French Boats

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Postby Guest » Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:40 am

After a long chat with one of the powers in charge it seems that I can only make a few changes to my boat the will resemble the modifications that the French boats have made (some of which should have been approved buy the Class first). I'm a bit more at ease with this but!!!
The most important modification is denied.....
That "Mod" is replacing the ladder with a step.
Gee let's see here 5-8 lb ladder that slides around in the boat vs. a step that is molded into the seat and is removable creating an extra bulkhead. I don’t understand. The French boats have it why cant we?

Now let me get this right I have to remove a line clutch from the spinn halyard (which is on the boat for safety) because it was not factory installed and the French dont allow Clutches. Did the French ask us if we like there changes. But I can leave my tack line clutch on because the US factory is going to install clutches in the future run of boats. What does it matter? The boats are becoming different. The French have different Rigs and attachment points (has anyone ever checked those rigs for compliance are they lighter? anodizing is lighter than paint). The Toe rail is cut out for the Fourth crew member to hike better. The lifelines are all different so you can hike better. But yet I can't remove a stupid ladder that I don't use.

I would like to hear from all the owners. Get involved and get active in not letting these changes get to the point where it devalues our boats and dissolves a good class.
Why is it we still have to ruin a good 1/2 oz kite before we can use a 3/4 oz kite or back up? With the cost of sails getting higher it's a sailmakers dream.
I do not understand the reasoning for this rule(s).
This is good too, should we allow the use of Kevlar’s or Arimid fibers in sails. I would think not. By raising the cost of sails we will only be limiting number of boats on the line. Not every one CAN buy High tech sails or can afford to get them. So why make it harder and more expensive for someone trying to start out in the boat or getting better.

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:49 am

I agree that some common sense is required in the application of our class rules. They exist for the good of everyone and are intended to keep the boats as similar as possible. Since the ladder is factory installed on all US boats I guess it needs to stay. The weight is included in the minimum hull weight anyway.
I have long advocated changing the spinnaker rule as it serves no useful purpose as written. We should either increase the minimum cloth weight to 3/4 oz (like J-24's and Melges 24's) or remove the restrictions on swapping between 1/2 oz and 3/4 oz in order to allow owners to select the appropriate sail for the conditions and avoid damaging the lighter sails. I believe this change was proposed last Fall but am uncertain if it was voted on yet by the Tech Committee.
The ruling on clutches is a bit harder to follow, but my understanding is PX Powercleats can be used as they are not true clutches, but do offer many of the safety features of clutches and can be mounted in the factory drilled cam cleat holes.

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:15 pm

I'm glad to see some discussion on this and other rules, The technical committee should vote on some of these rules in April of this year, so please talk it up. I believe there are some good rules that could be added.
Thanks Greg

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:01 pm

Chris I think your missing the point. the purpose of the step is it creates a bulkhead. When we cross sheet the boat is compressing and moving anything that stops this movement is asset. The reason why Johnstone said no to the idea is it makes the boat a lot stiffer. Stiffer boats make for faster boats. Lets level the playing field.

Postby Guest » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:40 am

I hardly would call the step in the French boats a stiffening bulk head. It is hardly held in place except for two sliding door bolts. I frankly find the two molded in stumps that the removal step sets on a pain in the butt. Try getting the motor out and any thing else that falls in the belly of the boat.

I 100% agree with the spinnaker issue. I think the skipper should be allowed to choose from the two allowed spinnakers he brings on the boat. With a class rules only allowing one spinnaker purchase a year, a skipper should be allowed to use his old spare spinnaker if it is blasting rather than wasting his new one. As the rules are now, one can only use the spare spinnaker if the new sail is blown to tathers. How is this saving me money?

One last point, in recent conversation with J/Boats, they indicated that it is likely that new J/80s will only be built is France.
Terry Burke

Postby Guest » Tue Jan 25, 2005 6:07 pm

I have sailed extensively on both builders boats and can agree with Terry in that the French step is not what it looks like. It flexes and frankly is a pain. As for Kevlar versus Pentex jibs, the J105 class did EXTENSIVE research on cost versus longevity. We might use their input to determine if this is a good transition.

Postby Guest » Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:58 pm

After racing a fair amount in both the American and French boats, I would say that I would like to throw away the steps in either boat. They just get in the way of storing the motor. I don’t think the step in the French boat has any strength to it at all. Terry is correct that it is held in place with two slide bolts. The issue of adding the ability to sail with a second spinnaker is an interesting one. I think your suggestions have merit, except for one thing. If you allow 2 spinnakers, I will have 2 different designs ready to perform in specialize conditions. I think the reason we have the rule the way it is, is to keep the arms race and expense down. All you currently need is 3 competitive sails and a back up spinnaker. If we open this rule, where will it end? The current situation with Pentex Jibs is bad. Pentex jibs just don’t last long enough for a full race season. If you look at any of the top regatta’s you will find that the lead boats are using new Jibs. Last year we race the North Americans with a new sail, then the worlds with the same sail. After 7 days of racing I think the sail is not as fast as it was on day one. I think the Megels 24 class has seen the light and allowed Aramid (Kevlar Laminate) for there sails. The J-80 class would be wise to fallow their lead. Our sails would cost about the same and last a lot longer. When I go to the world championships I am always surprised by the rule interpretations made. Last year they made competitors remove stoppers installed on tack lines and spinnaker halyards. I felt that a stopper is more or less a cleat with a safety factor added to make it easier to uncleat. The fact is that all of us at one time or another has had a hard time uncleating these lines, should lead us to the conclusion that safety should be the first choice in any rule interpation. The standards set by the technical committee has always been for a standard boat. When the ruling came down to make a block in the clew of Jibs for 2:1 jib sheeting illegal, I was very upset. The 2:1 jib sheets just made the boat easier to manage. For all the sailors that have kicked off crew for a bigger stronger, jib trimmer, you have my sympathy. I think the class needs to move towards allowing modifications that make the boat easier to sail with less strength. Lets all try to get more racers out there, performing at their best.

Postby Guest » Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:59 pm

Hi Kerry,
I think it's a little different for you or me having a second spinnaker. I myself like the same shape for both sails. You might like to have 2 different shapes per conditions. But if you ever had a problem where you need the second kite, and it's not in it's preferred condition you will suffer a little. Some will sail a little more conservative some won't, the bottom line is this will help the guys that might be a little gun shy on putting up a 1/2oz in 15-20 knots of breeze vs. no problem with a 3/4 oz knowing he can use his 1/2 oz if it gets lighter....
This is not an arms race it's preserving sails...

Kerry do you carry back up kite?....
And if you do are they the same shape and weight now?

Postby Guest » Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:42 am

Some Comments on Kerry Klinger's Jan 28th Post:

As I stated in my Jan 25 Post, the class only allows one spinnaker purchase a year. Therefore, allowing the use of the second spinnaker will not result in an arms race since an owner will not be able to purchase any more sails than they can already do today. I am sure there will be some issues of owners having two different sail shapes to choose from, but I think most top skippers will choose their newest spinnaker in major events.

I agree with your assessment of the pentax jib. I know my jib I bought new for the J/80 Worlds in Fort Worth was not what it was at the end of the event. I haven't used this jib since then because I mainly race PHRF and use a high tech Mylar laminates for my 155% and 105% head sails. These sails have proved to have a good life and I actually purchased my 105% PHRF jib for less than the class sail. One thing the class should consider is to allow longer battens. My PHRF jib had battens twice the length of the class jib. The Lightning class (that I also race actively) allowed longer battens four years ago. At the time, I was on the Lightning class measurement committee that oversaw a program to increase the life of the Dacron jib. My fleet even tested Mylar scrims and the like. In the end, the measurement team determined that two factors cause the premature loss of the jib: luffing the jib and the jib's leech hitting the mast while tacking or luffing. We found by nearly tripling the jib's batten length, we could reduce the frequency of the luffing and thus reducing the breakdown of the sail cloth. I can tell you from personal experience that the new jibs have lasted longer. It added no additional cost to the sails. It did not obsolete any of the old sails because there was no performance gain. I suspect that the J/80 jib could benefit from longer battens. Even more so that before since most of the sail makers use vertical battens

Postby Guest » Sun Jan 30, 2005 11:49 am

To answer Dave’s question, I do carry a back up spinnaker on my boat all the time. In the 4 years of campaigning the boat I have only used it once that I can rember. One of the aspects of the rule that everyone has to consider is the weight of their spinnaker, and the durability of that decision. I have used Airx 600 for all my spinnakers. This product is not as fast as some other lighter products in the light air. But I accept that trade off for the durability that the product offers. In short I find that Airx 600 is stronger than most ¾ oz nylons, and holds up very well to the rigors of J/80 sailing. For the record, the back up spinnaker I carry is the previous years measured in spinnaker. The shape is designed for the same purpose, but not as current as a new design. I use the J/80 as a test platform for development of asymmetrical shapes. At last years worlds we used a new design, which I found to be very fast.

As Terry pointed out the length of the battens are too short. I have found the Harken type roller battens (that are on the sail perpendicular to the leech) support the leech better than the vertical we currently use. The problem with the Harken roller battens is that they tend to ware out the sail much faster then than the vertical battens. The result is that a lot of sailmakers have chosen to use vertical batten to try to get the sail to last as long as possible. The J-105 class has take away the restrictions to length of the battens; the J-80 class would be wise to follow their lead.

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:47 pm

Wow!! Great to see some activity back on the forum. Guess I can add my opines also. Last year I sent in some Rules Change proposals. Must of been a busy year as they were not put on the table for all the Technical Committees to see or vote on. I plan to resubmit again this year. A quick description of what I sent without the actual wording.
1. Allow 2 gennakers to be carried during a regatta and either may be used. Leave the sail purchase rules as they are.
2. Delete the measurement of the forestay. No maximum/minimum length. Adjustment of the forestay will not be allowed during a regatta.
3. Drop the sail cloth requirement for the jib. Use any cloth you wish. I would also drop the bag weight requirement with this change.
My comments are that the use of 2 gennakers (specialized or not) will allow all to save our best sails for the best conditions. I don't care if you put a .6 ounce or a .75 ounce chute in the wrong place when it is blowing 30 plus, its going to come apart. In extreme winds I would rather put up my old sail as it will be just as fast and save the new sail for what I bought it for. The forestay measurement is way to hard to enforce for so little gain. If you think it is bad to have to wait a few hours to have yours measured, then why don't you try and spend several days trying to measure all the others. As soon as the measurement is complete it is legal to readjust at that time. So do we remeasure again? Way to difficult. If someone is fast then he will get copied just like everything else. Just do not allow adjustments once the regatta begins. Some boats do not have a turnbuckle in the forestay and would not be easily adjusted.
Now for the jibs. Not all of these are my ideas. I had help here from several sailmaker. Jay Lutz, Kerry Klingler, and Terry Flynn were ask to comment last year when I submitted the change. Also some new developements. PENTEX IS NOT SAVING US MONEY. If Pentex is so good why is it that the only classes using have rules that dictate using Pentex or Polyester. And it ain't cheap either. We should not put restrictions on the type of cloth because as changes are made in the fabrics we do not want to be in the situation we are in now. Better cloths available and we can't use them. Drop the bag weight restriction as the better cloths are much lighter and stronger. The sails were not weighed at the World Championships this last year so they must not like this rule across the pond either. I believe we will get a better bang for the same buck. Allow longer jib battens to make the sail last longer. Easier on the class measurer also. Will not add to the cost of the sail either.
On Dave's suggestions for keeping the USA and French boats alike, I don't understand why the French boats we allowed to be so different to begin with. Throw the ladders off the boats. Now the French boat has a better step than using that plank across the boat anyway. And also remember, not all boats are under the Class minimum so it helps them out also. All boats should be able to have what is legal on another boat in our class. The ladder is not a safety feature and is just in the way. We do not need them or want them while racing. The clutch for the tackline is great. I will not remove mine. I do not support the idea that anything should be legal for sail controls. Unlike Kerry my thoughs are that the 2:1 jib leads add a distinct advantage to younger crew that are both stronger and quicker. Just my opinion. It is good to see this activity in the Fleet again. Hope to see as many of you as possible in Houston for the NA's.


Postby Guest » Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:31 pm

It seems like Craig has already asked for 2 of the big changes already.

Just out of curiosity, who was too busy to consider our changes?

I would like to have my next Jib (this year) made out of Kevlar and have longer battens to save me from having to buy a jib this year and next; Could I use it and just withdraw at the end of the Circuit Stop?

If it was someone from the other side of the pond, is this not another reason to consider dropping the International status until we get the necessary strength to justify the extra expense of being ISAF? No disrespect to the guys from the other side of the pond, it's just biz....

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:06 am

The class is handcuffed with ISCF when it comes time to change rules. Any change would take at least 1 year to pass. I think that the Jib material should open up to any material, and we would end up with great sails that would last longer. However I do think that there should be a minimum weight for a sail, and the current weight would work fine. This would force sailmakers to use material that is heavy enough so that the sails would last longer. Elimation of the headstay length would be welcome. It would save time, and it has little effect on the boat. I use a headstay length that is 1/2 “ short anyway.

The 2:1 jib sheet blocks is seen by some as an advantage. I would have to agree with them, it is better. But why is that bad? I have raced a Megels 24 or an Etchells. In both classes the blocks are legal and are used by most of the boats. When we had a class meeting at Key West in 2003, every owner there, except for 2 voted for the blocks. What happened, those owners were not respected or represented by the class. Since that change I have been searching for a better legal solution for trimming in the jib. I have talked with many owners where their wife’s or trimmer’s has been replaced because of trouble in handling the jib. Why cant we just make it easier to do?

One of the unfortunate things that happened at last years worlds was the total lack of measurement. To my knowledge, the only sails measured in were the American, and French boats. Some of which had measurement stamps from class measurers which were not recognized as legal. The sails with ISAF measurement stamps were considered legal, regardless of their size, and were not measured. Our boats were not checked for weight, and the headstays were not checked to see if they were legal. Other problems were in the sailing instructions. Where one line in the instructions, was countered by following line in the same instructions. The result was that a boat which did not legally start the first race of the regatta, was reinstated in that race because of a failure of the race committee to hail that yacht. Even though the instruction clearly stated that the protesting yacht had no grounds to protest for that failure. That boat went on to win the regatta, and count that race towards their final score. Are you starting to ask questions? In short, some classes have strict rules on how to run a Championship regatta. They set standards for the notice of race, the sailing instructions, and measurement and check in. They do this to insure good fair racing. We need some wise, experienced people to set the standards for championship regattas. Then the class needs to insure that they are used and in forced.

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:32 am

I`ve always been told that the reason we are not upgrading the fabric on our headsail is because it is much more expensive and it will not level the playing field for some folks, Latley I hear that the margin in prices is almost non existant (give or take 10%) I would suggest that our sailmakers give us an acurate cost of a headsail made of Kevlar laminate or any fabric they think should fit the class`s needs. speed and durability is a good thing for us if it comes in an affortabe price.

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:37 pm

I have been an advocate of changing the spinnaker rule for years. It is ridiculous as written, and benefits nobody except the sailmakers. It was my understanding that this rule change was to be considered last year. Can someone explain why it was not? Assuming the change is made this year, how soon can it be implemented?
I am also in favor of allowing stronger fabrics and longer battens for jibs, but we need to make sure this does not lead to high costs which will be prohibitive to the average owner. I think removing all limits on fabrics and weights would results in some very expensive sails! Word on the street seems to be that Kevlar jibs of the same weight as the current sail with longer battens would cost about the same and last significantly longer. Let's do it.
The clutch issue needs to be resolved and applied uniformly. I think they should be allowed, but unitl they are legal we all need to respect the rules. Same goes for stanchions. The rules need to stipulate a minimum height. Until they do, it is not legal to modify them from factory standard. Ladders are factory installed mandatory equipment. Unless the rules are changed they need to stay on board. Let's not ruin the one design aspect of our racing by making up our own rules!
Let's push the sensible rule changes along as quickly as possible so that we can all realistically comply with them. If you have not done so already, please vote on the quick poll on the front page to register your opinion about the spinnaker rule.


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