IOM ICA has become aware of some email notes from one of our NCA Technical groups. In those notes there are a number of inconsistent statements and some very wrong assumptions and advice.
For the purpose of this letter we will restrict our comments and direction to the ones concerning the use of single panel sails on IOM Class boats.
That note continues to reference a 2003 based response to a Request for Interpretation regarding that style of sail. Although that response deemed those sails to be illegal at that time, sometime after the authors of that response indicated that they may have erred in their judgement. And, in 2005, with no changes to the Class Rules having been undertaken, that official response was no longer in effect.
Following the World Championship Regatta in 2011, we received another Request for Interpretation concerning the use of single panel sails and their construction. The response to that request was that the sails were legal under the existing rule and indicated that there was no need for any change of rule. They are legal under the current (and immediately previous) Class Rules. This ruling was prepared by the IOM ICA (the authorised governing body for the IOM Class) Technical Sub Committee and subsequently submitted to the IRSA (the recognized and authorised governing body for Radio Sailing worldwide)
Technical Chairman for approval. That approval, without further comment or direction was given prior to publicly issuing the response
That interpretation response is in effect now. Further, because it did not require a rule change to validate those sails (or their construction method), its result will continue to be in effect. They are constructed of a legal material and fit all other definitions for sails that are contained in the Class Rules. They must of course always pass any measuring test, as do sails constructed in any manner, regardless of how many panels they may have.
NCA Class Secretaries and/or their technical groups must refrain from making interpretative declarations concerning the IOM Class Rules. Opinion and declarations must support the findings of the Class Association and the Radio Sailing governing body.
We encourage the appropriate technical bodies in any NCA to field technical questions, submit Requests for Interpretation and offer their opinions and beliefs. However, it is the responsibility of the NCA to enforce the rules as issued and interpreted
by IRSA, the Radio Sailing governing body, and the Class Association. It is not unusual that there are many individual rules within the Class Rules that are not favoured by one country, or person. That occurs in almost everything that goes on in life.
Everyone can expect that rulings may not always go as they wish they would.
Barry Fox, IOM ICA Chairman