Rule 87 in the new RRS


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Thread starter #1
The sailing instructions may change a class rule only when the class
rules permit the change, or when written permission of the class​
association for the change is displayed on the official notice board.

With reference to the above. This appears to outlaw using 'replica' or 'training' sails completely by not allowing local SI's to vary the class rules.

2 questions come to mind from this (coming from a club that has a variation to allow them for club racing only).

1) Will clubs just continue to allow this but remove the reference to it in any SI or other relevant documentation

2) Will clubs just continue as they are on the grounds that no one will ever actually scrutinise the local SI's

This question has come up at my club at a recent sailing committee meeting in a 'what are we going to do about it?' context. The overwhelming feeling is that we should keep the status quo but need to work out how to do this and stay within the RRS (we have some real sticklers for rules).

My favourite solution is as follows:

If you sail a Laser with a 'replica' or 'training' sail then you are not actually sailing a Laser but a local club class that has identical rules to the Laser with the exception that you are allowed to use a training or replica sail. As the performance of the boats is identical then the 2 classes can race together as 1 fleet.

I appreciate this is a 'fudge' but is the only way round whilst staying within the rules.

Any comments?


Active Member
Absolutey correct.

If you are not sailing "Lasers" the ILCA rules do not apply.

summary: you may hold races for any local fleet you care to describe.
Contrary to popular belief, you can't legally change class rules via the sailing instructions under the 2005-2008 rules unless the class itself allows the change. Definitions include class rules under "rules" and 86.1 states that "A racing rule shall not be changed unless permitted in the rule itself or as follows..........." The new rule 87 just spells it out clearly to race organizers that they can't do it.

What you can do VIA the sailing instructions is to change 60.1 and prohibit boats from protesting for violations of class rules. This gets around things like class membership requirements or non-complient equiptment for club racing.


Rob B

Active Member
IMO. "Local" club races are typically far more relaxed and laid back than any kind of "open" event. In my experience laser club race series have often existed without even having SI's.

Those series events that do have SI's the Laser sailors have verbally agreed as a group to allow or not allow non-class legal equipment, (specifically the sails).

However, if anyone decided to protest the boats using knock off sails they could do so and would probably win.

Personally I like seeing more people getting an opportunity to race Lasers. If a $200.00 budget sail gets them on the line at the club series I have no problem with it.

Going the other way with this discussion someone could also show up with a $ 1,000.00 mylar sail sporting full battens, but the basis of our allowing the Intensity sails, (to be specific) is that they are nearly identical to the current class sail and allows people to save their expensive class sails for theopen events.

In the end it is not legal according to the rules, but none of us, (in my crowd) sail in our series events for pickle dishes anyway.

I agree that for local series races we just want to see boats out. We have a couple of Raider's that sail with us in the Laser fleet and we score them with us. We don't have trophies for the series, nor do we charge anything at our club and non-members are always welcome.

Jeffers asked specifically how to get around the sail requirement within the rules and I answered him. Note that changing rule 60.1 still leaves the door open for the fleet or event measurer to report violations of class rules in writing to the RC which must then protest the boat.

I am very "splity" on this issue. On the one hand I would like to compete against others sailing the same boats/equipment - sort of strict one design racing. Equal boats/equipment makes for a competition between competitors rather than equipment/budgets. A major factor that attracts me to the Laser class and I am keen to keep (ignoring that some have older/newer sails - which is life). However, I would also like to compete against a decent number of boats. I wonder how many people are so financially constrained that they cannot afford a proper Laser sail. By the time you have paid for the boat, insurance, club membership, petrol to/fram the club, etc. then how much difference does a proper Laser sail cost really make. Of course if you want a new sail every month then its a bigger issue than being happy with an older sail - and some people do win with surprisingly old sails at some clubs. Given that we are talking about club racing then using a near prefect sail is maybe less critical. Maybe I'm fortunate in that at my current club all the other Lasers (that compete) have proper sails. Given that this is UK where sails are more expensive than in the US and other club members are not well-off, I do wonder how many people would actually be stopped from sailing were the knock-offs to stop.

All the things you mention add up and we struggle to get people on the water to sail against as it is. Why make it any more expensive than it has to be?

Lasers good enough for club racing can be had for about 2X the price of a new class legal sail. Our club has a very cheap membership rate for people under 30, many of whom are students and we don't require membership to come sail in club races. The numbers are getting better, but the avererage turnout for us is still under 10 boats.
my opinion. $500ish for a Class Legal sail is a but high. Even more so that they are built in Shri Lanka. Maybe if the class charged that amount and had them US made by US lofts then I would understand. But somewhere there is possibly a 400 percent profit hiding. Think of the "I" sail, $200 retail and he is making money. Why can't Laser just open the sail market to lofts to make them and then charge a royaly and require measurment. 420's J-24's 49'ers and so on do it. Why not Laser?

High sail prices, new rigging systems, carbon tillers and the rumored "carbon" upper spar. As these advancements develop the class is outpricing the fleet and in my opinion pulling away from the purpose of the class. Want a high tech single hand? Buy a Finn Europe moth or others. Want tight racing keep the boat the same.


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Thread starter #9
Perhaps I shoudl qualify the statement I originally made. We have only ever allowed sails that are a direct replacement of the original part. If someone brings a different replica down then it is 'measured' against the fleet captains sail. As long as it looks the same then it gets in.

Were someone to turn up with a fully battened mylar custom made job then they would be invited to sail in our all comers fleet as long as they could provide or suggest a fair yardstick for the boat.

As for the question of would it actually stop people sailing, perhaps not but they would end up using the genuine sail until it fell apart and would come increasingly disillusioned as the 'richer' members of the club continued to have their new sail each year.

In the UK a new genuine sail retails around the £400 mark. A new replica such as the Intensity can be picked up for as little as £150. It brings the ability to have new sails or good sail to pretty much every one.

Personally whilst I could afford to purchase a new sail every year or every other year I cannot justify that spend against the other things that I have to pay for. I can however justify the purchase of a replica.

The long and short is that as long the sails are as 'delicate' as they currently are there will be a growing market for replicas and clubs that allow replicas. Perhaps this is why the builder is looking as developing a 'new' sail as they are seeing their sales drop! It would appear that is the only way to get things done in the class, hit the builder in the pocket. Having said that is looks like the some of the rules changes that are currently being looked at will allow thing such as the new Harken rear mainsheet blocks and the allowing of the stainless steel springs in place of the rubber O rings (I believe that is how it reads).