You've given us a lot to think about. Most of your comments deal with the class rules in general, and with making changes to them. This probably isn't the right thread to discuss this, since Greg wanted "solutions to the current problem" rather than "discussion of how to fix the rules", but since you've gone to the trouble of posting them, I'll try a reply.
cfwahl wrote:I believe conflicts between our Class Rules and the current ERS (2005-2008) should be addressed, instead of referencing an outdated ERS.
Of course. And there are many things that "should" be done; we could start with wishing for class rules that should be error-free, for example, or ask that our class rules should be simple and short.
The above changes seem to me to be fixing problems that don't exist
I had hoped that I'd dealt with this one earlier. Many of the changes anticipate, and deal with, future problems. Yes, ones that do not currently exist. The point of doing this is that, long term, the class stays healthier, just like a car that you choose to routinely service and do preventative maintenance on, rather than run until it breaks and only then get it fixed. The point is that, if you are savvy, the best way to deal with problems is to deal with them before they become problems. Otherwise they cost you more, in all senses of the word and not just financially.
it was a mistake to adopt a set of rules of the "prohibited if not explicitly allowed" variety, because it's impossible to "permit" all the different characteristics for a legal boat: a large body of information must be "understood".
From a philosophical point of view, which is the point you are making, any sufficiently complex set of rules requires a large body of "understanding", whether they are of the "prohibited if not explicitly allowed" variety, or of the "allowed if not explicitly prohibited" type. For both types of rule, there are two sets of features: the allowed set, and the prohibited set. For both types of rule, each of these sets is in fact infinite in extent, and to make them humanly manageable, require the large body of understanding you correctly identify. The difference between the two is that one of the sets is more easily enumerated (listed) *given* the implicit understanding that you note: the "allowed" set in rules of the type "allowed if not explicitly prohibited", though infinite, is adequately characterised by a small finite list of prohibitions. By comparison, the "allowed" set in rules of the type "prohibited if not explicitly allowed" cannot be exhaustively enumerated, and to get anywhere near a useful list requires a lot of explicit words as to what is allowed.
But adopting one type of rule over another is not a mistake. The mistake is to adopt a type of rule for the wrong reasons. In the case where a class wishes to prohibit development of everything except a rather small region of its envelope, this is most effectively done through "prohibited if not explicitly allowed".
Now I'd like to tie your comment of "a large body of understanding" to the class rule changes which were proposed, and to note that this understanding is equally required of the proposed changes. For example, you wonder why we need a change to specify a now-outdated ERS. What you might not know is that the current version of the ERS was late -- that is, was finalised after the corresponding deadline for finalisation of ISAF class rules. My understanding is that a number of classes have elected to insert the relatively simple change "ERS 2001-2004" promptly, rather than update their class rules and then promulgate them much later on, while remaining exposed in risk because of the ERS changes that have taken place in the interim.
let the little things that are not truly problems lie without comment
I'm not sure that you understand that in fact there are a number of class rule "errors" which are indeed lying without comment! But, once commented upon, they cannot be left. It would be irresponsible for a class to simply ignore a known issue with its rules.
It would be good if we settled on a Class amendment to the sail markings regulations
Perhaps. The thing is, it may be worth understanding that sail numbering is an RRS issue (Appendix G) not a class issue, and the class rules cannot normally over-ride the RRS (the very limited exceptions are noted in RRS 86.1(c)).
[Edit: Appendix G does permit an ISAF class to change the sail identification rules under G5: "ISAF classes may change the rules of this appendix provided the changes have first been approved by the ISAF", but two details are relevant. The first is that the IOM is not (yet!) an ISAF class, it is a RSD class. The second is that the rules in Appendix G that you might want the class rules to change are already changed by Appendix E, and Appendix E offers no opportunity for a RSD class to modify it.]
the Recommended Replacement for RRS E6 Appendix G has never been adopted
The "recommended replacement" is now obsolete. My understanding is that the new RRS 2005-2008 has (pretty much) incorporated them into the new Appendix E.6. Check it out.
I think that the class should allow adulterated materials, whose only sin is cosmetic
Difficult to take this suggestion seriously. What form of rule wording allows us to know whether materials are adulterated? And, what wording will distinguish between "cosmetic" sin and, ah, "functional" or "significant" sin? It may be worth remembering that the class rules do not ban Texalium as such; they ban any fibre-glass which is not "simple, plain" fibre glass. And the rules do this for what I understand to be a very good reason -- who knows what wonderful ingredient could be added to plain simple fibre glass to give it some rather desirable properties? So all that it is permitted to add to your fibre glass is resin...
there are a lot of words in the proposals that should be rendered in boldface: "boat", "hull" and anything else defined in the ERS
I do not think so. There are a number of places in the class rules where the relevant word is *not* in bold, and this is generally done purposely. That is, the rule does *not* wish to invoke the ERS definition. Much of the time, it does not matter, and I once knew which of the unbolded words really did need to remain unbolded to retain the integrity of the intention of the rule, but I confess to not having the enthusiasm right now to go through the rules to refresh my memory and document where and how an unbolded word should be left unbolded. But I think I've made my point: the unbolding is deliberate and not the carelessness that you might incorrectly understand it to be.
[Edit: On re-reading your comment, I now understand it better, and you are correct to say that certain of the words in the *proposals* need to be in bold. This was indeed carelessness on my part! Fortunately, such carelessness does not extend to the class rules quite so much, and I had expected that a competent promulgation of any approved proposals would have ensured appropriate embolding of necessary words.]
[Edits: Two on 11 Oct 2005 at 07:45 local time.]