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Dumb Rules We Gotta Change


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
If you wish to enjoy the full experience of reading this post, Begin with a full throated newscaster voice. When you get to the numbered part, try standing up and raising your voice a half an octave. Use a voice that delivers it to the back corners of an auditorium, act totally enraged, and shout wherever I use caps.
Pounding your fist on the table might also add to myour experience. Please do not pound on your keyboard. I would rather you spend your money on sailboats and regatta entry fees.

Listen to yourself if you please, but whatever you do, do not take what you hear too seriously or take offense.

It's almost World Council meeting time and if we want to change management of our sailing game for the better it is time to help the WC members understand the issues. Once our dedicated WC representatives understand our concerns and why we have those concerns they will be able to hold an informed meeting. We want our representatives to be prepared to do the things necessary to pass proposals and let the membership vote on those proposals so those proposals can be properly implemented and our game can be improved. .

So: Here are some totally stupid rules we have discussed recently that need to be clarified or eliminated altogether.

1. The traveler splice / one knot confusion stuff needs to be solved in favor of the game. It should not be solved with some retarded ruling that does nothing to improve the game and forces us to abide by the stupid hard to comprehend rule.

The intent of the rule is to make it so we have one loop and no purchase on the line between the loop and the traveler.

The rule is there to address specific concerns about our game. That concern is not about whether we have splices, knots, or line made from discarded ladies underwear. The concern is our game. The concern is if we allow purchase we will cause our- competitive- selves to overstress our boats while attempting to keep our traveler as tight as the competition..

It does not matter if there is a splice or how many knots we use or whether the handle on the end is a splice or a knot. None of that has any impact on our game. Rules controlling that set of conditions are downright stupid and a waste of everybody's time.

Let's re-write the traveler rules to allow any old set of knots and handles anybody chooses to tie. .

the Rule should be something like:

The traveler may be made of any kind of line the sailor chooses.. Any combination of knots or splices may be used to form a closed loop that runs through both traveler eyes and has a tail that leads to the cleat. The traveler pulley shall run back and forth between the two traveler eyes. A handle can be tied on the end of the travler line using any method of knots or splices as long as the line cannot reach to the bailer and block the bailer hole.


This nonsensical stopper knot on the mainsheet crap:

Who the hell decided this was even an issue?? Suddenly a bunch of folks have their panties in a wad about having a new special mainsheet stopper knot and we must prevent the end of the world. By golly we gotta stop everybody from counting the knot that holds the end of the mainsheet to the hiking strap or eyes as a stopper knot. OH my GOD!! IT COULD COME UNTIED!!!
we even have an article in the latest International newsletter about how the line could come all the way out during the starting sequence and everybody else would sail off and leave the poor incompetent slipknot user alone and bawling crocodile tears and dripping mascara on his pink life jacket while everybody else sails off.

Get a grip!!

Who heads straight downwind while abandoning a grip on his mainsheet?? and why would anyboldy do that before a strart.

This is a perfect example of why it maybe should be ILLEGAL to have ANY stopper knot on the mainsheet. Idiots like that need to go down wind and get out of the way so the rest of us can have a race!!

There are many ways to prevent an abandoned line from running through all the blocks. ONE of those methods is to securely tie the end to something.

Another is to tie a big fat knot somehwere that won't go through the blocks.

I know my mainsheet has a stopper knot and that knot is the figure eight with an extra twist that secures my mainsheet from sliding through the hiking strap eye. Until I get a set of blocks through which my boat will fit, I have an effective stopper knot. The concept that my figure eight knot that happens to pass through the pad eye would come un done and some fruitcake's figure eight will always stay tied is absurd.

To say I am not tying my mainsheet to the hiking strap eyes is absurd.

My knot system meets the intent and the letter of the rule.

The fact some illiterate has decided the rule says other than what it says is the only reason we even have a problem. But we can improve the rule so even the illiterates can't nisinterpret it.

The fact our rules are written so poorly some fruitcake can decide my knot is not an adequate stopper...because I might let it go before the start , head down wind and manage to totally run my mainsheet throught the blocks...is so damned stupid I have trouble being this nice with my criticism of the intelligence of the nutjob who interpreted the rule as described in the latest international rag and or the minion who agreed and wrote the article in the laser magazine.

Please put down the crack pipes, beers, or glue sniffing bags before writing articles or making rules for us. The rules are about racing lasers, not about Molly Sweetcake's Saturday macrame classes.

New rule proposal.
The mainsheet must have some sort of stopper knot or be tied or spliced to something to keep the end from passing through the ratchet block.


Who decided we cannot use a clip to attach the end of the cunningham line to the becket on the cunningham pulleys?? Are you blessed with a set of needle nose pliers for fingers??

Nobody in his right mind, who knows he has to untie that know in three hours with cold fingers and a bladder full of urine ever attaches a skinny little line to a becket with a knot.
We don't need a rule requiring half the fleet to hop back and forth trying not to wet their pants while they attempt to get their flogging sails out of the wind.

Did some sailmaker bribe you? Are you afraid the Laser class is losing the "to hell in a handbasket" race?? Nobody wants that rule. NOBODY!!!

The very first time I rigged my boat with the new rigging I put a clip on the end of the tiny cunningham line. Nobody involved in tehe development of the new rig intended to make the rig dangerously impossible to untie. Nobody ever said, "Oh yeah, We have to remember to write the rule so nobody will like the way the new cunningham works."

We simply forgot to include decent wording that made it clear the end of the line could be fastened with a nice strong latching hook.

Eight years ago we discussed this oversight at the worlds in Hyannis. The Chief measurer made it very clear his intention was to get the rule fixed. What happened?? How did we get to the point where the international magazine now has an artricle telling us we are not gonna tolerate letting anybody have an easy to dismantle rig.

I don't know wh is the current nutjob promoting this foolishness but i do know how to stop it.

Simply rewrite the rule.

The end of the cunningham line may be secured to the becket with a shackle or mechanically closed hook.


OK folks. Those are my first three rule change proposals. Please add your own and please remember, this is a polite forum. Please be respectful with your suggestions and the language you shoose to present your thoughts.

PS: If you were offended while reading the above you should be ashamed for reading stuff like this to yourself.

PSS. If you were not offended but are concerned others might be offended?? Don't worry. The other sailors are just as brilliant as you are and they will all be fine.


Rob B

Well-Known Member
Well if this goes anything like the sail it's a good thing you've started work on this now. We MAY see these changes by 2020.....


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
My hope was that by having some fun with the post somebody else might realize how totally absurd it is when discussions like the thread about splicing Vectran go on.

it is as though all the posters ahve lost sight of why the rules exist.

Some people seem to think we observe rules because teh rules have some sort of "passed down by God himself" special value.

sensible people understand each rule was originally written by well intentioned people who believed therule somehow made the game better or prevented degradation of the game.

Nobody wrote the splices and knots rules to keep people who happen to like the looks of splices from creating what they believe is prettier rigging.

Rules that have no impact on the game simply waste print and the lives of those who find themselves involved in the enforcement process.

Every rule brings a certain measure of inconvenience to our lives. Smetimes teh rules save our lives. S0metimes the rules simply consume our lives.

We need to be forever vigilant about rules and just as it is often important to add rules; it is also very important to edit or remove bad rules.

This should be a legal rig

The end of the mainsheet in this photo has one knot that serves as a stopper and to "knot the tail TO the hiking strap control line." Notice how the knot keeps the mainsheet absolutely adjacent TO one another each other. It is totally legal.

In fact, my method it is more verbatim reading of the rule legal than tieing the mainsheet AROUND the hiking strap control line. No where in the rules does it mention tying around the control line. The rule says "to" the control line.
Also the current confusing rule never mentions a second knot or allows TWO knots. The rule simply says a knot may also be used to secure the mainsheet TO the items mentioned.
Remember when considering my suggestions and looking at the photo below to ask yourself, "How would rigging the boat as shown impact the game we play with our boats?"

If you do not have an answer. You should be opposed to having a rule.


Suggested change #4:

The flat outhaul fairlead base may be shaped to fit the circular shape of the boom.
This would eliminate the primary outhaul line being trapped under the outer edges of the fairlead base.


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Although that particular rule change would take effort on the part of sailors who care and WOULD impact teh perfromance of eh boat. I support and endorse teh change...

Howevrf...In the interest of continuing the tone of the thread, you certainly could have been more colorful with your language...


in an effort to keep the danged fool skinny butt outhaul line we have to run through the stinkin' fairlead we are forced to use in place of a real turning sheave from wedging itself in between said crappy fairlead and the boom, sailors may spend a few minutes cutting up their hands while hollowing out the center bottom of that fairlead.
Because it is necessary to make all sailors suffer equally, it shall not be legal to have someone else do the job for you or even purchase a boat upon which the task has already been performed....Unless that boat already has a soft deck..


Upside down?
Staff member
But aren't Laser sailors supposed to suffer?
Just in jest, really.

Gouvernail and 49208 make good points. More importantly perhaps is that these proposed changes won't change anybody's sailing significantly and may improve the fun factor a bit. So what's the process for making these changes? I don't have the ILCA Handbook in front of me.


Could be that's why I don't get to simply write all the rules myself
Oh, you can! All I know about you, you have the advantage to ask at your network your personal lecturer at the Bosporus channel. I woud bet he is able to correct your new bill of rules into a bulletproof version. That would be something that would immortalize you both old and primary rock Master-Laserites forever at the Laserclass:) :)


Regarding the Downhaul/Cunningham, are you not aloud to tie the down haul on with a slip hitch on to the top vang assembly.

This is how I was shown to rig up when I bought my boat about a year and a half ago.
Means I can just pull the free end and it comes away.

I have my first Open Event in about a month and a bit, worried now that my set up isn't right


Who says you can't use a hook to attach the cunningham control line to the becket of the cunningham block?

Actually, the current Class Rules can be confusing as to whether a becket can be used or not. Silly, but refer to Part 2, rule 3(e) on the Cunningham and you can see that it doesn't include attaching to a becket on a block attached to the vang, even though rule 3(b) says that an optional block can include a becket. Literal interpretations of the Class Rules by some have this as illegal though I think you would have to be a World championship in one of a tiny number of countries to run into a measurer who would look at this twice.

Still, there is a proposed rule change up for vote right now which would remove any possibility for confusion. If you haven't voted yet, you still have time, voting runs through the end of August. Vote now! (Note, you must be a current ILCA member for your vote to count).

While I am at it, I should also remind everyone that if there is a "dumb rule that we gotta change", or even something not so dumb that you would like to see changed, you can go to the ILCA website, to the "Technical and Quality" section (don't ask me why there) and find a link to the "Rule or equipment changes" page where, finally, you can find a form to fill out with your proposal. You can then send that to the ILCA Technical Officer who will handle it.

Its past the deadline to get new things under consideration for the meeting in September (trust me, that agenda is already packed). But there is plenty of time to get onto the Spring agenda.

And don't forget to vote (if you haven't already)!


Thanks Tracy for pointing out where to follow up with the rule issues. I just fired off my piece about the two-knot mainsheet misreading of the rules (ie I don't believe the rules require two knots). I'll follow up with the outhaul splice.

Thanks too for the reminder about voting, I'm happy to see that the proposed rule on electronics has been withdrawn. It would have explicitly banned cameras and I think that would be a mistake. Cameras should be allowed on board in this era of Youtube especially since a recurring theme in the class is how to recruit new members and keep the youth engaged. Being able to film, even if its during a race, will only help show the fun and excitement of Laser racing and would be good for recruitment. I think it would be pretty hard for someone to argue that if you have a camera on board you're getting some sort of performance advantage.


Its past the deadline to get new things under consideration for the meeting in September (trust me, that agenda is already packed). But there is plenty of time to get onto the Spring agenda.
Presumably, whilst there are deadlines for rule changes to be considered, the Chief Measurer (or whoever) can pass decisions where there might be ambiguity or questions about interpretation. For example, the recently discussed mainsheet knot question seems as much a question of different measurers interpreting the same rules differently and, whilst a rule change might clarify (without changing), I would assume the Chief Measurer can immediately notify all other measurers (and publish) that the rules actually mean .... (end of problem about that rule).



Former ISAF Laser Measurer
True Deimos. Having worked with Jean-Luc, this mainsheet one is a new one to me, certainly something that was not looked at at the Laser Worlds in Aus and NZ two years ago. I would have dismissed it as the UK measurer not having a clue what he's talking about, but he's now published these interpretations in the Laser World Magazine and I would assume that such articles were vetted by the ILCA including Jean-Luc. It will be interesting if this interpretation gets overturned or endorsed at the Worlds next month where I assume the UK measurer and Jean-Luc will be working together.

Personally, I believe that a single knot forefills the wording of the rules, but will modify my own boat according to this new interpretation. It's nothing major.


At the radial worlds I rigged my mainsheet how I normally do - tied to the base of ratchet block and round toe strap with a bowline and then putting a couple of stopper knots in the tail of rope left.

My boat went through measurement fine like this although I wasn't measured by the UK measurer (can't remember the name of the other guy doing measurement). Not sure if it would have passed if it had been Nick measuring my boat as his articles on the mainsheet knots say my system would have failed.


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
There is nothing illegal about having both knots Sailortchick, it's just whether tyou need a stopper knot in addition to the knot tying the mainsheet into the cockpit.

Rule 3(c)i. states in part "After the mainsheet block it shall be knotted.
Rule 3(c)ii. states "The tail of the mainsheet may also be knotted or tied to either the base of the mainsheet block, the hiking strap, the hiking strap support line, or the hiking strap shock cord.

But earlier in the rules
3(b)x. states "The free ends of different control lines (except mainsheet) may be tied together and/or tied to any deck fitting or the centreboard handle or a rope loop used to attach a retaining line. Free ends of control lines shall not be tied to shockcord (except mainsheet).

So depending how you interpret 3(c)ii. it can be interpreted as being an extension of 3(b)x. i.e. where the mainsheet can be tied to. It can also be an seen in relationship that the knot in 3(c)i. may actually be tied to something other than the shockcord mentioned in 3(b)x as many locations in 3(b)x. are prevented. 3(c)ii. can also be seen as requiring a second independent knot to the one mentioned in 3(c), the critical word is "also".

Going back to the oldest rule book I own the 1993 (#4), possible the latter interpretation may be more historically correct, but until now, has never been enforced including by Paul Milsom and Jean-Juc.
3(a) After leading the mainsheet through the mainsheet block it shall be knotted. It may also be knotted or tied to base of the mainsheet block, the hiking strap, the hiking strap support line and shockcord between the end of the hiking strap and the eyestraps on the aft face of the cockpit, provided that the mainsheet shall not be used to adjust the length of the hiking strap.

As I said earlier, this rule needs to be properly clarified.


UK measurer has explained it to us lot that there must be a stopper knot before where ever you dead end the main (which ever end of toe strap you use). Which would mean I need to put a stopper knot before my bowline to meet his requirements! He doesn't count the deadending knots as stopper knots.


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
I'm not trying to show disrespect, but he's only a district measurer (I assume this will change by the time of the Olympics). The current and past World Measurer haven't required two separate knots, nor has the other Internation Measurer (Ron Barrack) I've worked with. Part of the reason why the International Measurers work together is to work towards consistancy in our rulings, this isn't the case with district measurers who can come up with some truly amazing rule interpretations. Nick's interpretation must have at least some support from withing the ILCA office, otherwise his article wouldn't have been published. To me this is confusing unless it's a new official interpretation within the last two years which they haven't bothered to keep me up to speed on (which could well be the case).


The system works! I sent my form in last night asking about the mainsheet and had a response from Clive Humphries first thing this morning. How cool is that? He said they'll consider my points and go from there. So if you have a strong opinion on a rule, write it up and send it in for consideration.

Rob B

Well-Known Member
My 2 things/2 cents about the "Stopper knot" deal.

1)- I like to put a figure 8 not in my main sheet at the 90 degree, (or close to it) max ease trim on the sheet. A former Master Worlds champ, (Doug Peckover) had a long discussion w/me some time ago regarding how anything beyond 90 degrees on DW trim was lost energy/effeciency. I find it works for me.

2)- I also tie off the bitter end at the back of the hiking strap as I can ALWAYS find the mainsheet in an emergency situation and it keeps the sheet from working itself into unwanted knots.


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
Whilst I hate re-starting old topics, Rule changes have clarified the rule over the mainsheet knots. Tying your mainsheet to the hiking strap etc, satisfies the requirement for a stopper knot.

Mrs. P

1)- I like to put a figure 8 not in my main sheet at the 90 degree, (or close to it) max ease trim on the sheet. A former Master Worlds champ, (Doug Peckover) had a long discussion w/me some time ago regarding how anything beyond 90 degrees on DW trim was lost energy/effeciency. I find it works for me.
Doug usually marks his sheet at 90 and doesn't go beyond 90 in a breeze but when it's light he's often beyond 90 and by the lee.


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
IMO, the boat becomes unstable just either side of 90 degrees, how much either side depends on the wind strength. If you find the boat becoming unstable, either pull the main on, or let it out, also pull on the vang and or lower the centreboard.