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Looking forward to building new boats - Builder's Report

26 April 2016 Phil Smidmore

One way to place a spinnaker pole

"One way to place a spinnaker pole"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

We have completed the changes to our mould to ensure it will produce boats that comply with some new rules aimed at ensuring all Etchells are more equal. You can now place your orders for your new boat.

Changes to moulded surfaces has always been illegal and with the development of some new templates and the garboard measuring jig, any such alterations will now be a lot easier to pick up.

The introduction of these new tolerances must NOT be taken as an OK to perform an alteration of any surface on an existing boat. Please read and remember Class Rule C.7 (in particular C.7.1 (a) and (b), Class Rule C.8 and Class Rule D.2.3. This last one includes limitations on bulkhead and kneeholes.

Riding above all else is the final sentence in the preamble to the Etchells Rules:

“If these rules do not say you can, then you can not”.

All old mould Australian boats should measure, provided the moulded surface has not been altered post leaving the builder.

Both Bruce Nelson (ODTC Chair) and Bill Abbott (Chief Measurer) are determined to strictly enforce the rules of the Class and will not hesitate to draft new rules or amend existing rules if they think that is what is required.

My recent discussions with them have included deck recesses, de-coring and/or use of non-balsa cores in certain areas, the legality of some of the new compasses, excessive overlapping of the hull glass laminate in specific areas and oversize bulkhead and knee holes. The Etchells Class is very lucky to have two such highly credentialed and committed men looking after the ONE Design aspect of the Etchells Class.

The recent rule changes poll voted “No” to carbon poles. Non-exotic aluminium is the only acceptable material. My 60-50mm tapered aluminium tube weighs in at less than 2.5 kg, so there is not much weight to be saved anyway. Without reaches, pole breakages have become very rare.

The mast levers and forestay swivels continue to sell well, including sending them overseas, and a number of boats now have an electric bilge pump installed. Remember that Class Rules do still require a manual bilge pump.

Booms, of which I had hardly sold any for nearly all of last year, suddenly sold well in February and March, thanks to some collisions. Seems that I may be building booms too strong! Last November’s batch of masts are almost all sold, exports again accounting for over half the batch. Another batch is well under way, however.

Good Sailing,

Phil Smidmore


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