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Know your stuff!

13 November 2015 Phil Smidmore

Rigging up

"Rigging up"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

Class Chairman Gary Gilbert recently wrote to remind everyone of Etchells One Design Rules C.7.1 and 8.1, which prohibit the alteration of moulded surfaces. Breaches of this rule have led to the recent measuring work undertaken by Bill Abbott, and the need to work up new measurement templates.

Another rule worth remembering is the final sentence in the preamble to the One Design Rules. It reads; “If these rules do not say you can, then you cannot.”

During the course of my work in repairing and maintaining numerous Etchells, I often pick up some minor rule infringements. Some of the more common breaches I often see are:

  1. Holes in Knees Rule D.2.3 (b) and (e). No unfilled holes, nor excessively large holes. The rule regarding the 0.5mm clearance for ropes and wires coming through the foredeck and bulkheads is often breached, usually by wire wearing the cover plate.
  2. Mast Gate Length. Often the mast gate is over length due to the vang rope or wire wearing the aft end of the gate away.
  3. Floors. Most of our Pacesetter boats were built with floors at or very near the 20kg maximum weight limit, so even a basic repair will put them over. Some floors have had an outboard flange added, and this would put the floor well over weight. One set of floors I was asked to repair weighed in at 30kg, due entirely to previous repairs.
  4. Halyards Rule F.7.4. Specifies minimum halyard diameters. I often see spinnaker halyards with the case stripped off, which results in them being undersize. Main and jib halyards made with a skinny ‘tail’ do not meet minimum rope diameter rules.
  5. Safety Line Rule C.2.3 (c). Note no knots and maximum length 300mm past the sheer line.
  6. For’ard Foot Chock Rule C7.1 (c). Such a block can extend only 75mm from the centreline. This block and the Safety Line of C.2.3 (c) are the only devices permitted.

Many of these breaches are due to items being supplied by people who should know better, but not knowing the rules is no excuse for the owner. The One Design Rules are the basis of Etchells competition, and to quote Gary Gilbert’s closing line “Cherish the ‘one design’ of your class.”

Having been caught short, due to export orders earlier in the year, I have been working on getting some masts finished and off to some very patient customers and will soon have masts in stock again. It is not always possible to keep stock of all items we make. So if you are thinking of purchasing something, get your order in early, as we may have long lead times to produce them.

For the large contingent of Aussies going to Hong Kong, the season will be beginning with a World Championship. With the season having just started for most Australian fleets, a number of new crews are sailing their first Etchells races. I note in Brisbane there are some familiar (I’d better not call them ‘old’) faces returning to the fleet after not sailing Etchells for some years.

There is the usual round of State Championships to enjoy and the Melbourne Fleet is working hard to make it a 60 plus boat fleet for the Australian Championship in January. Whatever sailing you intend doing, your success and enjoyment will be enhanced with a well prepared boat. Just a small breakage cannot only ruin your result, but also the enjoyment of your sailing day. So attend to those small worn bits, grease up the main halyard, the turnbuckles and the screw winder step, make sure the pumps are pumping and everything is running freely.

Good Sailing


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