Adjustable Spreaders Ruled Illegal

July 2009

Over recent weeks there has been discussion about the legality of modifying spreaders and their sockets to enable the spreader angle to be altered. This issue was referred to the Class One Design Technical Committee and the Chief Measurer, and the ODT Committee has determined that special fabrications to adjust the spreader angle in any direction are illegal.

One Design Rule 4.3.3 states “Spreaders - Spreaders, after assembly on the mast may be rigidly attached or shall swing at the tips by not more than 75mm forward or 100mm aft of the athwartships plane at the centreline of the spreader socket when measured with 15kg applied at the tip of each spreader. Rigid spreaders shall be fixed within these same limits when measured with no weight attached”. This is also illustrated in the related Spar Plan 3MKB-25G1D drawing.

Furthermore, owners of Etchells Class yachts should be aware of Note (2) in One Design Rule 2.1 which states “It is impossible to mention every suggestion that has been ruled illegal in the past, and to foresee every innovation which may be thought of in the future. Therefore when considering anything in connection with the yacht or its sails or equipment [including use of exotic materials for any item] which is not clearly covered by the plans, specifications and/or rules, it must be assumed illegal unless prior approval has been obtained from ISAF through the IECA.

Some owners are suggesting that the One Design Rules should be changed to permit devices which enable adjustment of fixed spreaders. There is considerable opinion against any such change on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the one design principle of the class, that it would be costly for owners to modify existing spreaders and that there is the potential for the gap between the front of the fleet and the back to widen.

Those who are proposing the change cite a saving by not having the expense of having a mainsail’s luff curve altered to fit an individual mast’s bending characteristic. However most sail makers are prepared to cut the luff curve of the sail to fit the mast rather than make the mast fit the sail.

Anyone who has modified the spreader sockets in any way is required to restore the spreaders and sockets to the requirements outlined in One Design Rule 4.3.3. Any boat with modified spreaders or sockets will be ineligible to compete in an Etchells Class event.

Noel Paterson
IECA of Australia

Installation of Ring Frame

Agreement has now been reached on the installation of a ring frame bow bulkhead in the forward compartment of all Etchells. The bow bulkhead will be mandatory in all new boats built from 1 January 2008 and owners can now arrange to have it retrofitted to existing boats. Please refer to the letter to owners, fleet captains and licensed builders which can be found on the Etchells Class international website at www.etchells.org. Further details of the construction, drawing, installation and specifications of the bow bulkhead are available on the class website in the One Design Technical Documents section of the Rules page.

In Australia it has been agreed that only authorised builders are permitted to retrofit boats with the bow bulkhead. Owners are not to carry out the modification themselves. Your attention is drawn to item 5 in the above-mentioned letter to owners which states "Expect that all bulkhead installations will be inspected at future world and national championships. Non conforming installations will be protested." Kits including foam cut to shape and laminating and tabbing cloth are available from Pacesetter Etchells for $100 + GST (ex Newport). Contact Phil Smidmore on 02 9999 1250

Authorised Builders

The builders and their phone numbers who have been authorised to carry out the modifications in Australia are located on the Suppliers & Builders page, as "Ring Frame Modifications" for your fleet.

Consideration will be given to authorising builders for fleets in Blairgowrie, Geelong, Gold Coast, Metung, Mooloolaba and Mornington if appropriate details can be provided.