Interpretation of the WIC boat measurement rules and other matters.

CWA reactions here

Looking at the measurement rules and individual Association dispensations it is clear to see that there are differences between Associations.  This has led to arguments and disagreement at International events in the past.  I have put together some points for consideration by the WIC which will hopefully lead to an understanding between the Associations and generate guidelines for International events. There has also been correspondence on other matters which I have also included.


Where an Association has granted a dispensation then the boats from that Association should be allowed to sail under that dispensation at any event so long as the dispensation is not seen to be performance enhancing which may disadvantage other Associations. The current dispensations are listed below.


Dispensations registered with the W.I.C.

UKWA: Wayfarer World Asymmetric: 
As of 31 Jan 2001, the UKWA has given dispensation for asymmetric-rigged Wayfarer Worlds to compete with Spinnaker boats using Traditional Rig.
As of 31 Jan 2002 and until further notice, Rule 35.5 of Wayfarer Class Rules will be changed to: “When racing, not more than one spinnaker shall be used during a single race.” for boats sailing in any Canadian-based Wayfarer event.
As of 1978, the SWS permits removal of all side benches when racing. This changes Rule 22.2(e).

SWS Dispensation 2010  (click here for diagram)

 (All marks.) The gunwale assemblies shall not deviate from the official moulds and drawing Sheet No 33 a.
The fend-off, if fitted, shall follow the contour of the gunwale. Between 800mm from the transom and 2800mm from the transom, measured along the fend-off,  the fend-off may be widened such that the fend-off still follows the contour of the gunwale and has a regular section, not exceeding the area marked on the attached drawing no. 4-Way-0035, and results in an overall beam of no more than 1935mm. This wider section of fend-off shall have a further gradual transition, at each end, extending 200mm +/- 20mm to blend in with the rest of the fend-off.  The top corner of the fend-off shall have a maximum radius of 20mm. 

(Alle Marks). Essing samlingen må ikke afvige fra den officielle form og tegning Sheet nr. 33 a. Fenderlisten, hvis monteret, skal følge konturen af essingen. Mellem 800 mm fra agterspejlet og 2800mm fra agterspejlet, målt langs fenderlisten, kan fenderlisten øges, således at den stadig følger konturen af essingen og har et ensartet tværsnit, der ikke overstiger det areal som markeret på vedlagte tegning nr. 4-Way-0035, og resulterer i en total bredde på højst 1935mm. Denne øgede fenderliste, skal have en gradvis overgang, i hver ende, på min. 200mm + / - 20mm og falde i et med resten af fenderlisten. Det øverste hjørne af fenderlisten, må have en radius på maksimalt 20mm.

UKWA, 2012:  The UKWA gives a dispensation to boats/ boat owners to use two spinnaker poles but if a boat so chooses then that boat may not carry a jib stick. 

Note, twin spinnaker poles have been incorporated into the rules so this dispensation can now be deleted.

UKWA, 2015: The UKWA gives a dispensation:  Mk IV boats not designated as racing boats are allowed to race without a measurement certificate.  All boats of whatever mark must still comply with the rules including buoyancy.



Our rules are closed rules which means if the rules do not state you can, then you cannot.  Two instances come to mind.  The first involved a person using a piece of rubber instead of a mast pin. This has been resolved. Rubber is not allowed. The second is the use of a tack strop instead of tack pin. Clearly tack strops are not in the rules so cannot be used whereas tack pins by custom and practice should be used and could be added to rule G.3.3(d) in red below as per David Chivers remarks in 5 below.

G.3.3  Construction
(a)    The construction shall be: soft sailsingle ply sail.
(b)    The body of the sail shall consist of woven ply throughout.
(c)     The sail shall have a maximum of 4 batten pockets in the leech.
(d)    The following are permitted: Stitching, glues, tapes, bolt ropes, corner eyes, headboard with fixings,
         Cunningham eye or pulley,
boom tack pin, batten pocket patches, batten pocket elastic, mast and boom slides,
         one or more windows, tell tales, sail shape indicator stripes, leech lines together with their fastenings and              items as permitted or prescribed by other applicable rules.
(e)    The sail may have head buoyancy fitted. It shall:
                 (1)        extend a maximum of 1.22 m from the head point,
                 (2)        be a patch on one side of the sail forming an opening self draining pocket
                 (3)        a pleat or other extension may be inserted into the patch, provided it is for no other purpose                               than to facilitate the expansion of a buoyancy bag when inflated.
                 (4)        contain only buoyancy material.


 See also my notes at the end regarding tack strops and cruising.


What is the WIC position regarding gold, silver and bronze fleets? Should they all sail the same course and should they all start together?  Should the organising committee of an event decide which boats go in which fleet? Are guide lines needed here?


Windows in sails.  The rules have been amended so this matter is resolved.


Rope or wire jib luff.

Again custom and practice would indicate wire is used for jib luffs. The point has been made that the wire size has already been increased form 3/32” to 1/8” also Dyneema and other man made fibres also “creep” and will stretch over time when tensioned.

David Chivers very clearly points out  the way forward.

 Note David is the “go to” measurer worldwide for measuring metre yachts and has written the majority of the rule rewrites  for the RYA`s National Classes. He rewrote all of the Wayfarer Class Rules but for some reason it was only Section G that was passed into law.


He is saying that all the Class has to do to make the use of wire legal in foresail luffs is to add it to the permitted list in  Rule G.4.2 (d) because historically wire was the material of choice.


To maintain a level playing field and for all the reasons mentioned by correspondents do we standardise on wire luffs for headsails by adding it to G.4.2(d) in red? What about Aeroluff reefing spars? This would need a rule change.

G.4.2   Construction
(a)    The construction shall be: soft sailsingle ply sail.
(b)    The body of the sail shall consist of woven ply throughout.
(c)     The leech shall not extend beyond a straight line from the aft head point to the clew point.
(d)    The following are permitted: Stitching, glues, tapes, corner eyes, hanks, one or more windows,
         tell tales, sail shape indicator stripes,
wire luff and items as permitted or prescribed by other applicable rules.


Any other matters?

In summary can the WIC decide on the following points:

1         At International events can boats sail under their own Countries dispensations?

2         Should we standardise on tack pins? This could be added without a rule change. Tack strops would need a rule change.

3         Are guide lines needed for gold silver and bronze fleets?

4         Windows in sails has been resolved

5         Should we standardise on wire luffs for headsails and make the change as David Chivers suggests (no rule change required)? Should we propose a rule change to add reefing spars to G.4.2(d)

6         Any other matters?


Notes for item 2 tack strops.

It is clear that there is a slight advantage to using a tack strop instead of a tack pin. From the perspective of someone who cruises a tack strop is a disadvantage. You may say that cruisers do not have to use a tack strop which is true but what of the sails that are sold on to cruisers? Also, what of the taking up of tack strops by cruisers who misguidedly believe it will help? As an example of why I think the use of tack strops for cruisers is a disadvantage, the following may help to explain.

Matt Sharman and I were sailing to a safe haven in Scotland aiming to beat the foul weather that was catching us up. The wind was strong and we were on a broad reach going very fast. The wind was increasing and behind us and a black squall was quickly catching us up.  We decided to get the sail down quickly so with the main halliard streaming out behind us Matt carefully put us into the wind and I just as quickly pulled the main sail down, removed the boom from the gooseneck and put the boom on top of the sail and pushed it under the foredeck.  We then continued under genoa only and made a safe entry to the marina.

For someone without our skills and forward thinking, a less experienced crew with a tack strop which they did not release early enough, could be in the situation where their sail could have come down quickly leaving the boom on the gooseneck. It is easy to see that the sail could then be blown over the side of the boat with all that entails. Not a nice place to be in 30+ knots of wind!

Further. A recent development in reefing technique involves a tack pin that also acts as a reefing hook. This new product has been taken up by a considerable number of boats in the UK and its use continues to grow.  These boats need a sail with that uses a tack pin so selling on racing sails could be more of a problem in the future if the sails have a tack strop.

John Mellor.