from my post I’m not happy about where we are heading. I would like to think I’m not alone in my thoughts. We need to put a stop to this madness and get back to sailing the Solo we love. S5352.. Mike Wilkie..

Ian McDonald posted this 07 October 2019

I have again, read through the changes/modifications which can be done to the new and current Solos, there appears to be no mention of how much it will cost to modify an existing boat. Would a builder like to put forward an itemised estimate here please ? That way we can all understand the cost implications . Thanks in anticipation .

It would be useful also to hear from a builder how much the capping gives support to the centreboard case and that there would be no structural effects, especially on wooden boats ?.

It looks like the "new rules " Solo could be strong and long lasting at 60 kilos ready to sail before additional weight and correctors are added. It would be useful to know that there are no plans to reduce weight again if the new 67 kilo is agreed.

Is there any interest in creating an "old rules/ classic" division within the Association so that those of us with boats that cant or dont wish to modify our boats to comply with the new rules can still be involved and members?. Is it really true that the 100s of ageing Solos sailed at club level are not association members so dont require protection?.

Last Edited 09 October 2019

Jeremy Shinton posted this 23 September 2019

I have again, read through the changes/modifications which can be done to the new and current Solos, there appears to be no mention of how much it will cost to modify an existing boat. Would a builder like to put forward an itemised estimate here please ? That way we can all understand the cost implications . Thanks in anticipation .

Ian McDonald posted this 22 September 2019

I'm not sure if a boat has ever been built/tested with the proposed buoyancy changes but I doubt it will bring any competitive advantage. When righted after capsize there will be a lot more water in it so it will be slower for longer when it gets going again.

The only benefit is that less fit sailors who don't expect to be at the front of the fleet anyway may have more confidence in going out in a bit of wind and therefore may opt to buy a boat with this modification. But it follows that the second hand market for them will be limited.

Sensible suggestions Nicholas. I am approaching an age and strength where this is a factor. But I spent £25 on righting lines and accepted that I would have to use Jack's coffee table to grab and pull me back into the boat to make recovery easier. It works and all within current rules.

And if I ever want to sell the boat ( unlikely) 10 minutes with a screwdriver and filler and she is back to standard.

Would I be right in thinking you have experience of a similar project in GP14? Did it work?

Last Edited 22 September 2019

Nicholas Marden posted this 22 September 2019

I'm not sure if a boat has ever been built/tested with the proposed buoyancy changes but I doubt it will bring any competitive advantage. When righted after capsize there will be a lot more water in it so it will be slower for longer when it gets going again.

The only benefit is that less fit sailors who don't expect to be at the front of the fleet anyway may have more confidence in going out in a bit of wind and therefore may opt to buy a boat with this modification. But it follows that the second hand market for them will be limited.

Ian McDonald posted this 20 September 2019

Jeremy! I cant believe that my current ( beautiful) Miles was made within a year of your first Solo, all those years ago when we both had working knees.

After 60 years I cant believe that the class is just going to abandon the older wooden boats. I hope my belief is justified. But come to Blithfield on Oct 6 for what I hope can be the return of Blithfield Solos ( including those horrible slow and heavy wooden jobs)

Jeremy Shinton posted this 20 September 2019

Collective investment and diminishing values.

Over the years I have owned 7 Solos and sailed many more classes, I have seen the progression from my wooden Miles and Goslings beauties to the Winders and Ovingtons etc. I recently invested in a Winder 2 and over the past few months have found it to be an excellent bit of kit. The Solo has always been a one design with flexibility to carry a wide range of sailor weights. I’m competing with much lighter sailors and have had some great club racing.

To my surprise I got the request from the NSCA to fill in a survey regarding the changes!! I voted no to all of the changes; I didn’t see the point. The whole point is that, as previously said here “We are all in the SAME BOAT”

It got me thinking about the actual collective damage these changes could do to the fleet, based on some finger in the air estimates I came up with the following… If we take the boat numbers from when the first FRP Winder was produced to today, the range in boat numbers is approximately 4300 to 5800 that’s 1500 boats. Let’s say that’s the racing fleet in clubs and events across the country. I’m not saying lower numbers don’t race and enjoy their boats I’m just using this for an illustration below.

Let’s consider some VERY rough calculations and say if the average value of the boats in that range is somewhere between £3000 and £4000, its likely to be higher, that multiplies up to £4,500,000 to £6,000,000. Its probably closer to £7 Million

We don’t know what the devaluation will be, I’ll let you do the maths if its 10, 20 or 50% of our collective investment.

Some big losses in the value of investment that Solo sailors have made, be careful what you wish for!

If it aint broke don’t fix it

Last Edited 20 September 2019

David Greening posted this 20 September 2019

I am still unclear how these proposals have come about; as I understood the only modification under discussion back in the summer was about carbon spars, something that was proposed by the Dutch association.

This has morphed into wholesale change, that is going to kill off new building and second hand values ... things that the NSCA is meant to sustain.

All of these points were debated three years ago and firmly kicked into touch, so why have these proposals been resurected?

Our builders must be tearing what little hair they have out in despair, given these uncertain times.

I would have prefered to make these points where those outside cannot look in and wonder why we want to shoot ourselves in the foot, but there is no such platform.

Stephen Holcroft posted this 20 September 2019

How’s the average grass roots club sailor going to feel when someone rocks up to the club in his new v2 or v3 solo? His new design Solo is 3kg lighter, it's easier to recover from a capsize due to the buoyancy changes, it's more comfortable to sail because its centreboard capping is different, its transom is a better design and the rudder different. When I bought my second hand Solo and joined the class a year or so ago I loved the fact that my boat was the same design as everyone else’s, when it's lined up on the slipway its looks no different, it has its flaws, we come back from sailing with new bruises on the shins, stories of what a PITA it was to right after capsizing etc. but to me that's all part of the attraction, the knowledge that we are all in the SAME BOAT together.

These proposed changes are going to result in different design versions v2, v3 etc. I can't see how that's good for anyone. I can't see many people wanting to buy a new Solo now knowing a new design is around the corner in a year or so and then more potential design changes after that. I'd feel pretty annoyed if I'd just bought a new Solo knowing its resale value will decrease a lot because it won't be one of the new design Solo's and I'd feel pretty annoyed if I had a down to weight competitive Solo with no correctors on it knowing the new design boats are going to be 3kg lighter.

Isn’t this class is about appreciating the fact that this boats design has been around for 60 years and it’s a winning formula still today, why change it?

Ian McDonald posted this 19 September 2019

Well said Simon!

My Solo is my backup boat, and being told that the class is moving on and that my down to weight,no corrector boat is being cast aside is not the most important thing for me. But I suspect there are lots of people who would treat this more seriously.

The commitee are working hard for the class, thank you and well done. But please dont dismiss us sailors not on the circuit. And how about the very experienced and capable Solo sailors who were not involved in the questionnaire review?

Simon Munro posted this 19 September 2019

Ironically, during a week that David Cameron is making the rounds explaining the reasons for a highly divisive, and as yet unresolved, democratic process, the Solo class association believes that they have received a democratic mandate to change the Solo class into something that we probably didn’t vote for.

It may be worthwhile to consider that the mandate and 'will of the people' is not necessarily in the best interests of the class. 241 individuals liking the idea of getting rid of the coffee table is agreement that two hundred-odd people don't like the coffee table, not a mandate to disrupt the class to such a degree that builders go out of business (or don't create moulds for the Brexit Solo). Nor is it a mandate that the second most popular handicap class after the Laser should lose all the mid and tail fleet club sailors that make up those numbers. It's not a mandate to instantly devalue every single Solo out there.

Of course, the changes are good ideas and, technically at least, make the Solo marginally better. But, reducing the weight by 3kg is absolutely not going to make the Solo cooler than an Aero. The problem with getting sailors into a Solo is a marketing problem, and it is against RS-level marketing budgets. You don't attract new sailors by removing the market for second-hand boats. You don't keep existing sailors by making their current boat suddenly worthless. You don't grow the class by drying up orders for Solos for years, so that builders don't have the budget to market.

Watch what is currently happening in the Laser class for insight into how bad things can go for a class when it gets ‘bumpy’. Ask any Laser sailor about specific technical changes, and you would get a ‘mandate’ to make the change. However, Laser sailors love the idea that you can pull a Laser out the weeds anywhere in the world and not be at a significant disadvantage. The refusal of the Laser class association to make changes, despite having problems that all Laser sailors agree on, is one of the reasons for the success of the class. The Solo formula is similar to the Laser – the success of the Solo goes beyond the boat, and tweaking the formula is risky.

I implore the committee to acknowledge the survey findings on individual preference for specific technical changes and, having considered the overall sustainability of the class, commit to no changes whatsoever for at least five years (preferably ten). Please, let's not build the Brexit Solo.

Ian McDonald posted this 19 September 2019

My Miles although down to weight and consistently beating new boats, has no correctors. I think that a lot of older boats are in a similar position.

Is the commitee position that owners of old boats dont matter? Whilst it would be easy to just not join next year and spend my £25 saved on a night in the pub, I think my affinity with the boat is worth more than that.

Is the commitee position that the new frp boats are the only topic worth discussing. I sailed Solo #2 for a few months whilst my first Severn was being built . I then sailed the latest boat when my new one was launched . It would be a shame to lose that inclusion from the class.

Looks like a bumpy time ahead for the class.

David Greening posted this 19 September 2019

Great that the survey has had such I high response so soon.

And good imo that Carbon spars have effectively been kicked into touch, which reduces the number of changes on the slate to 5.

I am intrigued whether the increase in maximum corrector weight to 7kg is before or after the 3kg reduction, which appears to have plenty of support; I just hope that the long term aim is not to reduce the weight by 10kg, since the changes to the class would be profound. Anyway these can be reasonably easily effected at the 2020 AGM or even at the 2010 Winters ... and for FRP Owners and new builds will be easy to effect.

Which leaves us with buoyancy, centerboard capping and transom.

It looks like all three will fall into the "It is unlikely any proposal will be ready to vote on in 2020" bracket ... which will be extremely damaging for new and secondhand boat sales until this is decided.

So please, please, please committee look at bringing proposals for the class to vote on no later than the 2020 AGM, if not before.

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