French Boats

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Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:20 am

Dear class
from "over the pond" (Italy) and despite not a class member (class not developed here), for what it worth I fully agree with Bob's view (one all purpose spinnaker, why not .6 oz or Airx 600). Same for headsail and clutches. It seems to me that this position is the most in line with the spirit of our boat (make it easy, simple, efficient, and possibly cheap).


Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:31 am

Those of you who have been in the class for a long time have heard all this before, but for everyone else here are my thoughts:
I thought the current rules mandated a 0.6 oz spinnaker (not 0.5). The "original" rules mandated 0.75 oz and only allowed one to be carried. This is in line with other major one design classes (Melges 24, J24, etc.) as well as the spirit of one design sail inventory restrictions. Sure, it is slower than allowing a full suite of sails (like bigger headsails), but since we all have the same limitations the field is "level".
At the urging of sailmakers, the rules were changed to allow lighter cloth weights AND secondary spinnakers. Both of these changes drive up the cost of competing in the class, as all boats now carry two spinnakers. Not permitting a swap during an event unless a sail is damaged is the height of stupidity, as we are now forced to predict the weather conditions for an entire event and then live with the consequences if we are wrong. This rule has also led to cheating in the past, with people actually damaging sails intentionally to allow them to switch during an event.
Let's inject some common sense into our rules by either returning to a three sail inventory or allowing sensible use of secondary spinnakers by permitting swaps during an event.

Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:53 pm

I like 2:1 jib blocks. I don't like the stupid ladder. I'm satisfied with the current spinnaker rule, and I'd like a jib that lasts longer.And Kerry, you wouldn't have to protest under rule 69 since he would not be able to clear himself under rule 44.1 if he gained a significant advantage.

Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:21 pm

Thank you for pointing out the limitations in 44.1

I thought that the rules included a general provision like the one in 44.1, but somehow overlooked the wording when reading the rules.

Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:30 pm

The spirit of the current spinnaker rule is to allow a boat, that say travelled 1,000 miles to Key West and tore the spinnaker the first day, to salvage something for their effort by resuming the next race with an old spinnaker. An allowance made in the corrinthian spirit of good sportsmanship. That it is the "height of stupidity" is maybe an overstatement. I think more appropriately the current controversy is the result of the rule of unintended consequences.

The underlying argument throughout this thread has been that its stupid to wait until your primary kite is shredded before deploying the old one. Now there is an argument that some alledged cheaters have deliberately damaged their primary so they could use, what, the old chute? That, at least, would qualify as more stupid than the current rule, unless that boat has a different chute in reserve that is more suited to the changing conditions and a ton of money. Such a situation only reinforces Kerry's point that a boat will carry two good chutes for different conditions.

In dinghy sailing, I can only take one chute out on the water. I can come in and swap it for another, damaged or not. Maybe that's a better solution to the original problem. One on the water but replacement allowed when you return to shore.

Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:56 pm

To Chris Morlan:
Rule G.5.2 states that the gennaker sail cloth "shall not be less than 32 g/m2" (grams per meter squared).

Forget about old terms like 3/4 ounce. 30/20 0.6 ounce etc. It is all very confusing because different sources of cloth used similar terminology with different meanings. I could spend an hour discussing it. I dealt with the same issues as a member of the Lightning Class measurement committee.

The bottom line is no material less than 32 g/m2. The next question is how to enforce this rule. The ISAF has approved methods. The authorative method requires cutting 1 cm plugs of sail cloth and weighing on an analytical scale. Keep in mind that the sail cloth weight varies within a single lot of cloth and more so from lot to lot, color to color. It will also change with enviromental conditions (for example Nylon's physical properties change including weight depending on humidity). And of course age will affect it.

The class allows Gennakers to be made of fibers from broad classes of polymers called polyamid (Nylon 6 is an example) and polyester (Dacron is a polyester). Many classes used to define minimum sail cloths based on the cloth weight of this fiber backbone. The problem is that the cloth manfacturers add resins and other non-fiber stabilizing materials that adds weight to the cloth weight. Once these finishing agents are added to the base fibers, there is no easy way to measure the base weight of the cloth. Thus what was called 3/4 ounce material was 3/4 ounce fibers, however it was close to 1 ounce finished depending on how wide a yard of cloth was.

Terry Burke

Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:26 pm

To Bob:
The rule does not just say you are allowed to bring along an old sail to a regatta, it says it may be "carried on board". Regardless of the original intention of the rule, most boats now carry two different spinnakers, often of different weights. In the incident to which I alluded, the skipper in question flew his 3/4 oz sail in heavy air on day 1 of an event and then deliberately damaged this sail in order to be allowed to fly his 0.6 oz sail in light air on day 2. The reverse situation (light air on day 1 and heavy air on day 2) is the one which tends to result in damaged sails, since everyone wants to fly their fastest sail for the conditions.
In order to be sensible, the rule needs to either prohibit carrying more than one spinnaker on board (forcing everyone to use one AP sail) OR allow swapping between the two sails without requiring one to be damaged.
To Terry:
The sail weight terminology is indeed confusing. What is the weight (in gsm) of AIRX 600 and a "conventional" 0.75 nylon?

Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:35 pm

I think it is important to keep your thoughts on the points you want to make. If someone chooses to break the rules, there is very little one can do about it, unless that person is caught. Getting all balled up about will not change the result. Put the past in the past. Let’s try to appeal to the 99% of the class that wants to sail in a legal way.

The class weight of 32 grams per square meter is a pretty light weight. Airx 600 comes in about 34 to 36 grams. Airx 500 comes in around 28 to 32 grams. Contenders superlight 50 comes in around 34 grams. Bainbridge’s normal .75 oz nylon called stablecoat comes in around 40 grams.

The problem with a heavier weight spinnaker fabric is that the J-80 spinnaker is a pretty wide, low aspect sail. To support that area you need a lighter weight fabric, or it will not perform well in the lighter wind. In the J-105 class the sail is pretty small and narrow. The result is that a heavier weight fabric doesn’t affect the performance as much in the lighter wind speeds. I would hate to adopt a material that is heavier than Airx 600.

The next issue is that of do you want to become a 2 spinnaker class? My suggestion (20 knot rule) keeps it one sail most of the time with a few situations where you can legally use your other sail. If you open the rule to 2 sails used any time, the situation will change. Let me describe it for you.

I race in Farr 395 on long island sound. It is legal to have two different sails in that class. The large spinnaker is very similar in horsepower to a J-80 spinnaker. The second spinnaker is 20% smaller. We had a situation one day where the spinnaker bags got mixed up. The small spinnaker was in the large spinnakers bag. We rounded the windward mark in light air so I called for the large sail. We then proceeded to put up the small sail by mistake. At the time the wind was reduced to 4 knots. When the spinnaker went up I was upset, but I didn’t want to take it down because I thought we would loose too much to the fleet and we were behind to begin with. That’s when the surprise came in. The smaller sail was faster, and it was a lot faster than our competition. We ended up catching up about ½ mile on the lead boat in a 1.5 mile run. The thing I learned is that the largest spinnaker is not always the fastest sail. I also learned that a good heavy air type of design can perform well in lighter wind. Even if it is built out of heavier material, which this sail was.

So where does that leave us? If we go to a 2 spinnaker inventory we will end up with 2 different designs for specific conditions. Is that what you want? If you ask me I would vote against a 2 spinnaker solution. Far better to carry a spare and let some one else decide when it is fair to use the second sail.

Postby Guest » Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:59 pm

A sailmakers yard is 36" x 28.5â€

Postby Guest » Fri Feb 04, 2005 5:31 am

To clarify some misconceptions, the "original" class rules were simply a very rough cut-n-paste from the J/105 rules that were created to promote the one-design nature of the class. There were many "leftovers" and other things that just did not apply such as requiring in 5.1 that the swim ladder not be relocated or moved. Rule 6.6 addressed the spinnaker and stated:
"The asymmetric spinnaker shall be manufactured from woven nylon or polyester with nominal weight of 0.6 oz per running yard..."

6.2 restricted use of sails carried aboard or during an event to one mainsail, one jib, and one asymmetrical spinnaker.

Never was there a minimum 0.75 oz requirement, and sailmakers have never had the ability to "urge" rule changes.

At the 1998 NA's on Kentucky Lake, the RC carried aboard their committee boat a backup spinnaker for each boat. In order to use her backup, a boat had to present her damaged spinnaker to the committee boat for inspection before she could retrieve her backup. That was a mess!

The class rules have gone through growth and maturation and will continue to do so as the class matures. I will be happy to chronicle the transformation from the J/105 cut-n-paste original to the current class rules for anyone intersted, but I won't bore the general forum readers with the history book.

The bottom line about the current rules is that they ARE the rules, and must be adhered to whether we agree with them or not. There is a very specific mechanism for proposal of rule changes that requires a number of stages before passage and adoption. Until the rules change, they ARE the rules. Making official exceptions or modifications that contradict the existing rules as approved by ISAF is strictly prohibited by ISAF. Penalties for making such unapproved changes include sanctions by ISAF or loss of International recognition, neither of which are good for the class on a worldwide basis.

As far as rope clutches go, I have said for years that I would like to have one on my tack line; however, they are NOT legal under our rules. An International Jury has made that ruling and to ignore their decision raises a red flag for ISAF to re-evaluate our class recognition. We really don't want to do that, as several inconsistencies between the allowed equipment as written in the rules and what is being used by some boats has already been brought to the attention of the ISAF Secretariat.

Postby Guest » Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:11 pm

Very well put Steve; I'm glad to see all of this discussion and I know the technical committee is reading also; I would like to see some formal requests soon for this rule change. Also J-Boats will start making a rope clutch for the tack line a new standard item on the boat, so they will become legal.

Postby Guest » Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:39 pm


Since you are a member of the ITC for the J80 class and also the class measurer you have the right to make an inertpretation at an event. You are at 75% of the J80 regattas. Couldn't you say that you believe the spinnaker rule could mean other things. If a new spinnaker is hoisted in 20 kts of breeze is it not damaged. Most would think that stretching is damage. I realize it is a loose interp. but it is one that could be made by you.

Joshua B.
J80 Whiplash

Postby Guest » Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:40 pm

Current class rules preclude such subjective and arbitrary on-site interpretations:

(b) Not more than one mainsail, one headsail and one gennaker shall be used during an event
except when a sail has been lost or damaged to the point where it cannot be effectively
repaired while afloat.

Postby Guest » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:28 pm

Back to the tack line rope clutch. I could be wrong but I think the ruling that it might not be legal was made by the ISAF Jury at the Worlds in Sweden? I also could be wrong but I think under Class Rule A.9.1 their ruling was only for that one event? The Chief Jurist there also stated to me that bungee chords on the bow pole were against the rules also. So go figure!!!! I am not so sure that being a Recognized Fleet by ISAF is such a good thing anyway.


Postby Guest » Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:11 pm


When will the first boat with a tack-line rope clutch be available? Can I go ahead and replace mine now without having to worry about taking it off for the first Texas circuit stop ?

Maybe you can talk JBoats into selling a couple of boats without the ladder. I am sure we could find a few current boat owners willing to give a ladder to a new ladder-less boat owner if he really wanted one!

The Texas fleet captains should poll their members on the two spinnaker issue and then the fleet captains should decide if the Texas circuit will allow the use of two spinnakes. If anyone is really worried about ISAF then we could stick with the class rule for the NAs.


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