An opening gambit from Dick Lemke.
Me? Quiet ? - You gotta be kidding - right? :razz:
(As an example) There is a quiet move afoot here in the US and within the “M” Class to return to a limited keel depth, mainly to provide the ability to sail in some shallow venues. There are hopes it will also revive the “M” Class - and see new blood joining the class and increasing regatta participation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t address the issue of a very, very expensive boat that is currently the class “yardstick”. Until costs are reined in, many of the “built boats” will continue to have limited ownerships merely on cost alone. This also seems to be a good reason why the “plastic” boats are increasing in popularity.
Over the course of the past few years, there has been a decided difference in owner/sailors in the AMYA, and I would suspect most of our membership consists of retirees – or “close-to-retire” aged folks. While we get interest from many high school age folks, it is easy to see the limited income keeps them from really joining in to a class they would prefer to sail in. When costs of books, school, or even families in the case of the younger crowd in their late 20-early 30’s are a decision point, the r/c “love” becomes secondary. At the other extreme, many retirees are living on a fixed income and disposable income is a concern for them too. Thus we have the two sides – young and old – that are trying to stay competitive within a class only to see the basic boat move further out as a possibility.
I for one would “love” to sail an “M” but even though I’m still working (but looking forward to retirement in the next few years) find the cost of a currently competitive “M” to be outside of my price range – much like a full size 40 foot sportboat! I can see from emails and forum questions many are looking for free boat plans, when in reality, a $10-$20 plan cost is so small of a percent of the value of the boat when built. Thus, if plans are priced at $20 – we have lost a number of interested parties. When they do buy into even a “plastic” class and find the hidden costs of necessary upgrades to be competitive, there is another point where we’ve lost some interest. Finally, when boats exceed $1,000 a lot of them drop out too. It’s one thing to “buy into” the concept of a development class up front – knowing there will be on-going costs to remain competitive, but it is another when the cost of ownership smacks one alongside the head – as in the case of the “M” – IOM – or even the US One Meter class. I am not saying builders aren’t justified in asking for a fair profit on their labor – I am concerned about the “ego” purchases so one can proudly proclaim I am sailing an XYZ boat with ABC sails!
I even am watching the Footy Class – having traded some emails with a few owners and while they look like fun, a lot of the requisite “bickering” may have produced a few “ghost ships” – those that exist but don’t race.
As some know, I am on the bottom floor of the 1:10 scale class, and even the current AMYA president recognizes that AMYA caters (currently) only to racers! Noting is provided to entice scale model builders to join/participate. Using the 1:10 as an example – here is a place for “builders and modelers – not racers, and the size of the finished boat can range from 1 meter up to 2 meters! The fact the emphasis will be on scale appearance first, and sailing ability/speed second may improve AMYA memberships. Unfortunately there will be some who have a ”no expense spared” attitude. They will pay for custom work, hardware, etc. and eventually those with less financial means will soon drop out since they can’t keep up.
I (like a few others) lament the day when wooden boats, wooden masts, and single panel sails left in favor of carbon this and that and paneled sails. The current ODOM and Soling 1 Meter are two current classes where the cost to participate hasn’t reached the ‘unthinkable” Too bad there aren’t more of them !
This opening offering from Dick has been moved here to start a new thread on the present state of the sport and thoughts on where and how to guide the future for the continued growth and enjoyment of all facets of radio yachting. Let`s hear your input please. :graduate: