our point of view

14/02/2011 21:55:29
ben hollis
As a keen merlin rocket sailor i am disapointed at the way in which the class has reacted to Matt and myself using the aeroweb sails.We were told by a Merlin rocket association representative that we could test sails over the winter months to establish how long the sails would last.If we cannot test them over the winter months when can we test them as we had no intension of using them at a ST event. The reason for doing this is to find a longer lasting sail so people will have to buy sails less frequentley. Are we a development class? Were other sail makers sails legal last year ? winning the sailjuice was hard work wish i could say that the sails did all the work lol!!!!

14/02/2011 22:01:47
Chris Martin
I don't think that doing this is a good idea.

If we must let's have some some gound rules:

1) Anonymous posts will be deleted on sight.
2) If this thread goes the wrong way it will disappear.

14/02/2011 22:03:22
ben hollis
sounds good chris thanks for letting it run

14/02/2011 22:34:24
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
I totally support Matt and Ben as I think you will find the majority of other competitors would.
I hope this can be settled quickly and easily and I for one see no reason as to why they should retire or even have to explain their actions any further.
As for the CA and your own forum I am not entirely sure stating you will close it if you do not like the way it goes does you any favours.
We really enjoy our competition with the Merlins and long may it continue. Hope this tea cup is emptied soon. I hopoe you do not object to my voicing support on your forum.

Good sailing
Simon.

14/02/2011 22:34:48
Jez&Jo3645
Myself and Jo are 100% behind you.  This is a development class and the only way to develop is to try out new things.  The winter season is the perfect time to be doing it.  Well done on the sail juice series!

14/02/2011 22:47:38
dougal
Well said Simon, Jez and Jo. Interestingly, we can have Tape/web/membrane sails in one design classes like the Contender and 505...but currently not  in  the Merlin, a development class. Yes, okay, it is always the way that if something new comes along, then the way to do it is via a rule change. But equally, there needs to be a way for people to see these things so that an informed decision can be made.

Simon - will you be defending the 'Beastie' this year? Has the ice melted up on Exmoor yet? See you then - or at the show,
Dougal
3025

14/02/2011 23:13:21
barnsie
H Folks

Here is a copy of the post I put on Y&Y this afternoon.

Being an ex and at times current Merlin sailor, understand where the MROA are coming from with the requirement for legality. As GRF says, Tape drive has been around for years and UK sails in Hong Kong, made Rob Wilder a Tape Drive main and jib for his B14 HKG321 for the 1998 B14 Worlds (still in mint condition if not a bit heavy). They proved very usefull at the upper end but as the wind dropped the enhancement was not apparent. With regard to Matt's using the sails on the SJ series, yes I see where Graham (MROA) is coming from, and there clarification has been sort at the RYA. So Matt has been using a cloth that is not strictly available, but as a class profile raiser and test opportunity for testing the product, this was the perfect opportunity. Therefore the horse has bolted and the situation should be as was at the end of the day's racing, as in my opinion enhancement would have been negigable. However, if Matt was to turn up at an ST or club class racing event, that would be a different situation, and as things stand, he'd be asked to put them back in the bag till they are either ruled illegal/legal. Hopefully, when the MROA get the result, we'll all get to hear about it.

Further on from that, having looked on the web, several classes have been using this type of cloth for a while. Personally, I believe that if the cloth lasts longer and is no harder to care for and cost in line with other sails in current materials, woudl see it as an enhancement for the class. It is not 3DL which is currently prohibitive to get your hands on.

Anyway Matt/Ben, well done and whatever was to happen, though hopefully nothing will, nobody can take your achievement away from you.

Bye for now

14/02/2011 23:14:13
Russ Hopkins 505 8526
I am with Simon on this one, as a competitor of all of the global warm up events i see no reason for Ben and Matt to retire.  They won because they performed best over a series, nothing has changed about the cut of there sails other then the tape used to help longevity, has it??  or am i missing something? 

Well done Mat and Ben, sorry you guys seem to be subject to so much grief.

14/02/2011 23:24:59
Hywel 3647 and 1911
Development must be encouraged, anything that can increase the longevity of the kit we use must be a bonus. I would have thought the winter events were the perfect platform to experiment with new ideas. I for one think it's great we still have people in the class seeking to help the rest of us who may not have the skills or time to commit to developing new racing technology and equipment. Oh and just to add my congrats to matt and ben, what a great result!

14/02/2011 23:32:29
David Child
They are to be applauded for trialing a potentially longer lasting and faster sail.

I wish them luck.

What might have been done and could still be done is to grant a dispensation (RYA & MROA), to enable the development to be refined and assesed in "battle conditions" enabling the sails to be measured without that, manufacturers developments need to be in private and possibly boat on boat the former being preferable for obvious reasons of a real trial in real conditions that enables the Class (MROA.) and the RYA, to judge the efficacy and desireability of any rule change, as was done in my day with the first lengthening of the spinnaker pole from 4'6" to 5'0", Transom flaps, full length long top battens, Four plank hulls and probably other things, when we did not as with spinnaker reinforcements there was a bit of a flapdoodle.

15/02/2011 00:01:18
Andy Hay - 3626 Business as Usual
Hi Ben & Matt. Firstly, well done, fantastic work. Since no one protested, I think you are in the clear on this.

However (and I am entitled to my opinion too!) ... I am torn on one hand wanting to support your achievements and on the other being a stickler for the Rules. Let me explain:

Regarding the sails: I think that they look extremely cool and I really want a set. Shame that since I am not able to afford more than one set per year (or two) I will have to get something that I could use throughout the season at all events that I want to attend.

I appreciate that to obtain some realistic data on the life span of the sails, you will need to actually use them. But why not at club level? You can then keep it fairly out of sight but still get a decent feel for performance, say at Blithfield.

Whether or not there is a performance benefit is actually rather besides the point. Would there be a similar discussion if you had removed your correctors, or removed your bilge keels? If we want to compete against you in future winter events, do we all have to have a second set of sails or other equipment that is non-class legal just to try and stay in the game? I can only dream of geting close to you guys with normal kit, let alone "development equipment".

The other point is that as open events are adverts for the class, it is misrepresentation of the boat to show it with non-class legal equipment. Perhaps some other sailors want to get into Merlins only to find that the product they were excited about was not actually on offer or available. I am surprised that Taxi is advertising that there will be a set on the Merlin stand at Sailboat for this reason alone.

Again, as I said earlier, this is a shame as I really like your rags and make the boat look much sexier.

My understanding - and please correct me if I am mistaken - is that you are allowed membrane & plastic sails (inc. North 3DL, et al). The issue is specific to Tape where a light sailcloth is made into a sail shape and then the tapes are added as a secondary operation. The tapes are not the same material as the base "shape" in this instance, if they were then the sails would be OK (I believe). If you create the sail on a mould (3DL style) then the sail does not actually exist until the second laminate is in place. Laminate jibs made generic reinforced plastic materials or similar cut in a traditional way are legal - Jon Turner used one last year. I appreciate that this is rather in the symantics of the wording of the Rules, but such is life.

Finally, before you all flame me, I am willing to support any proposal at the AGM to remove this ridculous situation. Perhaps Taxi could draft a suitable set of words? I am all for new ideas and pushing the boundaries, and you should be congratulated for having the balls to try these sails in the heat of battle. But there is a line at which the boat is not a Merlin Rocket any more.

We are not a development class, we are a restricted class. That means that we have to work within some fairly loose Rules which try and keep developments within bounds. Whenever new ideas come along, they can be trialled (think kite poles, fully battened mainsails, etc.), off line, and if the membership agree that they are a good thing, they can be incorporated into the Rules at the AGM. It is this format that has meant that a Merlin Rocket still looks vaguely like Merlin and Kate 60 odd years on. The latest foiling and wing rigged Moths look rather different to their forebears. That is the difference between a restricted and a development class.

See what I mean? Still it makes a change from discussing taking weight out of the boat during the silly season.

Hopefully see you at the Warming Pans or Salcombe Open. I'll buy you a pint or two of Doom Bar (or Coors Light if the sponsorship of SYC goes wrong).

15/02/2011 07:24:47
Chris Martin
"As for the CA and your own forum I am not entirely sure stating you will close it if you do not like the way it goes does you any favours.
We really enjoy our competition with the Merlins and long may it continue. Hope this tea cup is emptied soon. I hopoe you do not object to my voicing support on your forum."

I don't know how often you come on here, but you will have found that you don't necesserily have to use your own name when you post. Unfortunately this gets abused - as started to happen in the other topic - and we often get people posting as . ; : or just a pseudonym sometimes to have a joke but also to cause trouble. This is a serious subject, if you are going to question the motives of someone or effectively accuse them of cheating i don't see why you should be allowed to hide behind a pseudonym. Thats why i closed the topic. I closed rather than deleting it to keep the information in it visible.

If anyone has a problem with that I have an email adress, which was posted. Having a dig at me on the Y&Y forum is not really cricket is it?

15/02/2011 07:26:18
Chris Martin
Forgot to say thanks to everyone for posting as people, at least we can have a sensible discussion if we know who we're talking to and what they sail.

15/02/2011 07:50:28
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
Fair enough Chris.
I am definitely me I have checked this morning. I do read lots of sailing forums. I fully understand what you are saying and why.
It is merely my observation that it can easily be misinterpreted.
I have already stated to one of those involved I will not be getting involved in this on the Yand Y forum because it seems more empty vessels than the competitors who took part.
I would still support them and hope this can be avoided in the future and resolved quickly with no needless upset.

Simon.

15/02/2011 11:03:32
Tim 3555
Congratulations Matt & Ben, well sailed!

I agree that development is a good thing and should be encouraged.

The reasons that the other thread degenerated were that people didn’t know: what was legal, what the situation was with regards to discussions between the MROA&RYA, and how and where development ideas can be tested. I think if the MROA/RYA could provide some clarification on what is acceptable with regards to trying new things out in non-Merlin events these types of storms in teacups would be avoided in the future. I’m pretty sure a ‘Merlin testing developments’ of this type would be given the exact same handicap as another front runner Merlin, and would get the exact same praise as they deserve.

By the way, is someone bringing some of the sails to the dinghy show – it would be interesting to have a look at them. My understanding is that they are light, strong and will last – this sounds very good news indeed!

15/02/2011 11:12:48
Toby P
First off, congrats on sailing so well at the winter events, matt and Ben.  I don't see why the sails are illegal and I doubt they give a speed advantage (apart from being well cut and made) so I don't doubt you deserved to win. However, if you weren't prepared you use them in ST events, why should you use them in the large handicap events.    That comes across as "we knew they were illegal and so weren't allowed to race properly, and don't want to rock the boat at Merlin events but we don't hold the Bloody Mary/Tiger Trophy in the same regard. Summary: we didn't want to cheat at a Merlin event but were happy to do so against other classes". I know the "cheating" is only on a technicality, but if you follow that then you should have been prepared to do class events with the sails too. 
Peaky

15/02/2011 11:40:03
Alistair
"We were told by a Merlin rocket association representative that we could test sails over the winter months to establish how long the sails would last." If only you'd got that in writing and shown this 'authorisation' to the organisers at the SJ events...20/20 hindsight is a marvellous thing! 

The question that comes immediately to my mind is whether, if the equivalent sails were used on an Enterprise which came 15th overall, would anybody give a damn?

Simon, I hope you have wintered well.

15/02/2011 11:42:35
Piers 3671 "Snakey B"
Well Done Matt and Ben!
I support the idea of a testing dispensation also - maybe even a well worded phrase to allow future development ideas to be put before a technical committee to allow testing in merlin events without making the participant retire from the races. In the future pre authorisation from the technical committee would prevent the testing of outragous attempts, yet promaote the development nature of this excellent class.

15/02/2011 12:01:06
steve ward
Hi

I used to sail a gp14 (yes I know even got it to plane) with Brian Hayes, everybody notices when a new sail goes a little faster or just looks a little different, nobody seems to notice the ones that go slower. I well remember testing the early mylars with the one meeting delamination effect and that experimenting with different cloths was the only way to improve , and if it means that we all have sails that last a little longer so be it.

well done to both....

15/02/2011 12:30:46
steved
I think one of the main points to me is that he said 'I wouldn't use them at a ST', as he knows they are out of class- but happy to cheat all over 100+ competitors. He was not sailing a Merlin Rocket...

I might take 18kg of lead out of my boat, you know- just for development purposes..

I think they ought to retire from the races they used those sails in...

15/02/2011 12:31:19
Barry D
Yes, well done Ben & Matt. We are not decrying their achievement here, merely the procedure they should have gone through at registration. They should have declared that their sail was experimental and did not conform to class rules to whoever was in charge of accepting their entry. That person then decides whether or not they can race with that sail.That would have covered their subsequent awkward position of winning a series of races having used an unmeasured sail. What should their actions be now?

15/02/2011 13:08:57
Mark Homer MR 3072
Hi Ben , with you on this one , well done and good luck with this case.

But please contact me re last weeks discussion .

15/02/2011 13:11:09
Andy Hay
Sorry, second bite of the cherry:

"We were told by a Merlin rocket association representative that we could test sails over the winter months to establish how long the sails would last"

I doubt that this was related to the high profile winter events.

As an aside, I hear from a little birdie in the know that North's dinghy scale 3DL mould is coming online later in the spring. Hopefully they will be fully vetted, measured and otherwise Rule compliant before we see their offering.

The other MR forum was started, I believe (as Tim also suggests) to try to clarify the situation before wasting money on something that could not be used at the Champs or Silver Tiller events. I guess that using a nom-de-plume in that instance was necessary noting the comments that the thread created.

Having a different opinion and being able to express it on a free Forum is one of the best things about this wonderful class. I notice that no-one has been complaining about the tabbed centreboard (if Matt still has that onboard), but then again this is completely allowed under the Rules.

15/02/2011 13:25:17
Peter...
I'm sure we have all sailed in events where boats with experimental equipment/PY numbers etc  have been allowed to compete, but excluded from major prizes. This has not caused significant difficulties in the past. Wouldn't such an arrangement solve the problem in this instance? Perhaps even an entry into ST events with this proviso may be permitted to properly test these sails?

15/02/2011 13:39:02
Jasper - SB3
Ben

Firstly well done for the consistency of your performances, clearly the class act.

I felt compelled to post as I have done so on the y&y forum and felt that I should so that I was not doing so openly

Its all very well for your association to be in the loop with regard to your intentions but by not informing the RC's then you fail in your duty for fair sailing at that event. In all likelihood they would not have changed your handicap but thats just hindsight and the real shame in all this

The Sailjuice series events are the biggest events during the winter and by choosing to undertake a test at these events (without RC permission) you should accept that you are outside class rules and that is the basis from which your handicap is derived. By not asking permission you are giving the impression that the events are not really that important which is fine until you want to score in the events. I feel thats a bit disrespectful to the RC and the 400 plus people that have paid their money to compete against either class legal boats or ones that have allowed the RC to alter their handicap if they see fit. But thats the point its at the RCs discretion not yours or the Merlin Associations.

I am struggling to understand your intentions. Was it is that you wanted to win the Series ? In which case why was it that you were prepared to use an illegal sail without registering it?

If you were being driven by developing the sail were you doing so on the understanding that your performance may have been different (slower or faster) that another class legal boat suggesting that results were not as important as the outcome of the tests.

For me its not that you wanted to test sails, for which I applaud you, but that you are prepared to get a series score when you know that your boat was not class legal and you didnt register it.

As I said first up I have utter respect for your sailing achievements over the winter but I think that this was a costly oversight whether you retire or not.

Regards
Jasper

15/02/2011 14:06:28
Barry D
Thank yu Jasper. My point exatly only with more words!

15/02/2011 16:01:53
David W
This link shows the way the Flying 15 class did sail development. Seems well co-ordinated and with more than one sailmaker and plenty of feedback. It might be the way forward ?

http://www.flying15.org.uk/flying15/development.asp
15/02/2011 16:11:32
Rich adams
Your points and opinions are all valid though to me having sailed against Matt and Ben in some of these events I have no problem with them using these sails, it's a small detail to me and they deserve this victory, not this situation.

15/02/2011 16:53:34
Olly Turner
I'm all for development and testing but when a boat is not class legal it is not allowed to race.

I've witnessed and been involved with various Merlin class developments over the past 3 years inluding mast, sails, hull, foils and bilge keel enhancements. With every case the developments were legal and certified before any racing commenced. It's a longer process but that's development testing for you. If it's currently illegal you should be 'free sailing' in your own time.

No exceptions.

15/02/2011 17:05:35
RichardS
It will be interesting to see if Matt turns up to collect his £300.00 voucher, at the prize giving at the Dinghy Show.

15/02/2011 17:06:12
Paul Hollis
This reply is not done because Ben is my son or that Mat is a good friend but because I sailed against them on all four rounds. 
Did they blow everyone one away at every event NO
Were they beated at some events by other Merlins with so called legal sails and or boats Yes
Would they have gone quicker with there normal sails more than likely
It is fantastic how everyone becomes an expert with hindsight and most of the comments are coming from people who never even attended the events. And as for not having respect for the events well its not everyone who will take £17k’s worth of boat out in 30knts of wind at Rutland to do three races.
I agree looking back things could have been done differently but instead of all the goody goody’s jumping on there backs perhaps in this age when all of us are watching the pennies both Mat and Speeds should be applauded for putting there money time and effort into hopefully finding a design and cloth that lasts longer that what is currently being used then fair play.
For goodness sake this is amateur sailing nobody’s died let’s all lighten up a bit. And as for legal boats I wonder how many of the experts who have voiced there comments would have there boats re-weighed and measured, when I got mine 2yrs ago I found it was 2.5kg’s of lead light how long had it been like that what results had it got while it was under weight?
Well Done Matt & Ben and To Andy at Speeds thanks for your time and effort.

15/02/2011 17:50:41
JimC
>For goodness sake this is amateur sailing nobody’s died let’s all lighten up a bit.

OK, but in your opinion what other rules can be ignored because its amateur sailing and we should lighten up a bit?

15/02/2011 17:51:06
Jasper - SB3
Sorry Paul, I feel for Matt and Ben but I feel more for the guys who came 2nd 3rd etc who won't be getting the prizes that they deserve for doing things properly.

The facts appear to be clear, they may not have intended it but they should retire or be stripped of their results

I applaud all of their ability, their intentions and the costs involved but they have broken a fairly basic rule and it looks very poor that you are trying to defend them because they have spent a lot of money in doing so. Its very disrespectful towards everybody else.

I would like to think that people have not become "experts in hindsight" just know what fair play is.

If you are in the business of developing boats, sails or equipment you should know the rules that you are designing around and therefore what you need to do to observe them.

Matt and Ben appear not to have followed these and should retire apologising to all competitors and RC's.

Anything else is a mockery of our self policed sport.

15/02/2011 18:09:16
David Bennett
this is a bit of a sad situation.

the guys sailed very well,

but it seems that the admin wasn't done properly - if this is correct, then retirement seems the right thing.

it is the sailor's responsibility to do the admin, but in this case I think the sail developer also has some responsibility to make sure the sailors doing the testing for them don't end up in a mess with the rules etc

15/02/2011 20:34:28
Lark 2480
I have had the pleasure of sailing in the fleet agaist these guys many times over the last few years.  I say in the same fleet as there is no way I can compete against them!!  they are phenominal sailors and deserve the accolade for getting the position in the series.

However they, and speed sails broke the rules.

Can I float a compromise. They make a point of donating ALL wiinings from the series to a youth sailing scheme or charity,vocally and publically (hence giving the charity publicity) at one of the venues, so they are not seen to be benefitting from their win, and that the donation given personally by them is matched in kind by Speed. They could even invite the charity onto the stage at the dinghy show.

by the letter of the law, they should RAF, by the spirit of amateur competition, they deserve accolade for their sailing (but a huge slap on the wrist for their naivety) so why not combine the spirit, let them take the accolade and let a charity benefit from the winnings?

Kevin.

15/02/2011 20:43:36
Miles
I doubt very much if I could keep up with Matt and Ben in any conditions, and I congratulate them on their abilities, so my comment is on principle.

It is surely upto the RC to deliberate. I tested 3646 at the inlands in Bala prior to measurement. I was allowed to do this (I asked first) as long as I started behind every one else and retired after each race.

Had I not retired I dare say there would have been be some unhappy sailors: the testing went very well.

In short test by all means but don't forget to tell someone first.

15/02/2011 21:00:44
MPSCA
POSTED BY THE MUSTO PERFORMANCE SKIFF CLASS ASSOCATION on behalf of ANDY PEAKE 2nd Overall in the SailJuice.com Global Warm Up.


As the person who came second in the Sailjuice Winter Series, I wanted to respond to the various posts about Matt and Ben's jib.

As far as I'm concerned, they won fair and square. We're all amateurs racing a handicap event in the winter. To suggest they should be penalised for a small administrative error is not within the spirit of our sport.

I believe that common sense has to prevail in these situations. They were sailing with a sail which probably had no impact on their overall performance, they had cleared the trial with their association and their win was not marginal.

They sailed well and should collect the trophy. Those people criticising should step back and take a look at the bigger picture of sailing at this level. I'm all for a professional approach to the running of our sport, but this has to be tempered with a recognition of the seriousness of an event.

The bigger issue we should be focusing on is enjoying our sport and promoting participation in these great winter events.

Congratulations to Matt and Ben. See you at the prize giving.

Andrew Peake
Musto Skiff

15/02/2011 22:39:43
barnsie
Hi again
I think Andy Peake has summed it up, and the discussion should now move in house with the association deciding on whether to bring the cloth into line with other materials currently being used in the class for the manufacture of sails.
With regard to cloth, having used tape drive and witnessed 3DL, find it at odds that 3DL which definitely offers an advantage, apparently being class legal as opposed to tape drive not being so offering a possible marginal advantage. It would appear that the wording of the rules as devised and passed when certain materials were not fully understood, needs revisiting as soon as possible.
Hopefully there will be an meeting of the committee with clarification, and if necessary a vote to bring the rules into line. At the same time, I would also suggest the committee put a hold on any potential 3DL developments within the class until the class membership has a full understanding of 3DL and the implication it brings for both the class and sailmakers that do not have the financial capacity to develop a program to bring on 3DL sails to market or deep pockets to buy.
So hopefully we'll see Matt and Ben at the Dinghy Show, proud and justly so of what they achieved against some stiff competition.

15/02/2011 23:59:32
Jasper
Andy who was second says its Ok because of the Seriousness of the event.

Sorry that these events are beneath you, for some (including the organisers) they are considered to be major events. This is not about having a professional approach its about making choices once people are unhappy with the choices that they have made.

The facts don't appear to have changed, they broke the rules, and if they were sailing within the 'spirit of our sport' then they would retire without hesitation.

People are allowed their own opinions and I respect everybody's but that does not mean that I have to respect the individuals concerned who have tried to defend their actions (through their Dad) as being OK because it cost a lot of money. Its opinions like that that give our sport a bad name

Whats the point of having rules if people are happy for them to be broken just because they sailed well. If this is the case you should be partitioning ISAF to have Rule 2 excluded from the next revision of the RRS.

16/02/2011 08:43:41
Barry D
Can I suggest that all involved in this situation read the RYA Racing Charter. In it, in pargraph 2 it states: 

'Competitors agree to compete in compliance with the rules and behave in accordance with accepted standards of sailboat racing.'

I assume that Ben and Matt agree with this wording.
Its a shame but it seems they did not conform to the above requirement.
Retirement is the only course open to them. They must be careful if they dont retire as they leave themselves open to a Rule 69 protest if another competitor or official is so minded. Its a harsh world out there. They are not the first and wont be the last to fall foul of this situation.

16/02/2011 08:45:44
ben hollis
can i ask jasper how any of the events did you take part in and what were you sailing. i think some of the comments made have missed the point.

16/02/2011 09:09:08
Barry D
I also ask them to read RYA rule 78.1 which states:

'a boat owner and any other person in charge shall ensure that the boat is maintained to comply with her class rules and that her measurement cerificate, if any, remains valid.'

By sailing with an unmeasured sail did they comply with the above rule?

16/02/2011 09:17:56
Jez3645
I have already said my piece on this subject so I am not going to go in to it again but I would like to add one thing in.

There are a number of people on this thread that seem to think that Matt and Ben have deliberatly missled the RC's at these events in order the gain an advantage. I would like to say that knowing both of them there is no way that they would even consider doing anything against the rules intentionally and that this is purely an oversite or miss understanding. They are both stand up guys and good enough sailors not to need any advantage to win, if they even got one in the first place.

16/02/2011 09:40:49
Jasper
Ben

I didn't do any of them, but I don't see what that has to do with it.

If you and a number a significant number of other people think that its ok to flout such basic rules then I wouldn't want to sail against you on the water. Your poor justification of what you did is tarnishing your fantastic performances on the water.

While it may be relief to some for me not being there the issue here is fair play and sportsmanship and I think its a pretty poor state of affairs that you are trying to justify your mistake as being ok when clearly I am not the only one that thinks you should retire. For me I would be embarrassed to try and defend your mistake given that you won the series and it affects every other boat in the fleet. You may only be interested in winning but even if I was last I would still want to know that everybody in front of me had sailed correctly.

Rest assured that had I done them I would be asking the RC's for your disqualification. Its nothing against you or Matt its just that there are rules in place for the good of all the 400plus competitors you are now disrespecting. I ensure that I comply to all class rules however small even though I am a mid fleet sailor, at best. The people who are at the top of the fleet have a responsibility to comply in all their actions or their performances are open to question and that leeds to a poor reputation for them and the class as is happening here.

IMHO you are setting the young sailors in our sport a very poor example of how to behave and I dont need to do the events to know that.

But hey if the prizes are so important to you then please accept them with my best wishes to you in the future as I know you won't be making the same mistake again.

16/02/2011 09:45:07
Jasper
Jez
I understand your point and agree totally that this was a mistake.
Would you want me to retire if I had say hit a mark without knowing? If somebody had seen I would instantly retire just to ensure that I did not get a poor reputation and be seen to be competing in the correct manner.

Sorry but I don't see a difference here

16/02/2011 09:45:40
Jimbo
The lighten-up argument doesn't stick if you're prepared to do one thing in handicap events but not in your precious silver tillers.  That strikes of arrogance and superiority- our sport is elitist enough, degrading the one-leveller we have, the PY system, is quite frankly disgusting.  I'd agree with a 'lighten up all round' sentiment if you applied the same level of respect to your fellow competitors in handicap racing as you do in class racing.  Maybe this is an oversight, but I'd say it's seems to be more an endemic problem, otherwise you'd be testing in class events too.... there's no other logical conclusion.

The sails should have temporary dispensation from the class association for a fixed period of time- you could then enter whatever bloody event you like and be class compliant. Oversight or not, this is known practice applied in most other classes I've had much to do with, even those blighted by the SMOD tag. I'd have thought a restricted development class would have this process down to a fine art by now, and if it has, then this is an example of it failing to meet the grade.

Secondly, getting your Dad to wade boasting about jockeying 17k's worth of rocket (with obviously 'free' new sails) only a sentence after reminding the rest of us that we're 'busy watching the pennies' is also going to rub people up the wrong way... not good for class PR surely lads? Tell the old man to zip it... he's doing you no favours.

So imo, you've not really got a choice- it's time to take the moral high ground (and the moral victory which AP has already generously provided); hand the winnings over to sail4cancer or The John Merricks Trust.... it's your only option to save face.

16/02/2011 09:46:51
Barry D
Jez, I agree with you entirely. It is a pity that their oversight has created this situaton. As a judge, I am just looking at the rules and not taking into consideration the humanity side of things. What do you think they should do? 
Ignore the whole situation and accept the prize or retire gracefully.
Its a great lesson to everyone to 'get the paper work right'.

16/02/2011 10:32:11
David Gates
There was obviously discussions between Ben, Matt  and the MROA, or representative of. This I believe should be between them, not the whole world. I would suggest also that this matter is between either the clubs involved, Sail juice, Ben, Matt and the MROA, in PRIVATE, and not for people to air dirty washing in public. This does no good to the sport or class in general. Once the important people have discussed the matter, I would suggest it is for them to make an announcement on their findings and decision. May I propose this thread is closed until such time.

16/02/2011 10:47:06
Jimbo
close the thread if you must... watch it air on Y&Y instead... it's a free world, and the competitors who were at the event and the wider sailing community have a stake in this, whether you like it or not.

16/02/2011 10:54:45
Len Baines
Jasper it's people like you who suck the enjoyment out of our sport. 

Yes rules are rules but they need to be of course applied with some level of spirit & judgement.

Just look at the Danes in the 49er medal race; they sailed it in a borrowed boat and there was a whole host of issues with that but even at the Olympics the correct result stood regardless of the paperwork transgressions.

The Tiger Trophy is a celebration on John's life and I am certain that he would be the first to buy the beers for Mat & Ben and he for one wouldn't be bothered about the paperwork because he just loved to have fun sailing.

16/02/2011 11:16:41
Jasper
Len

All for sailing and having fun but having sailed against John I am sure that he would have been the first to retire and gone back to the bar....

Its clear that by not retiring they have upset people, do you think that the many people trying to have fun while having fair racing is not so important?

16/02/2011 11:28:35
dv
It seems that there are a number of different issues here and it goes without saying they sailed very well and should be congratulated for that in any event :

1/ conversations etc before the event led Matt and Ben to the conclusion that it was ok to sail with these sails - if this is the case they surely cannot be blamed for this aspect
2/ should they have been given such assurances - probably not and certainly not without being granted official dispensation - this seems to be the case?

So my view is- if they were sailing out of class without proper dispensation they should retire. They can rightly be annoyed and I sympathise if they thought that they had been given assurances that it was ok. The class should also be grateful to them that they are prepared to test sails and push development.

Its just one of those unfortunate incidents we all get it wrong sometimes - heyho

16/02/2011 11:32:43
David Child
Regarding the Danes in Quindango, they, or the Danish Olympic Team, more liikely, did in fact ask for and get prior permission to borrow an identical boat, it was a bit of a rush, in itself a great bit of drama, - (That is one of the justifications of MOD's in the Olympics!)it was the granting of the permission that was questioned and quite correctly the on the spot decision was upheld. Guld til Danmark.

The "scuttlebut" seems to be that saying that breaking rules is OK is making the class a laughing stock it deserves better. Fine sailors fine boat.

16/02/2011 11:39:48
Gary
Originally posted by MPSCA


"To suggest they should be penalised for a small administrative error is not within the spirit of our sport."

"I'm all for a professional approach to the running of our sport, but this has to be tempered with a recognition of the seriousness of an event."

Andrew Peake
Musto Skiff



This was not a small admin error, it appears that they neglected to tell the RO that they were not class legal and received a valuable prize for their efforts, not deliberately maybe, but certainly an error that shouldn't be made at their level.


......as for "recognition of the seriousness of the event", I am almost speachless (but as ever, not quite)

There are a lot of weekend sailors (who's abilities will never compare to yours) who enjoy handicap opens, some of these take it seriously. If you don't think it's serious then stick to your class events, don't muddy the waters of handicap racing and then say it doesn't matter.

...........any chance of removing this elitist tag from sailing?.......probably not.

Go and patronise somewhere else mate

16/02/2011 11:50:41
Jeremy 3709
Were the sails used at all the Sail Juice events or only Rutland ?

If so were the Rutland result discarded would it affect the overall result ?

16/02/2011 12:31:24
Barry D
The words of the great Ned come to mind:

The moral of this story
Is very plain so see
Always do the paperwork
Before you go to Sea!

16/02/2011 13:30:08
Jez3645
This is a hard issue to resolve as many people will have different feelings on the matter. Personally I would find it hard to ask them to retire from a series where an honest mistake that, if we are all honest, did not give them an advantage. Yes, they may have been out of class and yes, that is against the rules, however, this is an amateur event regardless how seriously you take it and there is an amount of sportsmanship that goes with it, on and off the water. I for one (had I been sailing) would have been happy to slap them on the back say well done and tell them to make sure they get it right next time!!

As for the prize money, given the circumstances, maybe the best thing is to donate it to a worthy cause.

16/02/2011 13:51:56
dv
Agree with Jez to an extent -  im so laid back (read lazy and like my post match ale too much) that I would not have protested had I been second (chance would be a fine thing) and found out that they were out of class - I would have done nothing about it.  I have different priorities and would not have wanted to have won on what amounts to a technicality BUT thats not the point, thats my personal decision.  Others take a different view and i see that as a good thing as rule breaking would get out of hand if everyone was like me - there have to be rules and once they have been flagged by someone (or before if your feeling particularly pious:) ) they have to be observed.   Whether Matt and Ben fall on their swords or not before rulings are made by others is purely a matter for them - it would seem opinion as to whether they should or not is divided

16/02/2011 15:32:21
Chris M
Sorry barry i think the last one was a bit personal. No need to dig too deep!

16/02/2011 16:14:24
dv
I think Barrys' main point was valid though.  This was a handicap series so it is not just an internal Merlin class matter.  Some people care deeply about these issues however I or Matt or Ben might feel about them. Do the Merlin class want to be considered by those people to be rule breakers ? (however petty the infringement may seem)

Of course being a river sailor some will say that I am by definition a complete hypocrite when it comes to rules ! (R42) What can I say i'm a product of my environment :)

16/02/2011 18:25:34
Jon 2997
Of course being a river sailor some will say that I am by definition a complete hypocrite when it comes to rules ! (R42) What can I say i'm a product of my environment :)

Thats a priceless comment dv. LOL

16/02/2011 18:59:32
Hes done the decent thing.
Just posted on the Y&Y Forum.

http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/?article=155735
16/02/2011 19:01:22
Jasper
Matt & Ben

As previously stated I congratulare you for your performances no the water and now off it. I continue to hold you in the very highest regard and feel for you very much.

I hope that you win the series next year

Regards

16/02/2011 19:02:28
Jasper
Unlike my spelling.....

16/02/2011 19:10:03
Dv
Well done Matt and Ben on all fronts. Lost the battle won the war.

16/02/2011 19:14:35
Jon711
Shame that mob rule, meant that these two talented sailors, had to fall on their swords.  This whole mudslinging exercise has done the class no favours....

May I suggest that, people think before posting, and consider whether the comments are in the best interests of the class...

16/02/2011 19:15:09
Jimbo
A brave decision and the correct one- well done guys

16/02/2011 19:21:26
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
As I have posted on the Y and Y forum

I wholly support Matt and Ben. I think it was not required and gleeful trouble makers have brought this about.

If this was my class association I would feel sadly let down!

16/02/2011 21:43:34
Alistair
Now might be a good point to bring this to a close before the 'who said what to whom?' begins and things get said which can't be un-said.

16/02/2011 23:20:05
Barry Watkin
Two points here, Firstly Barnsey is totally correct The rule regarding 'stiffening' was written long before UK & Mcwilliam & the Florida guys I've forgotten went along this Tape over membraine constrution that clearly breaches said stiffening rules and therefore has been illegial for over 20/25 years. I tried to build a legel 505 main this way for the 87 nationals, it was never going to be legal so I never took it let alone dreamt of using it.When we did sail with it it had a big X on it.
So if the class wants to go this route(yes they are potentially faster but I question lifespan, how many top guys use a two year old jib?) They should simply go through the correct chanels and discard this 25/30 yr old rule as I believe other classes have.
Secondly Barry Dunning also of my era (actually he's quite a bit older!) is totally correct, we all sign off to race agreeing to race within the rules, Boats that measure, Certs up to date, Insurance, etc,etc.
These guys while appluded for puting the time & effort to develop should not have used it in this sort of event end of story. Theres plenty of time during the winter for Pros & good sailers to two boat trial or bang around a frostbite series to check longevity.
Sorry Guys, Win, 10th, 30th or last it's still an illegal sail.
Best Regards Barry Watkin X Mcwilliam & UK sail tape drive developer 1985-1999.
PS this isnt a new problem, Barry D have a look at your Dragon or Etchells mainsail clew patch reinforcment, Its still a joke.

17/02/2011 07:24:07
Ian Mackenzie
If anything, Chris's second post on this thread says it all, "let's have some ground rules".
Matt and Ben - as a fully qualified back of the fleet man I am desperately sorry to see that you have been put in this position but I feel that ultimately and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight you have made the correct decision. Nothing should detract from your personal integrity, on-water or indeed off-water performance and I look forward to seeing your continued success and first-class representation of the Merlin fleet. On a personal level, I am immensley grateful for the advice and encouragement that you give to us bottom of the pack Silver Tiller wannabees.
In the first thread on this subject we were told that this matter was to be the subject of discussion between the MROA Committee and the RYA. Please can I ask that the MROA Committee let us know what sort of timescale such discussions will follow and look to update the membership both on specific proposals for the merits and testing of these sails and, going forward, procedures for the authorisation of any "development testing" so that such unfortunate circumstances can be avoided in the future. This should not be a witch hunt and we (collectively) need to learn the lessons from this experience.
I would like to think that all the contributors to this discussion have tried to raise genuine concerns and have taken no pleasure from Matt and Ben's position. That would be the Merlin fleet that I joined as a 15-year old crew in 502 Korin and re-joined as an aged mariner in 3346 Galactic Gnu. I would not want to sail in any other dinghy and could not hope to sail in a more generous, sociable and competitive fleet.

17/02/2011 07:24:08
Ian Mackenzie
If anything, Chris's second post on this thread says it all, "let's have some ground rules".
Matt and Ben - as a fully qualified back of the fleet man I am desperately sorry to see that you have been put in this position but I feel that ultimately and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight you have made the correct decision. Nothing should detract from your personal integrity, on-water or indeed off-water performance and I look forward to seeing your continued success and first-class representation of the Merlin fleet. On a personal level, I am immensley grateful for the advice and encouragement that you give to us bottom of the pack Silver Tiller wannabees.
In the first thread on this subject we were told that this matter was to be the subject of discussion between the MROA Committee and the RYA. Please can I ask that the MROA Committee let us know what sort of timescale such discussions will follow and look to update the membership both on specific proposals for the merits and testing of these sails and, going forward, procedures for the authorisation of any "development testing" so that such unfortunate circumstances can be avoided in the future. This should not be a witch hunt and we (collectively) need to learn the lessons from this experience.
I would like to think that all the contributors to this discussion have tried to raise genuine concerns and have taken no pleasure from Matt and Ben's position. That would be the Merlin fleet that I joined as a 15-year old crew in 502 Korin and re-joined as an aged mariner in 3346 Galactic Gnu. I would not want to sail in any other dinghy and could not hope to sail in a more generous, sociable and competitive fleet.

17/02/2011 07:37:40
Chris Martin
I understand that the three people best qualified to talk about the association side of things have been otherwise indisposed this week. Unfortunate, but unavoidable.

I know as a measurer that the sails are currently illegal in terms of construction. There is nothing to suggest that anything is amiss dimensionally, though maybe with hindsight it would have been a good idea to check. I am also party to knowledge that the rules are being looked at and something will be published soon, though one of the key people being indisposed may delay that slightly.

With regard to the internet thanks to everyone for keeping this debate reasonably sensible and level headed, more than can be said about the Y&Y thread some of which is a disgrace. I only hope that this lynch mob approach is not how we are to approach post race disagreements in the future. Some of the people clamouring for a rule 2/69 hearing may want to consider their own actions......

17/02/2011 10:40:00
Barry D
Ben & Matt. Your decision to retire from the event, taking into consideration all the facts as presented on this forum, was the right decision. A great result in winning the event. You are both very talented sailors and you have many more trophies and medals to win. One thing is for sure, you will not make the same mistake again and do the paperwork correctly. Hard lesson to learn but you wont forget it! Go out and give the fleet a whopping at the next event. Hope to buy you both a pint at the dinghy show.

17/02/2011 11:08:08
Jon E
Troll under bridge......

17/02/2011 11:40:31
Andrew M
When the class initially tested laminate sails a dispensation was given by the class association to some boats to try them over a period of time.  If that had occurred here in a more formal way all this unpleasantness would not have occurred but it's easy with hindsight.  We are NOT a development class, we are a restricted class & the distinction is important.  A Moth or I14 is a development class, where the object is to make a boat of a certain waterline length go as fast as possible, with a few limitations on e.g. sail area, mast height.  The restricted format is to make a boat go as fast as possible within a set of rules which define a number of parameters.  That properly includes sail construction, but if a new way of making sails can be shown to have an advantage, even if that is longevity or handling rather than speed, then the class can adopt it.  It does sound as though members of the committee knew what was going on and no-one had anticipated the outcry.

Andrew 3511

17/02/2011 12:22:54
Chris M
Guys.

If you're not going to put your name to it, don't post it.

Thanks

17/02/2011 12:47:05
Andy
Don't people find all this a bit 2 faced, if these sails improve the performance of Merlins, then everyone will want them. Unless people do the development then who will know if there is a difference. I've tested things in the past in other fleets to see if there is a difference, and then report back to the Fleet COmmittee to make a decision.

Surely again with a 'new' sail cloth the committeee should be positively assisting Matt (or whoever) in pushing the class forward and not saying they are effectively cheating.

Merlins are a development class (or have people forgotten that), I appreciate and applaud Matt's work for Speeds in trying something new (though Taxi was using a Gib made of this for most of 2010 including the Nationals)
The class needs this people.

17/02/2011 13:14:32
Louise
Statement by the Merlin Rocket Owners' Association (MROA) regarding the use Aeroweb Sails

This statement is issued to help clarify the recent discussion over the use of Aeroweb sails in the 2011 Sail Juice series.



In June 2010 the MROA Committee received an enquiry regarding the use of Aeroweb sails. The issue was discussed by the Committee and we advised that our view was that tape drives were in contravention of our secondary reinforcement rule (rules 10(b) and 10 (c)). This view was subsequently confirmed by the RYA Technical Committee.

In November 2010 the Committee wrote to all the principal sail makers to inform them of this decision. Mindful that we are always looking to encourage healthy development within the Class, the Committee at the same time asked the sailmakers for their input into our sail construction rules, with a view to allowing Aeroweb and similar technologies in the future, subject obviously to the approval of any proposed rule change by our Committee and the RYA.


Louise Johnson

Chairman

17/02/2011 13:33:39
Barry D
Lets get this right. Matt & Ben did not cheat deliberately. They made a presumption that it would be OK to use an experimental sail without informing the organisers and clearing it with them. Period. They have subsequently retired. End of story. 
The MROA has said nothing about this apart from Louise Johnsons, the chairwomans statement in the last posting.

17/02/2011 14:55:53
Jasper
So were Matt & Ben part of a Merlin Association test or were they doing it off their own/ Speeds back?

Looks like the Association are trying to distance themselves

17/02/2011 15:28:45
dv
Jasper I think Barry D's post says it all - time to drop it me thinks

17/02/2011 15:44:03
Jasper
Just thought is was interesting that Ben suggested that they had been carrying out the tests in consultation and approval with the Association yet the Class statement says that they asked for sailmakers input into their sail construction rules.

17/02/2011 16:22:07
Just when....
The posts on Y&Y are still uncomplimentary unless it is killed I regret that it will run and run no matter how much "The matter is now closed". Will Speed Sails still be putting sails on the MR at the Dinghy Show? The link below still claims the win and perhaps help get to the real story.

http://blog.speedsails.co.uk/
17/02/2011 16:25:36
Len Baines
Jasper ... who are you and what class do you sail?

17/02/2011 16:48:29
David Bennett
"Matt also went on to mention that due to the sails being much lighter in weight than the current x-cut laminates he feels the whole rig is much more responsive and the boat accelerates better. "

Are you really claiming that there is a real performance benefit?!?

17/02/2011 16:58:39
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
I can understand the frustration with outside posters on your form and I will try and make this my last.  It is a polite request for information.
I dont fully understand the secondary re-inforcement. Why does it specifically apply to the Aero web sails and to no other modern laminate or monofilm type sail that is in use in the Merlin fleet which many appear to have similar forms of re-inforcement.
Can the MRCA definitively say that the other sails signed up and in use are legal in repsect of this.

Thanks Simon.

17/02/2011 17:22:00
Jasper
Len

Don't try and make out that I am in some way being vindictive. The Class have today made their first statement having taken the appropriate time to consider it. Their rsponse was intersting in that it did not refer to Matt and Ben in any way and seeing the subsequent PR from Speed I made an observation that I stand by.

If you have missed the Speed PR, Matt's comments were "The sails have always looked nice and smooth in all conditions and are really holding up well considering the battering they had at the windy Tiger Trophy". Matt also went on to mention that due to the sails being much lighter in weight than the current x-cut laminates he feels the whole rig is much more responsive and the boat accelerates better"

If this isn't the sails giving them an advantage over a legal Merlin please let me know and I will duly retract all of my comments.

The basis of people defending Matt & Ben have largely been that there is no performance advantage from using the cloth. Do they still have the same opinion?

I sail keelboats but have been a follower of the Y&Y forum thread. I had commented on that site and decided I should mirror my views here as I did not want to have an opinion behind the back of the Merlin fleet who I respect. Indeed as I have posted ealier I have the utmost respect for them making the difficult decision to retire, but I do feel that it was the right one to make

I respect your views, as I hope you have for mine and have been captivated by the debate between equally enthusiastic but very different views

17/02/2011 17:29:20
Len Baines
Jasper; I am just asking what you actual name is and what class you sail ...

17/02/2011 18:52:08
dv
Hi Jasper,
I agree with alot of what you have said in your previous posts and think you have been unfairly criticised on a number of occasions but I really dont think there is anything to be gained by continuing as you are. I am a merlin sailor and have sailed against Matt and Ben, not often, but enough that it was obvious that they sail very well, intelligently and fairly. They are the sort of sailors that are a genuine pleasure to sail against. There really is nothing more to be said other than what Barry D has already said in his last post.
Regards
dv

17/02/2011 19:00:53
Jasper
dv
I agree and apologise if people think I have overstepped the mark, not my intention

17/02/2011 19:12:20
henry
there's no such thing as bad publicity

17/02/2011 21:44:12
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
I can understand the frustration with outside posters on your form and I will try and make this my last. It is a polite request for information.
I dont fully understand the secondary re-inforcement. Why does it specifically apply to the Aero web sails and to no other modern laminate or monofilm type sail that is in use in the Merlin fleet which many appear to have similar forms of re-inforcement.
Can the MRCA definitively say that the other sails signed up and in use are legal in repsect of this.

Thanks Simon.

17/02/2011 21:48:22
JonCG
Simon has asked a very good question, anyone know the answer?

18/02/2011 07:51:35
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
O.K  no response so far.

What if???

I am not the first person to ask this question?

What if the Aero web sails in themselves arent the problem but have polarised the commitees thoughts into the possibility this is the tip of the ice berg.

What if this happened well before the ridiculous situation for Matt and Ben occurred and the pack mentality on Y and Y caused the MROA to be in the biggest rock and hard place I can think of?

What if the MRCA THREW ONE OF THEIR TOP CREWS to the lions for fear of the much larger powder keg they may be sat on!
The late,guarded and very carefully worded response from the commitee still does not stack up.

What if the reason the RYA was approached to solve the much bigger problem with other sails that could possibly fall foul of this tiny antiquated rule?

Please state categorically that this is a ridiculous notion!!!!!

18/02/2011 08:43:48
Alistair
Simon,

Just looked up the relevant rule(s):

Sail Construction
10(c) - Other reinforcement as a contiunuation of the stiffening as specified above (reinforcement in corners, etc) comprising not more than two additional layers of the same cloth as the body of the sail is permitted, provided that it can be folded...
10(d) - Glued seams shall not be considered as stiffening provided that they can be folded as described above (foldable flat in any direction without causing permanent damage to sail or reinforcement). Normal tabling at the edges of the sail is permitted provided it is not stiffened.

To the best of my knowledge there aren't any other current sails which don't conform to the 'additional layers of the same cloth as the body of the sail' requirement.

This is not an official MROA Committee response but I hope it helps.

18/02/2011 08:50:40
gareth
i agree with simon. i have been looking at some other merlin photographs on the web and im a little confused.
http://www.hydesails.com/gallery/dinghy/merlin/index.html
do these sails break the same rule?

18/02/2011 09:05:29
Stuart Bates (MR3615)
From Andy Hay's earlier post

'My understanding - and please correct me if I am mistaken - is that you are allowed membrane & plastic sails (inc. North 3DL, et al). The issue is specific to Tape where a light sailcloth is made into a sail shape and then the tapes are added as a secondary operation. The tapes are not the same material as the base "shape" in this instance, if they were then the sails would be OK (I believe). If you create the sail on a mould (3DL style) then the sail does not actually exist until the second laminate is in place. Laminate jibs made generic reinforced plastic materials or similar cut in a traditional way are legal - Jon Turner used one last year. I appreciate that this is rather in the symantics of the wording of the Rules, but such is life. '

So by this definition the Tape is added after the sail is made and possible to be hoisted and used, thus counts as secondary re-enforcement.

I do feel sorry that this whole incident has happened, which should have been sorted out before any racing was entered, by either getting special dispensation or not using the sails. We tried our boat without correctors a few seasons ago in a couple of series at our club, with the full knowledge of the rest of the fleet, and did not count any of them races. It was surprising that the weight difference didn't have too much of an effect on a lake!

18/02/2011 09:08:49
Stuart Bates (MR3615)
Gareth,

The sails that are pictured on the Hyde Sails site are actually multi-panel sails, all the lines that you see are the seams where the panels have been joined.

18/02/2011 09:25:31
David C
I feel so sorry for Matt and Ben, they have made a mistake and the fallout of that is disproportional.

We have to have rules however and how many times have we seen people lose a big regatta over a silly or malicious protest for a minor or technical infringement? I for one in the past have spent a lot of money modifying boats which had measurement issues where pervious owners did not ensure they were legal and professionals didn't check their work. We have to take some responsibility for our own boats and seek advice and clarification, unfortunately advice is not always good.

There is nothing we can do about the past, but to learn from mistakes made. I am sure everyone will be more aware now and understand the significance of these big winter handicap events in terms of class publicity.

I don't know what was said to Matt and Ben but obviously they are not cheats and they acted in good faith on advice they were given. I think in future the class should encourage this sort of development but they should provide formal dispensation for Merlin Class events and written guidance on the testing ideas that are not currently legally by the class rules. If these tests are made public and the restrictions on use are clear then that will only be positive. The Class cannot give dispensation for events they do not run or control.

I am a bit surprised by some of the comments around measurement. The definitions can be found in the equipment rules of sailing - free to download on the ISF web-site. The Merlin Rocket Class rules are on this web site and are free to download too. The sections that cover this are: G6 "Sail reinforcement" in the equipment rules of sailing and section 10 "Sail construction" in the Merlin rules.

Matt and Ben, you have my heartfelt sympathy on this, I have suffered similar things although not on this scale and I hope this soon blows over and you have a great season ahead.

Kind regards, David C - MR 2373, (x3508) N12 2935 (and others) and Cadet parent (in case people wonder what class(s) I sail!)

18/02/2011 11:34:29
Tim 3555
David, I think that the class could give dispensation for both events that they do AND do not not run or control, if there were a rule change to state something along the lines of:

'A boat given dispensation by the MROA to test specified development modifications would still be considered class legal for the duration of the dispensation' - the boat is then legal and can be sailed as a Merlin Rocket...

You would of course have to be careful about what is given dispensation for! Something for those more active in rule changes and development ideas than me to consider? Might help if they were a fair bit faster than me too!

18/02/2011 12:02:29
Barry D
This would not have been possible with the bigger spinnaker or longer pole as their addition would have added to performance which would have affected their PY number. Developement should be done away from any handicap sailing as the last few days have shown.

18/02/2011 18:00:31
Andy Hay - 3626 Business as Usual
Been re-reading my Rulebook. Seems that the Aeroweb sails fall foul of the following - and I am sure that GGGGG or Dan will correct me if required:

10(b) - Reinforcement having the effect of stiffening the sail is permitted only at each corner of the sail and at the Cunningham and reefing eyes (or reef points) adjacent to the luff and leech. This reinforcement shall be within a distance from the relevant corner or Cunningham or reefing eye of 150mm plus 3% of the length of the luff of the sail.
10(c) - Other reinforcement as a contiunuation of the stiffening as specified above (reinforcement in corners, etc) comprising not more than two additional layers of the same cloth as the body of the sail is permitted, provided that it can be folded as described in Rule 10(a)

OK so my understanding, as I mentioned earlier is in the interpretation that the tapes are:

1. "reinforcement having the effect of stiffening the sail", thus falling foul of Rule 10(b) as they extend beyond the limits in the Rule and
2. not made from the same cloth as the main body of the sail, thus falling foul of Rule 10(c)

The Hyde and North radial panel sails are OK as they fall within the generalisation of Rule 10(d) (see above) and the panels and hence seams are all in the same material. North 3DL and similar moulded sail technology would be OK as the sail is made in one piece, so there is no reinforcement in rule terms.

Seems to be a specific issue for the tape drive sails. Shame as they looked very cool.

I really feel for Matt & Ben and think that no-one has come out of this sorry saga well.

There is precedence for temporary certification in the class history - when the Rowsell Omega plastic boats were first built. This was for two boats to compete in a Champs to gauge performance - see the Merlin Rocket book - and led to a new section in the Rules. As I said before, I look forward to seeing a proposal for the AGM that clarifies this situation.

18/02/2011 20:50:32
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
What happened to Matts post?

18/02/2011 21:04:02
Chris Martin
I deleted it because he asked me to.

Nothing sinister.

18/02/2011 21:28:40
JimC
> 'A boat given dispensation by the MROA to test specified development modifications... and can be sailed as a Merlin Rocket... 

Chaps, in a world where your handicap is (in my opinion unjustly) widely regarded as being excessively favourable as a result of the development process would such an approach be wise?

It might also be considered as rather less than sporting to claim a handicap which is based on a configuration that is different from the one you are actually using. Indeed in such a situation one could anticipate a protest under rule 2 succeeding...

18/02/2011 23:14:25
Matt Biggs
David C, Is 2373 still OK? That was my dads boat, I first crewed in it when I was 5. I then went on to sail int. moths. Before coming back to sail merlins.

19/02/2011 06:53:23
Jon711
So, let's just check the relevant points here.. Aero Web sails are under discussion, but are not yet class legal... When will the decision be made??? Would think that with all the contravisy that a decision sooner rather than later, may be in the best interests of the class..

As a crew, I am meant to have no interest in this. But I want a set of Aerowebs on our Classic Merlin...

19/02/2011 09:17:21
terrapin
rule change proposal = agm = salcombe
not so?
can't rush these things just to satisfy a single incident.

19/02/2011 10:30:14
former Chairs
terrapin is correct.
That is the standard procedure. Although Salcombe is co-incidental, just the current chosen time and venue.
Somewhat slow process under some circumstances but I am trying to address at least part of that issue at the next AGM.
However, the sail technicality, as with other rule changes, will need to be put forward to the AGM in the formal manner. The MROA committee is not at liberty to alter rules without reference to Members and RYA.

steve watson

19/02/2011 12:17:12
Andy Hay - 3626 Business as Usual
Alterniatively, if 50 full members of the MROA write to the Hon Sec, the Chair is obliged to call an EGM to consider a proposal. Indeed the Committee could call an EGM at their leisure. Again there is a procedure to follow and a time line, but again there is precedence ....

Quorum and 3/4 majority rules apply.

19/02/2011 14:11:14
Jon711
Democracy, is a cruel friend... An EGM may be the answer.... If only to stop the bad publicity....

Let us not forget, that these type of sails, were used a long time before at class events...

19/02/2011 20:54:27
bystander
Matt,  2373 is in my garage getting lots of TLC and some refurbishment, lots of new bits including new sails. The idea is to race at Tamesis this summer. Regards, Dave

19/02/2011 20:56:44
David C
Matt, 2373 is in my garage getting lots of TLC and some refurbishment, lots of new bits including new sails. The idea is to race at Tamesis this summer. Regards, Dave

21/02/2011 20:17:09
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
O.K last attempt at an honest answer.

O.K no response so far. Slight adjustment of the question for a direct answer.
Well?
I am not the first person to ask this question?

Are the Aero web sails in themselves not the problem but have polarised the commitees thoughts into the possibility this is the tip of the ice berg.

Did this happened well before the ridiculous situation for Matt and Ben occurred and the pack mentality on Y and Y caused the MROA to be in the biggest rock and hard place I can think of?

Did the MRCA THREW ONE OF THEIR TOP CREWS to the lions for fear of the much larger powder keg they may be sat on!
The late,guarded and very carefully worded response from the commitee still does not stack up.

Is this the reason the RYA was approached to solve the much bigger problem with other sails that could possibly fall foul of this tiny antiquated rule?

about time somebody answered the question with some authority. As members are you not curious as to why this is not being replied to or do you already know?.
I thank those who have been kind enough to respond with interpretations but I am looking for the definitive!!

Alistair and Dougal I look forward to seeing you both soon. The Beasty calls.

21/02/2011 20:17:51
Simon Hawkes Phantom 1359
Oh and by the way if I am right how many results could this affect?

21/02/2011 21:32:17
Jon 2997
2373 Celer 1XbRH presumably is a J Holt design built by Rob Hoare but is not listed as such in the key to designers which finishes at w-Sapphire?

21/02/2011 22:15:45
Wondering star
Well no - it wil be an Ian Proctor Design if it is a MK9b.

21/02/2011 22:16:18
dougal
JOhn

no......... that's the roman numeral which makes it a proctor Ixb (9b)

D

21/02/2011 22:16:24
Alistair
Simon, 

email me and I'll send you a scan of the latest pronouncement on aeroweb and similar style sails - as delivered via the new Merlin mag.

21/02/2011 23:00:29
jOHN 1201, 3652, 3569
There are powerful events happening around the world that prove the theory that the pen is mightier than the sword. Well that is until this string came along, my revolution is firmly crushed!

21/02/2011 23:30:57
Mike
John..have you really got three merlins? It's been wonderful reading this thread from snowbound Boston....my local pond (Mystic Lake..google it!) sail Snipes...appears to be a large GP14 without the spinnaker :( 

Cheers, Mike (MR 1220...although Rob's got it!)

22/02/2011 08:17:47
Chris M
Mr Child, man of many pseudonyms, when making seemingly official sounding statements would you please use your real name. I'm sure you mean no harm, but I did ask at the top of this thread.

Thanks

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