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The old days…. Naive question but relevant for moving forward


Stephen B

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I imagine, that 30 plus years go, home made was the flavour of model boats for all aspects, but the world has moved on.

We now live in an age where most sailors want some thing new .. flex the credit card. Only one member out of 40 in our club has attempted sail making with 39/40 purchasing sails from manufacturers.

for IOMs these come from, sailsec,  sailboatRC, Cat sails, Nylet, BG sails, Soch Sails, PJ sails, Sparrow sails, and others.  ( the list is not endless, and sorry to none left off)

we place our order in good faith, that the sails that one of these excellent manufacturers make will be the correct size meeting measurement . It would also be financial suicidal for a supplier to make a set of sails that did not measure. We want sails correct, they want to supply correct. Imagine if your new sails, failed measuring process, the chat on the bank and in social media and forums would ruin the reputation of the company.

therefore why in 2024 are we making a product for under £100 jump through sale then measuring? It is utter madness and a waste of time, except in the highest level of competition and homemade options.

put the quality control and spot check into the factory space with random checks, and a QC process using up to date digital means and let’s move forward.

Or are we still going to insist on the average club sailor who wants to compete beyond their club in regional events has to get in the car, journey for over an hour each way, wasting precious time, and fuel to get an object with  value of under £100 measured, when last week, it was brand new out of the factory.

No wonder the sport attracts the non employed, who can afford this time to race off to get their sails done compared to the working members, having to book a half days leave.

 

what is holding the sport back, measuring items supplied by reputable manufacturers, within weeks of production and supply.
let’s re examine this utterly mad process for club and regional competition and bring in a better quality check process fit for the modern world using technology properly at making stage.


personal note

(after this discussion , hope my new sails measure, in two weeks time, bought in good faith but 1/2 days leave booked from work, plus 120 miles of fuel and 21/2 hours in the car, hope the measurement is fast or will be more than a half days leave, all for items less than a weekly shop.. my partner can’t believe it

 

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It has long been the case in dinghy classes that the sails are delivered measured and certified by the sailmaker. Random checks at regional and national meetings ensure that the sailmakers are providing legal sails.

Also most 'full scale' sailmakers use laser cutting for sail panels ensuring consistently sized and shaped sails. 

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I was going to wind you up Steve, but this has long been a question in my mind, even if we had to pay the sailmaker a premium to have a "measured" sail, this must be a way forward and bring us into the 21st century, for those of us that still work, a days holiday is precious to us, luckily I have a club mate that has dealt with my requirements when needed 

Perhaps this is one for Graham Bantock to answer 

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Brilliant question Stephen and very clearly stated.

In practice the class associations and MYA could introduce an accreditation process for sail makers. It doesn’t have to be complicated (like you I’m totally confident that our regular sail makers know exactly what they’re doing). So the sail makers themselves could devise something practical and reliable. That way accredited sail makers can supply accredited products.

Some may argue that SMOD classes like ILCA (laser) have had instances of out-of-class sails and spars. But these tales are mostly apocryphal; and it usually only matters in big events (which like our sport, are usually subject to scrutineering).

 

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Hi All,

It may be worth taking a look back over the attached thread from 2 years ago with some explination given to self certification hurdles and proposed measurerement certification.

2 years on and in the Northern District we have a total of 4 measurers qualified to sign sails, with ONE qualified to measure and certify boats. Thats 4 measurers to approximately 400 members. The South West District is not in any better shape. 

Can i suggest before laying the blame at the feet of your sailmaker, that members take the time to consider why culling over 80 measurers, many of which had been in their roles for 20-30+ years with full experience from sails through to complete boat measurement, for the sake of accreditation was a good idea and the go to option? I believe a workable solution could and should have been found with our RYA and classes that would not have left us in this present situation. 

Cheers

Brad

Edited by Brad Gibson
Text issue
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4 hours ago, Stephen B said:

I imagine, that 30 plus years go, home made was the flavour of model boats for all aspects, but the world has moved on.

We now live in an age where most sailors want some thing new .. flex the credit card. Only one member out of 40 in our club has attempted sail making with 39/40 purchasing sails from manufacturers.

for IOMs these come from, sailsec,  sailboatRC, Cat sails, Nylet, BG sails, Soch Sails, PJ sails, Sparrow sails, and others.  ( the list is not endless, and sorry to none left off)

we place our order in good faith, that the sails that one of these excellent manufacturers make will be the correct size meeting measurement . It would also be financial suicidal for a supplier to make a set of sails that did not measure. We want sails correct, they want to supply correct. Imagine if your new sails, failed measuring process, the chat on the bank and in social media and forums would ruin the reputation of the company.

therefore why in 2024 are we making a product for under £100 jump through sale then measuring? It is utter madness and a waste of time, except in the highest level of competition and homemade options.

put the quality control and spot check into the factory space with random checks, and a QC process using up to date digital means and let’s move forward.

Or are we still going to insist on the average club sailor who wants to compete beyond their club in regional events has to get in the car, journey for over an hour each way, wasting precious time, and fuel to get an object with  value of under £100 measured, when last week, it was brand new out of the factory.

No wonder the sport attracts the non employed, who can afford this time to race off to get their sails done compared to the working members, having to book a half days leave.

 

what is holding the sport back, measuring items supplied by reputable manufacturers, within weeks of production and supply.
let’s re examine this utterly mad process for club and regional competition and bring in a better quality check process fit for the modern world using technology properly at making stage.


personal note

(after this discussion , hope my new sails measure, in two weeks time, bought in good faith but 1/2 days leave booked from work, plus 120 miles of fuel and 21/2 hours in the car, hope the measurement is fast or will be more than a half days leave, all for items less than a weekly shop.. my partner can’t believe it

 

Have to agree with above .When you purchase anything new you assume it is fit for purpose then having to have someone else double check the work of the sailmaker.Being relatively new to this sport it was something which l could not quite understand.Luckily for me we have a member who can sign sails off so it it has not been a problem me but can understand other skippers concerns.

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I feel this is over simplifying the issue.

Most suppliers in this country are individuals, so not sure how they would put in place a robust QA system. The measurers are the independent part of the measurement process, acting as a QA check. The Class rules and ERS are clear on this.

The reasons why we are where we are have been documented, but what confuses me to some extent is why the measurers have not stepped forward to go on a sail measurement course? Ok, there was an issue during Covid and a lack of courses but there have been a number of courses in the last 12 months. The MYA have paid for these with travelling expenses.

Is this because the measurers aren't interested, or don't feel that the qualification is worthwhile?  Or maybe they feel that they don't need to be refreshed?

 

 

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Dear Brad, and all expert sail manufacturers 

please accept my apologies if you have taken offence, none was meant.

it was about the old style system, that was designed for a previous age of home made manufacturing.

we still need the skills as some people have time and inclination to make sails, but for those of us mad on sailing, but also trying to keep balancing work and home lives, we need a better system, fit for the next 30 years. Let’s consider carefully and move forward

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I can’t believe you have no measurers in the Huntingdon club. Get a couple of members to do the course, problem solved. or contact 0ne of the two measurers at Two Islands. take a trip over on a race day and get your sails measured before or after racing. 33% of the active skippers at Lee Valley club can measure sails. Final option You have a member of Huntingdon that sails at Lee Valley most Sundays. You could arrange for your sails to be sent down, measured, and brought back.

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2 hours ago, Darin Ballington said:

.. what confuses me to some extent is why the measurers have not stepped forward to go on a sail measurement course?

 

 

If you have been doing something for several years, then someone tells you are no longer competent to do it, it's hard not to see this an insult.  Add to that the necessary course is time consuming and barely relevant (it covers the measurement of full size sails) then is it any wonder that many of the previously qualified measurers have walked away.  I also believe that the rule sets have become ever more complex and difficult to interpret which further alienates our existing measurers.

I believe our rule sets and measurement process are no longer fit for purpose and unless they are simplified and made relevant to the majority of members then most people will not bother to have their boats measured and therefore be reluctant (or unable) to enter open events.  The consequences for the sport are obvious and it seems to me that the effect is already clearly visible.

 

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2 hours ago, Stephen B said:

Agree, all clubs might chose to have one, but that puts real pressure on a person to fail sails for someone who stands next to the owner on the bank,

not good

If the sails do not measure then what is the problem?  I would rather have a clubmate tell me than to have time off work and drive miles for the same outcome.

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let’s not develop two issues here.

 

the one I was addressing is why are we measuring a brand new product from a reputable manufacturer who wants their products to perform the best within the regulations.

Can we and/or the sail makers create a suitable at source verification process to save time and energy and money, for something very important but costs less than the average weekly shop. It also might increase sail sales, as people might replace more often rather than, “ they seem ok will make them do another year with all the bother of measuring”

 

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I have just entered two regional opens and club member says to me.. when are you getting your new sails (Christmas present from partner) measured. Sails from abroad. 
“other clubs may not be as generous as ours and on the day refuse entry.”

My partner can’t believe it,……….. “brand new, what, what more do they want, half day off work, how far, how much”

and I agree completely.

we need a better system, to still allow the person at home to produce sails. But for those of us who have limited time, as we still work full time and just want to race, to find a better solution to sail purchasing.

Edited by Stephen B
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The issue is not the sail purchase or the manufacturers. It is the class rules, granted the current measurement situation doesn't help, but the class rules and ERS set out how the equipment is compliant. All IRSA (WS) class yachts have the same requirements.

A longer term solution may be to request a change to the class rules, allowing sails to be check measured by a competent person?

Personally, to me the rules are what elevates what we do beyond toy boats, but others may say differently.

BTW I have the same issues with measurement currently, but am fortunate that my local clubs have sail measurers who recently attended the course for the benefit of the club. 

 

 

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All useful

it would be good before we submit a proposal that might be shot down, without a level of data and cooperation with sail manufacturers 

knowing how many sails are measured each year, 

knowing that in removing this barrier, more sails might be sold?

entry into events beyond club level might increase(I would rather spend £ going to events than travelling to get sails measured)

 

more than happy to see if others want to join a practical working team to talk to consumers, measurers and manufacturers 

 

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A simple request to the suppliers may give an indication, not sure if the information would be sensitive?

If the question was kept generic, such as how many IRSA class sets of sails would you anticipate making in a year, they may respond.

I think that to be fair any published figures would need to be combined numbers as it is the overall picture that you would be looking at. 

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Does the MYA have any idea how many sails are measured year by year?

 

In the context of

we have a growing club, who sail on Wednesdays and race on Saturdays all year round, and Mondays summer evenings, over 60 racing events.  The buzz on the bank using second hand kit, now being transformed by new boats arriving either from ‘the garden shed’, or by plane, and new sails being bought to upgrade boats. We need to convert all these keen IOM club sailors into coming to regional events, but if they tumble at the first hurdle of are you new sails measured, they stay at club level, don’t improve or compete at regional events. We had more boats on the Saturday start line in January than some regional events. 
new members, some working and some retired, and they just want like me to race race sail race!

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Speaking as a new measurer... since "passing out" in May (for sails) and December (for IOM's), I've measured 8 suits (an A, B, an A, an A,B,C, an A,B with a boat).  Observations are that for Certification Control, sails take the longest. For each suit the Certification Control form is 2 full sides of A4, same for the the rigs.  The hull/appendages CCF is less than one side.  It takes me about 40 minutes to measure a suit of sails, but if measuring sails for an already certified boat, then NOTHING is sent off to the Registrar, the signature on the sail is the only evidence (obviously I keep the completed form), so there's no way the Authority knows how many sails are measured.

One thing that sailors may not be aware of is the need for the measurer to but certified kit to measure.  In my case I also needed to buy a table that was long enough to measure an A rig (Cheap wallpaper pasting table).  The length measuring devices all have to be Class II.  My class II square and 60 cm metal rule were £45 each, a tape is about £15, (I already had Class II vernier calipers) and the MYA  do not cover those costs.  I've also bought certified scales (although they are not needed for Certification Control) that were £70, to meet the standards required.

I volunteered fairly early on, because at that point Measurers had to be RYA members.  I am a member because I'm also a shore-based instructor, so was already covered, and our measurer was retiring.  

Edited by Guzzilazz
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Larry

IOM sailor

North Essex

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Our Club Measurer has not been on the sail measuring course so can no longer measure IOM sails. I don’t think he woke up one morning and forgot how to use a tape measure or suddenly lost the ability to interpret the IOM class rules on sail sizes, nevertheless (and to use Brad’s words) he was ‘culled’ or at least until he goes on the course, but (and as others have said) why should he give up a day of his time to learn how to do what he was already perfectly capable of doing and indeed accredited to do?

I have a few sets of IOM sails measured and signed by him, I guess I can happily use those at any open meeting but were I to get a new set of identical sails from the same supplier tomorrow I’ve now got to chase round the District to find one of the few ‘qualified’ measurers before I can enter an open meeting with them. 

It doesn’t seem to me that much thought was given to the impact on the grass roots membership of the MYA of this change.  Why on earth are MYA measurers having to go on an RYA course designed for full size boats in order to measure sails for our model boats? 

I may not have been paying attention but I don’t actually recall seeing anything that explained any of this to the MYA membership. I’m assuming there must have been a very serious problem with the previous MYA measurement process to require such a change. What exactly was broken with the old system - the words sledgehammer and nut spring to mind

Perhaps someone could point out the MYA communication where this change was explained to the membership.

Just my thoughts FWIW

Laurie

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On 28/02/2024 at 14:00, Darin Ballington said:

I feel this is over simplifying the issue.

Most suppliers in this country are individuals, so not sure how they would put in place a robust QA system. 

Darin, making a set of sails is not rocket science. It is very easy to replicate time and time again. A simple QA control is very easy to do for sailmakers.

Is this because the measurers aren't interested, or don't feel that the qualification is worthwhile?  Or maybe they feel that they don't need to be refreshed?

Here is the answer to that one.....

"2 years on and in the Northern District we have a total of 4 measurers qualified to sign sails, with ONE qualified to measure and certify boats. Thats 4 measurers to approximately 400 members".

Give up countless hours to learn how to do something  Brad, Martin, Nigel etc al have been doing daily for decades?

It's like going on a course to take the dog a walk.

The MYA have paid for these with travelling expenses

No, the income from membership has paid for these expenses.

Funds that could have been used for more pertinent issues.

That said, when it was put out that this would be the way forward, the lack of interaction from members was culpable.

In the S/W of Scotland there is a grand total of ZERO measurers.

Brilliant way forward.

Well done MYA!

 

 

 

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My class II square and 60 cm metal rule were £45 each, a tape is about £15, (I already had Class II vernier calipers) and the MYA  do not cover those costs.  I've also bought certified scales (although they are not needed for Certification Control) that were £70, to meet the standards required.

Unless you have a calibration certificate (in date) for each of these measuring devices from a recognised calibration company adhering to ISO 17025 you might as well use your thumb.

That's where we are at.

If i were to use a cmm and measure what you measured i would get a different size.

Without doubt!

Good on you though for dedication.

It is all utterly needless IMO.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Gordon Allison said:

My class II square and 60 cm metal rule were £45 each, a tape is about £15, (I already had Class II vernier calipers) and the MYA  do not cover those costs.  I've also bought certified scales (although they are not needed for Certification Control) that were £70, to meet the standards required.

Unless you have a calibration certificate (in date) for each of these measuring devices from a recognised calibration company adhering to ISO 17025 you might as well use your thumb.

That's where we are at.

If i were to use a cmm and measure what you measured i would get a different size.

Without doubt!

Good on you though for dedication.

It is all utterly needless IMO.

 

 

Would you not need these as an existing measurer?

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Seems obvious to me, mainly the reasons we now have very few measurers are for two main reasons, not many courses being run, especially in the North and willing measurers not willing to give up a precious weekend or use annual leave if the course is midweek.

The simple solution is to have an online course with a test at the end.

Cost would probably be equal to set it up as it would to cover costs as is now, travel etc.

This was mentioned very early on with Lester and Veronica willing volunteers but I understand Lester's circumstances have changed so the MYA now need to outsource this.

Easy, job done and let's move on.

Surely?

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4 hours ago, Graham Elliott said:

Seems obvious to me, mainly the reasons we now have very few measurers are for two main reasons, not many courses being run, especially in the North and willing measurers not willing to give up a precious weekend or use annual leave if the course is midweek.

The simple solution is to have an online course with a test at the end.

Cost would probably be equal to set it up as it would to cover costs as is now, travel etc.

This was mentioned very early on with Lester and Veronica willing volunteers but I understand Lester's circumstances have changed so the MYA now need to outsource this.

Easy, job done and let's move on.

Surely?

It's difficult crawling around on the floor measuring 420 sails when you're online...  

Larry

IOM sailor

North Essex

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