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#211665 - 05/22/10 04:33 AM A contentious idea  
Joined: Mar 2010
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NickoPen Offline
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NickoPen  Offline
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SE Qld, Aus.
Just putting an idea out there...

So it seems to me, that whilst heaps of people love the F14 concept, the price-point and people's apathy seems to have stalled the class' momentum. Especially when I hear local sailors say, why buy an F14 when I can get a 2nd hand but competitive F16 for the same price (and have all the advantages of a popular class).

... Meanwhile ... NACRA has released its 430 in Australia and I suspect there are already more 430's than F14's and it's only been released a few months.

Now the contentious part: What do people think of setting up an F14 sloop class? Essentially something built around the NACRA 430 concept. Maybe a bit lower minimum weight (or maybe not), allowing centreboards, similar sail plan and whatever else people seem to think is a good idea.

Now my justification for the idea. Feel free to argue as I don't even have a cat at the moment!
1) Look at the successful classes vs those that have died off.
a) SMOD (single manufacturer one design) and similar minimal development cat classes have in general had the tendancy to see great early growth and then slowly fade away. Good examples are the Nacra 14sq, 16sq, Taipans. Exceptions are... umm.. the hobie 16. Any others? Designs that are 10 years old or less don't count as they are still in the early stage.
b) Open manufacturer one designs and similar minimal development cat classes have in general had the tendancy to prosper, or only shown signs of dying when technology has well and truly made the designs obselete. Good examples are the paper tiger, mosquito, arrow/arafura. I'm sure there are others.
2) A great deal of the success of the F16 (at least as I see it) is that you can sail single handed or with a crew. 14 foot is borderline single-hander or with a crew boat length - you might as well have a class that allows both.
3) Trying to get F16 performance out of a 14ft boat is beyond an acceptable price point for too many people - hence the current situation.
4) There is already growth in the Nacra 430 class. Take advantage of it. If you can get a 2nd manufacturer or home builds to fit within a class that the 430 is not completely out-classed then you have the foundations of a new class already done for you.
5) A multi-manufacturer class that the 430 fits into means the 430 is more likely to be a long-term class rather than fade out in 10 years time. See point 1.
6) You can't really sail a cat rigged catamaran with 2 people, without one person having nothing much to do.

My motivation for this is very selfish. I want to get my daughter into sailing and get back out there myself. I've been planning on building an F12, which has a very uncertain future - I'd be the first person within at least 1000km's to build and I'd have to do all the hard work of building a local fleet myself, plus it's on the verge of being too small for even a light adult + a child. On the other hand, I could go out and buy a 430, which has already got 3 sailing at different clubs within 50km of my home, but I'll be saving for a few years yet to do that and I'll be forever annoyed that it's a skeg design without boards, and risk the class dying off in 10 years anyway. My ideal option is to build a 430 look-alike with my own personal preferences, that I could race against the established 430 fleet and hopefully get some other home-builders into. My other options are to buy some other class 2nd hand, but the options with existing local fleets are limited, and by the time you cancel out the classes that are so dated that I'd feel embarrassed to sail it or too high performance to consider letting a 6 year old (or younger) helm, there's pretty much nothing left.

flame away...

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#211666 - 05/22/10 04:35 AM Re: A contentious idea [Re: NickoPen]  
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NickoPen Offline
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SE Qld, Aus.
sorry for the essay... wish I'd added a poll now too.

#211694 - 05/22/10 03:44 PM Re: A contentious idea [Re: NickoPen]  
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engineer Offline
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Cairns FNQ
Hi Nicko,
The 430 is a great boat, I purchased the prototype off Briscat. sure it has Skegs, which gives some performance away, but I've seen it convincingly beat H16's in strong breezes. The design is sound, but if it is not what you want, then build a 430 to your design, and we can call it F430.
The 430 is originally designed as an easy to use fun boat, but they made the rocket version for people like me who want to try and catch Inter 17's (as if!!). The key to the 430 success is the boats' versatility, I can take a Mother who has never helmed before, her daughter who loves to trap on the wire and myself, and the 430 still performs reasonably well, or I can race it single handed and try and catch the demon Inter 17's, which I'm yet to do.
Being a Nacra, you won't have the luxury of going into Nacra sanctioned events, also, you'll have a one off, in which case, you could race against the 430 fleet, but like Darryl Barrett experienced, your boat will be quicker, but a possible class killer. But don't let me put you off building your own, anything to get yourself back on the water!!
Let's face it, "A" class is the prime development class where they are constantly tinkering, F16 is the next rung down the ladder for single handed development class which is a very adaptable boat,i.e. single or 2 up.
My insignificant opinion is that the F16 class is really the one to build into, I know the 430 has rattled some inspiration for an F14 revival, but the AlphaOmega will always wear the crown and to set up another 14' development class is not really warranted.
Chocko


Nacra 430 Rocket
#211756 - 05/24/10 04:07 AM Re: A contentious idea [Re: engineer]  
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NickoPen Offline
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SE Qld, Aus.
Thinking about this some more, I think what I really want, is more manufacturers in the 430 market that can race together in the same class. Just something to remove the NACRA exclusivity... even if it was just the basic plans to allow home builds also.

Out of curiosity, does Nacra limit parts manufacturers (i.e. to race in Nacra sanctioned events, is your boat allowed to have sails, foils etc manufactured by someone other than Nacra)?

#211758 - 05/24/10 05:22 AM Re: A contentious idea [Re: NickoPen]  
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Learning to Fly... Offline
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Learning to Fly...  Offline
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NQLD, Australia
The 430 is a 14ft. It would have to be one of the most contested classes in OZ, strongest around Lake Macquarie - Windrush, Maricat, Hobie turbo, etc

At the Nationals Ashby has been known to turn up and he doesn't always win.

#211770 - 05/24/10 07:37 AM Re: A contentious idea [Re: NickoPen]  
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engineer Offline
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Cairns FNQ
I credit Briscat for having a go at the 14'er, everyone else besides Mr Barrett had abandoned the idea. I couldn't even buy a Capercat from Calypso, Windrush are showing more interest in F18's, and good on Brett, bloody Olympics killed the Tornado market for him...
I encourage competition, but credit to the little fellas for having a go at something different and creating one of the most fun,versatile, simple boats I've seen for a long time.
Briscat aren't monsters, they are family people like you and I, but at the end of the day, they need to put food on the table and a roof over thier heads like the rest of us. If I had back up service as good as briscat from other manufacturers that I have to deal with as a fleet manager, life would be alot easier.
I appreciate where you're coming from Nicko, but I don't think they had formula racing in mind when they created the 430. It's more about teaching little sailors that cats are cool (which is working well at Tinaroo) and not the evil opposition that the other side would have them believe.
One young sailor came up to me and said "cats are easier to sail",
I then put him on my boat and told him to go and do a quick course around the marks, he couldn't even tack the 430!!!!!!Easier to sail????? losers....
Anyway, the little ones who are interested in the 430 take it for a lap frequently and love it. They launch the kite, pull it in, get out on the wire, tip it, fly hulls and have a great time. by the same token, I can have some serious racing against the only windrush in FNQ and then try and catch the Single hander Inter 17's when it is blowing too hard for them to launch the kites and I still can.
Great boat, heaps of fun and good social machine.
And yes, Nacra parts only....No unfair advantage gained.
Chocko


Nacra 430 Rocket
#211913 - 05/26/10 08:12 AM Re: A contentious idea [Re: engineer]  
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Seeker Offline
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Ft. Pierce, Fl. USA
It seem that all the ills of catamaran sailing could be overcome if all the designs would raise minimum weight and make them simple. Or so one would think from the many posts on the different Catsailor forums. If that would be the case then catamaran sailing should be thriving right now, as there is no shortage of overweight boats to choose from.

F14 needs to set it's self up as the destination, not a stepping stone to larger designs. Quit making it about how many feet you get for your buck. Make it about how much bang you get for your buck! Darrel is the only one to bring this subject up and back up his talk with a on the water "giant killer".

You said you will have to "save up" a couple of years to buy the 430...I dare say in a couple of years the A&O will still be a topic of conversation
in high performance circles...it remains to be seen if the same can be
said of the NACRA 430. Not at all dissing the NACRA, just that there is nothing particularly special about it, it's just another, of many, nice boats to train on in prep for something else, or take an afternoon cruise.

So again I say it is a perception problem going back to the mentality of "bigger is always better". That IMHO is what is holding back the f14...that and the availability of building plans of a cat capable of A&O performance.

#211954 - 05/26/10 02:44 PM Re: A contentious idea [Re: Seeker]  
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engineer Offline
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Cairns FNQ
I tend to agree Seeker. I actually hunted down Mr Barrett a while ago and seriously entertained the idea of purchasing an AOF14. I love the boat, very nice, but for $5k less i purchased the 430.
Was it a performance based decision? NO, both had a spinnaker, which is what I wanted
Was it a serviced based decision? NO, both had good service and would deliver to FNQ
It came down to the fact that wht you would care to describe as overweight, was seen by me as being versatility and a spinnaker trainer. Once I can use the kite, I will probably get another boat, but set the 430 up for cruising, with wings and storage. The $5k less was just the thing that got NACRA over the line.
Both Alpha Omega and NACRA are the leading brands for customer service, Calypso didn't seem Keen, everyone else distance was a big issue. Windrush make a beautiful 14, Maricat, when it comes to hiking, has possibly the most comfortable cats ever built, H14 is dead, Hobie Waves never took off in Australia, AHPC don't make a 14. the premier Single handers class in Australia is the A cats, they have more than most classes as far as top end sailors go. Mind you, they still get heaps of 16SQ's turn up at Nacra Nationals each year...
The bigger is better mentality is prevelant with some males having a fascination with large sizes, big V8's, big boobs etc, maybe , i don't really know, but one thing is for certain, most know what the AOF14 is capable of and they still won't buy one, and I don't know why.
It could very well be my next boat.
Chocko

Last edited by engineer; 05/26/10 02:54 PM.

Nacra 430 Rocket
#212253 - 05/29/10 08:43 PM Re: A contentious idea [Re: engineer]  
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NickoPen Offline
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NickoPen  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2010
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SE Qld, Aus.
Well, I'm glad I bought this up, if only to become a bit better educated about the cat scene.

I think I'll go back to my original plan, which was to build an F12 and iterate the hull design over a few seasons and then reassess the state of things. The F12 is cheap and I should be able to use it to introduce my daughter to sailing.

Maybe I should use the F12 as a learning experience and aim for developing a home-build solution to the F14 down the track? Perhaps by then AHPC will be making one too... (I really want more manufacturer options in these classes!) who knows... we'll see I guess.

#212254 - 05/29/10 08:49 PM Re: A contentious idea [Re: Learning to Fly...]  
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NickoPen Offline
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NickoPen  Offline
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SE Qld, Aus.
Originally Posted by nacrajon
The 430 is a 14ft. It would have to be one of the most contested classes in OZ, strongest around Lake Macquarie - Windrush, Maricat, Hobie turbo, etc

At the Nationals Ashby has been known to turn up and he doesn't always win.


That's a nice sentiment, but they race off different yardsticks, so in reality I don't think you can say they are truly one class - at least not in my opinion... saying that it's nice to know there is a high level of competition in this set of classes and an active racing scene, so if you get a 14, there's at least some others to compete against.

#212903 - 06/07/10 08:41 AM Re: A contentious idea [Re: NickoPen]  
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Bucketman Offline
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Hi Nicko,
Ya gotta sort out the gunnas from the going to's.
How long will it take to build your f12?
Life's too short. Buy a mari 4.3 and go sailing next week end.
When your ready to spend 200 hrs building a boat, get some mozzie or f16 plans and build a boat that your daughter will be able to grow into and race together with her dad. Here's the f16 link for two homebuilt f16's. Cat rigged 16 footer one up awesome!
http://www.formula16.net/content/view/40/57/lang,en/
Spose it's all about what you like doing.
Good luck with the designing.


#213026 - 06/08/10 05:36 AM Re: A contentious idea [Re: Bucketman]  
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NickoPen Offline
stranger
NickoPen  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 20
SE Qld, Aus.
The powers that be have determined I'm not allowed to go sailing unless I take my daughter with me, and she's still too young, so I might as well fill the next couple of years worth of sailing time with building a boat instead.

F16, F14... whatever, they are both more senior classes than the F12 and the proposed-and-now-dead concept F14-sloop / 430 would be, they can be on the horizon for 10 years time.

#213950 - 06/16/10 03:55 AM Re: A contentious idea [Re: NickoPen]  
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Qb2 Offline
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Brisbane Queensland- Australia
pick yourself up a second hand AO4.4 for $1500-$3000 and get the performance without the expense


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