There is obviously merit to all options here but, although I’m very new to the class, I do find myself drawn to the all-new rig. I haven’t experienced a mast-track failure myself but did have a compression failure of the top two sections. It took 2 months for Selden to replace the failed section. And including time spent in conversation with Ovi’s, Noble and Selden it took well over 3 months from when the mast broke to obtaining the replacement. The customer service I received from Selden, along with very recent experiences others have had with them leaves me with very little faith in them as a supplier that cares about the classes they build for.
I’ve seen mentioned here: (http://www.mustoskiff.com/sub-pages/new-rig-plans.html
) that a different mast manufacturer is in the pipeline should Selden’s replacement option go awry. A change in manufacturer would be enough to keep me happy.
As for changing everything; I understand the reservations people might have for the effect of cost and retaining a one design status. I’d just like to mention the supernova class that has seen massive changes in the last few years. (I appreciate the skiff is an entirely different ball game). First they completely revamped the cockpit, completely opening the transom. Second, they changed construction materials to epoxy – boats are now >15kg lighter than the original. The boat has been treated to a new sail and adjustable lowers have been added. Although I’m still an active member of the supernova class, I find the fact that it still advertises itself as a one design class borderline criminal.
BUT… since these changes were made the class has grown, big style. At Bolton SC we went from having 6/7 to well over 30 boats in 2-3 years. At this year’s nationals, there were 120 boats and we hit the 100 boat mark for next year’s nationals only a month after opening entry. Believe it or not there has been NO LOSS in the quality of racing throughout the fleet, regardless of boat age. (The first ever production supernova finished 4th/120 this year, bloody good sailor mind!). the design changes do show better performances across the wind range and point of sail; this tends to even itself out over the course of a championship. The new boats filtered through the second-hand market very quickly and brought loads of new sailors into the class, despite the big hike in cost and the fact that the lighter boats are twitchier.
I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination so I’m not really in a position to say how a new main will affect boat handling/speed/weight range etc. but I do think it’s worth considering that all the supernova class wanted to achieve was to improve cockpit drainage; those changes weren’t hugely welcome at the time either but the class is now a real winner. Worth pointing out that for a lot of the newcomers, the aesthetics was a big draw. And yes, the Musto does look a little dated to me, (then again that didn’t stop me buying one).
Apologies for rambling!