Class Rules Update from Chief Measurer, Colin Simonds

Class Rules Update from Chief Measurer, Colin Simonds

The changing of the class rules has become a longer process due to the number of parties that are involved in looking at and checking rules changes in a growing international class. I am sorry that this year it has been delayed longer than I would wish. I am sure the extra care and input adds value.For this reason I would like to give you a list of the main changes that members should be aware of for 2009 and they may wish to make preparations for those changes.  There are some smaller changes as well as this list. The new rules will come in mid 2009 as soon as they are ready we will tell you and give you time to get ready.

It is of course still possible – but unlikely – that further small changes or deletions to proposed rule changes could still happen, but now only due to changes required by for example by ISAF or Laser.

I am grateful to all those members who posted rules ideas and questions on the chat page or e-mailed me last autumn and I hope we can repeat that process of ideas and consultation this winter.  Compared to last winter these are pretty minor changes.  

1          There will be a rule to allow small changes to the trailing edges of rudders and keels to reduce vibration- it will be similar to the Laser dinghy class rule.

2          There will be small changes in what is allowed to be included in the all up weight – such as the Jib sheet and throw line – that should make weighing slightly easier and quicker.

3          The minimum weight of anchor has gone and will be replaced by a minimum weight of 6kgs for anchor and including at least 1.5 metres of chain.

4          Replacement fittings or additions with ones that perform the same function  can not be made of Carbon fibre.  So no expensive carbon tillers please.

5          All buoyancy aids have to be stored above deck – or worn of course. Storing them below where they are inaccessible in a hurry will no longer be permitted. (They can not be below decks where you have to open the hatch of your holed and sinking boat to get them – so it sinks much faster )

6          There is a new rule on rudder blades that they must not touch the underside of the hull – this may be one cause of rudder failure when full rudder is put on at speed. The new rule will required there to be a small gap.

7          There will be a new all event rule about not putting your pole out before you are about to launch the kite – this used to appear in most Sailing instructions; the rule will likely say  –  ‘The bowsprit shall be fully retracted at all times other than when the spinnaker is set or in the act of being set or recovered’.  Once these rule come out the pole goes out only just ( a length or two seems ok)  before the hoist and back in as soon as you have the kite back in the boat, in a continuing movement.   This stops you putting it up before a length or so before the windward mark or  spreader marks. (Unless of course you plan to round one of those marks with the genniker hoisted due to the wind angle making that possible) On the down – you can not for example round the leeward mark with it still out if you took the kite down a few lengths earlier and should have had time to put it away.  To put it bluntly this makes getting the jib in and tidying the kite away  a second and third priority to getting the pole in, and hopefully will reduce pole breakages.

8          There will be a new minimum weight for engines of 11 kgs when empty of fuel.  – almost all 2.5HP and higher engines in the fleet will comply. We are only aware of a very small number of petrol engines and one electric one that will not and are below this. The petrol ones were unreliable and low power and need to be banned they were  also lighter which is not good in a one design class.

This list is about a third of the rules changes that were considered, and some may be reconsidered next winter. Colin Simonds is happy to take questions on these changes – but they can not now be altered for this year.

One last area members should be aware of and that is the hiking rule – this was extensively debated in the rules committee and outside. The rule says – No device, method or sheet may be used to implement or assist hiking or sitting outboard other than the foot straps as positioned and supplied by the licensed manufacturer..

I have been asked various questions and it seems to me clear that:

1          leaning back holding a kite sheet or jib sheet ‘to implement or assist hiking’’ is illegal

2          Putting your hands under the steel rail and onto the deck to get leverage to lean back more is a ‘’method’’ to  ‘’ assist hiking’’ and is illegal

3          the front crew using the shrouds to lean back is also ‘’to assist hiking’’ and is illegal.

4          Putting your hand over the rail and on to the Gunwale or side deck is probably to assist hiking and is probably illegal.

We have debated this rule and taken advice – the key words are ‘’to implement or assist hiking’’ and there is only one permitted way and that is the footstraps. Holding on  to any part of the boat is quite legal of course, but you have to do it to ‘’hold on’’ and not to’’ implement or assist hiking’’.

Pulling a sheet to trim a sail may involve leaning back for a moment and seems to me to quite legal of course, but you have to do it wholly to ‘’pull the sheet in ’’ and not to’’ implement or assist hiking’’.  If you hold the jib sheet all the way up the beat – fine – but if it also ‘’assist  hiking’’ you are leaning too far back. 

I have also been asked what ‘’Hiking’’ means – It means that you are leaning out in a way that if you took your hands off what you are holding or your feet out from under what is holding them  – you would fall overboard. This is not a formal definition or part of class rules – but should help you understand what the rule says.

The rule is pretty simple to me really – it says that  unless using the toestraps to assist hiking  –  ‘assisted’ hiking is not permitted.

If anyone wants to send me pictures of boats from websites that may be legal or otherwise – happy to look and comment – not always possible to see exactly what is happening in one picture – have looked at dozens this last month or so – but will try and comment  – I am recommending that umpires and wardens now look closely at this area, but the fleet of course as with other rules need to point this rule out to other competitors who may be breaking it, perhaps on shore or in the bar afterwards – and if repeated to protest.

I and others will be looking at photo websites for infringers and watch out we may start to name and shame. I have already spotted quite a few.

Thanks to all involved in these changes  – it will be  a great season I am sure with even closer and fairer sailing.

Colin Simonds
If you wish to send your comments to Colin Simonds, please do so via the Chat Forum or find his e-mail address on the contact page.