Part 8 - Conclusions - PROFESSIONAL Class layer integration

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Part 8 - Conclusions - PROFESSIONAL Class layer integration

Post by ROBERT ALPE » Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:31 pm

For those who review this Forum, this is number eight in a series of papers. While the proposer/writer is an IDA Officer, the contents are his notions/observations and are not necessarily those of the IDA or fellow IDA Officers.

If you wish to join into this discussion, please read and comment on Part One - Class Layers Forum, Part Two ASPIRATIONAL Class Layer, Part Three ENTHUSIASTIC Class Layer, Part Four AFFLUENT and PROFESSIONAL Class Layer, Part Five SWOT Analysis, Part Six - Time for Change, and Part seven - Where we agree topics before reading this paper. And please feel free to post your responses to each paper on this Forum. Thank you!

In paper one I stated that ultimately I seek a debate that develops into a way forward for the Dragon Class that plays to the strengths of each layer while allowing integration of all four. Prior Papers developed the class layer concept and essentially gathered overall agreement for four layers plus one additional layer, namely; PROFESSIONAL, AFFLUENT, ENTHUSIASTIC, ASPIRATIONAL and the new one, CRUISING. So we need to integrate five layers rather than four. I offer the following conclusions on how we might achieve this for the PROFESSIONAL Class layer.

But first, I wish to thank the many 'On, and Off' Forum responses, both positive and otherwise that these papers have received. Your contributions have allowed this discussion to continue, and whether or not they lead anywhere, they have suggested possibilities that otherwise may not have been considered. The writer is not an academic [or even a good speller], so your open-minded acceptance of what is being attempted here, is a testimony to your empathy and concern for where the class is at the moment and where it might go in the future. I know many more people have monitored this discussion than participated in it. Be assured your silence has also spoken.

Whichever camp you actually belong to, now is the time for conclusions to these Papers. Now is the time for your support or rebuke of these conclusions as a 'no comment' might suggest apathy, indifference, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of concern, dispassion, lethargy, languor, et al and would be interpreted as preferring the STATUS QUO.

Class Layer Integration can, and should occur. Not at a simplistic level but at a strategic level.

Part Eight:

Conclusions to Class Layers - PROFESSIONAL Class layer Integration - the proDRAGONâ„¢

The layer pushing the envelope is the PROFESSIONAL layer. They want EVERYTHING. The stiffest Dragon, the unsinkable Dragon, the best and latest technology in boat building technology, the best of Spar design, the widest selection of sails and the latest materials for everything. They want adjustable everything while racing, this to maximise their success. Plus, importantly, the ability to push the envelope in with some of our Racing Rules. It is this group [together with some of the aspiring AFFLUENT layer] that would be the drivers behind many improvements in boat, spar and sail design as they would be the first customers for such product.

So why not give them their own 'play ground' to race in? Give them their own racing agenda, regatta rules, boat, sail and spar regulations [governed by the IDA] allow sponsorships and give them the opportunity to 'push the envelope' to the fullest. Give them a proDRAGONâ„¢.

What do we have to loose but strategically positioning the proDRAGONâ„¢ at the absolute limit of what is possible for the rest of us. Let the boat builders, sail makers, spar makers experiment for the class. Let them wheat and chaff design improvements.

Russell Coutts has developed a new one design class, race circuit, and business. It is [seemingly] successful with more success envisaged in the future. A proDRAGONâ„¢ class could also be developed, and possibly run in association with a Coutts-like program. This attracts major sponsorship support, prize money, media coverage and builder [boat, spar, and sail] involvement, as it is seen as the 'leading edge' of the match, teams and regatta racing scene.

Were the proDRAGONâ„¢ class allowed to develop and prosper, the DRAGON class is significantly benefited by new technology developed and introduced into the proDRAGONâ„¢. Importantly, this technology development is not at the expense of a new DRAGON. The proDRAGONâ„¢ is the bunny or the experiment of possibilities that DRAGON future development could be influenced by over time.

So simply allowing the Professional Class to move into a different league with the proDRAGONâ„¢ development offers huge benefits to the Dragon Class as a whole. It is layer integration by separation. It has the potential to solve many other issues AND provides future DRAGON development opportunities.

But no I hear you say! This will create a new DRAGON elite, one that most of us will never afford. And you are right, but most DRAGON sailors could never afford to be in the DRAGON PROFESSIONAL Class layer either, so what is the problem?

I argue; let those who are PROFESSIONAL and those who can afford to be on a proDRAGONâ„¢ circuit, do it for the rest of us. They will ultimately pay to keep the DRAGON relevant, important and successful in the years ahead. They will fund the technological development of a DRAGON ensuring the class has a future, remains modern and is always interesting to race.

The underlying imperative here is, everything to do with the proDRAGONâ„¢ is developed under the auspices of the IDA, thereby ensuring a strategic position is maintained and integrates the futures of DRAGON and proDRAGONâ„¢. The IDA must manage and control its technological development to assure we end up with a DRAGON and generates revenue for the Association along the way.

Further, I am of the view that some proDRAGONâ„¢ participants may also retain DRAGON regatta participation for some time into the future. Their participation in both programs only assists the ultimate integration of both, but I have more to say on this later.

So with this concept, the IDA would be very much about STRATEGIC the technological change rather than technological change by OSMOSIS or INCREMENTALLY as its the present situation. It infers class layer integration [our objective] is possible because the Professional Class layer lead the technological development of the DRAGON Class.

On the other hand, assuming no proDRAGONâ„¢ Class, the PROFESSIONAL Class Layer needs to stand up and be counted. They need to be identified, and tagged, PROFESSIONAL, a tag they should wear with pride and purpose. As stated in an earlier paper, a PROFESSIONAL Class layer Dragon is defined as, [in my opinion]: where one or more people who race on that Dragon are paid in money or kind. Of course they should be permitted to race Dragons with the Corinthian sailors [non-professional], but I feel they should race for different trophies and be separately assessed in the results listings. This ensures the traditional Dragon sailor can be compared to other traditional Dragon sailors in all Corinthian IDA responsible events, and possibly all Dragon Races.

There has been considerable comment from many sailors about the degree of aggression presently displayed by some sailors on the water. Further, the aggression is rarely absolved by penalty taking from the fouling vessel. The majority of these un-sportsman like actions seem to emanate from those considered to be from the PROFESSIONAL Class layer, although I suspect we are all responsible for such behaviour from time to time. This behaviour in Dragon races anywhere is to the considerable determent of the class and needs to be modified quickly or the reputation of the Dragon of being a Class for Gentlemen/women sailors, will be lost forever.

I note however, we bring this upon ourselves to an increasing degree. The ISAF way is one of self regulation, by in large. They give racers the rules and they are required to race by them. If fouled, we are to protest [call protest immediately and demonstrate a red protest flag as soon as practicable], the absolution of which [the taking of penalty turns by the fouling vessel] gives the fouled vessel advantage or redress over the disadvantage received in the foul. It the fouling vessel determines NOT to take the penalty, both parties are to meet in the Protest Room after the race and have it reviewed and adjudicated by a Jury.

The reality for most Dragon sailors is, they will NOT take a protest to the PROTEST room for redress, essentially giving the fouling vessel advantage. If an aggressive sailor understands this, chooses to intimidate others on the water and NOT take his turns, we are letting him get away with being a bully and NOT holding him to account. Not a good practice at all in my view. And while the on water the Jury can, and possibly should do more to highlight infringements they witness, I am less inclined to give my sympathy to a sailor who complains bitterly about aggression if they will not take the debate to a PROTEST meeting.

We are required to Race by the ALL the Rules of Racing, not only those we elect to be accountable to. So please, let us do our duty and PROTEST [in the JURY Room when necessary] on every occasion where we know the appropriate penalty turns are not taken on the water. Then, and only then will the race bully be taught his lesson.

Finally, There is a European Rating System being successfully modeled by the Germans and the Dutch. If this comes into play, we should definitely add a PROFESSIONAL weighting factor into the equation.

Please note, I claim 'proDRAGONâ„¢' as a the trademark of the International Dragon Association

Robert Alpe
Last edited by ROBERT ALPE on Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Gold Cup 2007

Post by Fred » Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:54 pm

Dear Robert and others,

The following came to my mind when I red the results of the Gold Cup 2007 at Palma.
First let me say that maybe I have no rights to comment as I didn't participate in the last 3 Gold Cups, on the other hand I still am a Dragon owner and a member so....
I also want to express that my comments are not ment negative in any way, because I know that comments are not always welcome ;)

But OK here we go:
First of all my congratulations to Lars (you are becoming one of the famous ones now!), Tommy (that near again!), Markus, Philipp and Valentijn.
But what I was wondering about is: why do people spent at least 10 days, a long way travelling, expenses and ferries for just 3 days of sailing?
Of course we cannot change weather conditions. But....., if we took the Australian system ( I hope you guys downunder still use it!) of 4 days (1 race a day) so the serie is valid, one layday, one more race so there is a discard, one layday and then the final race. This means for a worlds or europeans 8 days ex measurement and for a Gold Cup 7 days ex measurement (one layday after 4 valid races).
The total average amount of days involved (incl. travelling and measurement) increases then from 10 to 12 days. But..... a far better chance of 6 days racing.
In my opinion a much better price/result ratio.
Many times I hear in such a case complaints that it takes to many holidays, but we are talking about 5 or 7 holidays (as 2 weekends are included) and why spending so much money and efforts as 2 holidays can make the difference between a good serie or....?
Isn't that pennywise poundfoolish? And last but not least why do you buy a Dragon as you don't want to spent holidays for sailing it?


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