26/02/2020 10:48:01
In response to a protest brought in November 2019 the RYA has ruled that what are generally know as rudder fences do not comply with the Class Rules.  Their interpretation may be accessed on the RYA website under Racing & Performance / Measurement / National Class Rule Interpretations.
At the 2019 AGM there was a majority of those voting in favour of allowing such devices, subject to certain restrictions, but the numbers were insufficient for the resolution to be formally adopted.  The lack of detail in the proposal was criticised and as a consequence the Committee intends to bring a revised and fully detailed resolution to the 2020 AGM.  Draft wording has been submitted to the RYA for their comments.
However as 40 or more such rudders are already in use, the start of the 2020 Silver Tiller series is imminent and the AGM will not be held until July, the Committee has requested a temporary dispensation allowing the use of rudders with fences until the outcome of the vote on the matter and any consequent RYA ratification is known.
Although at today's date, February 26th 2020 the RYA's reply is awaited, it is anticipated that a positive response will be received before next weekend's dinghy Show. 

26/02/2020 18:06:40
Chris Martin
Folks its been a long while since we've had to do this.
If you want to post or criticise please use your real name. Anonymous posts will be deleted.

26/02/2020 18:08:34
Stuart Bates
Surely any underwater fence is contravening rule 8.2 that bans wings and any other contrivances, given that the fence will exert pressure either up or down if at an angle to the water, thus acting like a wing tab?

26/02/2020 18:24:48
Matt 3494
If it's illegal, get a rule change. Until then it's not legal, like everything else. Don't bend the rules to suit. As a class you're quick to ban other bits and not let people carry on using them. Let's have an even, fair playing field here. 

26/02/2020 18:32:34
Chris Martin
Simon (if im right as to who you are ;) ) yes you can by all means post it again - but please confirm who you are. This is important and used to cause us a real problem, and it wasn't just you, there were other replies that were less constructive.
I think subsequent developments may have de-railed where the 2019 AGM got to, I don't really know I wasn't there and I don't suppose you were either. The minutes don't convey the mood and atmosphere in the room.
But I understand that we (the commitee) will be trying to remove any trace of shades of grey regarding the rudder in a fully detailed proposal at the AGM. Its nice to think of these things in black and white terms but sometimes you don't have that luxury - there are a number of things that have gone awry with this situation, all go back years some decades!! No its not perfect. We asked for help and this is what we got..........

26/02/2020 18:38:17
Chris Martin
Clarifying point:
The RYA are the measurement authority, not the MROA. We represent the membership in where they want the class to go and can/do make recommendations but any decision regarding rules, legality or illegality is down to the RYA technical committee.

26/02/2020 20:22:00
If the jib with 'bar' shackle pin is illegal, and no proposed rule change, then a blatant rule infringement, rather than a rule interpretation, should not have a rules amended to allow it.

We shouldn't be picking and choosing. Rules were change to out class certain builge bulge keel types, what is the difference. The bulge kells were an interpretation of the rules.

There is a pattern there.

27/02/2020 08:56:35
Roger Cole
Whilst the wording of rule C8.2 is seemingly imprecise---(winged rudders and SIMILAR CONTRIVANCES are p rohibited)-----the intention and spirit of the rule is perfectly clear. If indeed there are  40 or so of these foils already in use one can only surmise that there are a similar number of owners  who either haven't read the rules or are prepared to ignore them---not a very wonderful state of affairs for the class!    It  seems that there is a profound choice to be made here.   Either we write the rules  retrospectively to fit the boats OR  we produce  and sail boats that fit the rules.   I know what any self respecting class should do.

27/02/2020 08:58:06
Keith Callaghan
So because 40 people have got the wrong side of a Class Rule, then that's OK? I'm not sure of that logic.
Let them use alternative rudders until a substantive rule change is discussed and passed by a 2/3rds majority of those present and voting. It may not get passed - who knows?

27/02/2020 09:36:02
I like most who own these 'fenced' rudders bought them in good faith at the time, I didn't but it for the fence which I might add doesn't give any performance advantage at all, I bought it for the extra length to provide better steerage and less stalling which it does. 
But now some want to stop me from racing with it and fork out for a new rudder blade at a very substantial cost. 
I believe that the 'Fenced 40' should be given  dispensation to use these  until a resolution can be approved like other innovations have in the past.

27/02/2020 09:57:50
What of those that have bought a JT rig in good faith, not for the jib bar alone but the quality of workmanship from an independent boat builder and the performance advantage the rig in its entirety gives, which it does. But now some want to stop them from racing with it and fork out for alterations at a very substantial cost.
I believe that the 'JT jib bar' boats should be given dispensation to use these until a resolution can be approved like other inovations in the past.

27/02/2020 10:24:38
Christian Birrell
As someone that led the offending of the jib bars and someone that sees the inner workings of the committee meetings, I would like to applaud the committee for how they are dealing with these two issues. 

In respect of the jib bars, a question was posed to the RYA about their legality and a clear ruling was given. Dan has subsequently been particularly helpful in seeking further clarifications on alternative configurations, through both World Sailing and the RYA Technical Committee.

In respect of the rudder fences, this is an issue that has been debated across hundreds and hundreds of emails, lots of committee meeting time, and several months. Lots of options were debated, and ultimately some people were always going to be left unhappy. Having seen the inner workings though, I can assure everyone the committee debated this from every angle, and is trying to find a solution that works in the best interests of all the members.

For me, the most important thing to remember here is that this is an amateur class, and the MROA works hard to create fun, enjoyable, affordable and fair racing. We are not a professional F1 circuit, where teams of engineers are worrying about every decision that is made. In the most part, these people completely innocently bought these rudders, not understanding the rule implications (I don't have one BTW). I struggle to see how stopping 40 boats attending ST events, over a mistaken rule breach that has an indistinguishable impact on performance is a sensible decision for the class. If we were an F1 circuit, with unlimited budgets, I get it - but we aren't - we are just here to facilitate fun and fair racing in an amateur sport.

This will not be an isolated incident and other similar issues will no doubt emerge in the future. Debate and input from class members is exactly what we need, but I hope everyone can recognise that certain members on the committee put an unbelievable amount of their own time into running your class for you (myself not included!), and when I see some of the emails/letters/forum posts, i really don't know why they continue to do it. The Committee is trying hard to create enjoyable, fair and affordable racing, always with the best intentions of the entire fleet.....I have no doubt they would appreciate a bit of support on occasion. For people that think we are getting it completely wrong, I know their are a couple of available jobs on the committee right now, so we would really welcome the time of people who want to help steer the class in the future. I will warn you now though..it is a thankless task!

Christian Birrell

27/02/2020 10:53:38
Chris Martin
To An MROA Member

If you want to post something you are happy to put you name to please do it.

If you aren’t happy to put your name to it we don’t want to hear it

Thank you :)

27/02/2020 10:55:29
Stuart Bates
Thanks Chris for that insight into the committee on this.
I love that we are an Amateur class and wouldn't want to go down the ridiculous state of measuring in some classes, like the Nacra, but I feel that we maybe need to consider how we manage new items like foils on boats.  Sails have to be measured before they can be raced with, hulls, rigs and foils do not get the same scrutiny and so things like the rudder fences slip through the net. 
I do not have a magic plan to fix this, rather I think that we all need to get more familiar with the measurers in the class and chat with them about anything different we are considering doing with the boat and how that may, or may not comply with the rules.  The class can give dispensation for boats to be 'out of class' for the purpose of trialing ideas, but, in my mind, this should not be applied retrospectively to a large number of boats/items/sails.
Innovation is a fantastic thing, as is pushing the boundaries, and I do not want to stifle that, however there must be a benefit to rudder fences, otherwise they would not be used and then there is the fine line between fences and wings that has to be considered.
I want to thank all of the committee past and present for their work on this and we should remember that we are all friends and not in this to cost people money to fix things that should have been questioned earlier.

27/02/2020 11:11:07
Chris Kilsby

The MROA is here to promote the best wishes of the class as a whole and this remains our key focus. The committee are volunteers who put a significant amount of time and effort into this for the love of the class.

The class has a very wide range of sailors from Olympians to club sailors and it is key that we support all people regardless of who they are. Equally, the MROA committee are diverse, ranging from our current national champion to silver and bronze fleet sailors as well as the vintage wing. 

The RYA are making the decisions regarding this case - they are the authority here not the MROA however the MROA give the RYA our full backing regardless of their decision in this matter.

The MROA have asked on numerous occasions for those who are interested in supporting with the rules of the class to step forward and we have had no takers. In regard to this, I find it really disappointing that people seem so motivated to write posts anonymously criticising the MROA but don't want to put their hand up to support. 

So I ask - if you want to help us steer the ship, we would be delighted.  


Chris Kilsby

27/02/2020 11:22:36
Matt 3494
Can we have clarification on what the RYA have actually said? in the opening post it says its available to view but i cant find it.
"I didn't but it for the fence which I might add doesn't give any performance advantage at all, I bought it for the extra length to provide better steerage and less stalling which it does"
This is the whole point of a fence, it reduces ventilation to help prevent the rudder stalling. That right there is the whole advantage of the fence. Its also not a case of a new rudder, its a removal job. how difficult that is i dont know but i presume its a relatively easy DIY job. I'll let you know if my helm lets me lose on ours!! 
Giving dispensation for 40 or so boats for silver tiller would be unbelievable if it goes through. What about every handicap event we race in between now and the big IF this gets passed? Do we have to go and ask for dispensation in all of them? come on.... we have a ruling, that IS the outcome. Lets make our rudders legal and then consider rules changes further down the line if we want to open that particular can of worms. Start fresh instead of trying to build a rule around something that one manufacturer has done, something that would fit all boats, not just the few.
Its clear the committee are trying hard to please everyone but not everyone can make it to the AGM to cast there view as its at a limited number/ticketed event every year in the same place! Instead of travelling around the country with the nationals event.

27/02/2020 21:19:02
Mark B blood group A+ Aged 42 from Lyndhurst.
Well Ive just lobbed mine off (simple task) . Cant be bothered to either have a finger pointed if I keep it, or talk about 20mm x 60mm x 2mm of gel coat that is about as beneficial as a brake lights on a rocket (literally).

Im officially no longer on the ‘fence’ and find anonymous posting only good for popcorn sales.

Next keyboard warrior to rant needs to pony up and get on board helping the committee or go buy a topper.

Mark B of Lyndhurst, Hampshire So43 7AR. 

27/02/2020 21:52:13
Frances Gifford
My personal view is in agreement with Matt and Scam. If they’ve been deemed illegal then they should remain that way until a rule change is passed at an AGM which is no mean feat. There has always been doubt about the fences so the question could have been asked of the RYA by anyone thinking of buying or building one prior to doing so. 

I actually have little issue with people posting anonymously as long as they don’t use offensive language. I may prefer to post anonymously (I never have) due to not wishing to fall out with friends whom I may know I disagree with, or indeed spend all of Saturday at the Dinghy Show discussing fences. And if someone had their post removed for posting as “An MROA member” I don’t see this as very different from “Andy”. Clearly I have little more idea of whom Andy is than I do the former example.

I would argue for less moderation of the forum. No offensive language and no autobots selling cheap sunglasses or worse, but good chat whether anonymous or not is fine by me. 

28/02/2020 08:10:29
James, crew for many
I don't personally feel comfortable adding my full name on here as it all seems a bit toxic. Those that know me, will know me. Those that don't, well that's not really my fault.

Can the MROA confirm if they have actually asked for 40ish boats to be allowed to cheat the rules? If so this is a disgrace!! Why is this any different to any other protest or rule infringement? The RYA have even said it's illegal. Personally if this happens I will dig into the matter because it feels like a massive bias towards certain sailors. 

It would be nice for the MROA to confirm their position on this. Currently they aren't looking out for the many. That's got nothing to do with how much effort anyone had put in. I'm thankful for everyone that gives up time. But this situation seems to have gone in a very wrong direction.


28/02/2020 09:35:01
Roger Cole
So the committee will bring a bulletproof proposal to the AGM.  It would seem from the numbers of votes cast on the matter last year that only around 32 members were there.  Whilst fully appreciating the thinking behind holding the AGM at its current venue and time  it must be realised that for a vast  number of owners, attendance in person is impossible due to personal, professional or family  commitments .Surely in this age of  instant communication, voting on fundamental matters such as rule changes  could be managed  electronically, or at least by postal ballot.  I recall just such a postal vote being taken some years ago on spinnaker sizes and pole lengths.  As matters stand,  I suspect a large number of , particularly , club sailors ( including myself ) feel  disenfranchised. 

28/02/2020 10:35:27
So with all this can we have a definitive response on here as to whether those with fences on their rudders need to remove them or not.
The response should come from MROA Chairman and no one else 

28/02/2020 17:52:18
Keith Callaghan
Roger Cole, I second your idea for postal voting. It's way overdue - perhaps we should put a motion forward to the AGM?
James (crew for many, whoever you are) great post - your sentiments are wholly understandable.
[Actual full name supplied above - and I recommend that all of you do the same! What are you afraid of?]

28/02/2020 18:29:52
Keith Callaghan
Roger Cole, I second your idea for postal voting. It's way overdue - perhaps we should put a motion forward to the AGM?
James (crew for many, whoever you are) great post - your sentiments are wholly understandable.
[Actual full name supplied above - and I recommend that all of you do the same! What are you afraid of?]

28/02/2020 21:33:32
  this is an important topic atm,...and i dont agree with anonymous posting on this point.....its for mroa folks,... not some idiot  who sails some other dinghy who thinks its fun to chuck a grenade in and then duck under the parapet...have a great boat show to all helping out on the stand....regards dirty hands..2427

28/02/2020 22:29:24
Lucy Harridge
1. @ChristianBirrell - very well said.

2. Holding the AGM in Salcombe makes the most sense - biggest turn out event. You can’t force people to vote / attend so run the thing at the event that’s best attended. Electronic voting means no debate and potential for a lack of understanding of the issues at hand. Add to that cost and management of the system set up...

3. Why are there people commenting on this issue that don’t own or sail a merlin? Stop being an antagonistic keyboard warrior and let the people that are actually affected by this debate it.

4. Please remember that everyone involved here (from the MROA side of things) are volunteers trying to do their very best and I am very very grateful for their time and energy. So unless your ready to give up your time to do this same, or attend the AGM, or sail a merlin... keep your opinions to yourself.

Look forward to seeing you on the water.

28/02/2020 23:19:15
Roger Cole
In response to Lucy  Harridge,  I have owned a Merlin, sailed a Merlin and been a member of the class association continuously for the past 44years. I am unable (as are many others) to attend the AGM due to the unfortunate realism of having to commit my time to earning a living . I do not see myself as a "keyboard warrior" , but as a Merlin enthusiast who has tried consistently over all those years to promote the class at club  level. Due to the impossibility of attendance at the AGM I have no say and no  and vote on any matters that may change the class  and frankly am wondering  why I bother to pay my annual subscription.

29/02/2020 08:33:22
Always wanted a Merlin been a member for three or four years now. 
Agree with Rogers sentiments, not sure why I pay when I have no realistic opportunity through work or family or other sailing commitments to attend salcombe.
The squibs managed a robust debate about sail colour from past and present members all on Facebook for all to see and join in.
Email responses and discussion to committee from full members and the same for voting.

No one is saying bad job here. The question is why are we going against the RYA ruling to please a few?
The easiest thing for amateurs to do is to allow the professional body to make the rulings?

Scam, see you at the show.... On my third Merlin...

29/02/2020 08:34:22
Roger Cole
 P.S. to previous post.  Thank  you Keith  C. for your support. At least one highly respected member of the class sees my point. re. voting.

29/02/2020 08:51:24
Lucy H
Hi Roger, that’s great you’re such a committed MROA member. Your knowledge and 44 years of experience are appreciated and respected.

It’s worth noting that the AGM takes place on the weekend, so in theory it would be possible to drive down and have your say / cast your vote. Admittedly, Salcombe is a bit of a trek! But it’s worth acknowledging the committee members live all over the country and put 100s of miles in so they can meet and debate these issues face-to-face on a regular basis. 
 Yes, a postal vote could help those that don’t want to drive to Salcombe to vote in person, but as I said, that would mean missing out on the debate and potential to misunderstand the full picture of the matters under review.

29/02/2020 10:04:22
Roger Cole
  Hi Lucy    ---- the fact that the AGM is held at the weekend makes absolutely no difference. There are some of us out there whose professional lives do not conform to the weekday 9 -5 format,   in fact weekends are the busy times. Please don't presume to have any concept of what others circumstances involve.  Whilst I appreciate and applaud the committee members who give so generously of their time , do you seriously expect members to undertake around 8 hours of driving to Salcombe for a couple of hours meeting when fewer than half of those who are already there ,sailing, can be bothered to turn up?   

29/02/2020 12:27:45
Tim Harridge
Roger, Scam, et. al.,
As your Hon Keeper of the Class Records, I can assure you that the committee have a number of things on their plate. A move to online or postal voting is something that has been raised in the past, but has not found sufficient priority or practicality to make the top of the list. If you can find a way of administering this in a manner that reaches the full membership (circa 500 people who do not all meticulously keep us informed of moves of house, or email addresses, etc.) in an efficient and cost effective manner for each issue arising, please feel free to email me or any other committee member a solution. This means either a huge amount of printing or posting, or setting up a robust and secure IT system (with limited funds) that guarantees that we reach ALL members to ensure EVERYONE has the same chance of voting. The alternative is an AGM that EVERYONE has at least the opportunity to attend, even if they don't choose to prioritise it.
I am afraid that we tend to focus our efforts on doing our best to ensure that those who want to go sailing can go sailing in as straight forward and fair manner as possible. I have been on the committee since 2014 and in that time have travelled to committee meetings 3 or 4 times a year; they are typically run after work on Tuesday evenings, entail a round trip of conservatively 100-200 miles per member and I have never yet got home before midnight from one. In recent times, we have discussed topics ranging from rules issues (such rudders, more on the actual topic of this thread below...), Salcombe entry, how to run the Champs, the dinghy show, the website, how to encourage the Silver and Bronze fleets to go sailing more, promotion and recognition of crews, Classic, Vintage, regional, club and youth sailing and a whole host of other stuff. It's fair to say, we spend a fair amount of time on day to day stuff and firefighting, so scrutiny of issues such as this one from those who, to the best of my knowledge, don't really stand to gain or lose much from it, is not entirely welcome. We have discussed and debated it internally to the n-th degree.
To the question in hand... I believe that these slightly different rudders have been supplied by Winder for about 5 years following an innocent customer request, by which I mean neither they nor Dave realised that a rule was being broken or even tested. It is interesting to note that in that time no other builder has added similar fences to their rudders and, until recently, no fuss was kicked up. To me this suggests that no performance advantage was perceived. For what it is worth the temporary rule change solution from the RYA does allow others to add the limited fence (as defined) if indeed a performance advantage is perceived. The cost of removing the fences and refinishing the rudder to racing spec runs to either a couple of hundred pounds or some reasonably solid and time consuming boat work skills. Our / the RYA's action here has probably saved some very active members a cumulative couple of thousand pounds and a huge amount of faff to rectify a problem that was not of their making and had been covered by 5 years of precedent. Was it right for us to help these "few" people out until we can make a final, well informed call at the AGM? I believe so.
I hope that my points above add a bit of detail around the issues raised on the thread. Frankly, I don't really enjoy answering people who appear naturally set against the MROA and, in some cases, don't even have the balls to put their own full names to their gripes. As a result, I would ask that you please consider the full implications of the problems you raise - bearing in mind their solutions may well be more convoluted that they appear at first glance - before putting angry finger to keyboard.
Tim Harridge
PS, I can now get back to the more important task of putting the finishing touches to the Yearbook. If anyone has any photos they think could be useful, I would be very grateful if you could send them to me! 

29/02/2020 20:05:02
Keith Callaghan
Hello MROA Committee. Please keep us up to date here on what the RYA has done to our class rules today regarding the Fence issue- presumably at Committee request?

29/02/2020 20:05:54
Well that escalated quickly!

Great to meet a few of the committee today and ex. Committee members too! interesting hearing their views on this. I see both sides and I'm aware that most of the 40 probably do ST events and upsetting them might mean they throw their toys out of the pram sell up and start sailing squibs😉 (that's how unlikely it is)

So a rule change to please the most active sailors that's what you just said Tim. I think that is grossly unfair on the rest of the fleet. We support the class by paying our subs, we support the builders by buying their gear, most of us even choose to support the sponsors by buying their wares because they support the class.

 but I still don't understand why, when we want an easy life with rules we didn't take the easy option of deferring to the RYA and what all of the fleet want, no wings; so why not just go for the simple a blade is a blade, no extras. Easy to check visually, no rulers needed. 
Tim, sorry I dispute your figures of removal, I got a price at the show today to make my blade legal and it was under £100, same price as adding to my fence to the now legal limit of the length of the blade. Not an astronomical amount and I'm sure Mr Winder would be amicable in making his rudders legal if necessary. It can't be that costly as two have been cut off already!

The RYA they are the professionals, let them deal with the rules, we can recommend rule changes, discuss them and vote them in. As per the MROA constitution. The last rule was fine did exactly what it was supposed to stop horizontal contrivances being fitted to rudders... But it didn't we all put our head in the sand and ignored them because they looked good?

 Buying in good faith is not the problem for the MROA. As everyone keeps stating the committee are there to support the majority and work for the best interests of the class which they are doing...

How can we have a rule change without discussion?

Reading the new rule,it seems there's maybe a couple of loop holes and also how to measure ( joy! another thing for the class measurer too deal with), i think it maybe makes one of my rudders illegal is that ok? One is better than 40? And it doesn't even have fences it's a custom fixed!

I agree with Roger the logistics of travelling over 5 hours ( in one direction) to cast a vote is stupendous.. Maybe we should have the AGM in Birmingham it's in the middle of all the Merlin sailors? 

PS Tim you sat next to me at AYC I introduced myself as Scam....

Why should I pay my subs if I have no say, if I just sail in a local fleet? where the salcombe fleet makes the decisions about what is legal or hot or not?

29/02/2020 20:17:06
Keith Callaghan
Scam (whoever you are) - you have not explained to the Members that the RYA has today changed our class rules to allow fences until 31 December. This after having ruled the devices illegal.
So somehow the democratic process of submitting rule changes to an AGM or EGM and passing such changes only if a 2/3rds majority is achieved has been swept away by some alternative process, the exact workings of which I am still trying to fathom. 

29/02/2020 21:31:54
Tim Harridge
The notification of the temporary rule change or “dispensation plus” that the RYA have recommended and implemented is on the other thread...

I’ve explained the logic and really can’t be bothered with more trial by forum from you. I don’t know what axe you have to grind, but I wish you’d go and do it somewhere else. Perhaps in a Squib. 

Might have been nice if you’d both got home from the dinghy show today and got on your computers to thank those on the stand rather than dishing out more abuse. 


29/02/2020 21:43:12
Chris Martin
I would be interested to hear of any loopholes and also which rudder you have that won't measure under the new rules and why. Our intention is that all current rudders will fall inside the rule including vintage ones which can be quite odd by modern standards. It's not impossible that we've overlooked something but a lot of thought has gone into this. If you think we have *please* let us know.
Measurement is actually very easy and will take seconds. Straight edge along the bottom plank and a mark in the middle. This works on boats of all ages and all designs. 

29/02/2020 21:44:00
Keith Callaghan
Tim, please explain what you mean by the above. Is any view which might be at odds with The Committee now deemed to be 'the dishing out of more abuse'?

29/02/2020 21:54:24
Keith Callaghan
Tim, please explain what you mean by the above. Is any view which might be at odds with The Committee now deemed to be 'the dishing out of more abuse'?

29/02/2020 21:57:22
Keith Callaghan
Mr Webmaster - why do some posts appear twice???

29/02/2020 22:00:57
Chris Martin
I think it happens if you refresh your page to see what you've just posted - you end up sending the post again. It did it to me a few minutes ago

29/02/2020 22:10:29
Keith Callaghan
Mr Webmaster - why do some posts appear twice???

29/02/2020 22:12:06
Keith Callaghan
Ah! Yes, I just tried that and lo! my last message repeated.
Thanks Chris, I'll try not to do it again.

29/02/2020 23:18:47
Andy Johnston 3376
Don't have much to add to this other than ask "Andy" to post his full name - us other Andys don't want to be tarred with the same brush! Loads of fences up here in Scotland, mostly for keeping the animals from wandering about... 

01/03/2020 07:19:24
Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Hacksaw £11.99 screwfix.com

Gel coat repair kit £15.99 Amazon.com

Time 1/2Hour plus drying time

01/03/2020 07:33:19
James, crew for many
Where to start....
This is amazing. You have a protest, you are found to have illegal gear by your governing body. So far ok. What then happens (according to previous cases like this working within this class) there's a bit of grumbling but people make there boats legal. Jib bars and kicker fairings are the two recent. So why have the class ignored this to protect 40 people in a class of thousands and around 500 active subs layers? Blatant favouritism and cheating. Let's call it what it is! You haven't discussed or asked for opinions from the wider class of sailors, you haven't allowed a vote on it. Just because you can go to the RYA and get a rule changed doesn't make it right!! This is tiny percentage of the class effected by it. Is it because it works (the fence) so it's the top boats that have it and they have more away with the powers that be? Who knows. What now happens at the AGM? As it's already a rule does it still need a 75% majority to pass it? Or have you circumvented that as well? What a mess either way.

Tim, your not helping calm things down by telling people their opinions don't matter and to go and sail another boat. Its answers like that that make people want to respond anonymously. Its just showing the committee isn't in touch with its class. Adding an electronic vote would be easy and no cost. You don't do it instead of the AGM vote, you do it as well as, it brings the vote to a wider audience, not just a different audience. Other classes have done simple email returns or Google forms. Cheap, simple, secure. 

We still haven't been given a reason why this has been pushed through? I was quoted £45 to have a fence removed. My local boat yard. He said it would take 2 minutes to remove, 2 minutes to fill, and then it's elbow grease with the fairing it back in. £45 isn't a big cost to put your boat legal again.

Again I want to thank the committee for there work . I am grateful I just feel you've been misdirected on this. No fences.


01/03/2020 09:36:16
Chris Martin
Ok James, and Simon actually:
The RYA ban fences. 
What do we do about the other rudder blades with fences that were in use at the time of the winged rudder ban (And afterwards too - it wasn't the intention of the rule to ban winged rudders to also ban fences, there would have been boats in the boat park at that AGM with them on) and are undoubtedly in use somewhere today club sailing? Where do we start grandfathering from? How are we going to prove that a boat sailing with a fence has a rudder from the grandfather period?
This is was not a new idea in 2014 and the general rule is that "if it was ok then it is now too"
For every argument in favour of banning them there's another equally good argument in favour of working a rule around them. Whichever way we go someone is going to be upset. Personally I think if we do insist on an immediate ban on these things realistically they will continue to be used. If that happens and no-one protests I think that this is worse than what the RYA have allowed to happen.
Also - this thread is on a yellow card from the chairman and will disappear if people cant disagree with each other properly. Tim and Simon (Scam) need to calm down. James I object to your use of the word "cheat" and invite you to withdraw it - if you want to call people a cheat you can tell them who you are. Not doing so says more about you than it does them i'm afraid.

01/03/2020 10:11:02
Chris Kilsby
It was good to speak to Simon (scam), Keith and others regarding this issue at the dinghy show yesterday. I fully appreciate that others would have done differently and time will tell whether these decisions have been positive to the fleet as whole. We’re all on the same side here and the level of passion for the merlin rocket at the dinghy show is brilliant! Let’s keep this one positive!

01/03/2020 10:18:17
Stuart Bates

You asked about ‘loopholes’ in the new rules and I think that this rule is the one that is going to cause issues.

C.8.2.5 With the rudder in its any normal sailing position, no part of the rudder above the transom datum point shall 
extend more than 400mm aft of the transom.

If I read this correctly then this restricts rudders in two ways.

Firstly rudders that have a longer fore-aft measurement on the blade at the top could be out of class as the distance is extended by the pointless.

Secondly when we sail at Salcombe and other waters it is practical to raise a lifting rudder for two reasons, to sail closer to the shore and to remove weed.  The act of doing this would break this rule whilst sailing the boat in a standard way.

I have previously offered to help with the technical side of things, which was reiterated at the Dinghy Show yesterday and I do have some ideas on how this should be worded better to suit the class, but I have not been asked for my opinion on any of the topics as yet.

01/03/2020 10:23:50
Chris M
Hi stu

Lets discuss this off here 


01/03/2020 11:25:56
Leave me out of this please Chris Martin, I made my point. I'm not being abusive or calling out anytime by name. I talked to a few but still you keep pointing at me, I only asked how why what where. 
I've emailed the chair.
I'm done thanks for your consideration.

02/03/2020 14:02:54
Mark B - 32 inch inside leg
I bet both popcorn sales and forum hits are up this month? As a class, should we not be offering sponsorship opportunities on the forum…. Just a thought?

If we step back and have a breath, the passion shown here is fantastic. This many people getting so ‘interested’ in such a point is a great reflection of just how people are genuinely passionate about the Merlin.

We need healthy debate and differing views in order to keep the class alive and front of mind. Discussions like this (and worse) have been an integral part of the Merlin’s rich development history, it’s just the conversation was previously at the sailing club over a beer rather than through the t’internet (which makes the voice pitch and message intention sometimes hard to humanise).

I bet the squibs (insert various class name here) would love so much enthusiastic discussion.

I won’t say ‘keep it up’ but what I mean is discussion is good and we are all trying to do our own bits for the right reasons, committee members, owners, crews or an interested observer with popcorn shares.

I look forward to the first ST next week when we can go sailing.....not refreshing forum pages (although this forum is still a pretty good spectator sport and causes much discussion at Merlin Towers Lyndhurst).

Mark B

Still Lyndhurst. Still 42.

02/03/2020 17:57:23
Robin Charles
I have a home- made fence I put on my old style short Winder rudder. However, Rule C 8.2.3 says 'Fences or other contrivences must not extend below the transom data point (defined as the intersection of the garboard planks ). I think mine is well ABOVE that datum , therefore will still be legal. I'm surprised the long Winder rudder ones are below that datum . If they are above the datum , they are legal as well, in which case all this heat is about nothing.
I'm quite happy to remove my fence if I'm wrong , but that is not how the words read to me. 

02/03/2020 18:24:27
Gareth Griffiths NHRC
I would be pretty impressed if anyone could prove a rudder with a fence is significantly faster. Theoretically it is but in actuality it makes about as much difference as the vang fairing snack bag did.

There is a huge difference between a fence and an adjustable t-foil on the blade.

02/03/2020 19:08:45
Dave Lee
I'm not sure if the fence offers any performance benefit, but from my own experience there are times when it is significantly slower.  It does seem more prone to collecting weed and it's a right pain if you get a twig or something similar jammed between the fence and the hull.

02/03/2020 20:31:23
John Meadowcroft
Interesting times!
Please could a diagram be provided to help sailors determine how the new proposed rule is supposed to work?
It seems to be much more ambiguous and capable of legitimate misunderstanding than the one which it has replaced for 2020.  It is clearly much harder to be sure that you comply with.  I can’t say that I am a fan and think that we would be better off purchasing 40 sanding blocks and removing those fences that exist.  On the basis that this is no longer an option I suspect that I will be voting to go back to the old rule when it is presented at the AGM.

02/03/2020 20:52:24
Chris M
Hi John

We can arrange this yes.

It’s actually pretty simple, but compliance with ERS definitions make it sound more complex than it ought to. 

02/03/2020 22:07:06
Chris, you mention compliance with ERS definitions but no word in the new text is in bold type, so it includes no ERS definitions. Help me here. 

02/03/2020 22:10:33
Chris Martin
There should be.
Where is this new text please? 

02/03/2020 22:13:57

02/03/2020 22:29:09
Chris Martin
Got it.
Email sent. 

05/03/2020 18:11:09
Dan Alsop Class Technical Officer
Several respondents to this post have clearly not realized that the new rudder rule is NOT RETROSPECTIVE. Class Rule E.2.1 refers.  Accordingly any rudder existing at the time of issue of the new rule C.8 does not have to comply with the new rule, only the old one.
Dan Alsop 

05/03/2020 20:41:36
Or they can comply with the new rule. (Correct me if I am wrong, Dan).

05/03/2020 23:31:29
Roger Cole
  So how on earth are you going to know when the rudder was made? Presumably I can use my 1985 Rowsell rudder angled exactly how I please to dodge the tide but anyone purchasing (or making ) a new rudder now can't raise it more than a few degrees for fear of the trailing edge contravening the  new rule.  This is unenforceable  and bonkers.

06/03/2020 08:00:02
Dan Alsop
Keith - yes correct.
Roger - not dependent on age of rudder - it's whether it would have been legal when the boat was first measured.  See E.2.1.

06/03/2020 09:52:18
Now I am confused... I believe the RYA deemed rudders with fences to be illegal, which means they would have been illegal according to the rules at the time of measurement. Rightly or wrongly the rules have now been changed to accommodate the 40 or so boats with them, however if this rule is not retrospective surely those 40 or so boats are still illegal?
This is a question (probably a stupid one) and in no way critical of the committee.

06/03/2020 10:00:47
Ignore that, it was, as predicted, a stupid question... 'these class rules or the class rules at the time', hence Keith's comment!

06/03/2020 10:59:49
matt 3494
So what what your saying is..... if you want to lift your rudder you have to use your "at time of build rules" which would mean winged/similar contrivances are illegal for anyone that wants to lift a rudder? in a modern boat that is(not sure when the rule was taken on). I believe i could have a full foil on my boat. and lift it! So many of the fenced 40 would still be illegal as you as you can only race with either the up to date rules OR your year of build. Pick if you want to lift your rudder or have a fence. 
How do you declare what set of rules you are racing under? and where do i get a copy of the 1993 rules?

06/03/2020 11:18:25
Ezi dave
so if i read this right...
my cert is 2002....which means i can fit a winged rudder to my boat, (the rule change was 2003/4?) i can lift it into any position i want and still be legal?
that makes anyone with an Ezi roller fairly quick??

06/03/2020 11:39:45
Stuart Bates
Having thought about the current rule, this precludes you from lifting your rudder more than around half way with a hinge, based on an older Winder Lifting rudder, but if you have a cassette rudder you can raise it without an issue.

06/03/2020 13:36:53
David Greenng
Not that it is any of my business but ... couldn’t you just have a simple letterbox rule which the rudder assembly has to pass through, which would stop wings, but could allow minor tweaks such as fences and bulbs (remember them)?

06/03/2020 16:12:36
Roger Cole
I am now bewildered. Rule E2.1 in conjunction with the new rudder rule seems to suggest that I can use my nice old rudder on my 1976 reg. boat at any angle I please but were I to use the self same rudder on a new boat built this year I would only be able to raise it by a few degrees before I was out of class under the current 400mm. measurement. This is likely ,I know, to be a hypothetical situation but rules must be rules that are enforceable and unless the rudders are to be identified with a particular boat in some way (probably not desirable from the second hand market point of view) ,this would appear to be open to abuse.  If this is totally wrong I apologise whilst awaiting  correction from those more knowledgeable than myself

06/03/2020 16:31:16
Roger Cole
Second point of previous post probably not right as its the HULL initial date that is critical. First part still seems correct to me and seems a bit daft if the same rudder can be both in and out of class depending on mode of use and age of boat.

06/03/2020 18:29:26
Matt 3494

My understanding is that if your boat is built in 1976, you can dig out the original class rules and race under them. The interesting bit is that this is split into sections, hull, rig, appendages and sails. And each section has its own statement saying you can use a current rules part or from your original. Meaning..... My 1993 boat, I could use modern rules kites, poles and spars but choose to use the original rules on rudders. So a foil if I really wanted. Or as you point out, able to sail with my rudder lifted. Also I could modify my hull for a foil, have it remeasured under current rules but still use a 93 rudder.

Now this is an "I could" type thing. Would I? Maybe the rudder. But more for my own knowledge than to cheat a rule. 

If we went down that route you would need to know who and what part of a boat is racing under what rule. Could you change rules between events?

This isn't a new rule, it's always been there. But Dan has raised an interesting issue of you really want a fence/wing/lifting rudder.

06/03/2020 19:54:21
Roger Cole
Matt 3494---thanks for your input.  Can't honestly say that I have the situation any clearer,----this seems to have developed into a right dogs breakfast. Does it mean that any boat built from now on will only be able to lift its rudder a few degrees before it contravenes the 400mm measurement?  As an ancient owner of an ancient boat which I have owned and cherished for over 40 years I can assure you I have not the slightest interest in adding wings, foils, bulbs or anything else to my rudder but do wish to raise the blade when racing in shallow water. 

06/03/2020 20:58:21
Matt 3494
If a boat was built today, these rules would be it's "initial rules", but I know the committee are working on sorting that for the AGM.

So then it moves on to the new set and keeps moving with each new set. But if for some reason in the future the owner wanted to, it could revert back to its "initial rules". Not any set in-between. 

So as an owner, you have the choice of racing your boat off original initial rules, or the current. Or a mixture of them both. 

I like pushing rules, I'm a sailmaker it's what I do everyday. But as soon as it becomes illegal I'll take it off. I'm a bit of a geek and into the science of how and why. And reading and understanding rules..... Whether it upsets people or not. Rules are pretty black and white.

08/03/2020 07:51:52
Chris Martin
pastingIts been suggested by the VC and I agree that we need to publish a timeline of how we got top this point. Now I'm fully aware of the facts back when this all started I'm happy to do it. Here goes:

August 2003, SCYC (Abersoch) clubhouse AGM. MROA votes through a rule change to prevent the use of T-foil aka winged rudders. Change proposed by Graham Williamson, chief measurer. Several boats on the beach are equipped with fences, Graham's wife among them!

August 2014, Looe championships. The new "fenced" rudder design appears.

july 2019 SYC AGM. MROA instructed to look into the rudder rules. I can't comment further I wasn't there.

Summer 2019, RYA technical manager tells us that there is no problem with the fenced rudders, the fence constitutes a "variation in the thickness of the rudder"

Winter 2019/2020. RYA Technical committee rules fences in breach of class rules.

February 2020. RYA grant a temporary rule change as described elsewhere

09/03/2020 09:19:37
Chris, you have left out something in your timeline: What happened between Winter 2019/20 and February 2020 for the RYA to grant the temporary rule change? Did they do it unilaterally?
Matt: "You have your choice of racing off initial rules, or the current. Or a mixture of them both".
Yep, that seems to be the case. See this link for where this might lead!

09/03/2020 09:40:36
And Chris,
I was not at the AGM in Abersoch (2003) but I was at an AGM in Salcombe in, I think, 2013 which approved a rule to ban T foils, which then had just appeared in the National Twelve Class. 

09/03/2020 10:40:27
Dave 5266
As far as i can tell the rule was not changed until at least 2010??? it certainly failed in 2003 and 2004..so by my reckoning there are lots of 'new' winders that could have a winged rudder

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Merlin Rocket Owners’ Association held at South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club on Monday 25th August 2003 at 9.00 p.m.

PROPOSAL 1 – Banning Winged Rudders

To amend Rule 17 (a) as follows:

“The following are prohibited:

Double luff mainsails, mainsails passed round the mast and attached back on themselves, inside ballast, bowsprits, bumpkins, outside channels, outriggers, bilgeboard, double rudders, winged rudders or similar contrivances, etc. …..”

Proposed by Graham Williamson and seconded by Will Rainey.

Will Rainey said that a number of people had experimented with winged rudders, which were used by the Int. 14 and Moth classes. Wings had been of various widths – some fixed and others variable. The cost of such a rudder would be around £1000. In the Int. 14 class the effect was to make the waterline length a bit longer than the hull. He thought it unlikely that there would be a benefit to the Merlin Rocket class at our speeds. Adjustable wings might be effective, but there would have to be a change in hull design to take advantage.

Ben Jennings asked if 14s used them in all conditions, and Tom Stewart said they did, though it wasn’t a requirement. Linton Jenkins agreed with much of what Will had said, though he thought a rudder would cost less than £1000. There were many advantages to winged rudders, amongst which they gave a nicer ride. He and Simon Blake had tried one, but it required more development. Tom said that Int. 14 rudders cost £1000, and Dan Alsop was concerned about the expense – we should give plenty of thought as to the cost implications. Also, did “adjustable” wings mean wings that could be altered on the water, or only off it? Julian Parry thought a cheaper, fixed wing version could be used effectively on present hull designs and the main advantage would be the additional stability it gave the boat. Linton asked the members not to ban the winged rudder – we didn’t know enough about it yet. Another comment was that recent developments in sails and spars had been costly and this could mean another significant cost increase. It was not clear that winged rudders would suit a Merlin, but we didn’t know yet. Guy Winder and Lawrie Smart were concerned about the possibility of a significant increase in costs, and Lawrie thought it could ruin the versatility of the class.

Tom Stewart said that 2 Nat 12s had tried fixed wings and another 2 had tried variable wings, though none had been used at this year’s championships.

John Cooper asked for a definition of a fixed wing rudder. Will said that it would be possible to introduce a Rule that a rudder blade should be able to pass through a “letter box” 4 inches wide. “Fences” were allowed – the RYA thought our definition allowed the use of “fences”. If this proposal was approved, he thought we should go back to the RYA to check our definition before it was put in the Rules. Linton said that if winged rudders were banned, no development would take place. If other classes went ahead and we changed our minds later, we could find ourselves playing catch up.

Pat Blake said that Int. 14s were using winged rudders because their hulls were really too short for the huge area of sail they carried. The strength of the Merlin Rocket was in the places we sailed and he didn’t think that winged rudders would be good for the Class considering the wide variety of venues.

The proposal was put to the vote. 17 members voted for, 10 against and 13 abstained. The proposal was not carried.

Pat Blake said that Committee would continue to look at this question and if necessary bring forward proposals to the next AGM. He asked for plenty of input from members.

There being no further business, the Annual General Meeting was closed.

09/03/2020 18:56:05
Chris Martin
pastingIn thats case it went through in 2004/2005. It was a *very* long time ago, and certainly not at Salcombe because I was there and 2012 was my first Salcombe.

The main point I'm trying to answer is that the membership has *never* voted to ban the appendages as seen on some current rudders. That is the only reason why I'm in favour of this dispensation/rule change. I don't really mind whether we keep them or not, you won't find one on my current rudder. But in a restricted I can't really see why we can't choose whether or not to have one within clearly defined limits - even if all it does is stop the water going up your nose whilst you're de-weeding the rudder. Also is it not a little hypocritical to kick off over a temporary rule change because "its not been voted on by the membership" when the membership hasn't voted to ban the item in question in the first place?

Maybe we will have to agree to disagree on that one.

Concerning old boats basically, yes, if you want to completely screw up the racing in our class you can use a winged rudder on your old boat. Was art Paul Elvestrom's saying that "You've won nothing if you lose the respect of your competitors". Think about that one before you do it.

(And before anyone says anything about people using fences and winning, not one competitor has felt sufficiently "disrespected" in 6 years to put a protest in. I am in furious agreement that we should have asked this question much - years - sooner, and I think we've all learned something from this. But each and every person who has sailed in a Merlin against one of these rudders and not protested shares a slice of responsibility for this situation. We are a self policing sport.)

09/03/2020 19:08:32
Chris Martin
As a glimmer for Keith I do recall that when the rules went ISAF format some bits of profound importance were inadvertently omitted. Whilst I was persuaded a few days/weeks ago that "Winged rudders" were not one of them, Keiths timescale does fit in with this hypothesis and it is not impossible that it had to go to vote again and that vote is the one that Keith remembers at Salcombe.
Hindsight is wonderful, but that was an opportunity missed. Like I said in the last post, we have learned a lot from this.

09/03/2020 21:50:28
Interesting reading on the history of the process. Bearing in mind the current situation with getting an entry to Salcombe and the AGM being held there with a poor turnout, plus missing many key active members due to the over subscription of the event (which is great news for the class), maybe it is time that change of process/format is taken by the class and AGM when held at Salcombe in future, the the forum's primary process to set the agenda for voting and what to discard. Once that process has been completed the vote then be applied to the fleet as a whole to vote on any rule changes. This would give greater inclusion to active members and maybe engage the younger generation in the process as well. These are purely my thoughts

10/03/2020 08:38:37
Matt, tired of it
I've slept on my reply to try and make sure I don't rant. Here goes.

No fences or wings discussed in 2003/04/05. The timing is sort of irrelevant but shows a lack of records and ability to keep track

Rules aren't "intentions" that's the whole point. Someone off the street can come along read the rule and make a decision with no other information. The intention X years ago does not change how I read a rule today. 

The fence situation has been niggling at people for years, it's all over this forum going years back with comments like "call it a fence and it will be legal". When I joined the fleet a couple of years ago the fleet didn't feel very welcoming (explained on another post) and the last thing I wanted to do was protest half the fleet for jib bars and fences. I mean you've already just threatened me with screwing up the class if I put a wing on my boat in a perfectly legal way! Without even pushing a rule! Why would I upset people? 

Pushing rules.... Thickness change.... Yes, as I've previously said to Chris M(who agreed) it may be If you squint it could be a thickness change, but it's still a foil/wing. If it acts like a foil/wing then it is a foil/wing. Like the lunch bag. If it acts like a sail, it is a sail. Pretty simple when you get down to reading the rules properly.

This whole mess came about because two committee members thought they could protest each other to show it's legality (or otherwise) and send it to the rya for a ruling, and that would be it. Now the committee felt the need to rush a rule 
change through(sorry, not rushed, two weeks) and it's not fit! And the class is back in limbo!

Instead of accepting the ruling and trying to change the rule normally at AGM we now have a really stick feeling floating around the class. 

Well that didn't work, I ranted. Bridges burnt. This I a good way to make sure you're only sailing with the people you want to.
See you on the water. Maybe.

10/03/2020 13:58:46
Roger Cole
Well said Barnsie!  It is very important for "the vote to be applied to the fleet as a whole" --(around 500 paid up members?)--- instead of 30 or so who can be bothered to turn up at the current format AGM.  There were 120 boats at Salcombe last year. Presumably that equals in the region of 90 owners who were in or around the town at AGM time but had "better " things to do.

10/03/2020 16:15:17
James, crew for many
Don't bring elvstrom into this
Changing rules for 40 people. Elvstrom would have loved that one

10/03/2020 17:56:04
james, crew for many- it's like Godwin's law for sailors...what would elvstrom the guru think? who know's he's dead......however, i do know this. Elvstrom might have raced as a 'corinthian' if you believe, but he studied the rules.
He used every advantage he could inside the rules as he knew them, Famously he was the first to use toestraps for hiking when everyone else in the finns sat on the side decks..he had a year before others caught up.

10/03/2020 21:42:56
Dan Alsop Class Technical Officer
I'm almost exhausted by all this business, having got lots to sort out another more serious rules matter!
So let's have a bit of fun.
My records suggest that the rule to prohibit winged rudders was not adopted until 2009. 
However despite my recent forum observations regarding the implications of the "non-retrospective presumption", I would advise any pre-2009 boat owners NOT to add wings to their rudders because the rules even before that time banned (as they do now) "double rudders and similar contrivances".  And "similar contrivances" is precisely what the RYA only recently deemed our "fences" to be, so would it not seem logical to anticipate that "proper" wings would have suffered the same fate, should anyone have adopted them pre-2009 and been subject to protest?
But of course we will never know for sure, and it seems that no-one realised this at the time, so that the formal proposal to ban wings was presumably adopted in the expectation that unless they were specifically banned, they might be allowed.
Anyway, should anyone be so bold as to stick some wings on the rudder of a pre-2009 boat (wow that includes mine!) and relegates Christian Birrell to the history books, I will wait with baited breath for the hail of protests to coming flying down from the Midlands!
Usual disclaimer.
Dan Alsop in lighter mood.  And please be nice to me!

11/03/2020 08:55:03
We love you
Sail forever
Woof woof  

11/03/2020 10:59:27
Dan, yay!! 
top  answer - that has got the grey cells working......like all good rules 😆
so just for 'funs' sake...as we end this interminable post on one topic that has a variety of issues! including the possible reason that no one protests? (i agree with Matt3494 comments)
and maybe the reason that no one protested the likes of truswell, blake et al way back in 2003,04 etc. was because (well excepting that to protest the hotshots at the top of the fleet takes balls the size of Elvstrom or Ainslie - which no one will do as they don't want to been seen as a pedant) . No one likes a pedant apparently.

If you read the 2009 rule as a whole "Daggerboards, bilgeboards, double rudders and similar contrivances are prohibited."
then the "contrivance" alludes to double rudders and similar appendages, so i imagine back in 1994 - 2009 the hotshots were fitting wings because they were legal under their current rules (although no one protested them?), double rudders and similar contrivances meant canards or other rudder type appendages, a winged rudder was  legal because it was just that a single rudder that happened to have wings.

The current (ok old current) rules
"Daggerboards, bilgeboards, double rudders, winged rudders and similar contrivances are prohibited. means that anything that is a similar contrivance to a winged rudder (e.g. a fence) is illegal as found by the RYA in November?

PS agree with Barnsies post and Rogers re. agm / voting, there has to be a more inclusive way in 2020? then maybe i would renew my membership if you want me 🤔

17/07/2020 15:59:57
Matt 3494
Interesting reading in the magazine. Can anyone confirm if the stock is included? As the winder stock is over 80mm. See linked picture: 

So either the stock is included and the rule needs adjusting again (if you agree with it at all) or the stock isn't included and we can put fences on stocks?

17/07/2020 17:44:02
If the stock isn't part of the rudder, then can we put fences and wings on the stock then?

19/07/2020 08:21:48
Chris Martin
Please see ERS E.1.2 and specifically part j.

There is no mention anywhere of a rudder stock, therefore the stock and rudder are measured as a complete unit. The rudder stock is not defined anywhere.

If you read the proposed rule change properly you will see the proposal to insert a transom datum point above which you can have protrusions, fences or if you so desire any form of brake you wish :). Below the datum point you cannot have blade protusions. I'm sorry to sound patronising, but I don't see how you can make it much simpler.

This has been done the way it has after - believe it or not - quite considerable time because we do not want to insert a rule that will make *any* known rudder illegal. This goes right back to the beginning and is NOT focused around anything made in the last 6 years. Fences are not a new phenomenon, and neither are rudder stocks. We have no idea how wide every stock in current use on a MR is.

So whether you want fences or not, I strongly believe that we need to do something along these lines to clarify what is and is not permitted with the rudder (My wingnut could fall foul of a width restriction on the stock for example). I don't really care about fences, you can ban them if you want, what I want to see the end of - where possible - is having to keep referring things back to Tec. The MROA and the RYA have things that they don't want to see - so lets stop them! Then everyone knows where they are.
Hope this clarifies things a bit.

19/07/2020 12:16:09
Matt 3494
Thanks Chris, good explanation. A bit ranty, but good and clear.

19/07/2020 12:42:10
Sorry to disagree

C.8.2.4 Foils or similar contrivances with a total wingspan greater than 80mm, and/or any such device that is the
 limiting component in the rotation of the rudder, and/or extend further aft than the trailing edge of the
 rudder are prohibited.

The stock is the limiting component in rotation. It's above the datum point so falls foul of this 80mm wingspan. And yes, if your wing nut is outside the 80mm then that to would become illegal. 

This rudder would be illegal under the new rules. 

19/07/2020 16:50:13
Chris M
I’m sorry Matt I’m just a bit exasperated with this, a huge amount of time has gone into this and it really feels like it’ll never be good enough.

Keep smiling :)

20/07/2020 10:51:04
Matt 3494
After some re reading I find it will be illegal. Why do 40ish people get to have there rudders made legal when they failed to read the rules? Yes I can modify it, but that's besides the point. I shouldn't have to.

Anyway, here's a clearer video. 


Chris I appreciate it's hard, but that's the road that's been chosen, to modify rules through the rya. I won't get the files and epoxy out just yet...

20/07/2020 12:25:20
Chris Martin
Ok lets get the proposed words on show:
C.8.2.1 Daggerboards, bilgeboards and multiple rudders are prohibited.

C.8.2.2 The Transom Datum Point is defined as the intersection of the planes of the outer faces of the garboard planks at the transom, projected to the hull centreplane.

C.8.2.3 The rudder in any normal sailing position, no foils or similar contrivances shall extend below the transom datum point.

C.8.2.4 Foils or similar contrivances with a total wingspan greater than 80mm, and/or any such device that is the limiting component in the rotation of the rudder, and/or extend further aft than the trailing edge of the rudder are prohibited.
I take it you are referring to C.8.2.4. I would suggest that - reading the definition of a foil - the stiffening bar across your stock is not a foil (ERS E.1.2.m - A hull appendage attached to a centreboard, daggerboard, bilgeboard or rudder, primarily used to affect leeway and/or produce vertical lift.). If you were to take it below the datum point it would then be ruled a contrivance and would be illegal. In its current form it doesn't affect leeway or produce lift and therefore is OK.

20/07/2020 12:25:57
Dan Alsop, Class Technical Officer
The word "any such device" in the clause that you query has been included to address the very point that concerns you.  By its inclusion the prohibition on the limitation of rudder rotation is specifically restricted to such devices as foils and similar contrivances (the latter being the RYA's definition of the Winder device in question).  Rudder stocks, which as you observe usually limit the rotation of lifting rudders, or indeed pintles/gudgeons which can limit the rotation of fixed rudders, clearly fall outside this definition. 
Similarly in ERS the term wingspan has specific meaning and would not be used to limit the width of  rudder stocks, wingnuts etc.
I appreciate that the wording of these proposed rules is not easy to digest, but to reinforce Chris Martin's comment, please be assured that an inordinate amount of time and trouble was spent by a significant number of people trying to get them right, and they do deserve the most careful reading and thought before finding fault.
Hope this helps,
Dan Alsop

20/07/2020 12:28:48
Chris Martin
and my wingnut is also OK on that basis 

20/07/2020 13:32:09
matt 3494
Then i think you need to re word your rule!
Because currently it says foils and/OR any such device that is the limiting component in rotation. Its not saying a foil that limits rotation. It clearly says and/or any such device. OR being the critical bit. So as the rule reads, anything above the datum point that limits rotation must be 80mm max? Actually what it says is "or any such device that is the limiting component in the rotation of the rudder is prohibited"  which would actually mean every rudder is illegal (as dan says "Rudder stocks, which as you observe usually limit the rotation of lifting rudders, or indeed pintles/gudgeons which can limit the rotation of fixed rudders")
  Foils or similar contrivances with a total wingspan greater than 80mm, and/OR any such device that is the limiting component in the rotation of the rudder, and/or extend further aft than the trailing edge of the rudder are prohibited.
The stock is and always will be a limiting factor in rotation and what you've done is try to put a max width on that. Which is fine, its just tedious that you're doing it to allow fences which in turn makes mine and im sure others illegal. Ive offered to help in the past, and the offer is still there. 

20/07/2020 13:58:03
Chris M
The key term is wingspan: from ERS

The maximum transverse distance between the outermost points of any wings.

This was I believe put in by TEC - granted it says “wing” not “foil”

But this strengthen is neither of those things. So it’s ok - and my wingnut is still in too :)

(My slightly flippant and exasperated example that is more relevant than I ever realised 😂)

20/07/2020 15:48:20
Matt 3494
Yes i see the 80mm is directly linked to a foil span and the reinforcing is'st a foil so is clear. Thanks (no modifications! and go nuts with wingnuts!). But you've missed the point that you've added a ruled that bans most fittings ^^^ see Dans helpful comment. ref >> OR any such device that is the limiting component in the rotation of the rudder are prohibited. I dont see the need for that part or what your trying to ban with it. 

20/07/2020 16:23:42
Stuart Bates
Ok, not trying to complicate things here, rather simplify them.  The Rule we are looking at is
C.8.2.4 Foils or similar contrivances with a total wingspan greater than 80mm, and/or any such device that is the limiting component in the rotation of the rudder, and/or extend further aft than the trailing edge of the rudder are prohibited.
This is the wording of the rule, which brings up a few questions,
First, which plane is the rotation to be limited, horizontal, vertical or other?
Limiting Component in the rotation :  Anything that stops the rudder from rotation in any plane would then be illegal including the pintles/Gudgeons as it would mean that even the Transom limits the rotation, when in contact with the fittings.  Because the plane is not defined then any rudder uphaul/downhaul system is also questionable as is fittings that stop the foil being lifted or dropped.
I think that something along the lines of
'Between the Transom Datum Point and 40mm above this the Rudder can be no wider than 80mm.'
Would be a better option, as when does a foil become a reinforcement, or vice versa?  This also removes the ambiguity of the 'Rotation' aspect of the rule.  Anything wider than 80mm above around 40mm would not have an impact on performance, as you would be dragging your transom if there was anything foil like above that thus negating the issue.  And Those pesky Wingnuts would no longer be an issue.

20/07/2020 20:29:17
David JS
@Matt 3494 it seems that you either vote to ban fenced and keep the original rule as per the RYA protest (fence is a contrivance) Or, you vote to keep the fences but then have an illegal stock and / or downhaul and/or gudgeon.
Either way it seems you need a grinder or as decent sander 🤣.

I'm flabbergasted that a ruling on a current rule by the RYA has been the motivation for this mess.

Surely just keep the rule and the result of the original protest, the rule was well written, it was just that one boatbuilder (?) ignored it and the professionals in the silver timer turned a blind eye. Until a mere mortal noticed it....

20/07/2020 20:49:58
Would it not be in the best interest of all to grandfather the contriviance . Clarify with the builder and move on. Maybe I have missed the point but if nothing passes at the EGM a hammer and chisel will be required x40 . All that will do is upset people, seams a shame if this mess ends in that way. 

20/07/2020 22:18:27
Chris Martin
@David JS your last sentance isn't true. These boats/rudders all got past measurement and there would have been more than one measurer involved. Its true to say in the light of the ban on winged rudders back in 2001 they did raise a couple eyebrows in 2014 when they became fashionable again but no-one followed it up because we have had similar/identical things before. 
Maybe we should have done. It's now water under the bridge. 
Matt's stock is not and will not be illegal. Unless someone bungles an amendment to the proposed rule and it goes through............
Dan is right - please read the RRS/ERS/Class rules in detail and sleep on it before commenting :) 
And I know, it is unnecessarily complicated. 

20/07/2020 22:24:46
Chris Martin
@Stuart when does reinforcement become a foil? When in the opinion of the measurer its function is to affect leeway or provide lift. It's in the ERS definitions.
I agree it would be better if this was simpler - it seems this isn't possible.  It might become possible if this provokes a review of ERS definitions as I don't think any class has spent this amount of time on rules re rudders/fences/foils ever. I14/Moth rules are not helpful. N12 rules don't need to be ISAF friendly.

21/07/2020 09:16:30
Matt 3494
So explain it Chris? Don't just say your way is right and stamp your foot.

What's this limited rotation component for for? Explain why these rules are being brought in? Explain it in simple terms as I've obviously never read a rule before as I don't understand.

21/07/2020 10:46:32
Matt 3494
Ok Chris, i've read the ERS for hull appendages and rudders. the definition for hull appendage:
E.1.1 Hull Appendage
Any item of equipment – including the items listed in E.1.2– which is:
wholly or partly below the sheerline or its extension when fixed or when
fully exposed if retractable,
attached to the hull shell or another hull appendage, and
used to affect: stability, leeway, steerage, directional stability, motion
damping, trim, displaced volume,
Any of the following shall be included in the hull appendage:
corrector weights,
integral ballast, and
associated fittings.
note the associated fittings.
definition of rudder:
A movable hull appendage primarily used to affect steerage.
so fittings are included. that means the stock and tiller are included. Now lets look at the proposed rule:
 C.8.2.4 Foils or similar contrivances with a total wingspan greater than 80mm, and/or any such device that is the limiting component in the rotation of the rudder, and/or extend further aft than the trailing edge of the rudder are prohibited.
so any fitting, including the stock and tiller that limits the rotation is prohibited?
can you explain why we need this part of the rule? what are you trying to stop happening with it? the limiting rotation aspect and you solve this.

27/07/2020 09:33:54
Can the technical committee comment on this? It would be really nice to get some openness and clarity. Maybe they could even join in the discussion and we can all work to getting an outcome that works?

I think it would be nice to have the rule explained. Yes we know you are trying to allow fences to make rudders legal. But it would be nice to know what each part of the rule is trying to allow and what each part is also trying to stop. Why this is so closed off. I presume you've all been chatting about it behind the scenes, why not do it here? With the people who will be voting on it? 
At the moment it looks like you are ignoring it and hoping people won't ask tricky questions.

31/07/2020 15:36:26
stuart gurney
wow - we just have to worry about what kind of Gin to take on board.

04/08/2020 08:10:02
Barry Dunning
Always remember KISS.
Ban all contrivances, wings, fences etc.
It will also keep the cost down!

14/08/2020 14:01:46
That's exactly what is was Barry! But some didn't like it so got it changed

25/08/2020 14:26:33
Antony Gifford
I am assuming that the EGM papers, when published, will give us an option to vote to retain the existing rule and require all illegal 'fences' to be removed.  The vote at the 2019 AGM was not sufficient to remove this option. 
Given the large gap between events at present it is a pity this was not already agreed and the owners could have removed them all, or requested that their supplier did so.
I am looking forward to voting in favour of the existing rules being retained and observed but sadly as i live in Scotland will probably not be able to attend.   I do not envy Chris and the team trying to pull together an AGM/EGM in the current environment. 


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