28/09/2020 09:02:41
Just for clarity, do we know have to remove fences from our currently legal rudders? Or are the class likely to try and pass another emergency rule? I don't want to remove it just for it to be allowed again because i perceive it to be a worthwhile attachment.

28/09/2020 11:21:26
   please no anon posts on this topic 😂 don't want to upset the apple cart.
yes fences need to be removed to be class legal.

28/09/2020 11:28:12
John Fildes
Fences Foils and similar contrivances.
In light of a recent class statement I think it is important to try and do the difficult thing now so as to avoid more problems and animosity in 2021 . This is not intended to stoke the fire but deal with the real issue in light of the lack of clarity of how you can help yourselves, and to offer options to help you keep sailing class legal .

Class Statement 

• As the EGM will not be held, it will not be possible to vote on resolutions brought forward in 2020. This means that the temporary rule on rudders added by the RYA for the remainder of 2020 will be automatically removed on 01/01/2021. We ask that you be aware of this development and ensure that the rudders used are compliant with the Class Rules.
What does this mean ?

All rudders built after 2009 must be free fences/wings in simple terms.

Many of you will have purchased your rudder with your boat and as I understand it if that is the case and the boat came to you measured, then the RYA is the insurer of mesurer's. As such the RYA are ultimately liable for the cost of making your rudder legal.
If you purchased the rudder on its own you will need to talk to the constructor to see how you can have it made class legal. 

List of options 

Talk to the builder of your rudder to see if they can help you. 

You may be able to knock  it off with a chisel and refinish with gel. ( But I am not sure)

Email your class tec for advise   [email protected]

There are three months and a week for you to become fence free if you need help or advice please ask. 

28/09/2020 13:24:26
Matt 3494
"What does this mean ?

All rudders built after 2009 must be free fences/wings in simple terms."
That is incorrect. If your boat was measured before the rules changed at the AGM to ban wings then you can race with wings/fences(2009? not sure on actual date) You can race of your original rules for hull appendages. See rule E2.1. and for reassurance here's the technical measurer confirming earlier this year in a previous post.
 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.

29/09/2020 20:06:21
John Meadowcroft
As far as I can see the Merlin rocket measurement form has no requirement for rudder measurements to be taken.  So I don’t see why it would be possible for there to be grounds for a successful claim against the RYA.
I would imagine that the rule infringement of a rudder fence is more closely aligned to sailing with one’s sails outside the permitted black bands.  It is a matter for the sailor and not the builder nor the RYA.
If my sail luff was too long I would expect to cut it off.  Same for bumps on my rudder, which I am fortunate not have.  And if my boat is old enough - I suspect it is not - I might try the N12 rudder on the back of it  😂

30/09/2020 08:38:11
@john meadowcroft if the above is correct a quick look in the handbook shows the last boat built in 2008 was 3700. That would mean that any boat under that could sport a N12 style wing? what number are you?

Obviously we are still waiting for clarification from the powers above, but it looks pretty clear.

I agree, I don't think it's a measurement fault as such. This is between the person that bought the rudder and the person that sold it. It's hardly the sellers fault if some comes and asks for it. But is it the buyers fault if that is what is offered? Tricky situation. 

30/09/2020 13:34:44
Not a member of the class assoc, and, no real intention to come racing in ST events, but i race locally and do handicap events. So always looking for ways to make my boat quicker, so new fenced rudder, and other skunkworks stuff in progress.
As per Johns comments, as an owner of a 2002 ezyrider i can put a wing on my rudder, verified above by Dan Alsop (see above). So because i can i am, the spirit of the rules schmules, Truswell put one on my last merlin and Blake put one on my current - were thay doing it against the spirit of the rules??

 My boat is currently at a builders having the transom strengthened (amongst other mods) i have all the parts either made or in production to fit a winged rudder and control system (its not hugely expensive - cheaper than new boom!
It seems to me that any Pre 2002 boat can do this, in fact the last two Merlins i have owned had winged rudder prototypes!
Please for the sake of giving c's like me an adavntage why don't the rules committee add something like we did regarding the bilge keels? See below for the addendum.
Also as the proud owner of a fence i can keep mine under the 2002 rules...so one with wing and one with fence. under the current rule situation. Now i'm happy to spend my money on a wing, i might even turn up at a ST or nationals for a one off, but it seems the majority of the class are against wings and the current rules potentially give the advantage back to older boats ( i think keyser soze can do this!) as mentioned above any sub 3700 number...so all the nice shiny £28k winder5, genii, rockatross can't... so you (not me as i'm not a member) either need to allow them as older boats can or add to them.

Merlin rules 2020 example from bilge keels, the critical addition is underlined:
D.2.1 RULES (a) The hull shall comply with these class rules or the class rules in force at the time of initial certification. Any alteration, replacement or repair to the buoyancy apparatus shall comply with the current class rules. (b) Outside channels are prohibited.

(f) One bilge keel or chafing piece shall be fitted over a land on each side, and so placed that the weight of the boat will bear on the main keel and one bilge keel only, when the boat is on a level surface. Each bilge keel shall be in contact with one plank only and no part of a bilge keel shall be within 4mm of any adjacent plank. In alteration to D.2.1 this rule applies to all boats.
So why not have :
E.1.1 MANDATORY Centreboard
E.2.1 RULES The hull appendages shall comply with these class rules or the class rules in force at the time of initial hull certification.
(a) In alteration to E.2.1 this rule applies to all boats. 

30/09/2020 14:22:42
Trying to follow this thread and work out what this means for me (not easy!). 
I have 3686 which was built in 2007 but it has a new Winder Lifting Rudder built in 2018 to the latest deep with fence design.
Am I now expected to hack this £800 rudder apart to be class legal? All so I can potter around in the middle of the fleet making absolutely not a jot of difference to my boat speed? 
Since I am no longer involved in the class in any significant part, I feel I can speak my mind. This is far too complicated and difficult to follow. The class is hard enough to afford and compete in without having to change rudders for no particular reason. Frankly I am more inclined to walk away than try to keep up with all the rule changes over the past few years. New boats are now costing upwards of £25k if not £30k which is utterly bonkers and perhaps the class should be looking at ways to stem the increasing cost of being competitive instead. What was once an affordable fun boat to sail at more or less any weight range, it is now massively expensive and unless you have an all up crew weight of 22 stone or less, you don't really stand a hope in hells chance of getting out of the midfleet.

30/09/2020 14:37:51
John Meadowcroft
I have got 799.

30/09/2020 16:01:41
To be absolutely clear.
It is the boat certificate and not when the rudder is purchased!

so you are fine... Unless the committee and the rule I think they should be which brings all rudders under the current rule.

30/09/2020 16:03:55
Stuart Bates
Jeremy, as your boat was built pre-fence/wing rules then your rudder is fine, as the way the rules are state that as long as it comply with the rules at the time the boat was built then it is legal for your boat.

30/09/2020 19:14:27
Pat Blake
Just for your information, winged rudders were banned at the 2009 AGM held at Salcombe on July11th.
The relevant minutes are:
Measurement Rules.
Graham Williamson spoke in favour of the proposal to ban winged rudders. This issue had been in the background for some while. At least 2 people were thinking of trying winged rudders and designing new hull shapes to suit the rudder. Graham had spoken to the RYA about this and their advice was, if we wished to ban them, we should add the words “winged rudders” to the list of prohibitions in Measurement Rule 17 a). Will Rainey said that winged rudders wouldn’t work with present hull designs, and pointed out that the Merlin Rocket’s strength was its ability to compete on all types of water. A new design built to suit a winged rudder wouldn’t have this competitive range. The Class was stable at present, but to allow such a development would have the effect of disrupting the Class in the way that Dead Cat Bounce had done in the National 12.

It was pointed out that a Rule change to ban winged rudders wouldn’t be irreversible, and could always be revisited. Tom Stewart said that the winged rudder on DCB made it behave like a longer boat. John Stokes thought we shouldn’t ape other classes, and Richard Whitworth commented that everyone he’d spoken to about this had not been in favour.

Will Rainey said that much had been made of restricting development. Rule 17 a) contained a long list of restrictions which had been voted for in the past, and he believed it was right that we should add winged rudders to that list of banned equipment. Pat Blake pointed out to members that they should be positive in their voting on the proposal. To be adopted it needed a three quarters majority, and members should be aware that any abstention would in effect be a vote against the motion.

The proposal was put to the vote – 53 members voted for the proposal, 2 against and one member abstained. The proposal was therefore carried.
There was no 'grandfather' clause. 

30/09/2020 19:23:10
Matt 3494
Yes, whilst wings and fences were banned they have snuck back in (see fences) and rule E 2.1 allows any boat built upto the date you mention to still use wings/fences. Or another way to look at it is this means that the ban placed on these at the AGM in 2009 only bans them on boats built after that date.

01/10/2020 16:46:47
Flubber Gasted
If that is true then this is a right old mess........

02/10/2020 11:50:37
MROA Committee
Following discussions on this thread, the committee requested guidance from the RYA regarding their interpretation of old rules in relation to winged rudders.
The RYA are of the opinion that winged rudders would be illegal on any Merlin Rocket regardless of its age. They say that throughout Merlin Rocket history, rudders were never certified, and because of this have no certification control, so would therefore fall under Section C – Conditions for racing of the current class rules. They say that you can only apply old class rules to things that would appear on the measurement certificate or that were measured at the time the boat was built.
Notwithstanding this point, the RYA interpret that even if it were possible to use the old rules, the wording of these rules would not permit the use of winged foils, considering the recent above-water fenced rudder interpretation and ruling.

MROA Committee

02/10/2020 13:59:55
Matt 3494
Thanks for the anonymous post MROA Committee.

Can you explain a few bits so it's clear to everyone? Me included as I think i must have a different set of rules

What does  d2.1, e2.1, f2.1 and g2.1 do? As when I spoke to the RYA they advised that this is ok as the way the rules are split into sections I could use my old sails/rudders/rigs and still be legal. Also The class measure was telling everyone that they don't need to worry about it because of e2.1. 

So some clarification on that would be nice.

We know wings used to be legal, as the class asked the rya to specifically ban them in 2009.  Double rudders and similar contrivances does not ban wings. A wing is not similar to a double rudder.

"Graham had spoken to the RYA about this and their advice was, if we wished to ban them, we should add the words “winged rudders” to the list of prohibitions in Measurement Rule 17 a). "

Or were the boats that did try them doing so illegally and then you had a discussion at the AGM to ban them again?

Awaiting clarification 🙂

02/10/2020 14:11:21
Sorry I don't believe the RYA on this, I think they are just looking to give an easy answer, as their answer contradicts the class rules!
Rule E2.1 states:
The hull appendages shall comply with these class rules or the class rules in force at the time of initial hull certification.
Thus any Rudder would have to either conform with the Current Class rules, or the Rules from when the boat was built!
Is it time to revisit the subject of which rules are valid for racing, with old rules being Grandfathered to prevent any controversy?

02/10/2020 15:34:49
Chris Martin
Chris K and the committee are but the messenger.

The message looks pretty clear. If it’s recorded on the measurement form or certificate it can be grandfathered. If it is not recorded on the measurement form or certificate it cannot be grandfathered.

So fences are illegal on all boats from jan 1st. Winged/T foil rudders are illegal on all boats and have been for years.

If you require further clarification your best bet is the measurement authority, the RYA.

02/10/2020 15:46:41
OK. pause. 
Can MROA committe just read the rules? not what the RYA think they should say. Read them like its a protest committee......
The hull appendages shall comply with these class rules or the class rules in force at the time of initial hull certification.
I contacted the RYA tech dept regarding my boat, they confirmed my reading of the rules was correct (although they hesitated as they could see the huge problem this could cause) my rudder, sails etc, can be either current or first certificate rules. With that told i asked for a copy of the first certificate for my hull so that when i turn up i can prove my hull is unchanged and i'm allowed to use winged rudder (as did the original owner of my boat in 2002 Simon Blake).
So with all the information i had this year i sent my hull off to get a winged rudder fitted, a bit of money i wouldn't spend if the RYA had in April told me that doing so would be out of class.
Again; as my post above, if you want to stop all this shenanignas then the MROA need to add this to the rules. 
The hull appendages shall comply with these class rules or the class rules in force at the time of initial hull

(a) In alteration to E.2.1 this rule applies to all boats.  

I'm off to find an international juror 😂.....

PS all you 3700 hull numbers and newer still need to cut your fences off 🤣

02/10/2020 16:07:16
Matt 3494
"The message looks pretty clear. If it’s recorded on the measurement form or certificate it can be grandfathered. If it is not recorded on the measurement form or certificate it cannot be grandfathered."
no ones said anything about grandfathering anything?
"So fences are illegal on all boats from jan 1st. Winged/T foil rudders are illegal on all boats and have been for years"
Again no one is disagreeing with this, the class banned wings in 2009(including fences) with the assistance of the RYA for wording to ban them. the fact was brought to light by Dan Alsop who highlighted that 
The hull appendages shall comply with these class rules or the class rules in force at the time of initial hull
no mention of what is on the certificate. Just that it has to comply with the class rules in force at the time.  So, as it says above and as Dan Alsop confirmed, you can legally use foils or fences if you are pre 2009.
I would not advise contacting the RYA directly(even though I already have on this and they agreed with my reading) . That is not their purpose. They will tell you to talk to your class association to clarify any rules. And here we are. talking.
so again, e2.1 would allow the use of fences and foils for older boats. As so many people have pointed out during this debate, fences and wings were used and tried legally back in the day and eventually banned.

02/10/2020 16:26:38
Chris Martin
I’m not going to debate this here. A ruling has been made by the measurement authority - you cannot put a winged rudder on any Merlin Rocket.

If you have a problem with that ruling contact details for the relevant people are readily available.

02/10/2020 16:32:17
Matt 3494
Where's the ruling? What questions did you ask? The rules currently allow it for certain age boats... It's there in black and white. Changes have been suggested to stop this.

02/10/2020 16:59:24
Flubber Gasted
my flubber is getting more ghasted! 

02/10/2020 17:43:09
Matt 3494
Because the RYA have not given a ruling at all, only an interpretation which is not the same or official. I've been on the phone for a fair time with the RYA this afternoon. The summary of the conversation was it is not clear. There was talk of that because it's not a measured item it should be within current rules but unfortunately that is not what the rules say and as we know, you have to read what is written.

 I'm happy that a fence/or wing on my boat will beat a protest and I'm happy for someone to protest me. Even if the result doesn't go my way 🙂

03/10/2020 17:08:53
Well, I'm glad that's crystal clear.
So in a protest room, with independent panel (maybe not Merlin sailors) they get to read the rules, the part E.2.1 and part C and they do what? 
Maybe we should add the sentence as the bilge keels, to ensure there is no attempt at Wings, we can always allow them in the future?
Chris, if we can't discuss it here with the committee and other Merlin sailors then where? 
Maybe a zoom AGM is 'the venue' as described in the Constitution? And we can listen, learn and discuss.

03/10/2020 20:53:43
Tim Male
I would like to thank all those at the RYA and on the committee who have given up their time to resolve this issue.
As far as I'm aware.
- In 2009 the rules were amended to ban winged rudders etc (before any semi-foiling hulls were built)
- At some point in 2018 a new rudder design was made available.
- In late 2019, a boat with such rudder was protested, and the protest referred to the RYA.
- In March 2020, the RYA issued an interpretation that the rudder profile was illegal.
The RYA were informed that a "significant number" of boats had the illegal rudder.
The class requested dispensation and as a result a temporary set of rules were introduced in early 2020 to allow such equipped boats to continue to race.
These temporary rules expire at the end of 2020 unless there is an AGM to allow such 80mm wide fences on rudders.
There is now not going to be an AGM before the end of 2020, so the original class rules will be reintroduced on 01/01/21, and those with fences on rudders need to get them removed by then, as John says, that's three months and all you probably need is a large flat bastard file?
On a personal note, I'm glad I can concentrate on sailing rather than designing a 80mm planning tab to retrofit onto my rudders. :)

04/10/2020 09:45:35
Roger Cole

Well said Tim-----Amazon have just the tool you need as cheap as £6. 59 or for a resl Quality job, about 16 quid.

04/10/2020 10:25:34
Ok, I for one am glad of the work being done the RYA and the class. But I'm also glad we have people out there reading the rules and asking questions. 

Having been involved in a protest committee or two I have to say to my eye it looks like fences would be legal on older boats. And wings as well. You follow the ers definitions and you still get back to using the old rules for certain parts of the boat if you want. Section C is not mentioned, it just says refer to rules in force at the time of initial hull
certification, which for some will include fences and wings. You can't make up what isn't written down. It's an extremely clever find/really silly loop hole. But looks completely legal.

I agree also with the solution: In alteration to E.2.1 this rule applies to all boats. 
This solves the matter and puts all boats on an even field when it comes to appendages. We could look at adding it to hulls, rigs and sails also to stop any further use of the anomaly.

My biggest ask is a gentle ask of the MROA to talk a bit more. You could have come forward at the start to say you're looking into it and discussed it. 


05/10/2020 09:43:09
Firstly sorry this caused such a stir and got so heated, it was only to start discussion with the committee members and rule makers. But I'm non the wiser. It still looks legal? So if it is legal, I presume it will be the classes intention to tidy it up and level the rules for everybody?

What is the original reason for having E2.1(and other 2.1's)? Do we still need that in there? 

I presume this will all get voted on at the AGM/EGM when we can finally hold one?

Still sitting on the fence

05/10/2020 17:21:43
Chris Kilsby
Hi all,
I recognise that the class rules are not always clear, and we are working on a plan to address this. More information on this will be provided shortly. The move to ISAF format involved numerous people across the whole class, and it was always known that the rules would not be perfect and that issues would need to be rectified as they were identified.
The RYA have made an interpretation on the legality of t-foils on older boats but it is not a ruling. They do not believe it is possible to use old rules for items not measured at the time of certification. In making this interpretation, they have considered the introduction to our rules which states 'owners and crews should be aware that compliance with rules in Section C is NOT checked as part of the certification process' and the introduction to Part II which states: 'The crew and the boat shall comply with the rules in Part II when racing. In case of conflict Section C shall prevail. The rules in Part II are open class rules. Certification measurement and Equipment inspection shall be carried out in accordance with the ERS except where varied in this Part'.
Chris Kilsby

05/10/2020 18:46:54
Thanks, Chris. That's a bit clearer.
Do the committee have any plans to add a rule to allow fences as per the original post? Or do we absolutely need to remove them?

05/10/2020 19:38:00
Chris Kilsby
Hi Scam, 

The committee have no plans to bring a rule on this to the next general meeting. If others wish to do so then that would be for debate at the next general meeting. 




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