Report on Foils at 2004 Canadians

The following information is provided for all CODA members who are interested in the chain of events and final protest, concerning the rudder issue at the 2004 Canadians.


Tony Van Schie, Rolf Essig and this writer, Scott McAuley, were asked by the Regatta Organising Committee to take on the responsibility for measurement and safety at the Canadian Optimist Championship. We formed a separate measurement committee, had several meetings and developed the measurement/safety forms that were to be used. Our primary goal was to ensure fair, safe, fun competition for all. The committee approved the form and I accepted the responsibility to be the Chief Measurer.


During the measurement process, it was discovered that several of the rudders did not conform to the 2004 rules, which are as follows;   The tiller and tiller extension of EPOXY rudders shall be made of aluminum. The tiller and tiller extension of wooden rudders may be made of wood or aluminum.


Several rudders were found to have carbon fibre tillers and extensions.   The tiller shall be removable and shall be fixed to the rudder by two metal bolts of 5 (+/- 1.5) mm diameter. The fitting connecting tiller and tiller extension is optional. Tiller, tiller extension and fittings shall have no sharp projections.


Several rudders were permanently attached by means of epoxy, they could not be removed, and there were no metal fastenings of any kind.


The measurement committee, principle race official, and regatta chairman felt that several measurers had previously reviewed the rudders, including the USODA, and that they allowed the rudders in prior regattas. Although they did not conform to the 2004 rules, we felt that they had been grand fathered into the 2004 rules, however, it was not clearly written in the IODA rules. We came to the conclusion that they were ok and would proceed to let the competitors race with them. At this point we thought it was no longer an issue.I then signed off on the measurement form and the regatta started.


Race Day:

Mr. Graeme Hayward, International Judge reviewed with me the notice of race, in particular bringing to my attention article 10.1 of the notice which stated that the boats for the championship fleet will be measured. He also confirmed that I was appointed the chief measurer. Mr. Hayward then showed me his CYA/ISAF rule book, in particular Part 6 - Entry and Qualification, rule 78 Compliance with Class Rules; Certificates, and brought my attention specifically to rule:


78.3  When a measurer for an event concludes that a boat or personal equipment does not comply with the class rules, he shall report the matter in writing to the race committee, which shall protest the boat.


At this point it was made clear by the Judges, that I had no authority to allow these rudders, nor did anyone else who was consulted on this matter. Mr. Hayward further pointed out that I shall report the matter in writing to the race committee. Based on this information, and CYA & ISAF regulations I had no choice but to complete the necessary information and the following morning present it to Mr. Stephen Hill, the PRO for the regatta. The race committee was forced to protest several boats, in turn holding the morning races on the second day. This caused confusion with the competitors and their parents.


A formal protest was completed and was heard latter that day by an International panel. Mr. Alex McAuley, International Judge, and the Chief Judge for this event, asked Mr. Leo Reise, International judge, to chair this particular protest as I was called to witness for the race committee and they did not want any potential conflict. The rules were reviewed and discussion took place around the year the rudders were first measured. The protest committee discovered that we were actually racing under several different sets of rules as identified in 3.4.6 of the 2004 rules:


3.4.6  Rudders presented for first measurement between 1 March 2004 and 28 February 2005 may conform to either the above rules or the rules valid before 1 March 2004. Rudders presented for first measurement from 1 March, 2005 shall conform to the above rules. Rudders used at the 2006 and later IODA World Sailing Championships shall conform to the above rules.

Rudders used at the 2007 and later IODA Continental Championships shall conform to the above rules.


This particular rule meant that prior rules for the Optimist still applied until March 2005. The committee asked me if I had the 2003 rules. I did not have them with me but was asked to retrieve them. I found the 2003 rules still on the IODA web page, downloaded the section concerning this point and provided them to the protest jury. The 2003 rule states that: The tiller and tiller extension may be made of any material. Also, there is no particular rule regarding the ability to remove the tiller. They asked a few questions and then reconvened. The following are the protest jury’s conclusions.


The two rudders presented for the jury’s inspection conform to the International Optimist Class Rules that were in effect prior to March 1st 2004. Under IO Class Rule 3.4.6 effective on March 1st 2004, the rudders of all presently measured boats may conform to either the rules 3.4 of the previous class rules or the present rules effective March 1st 2004


Decision: The rudder elements of boats USA 13156, Can1060, Can943, Can1033, Bar 102, Bar 104, Can1201, are approved as legal and measured for this event.


Although this protest was forced onto the organising body and myself by rule 78.3, the outcome was favourable for the sailors. I also think that it was good for CODA. We now have a decision from a distinguished jury panel on equipment that was in question and have taken notice of the upcoming changes to the IODA Class, in particular, the rudder and foil changes along with the upcoming sail restrictions. I also believe that at our National events, we should be strict with the class rules and safety as a whole. It will ensure fair, fun, safe competition for our young sailors, add excitement when attending our national events, and help prepare them for major regattas throughout their sailing careers that require intense scrutiny of class rules.


Scott McAuley