2009 February 27 WCA to NEH

The Technical Committee
Northeast Harbor IOD Fleet
Attn:   Mr. Sandro Vitelli

RE: Carbon Fiber Spars for NEH IOD Fleet.                                                                                             

Dear Sandro, 

We are in receipt of your Committee’s response of Feb. 2nd 2009 to our letter of late January with respect to Carbon Fiber spars. 
While we are appreciative of the fact that your C/F spar design may not require jumpers as an integral requirement to the performance of the C/F spar design recommended by Hall Spars, we believe we should set out below the facts regarding the production of yet another third rig configuration for IOD’s which you and your Technical Committee are pursuing on behalf of your NEH Fleet. 

We are encouraged by the statement in your letter that the Hall designed C/F spar “will be adaptable to all fleets”.  We presume this will allow the installation of Jumpers on either a single spreader rig or a two spreader rig.    Please confirm.

We seek not to dissuade you from your  course of action with respect to the production of C/F spars for your Fleet, but to advise the process which has allowed your Technical Committee to arrive at the position with Hall Spars where you will receive a demonstration spar this spring for evaluation by your Fleet in June and through the summer.

We also state the facts regarding the IOD / WCA Class Rules regarding the adoption of the new proposed C/F rig configuration by your NEH Fleet which will produce a third rig configuration for IOD’s.


POINTS 1) through 8) below are those raised in discussion in our WCA Executive Teleconference on 12th Feb. 2009 and attempt to set this process of rig and material discussions in their historic perspective.
We ask that you consider these as you move forward.

1) In late April  2006 at Bermuda Race Week, an evening meeting was held at the Daylesford Theatre chaired by Herb Motley. 
In outlining where the IOD / WCA stood on standardizing rig designs HM asked the assembled fleets representatives to consider the virtues of accepting a standard rig for all our associated WCA /  IOD fleets.  He reviewed the history of the development of the two divergent aluminum rig configurations, the L I S  / Bermuda/ Europe single spreader 7/8 rig design and the original Aas two spreader 3/4 rig design in wood and aluminum in predominant use in USA fleets. HM pointed out that in San Francisco in 1999 at the IOD / WCA  Annual meeting that it was agreed the standard IOD rig would be the aluminum Aas two spreader 3/4 rig and any new fleet would sail with this rig. The standard Class approved rig is the Aas  traditional two spreader with jumpers 3/4 rig configuration in wood or aluminum. 
The decision to NOT  allow new fleets to use any other rig configuration other than the traditional Aas design did not survive the re -editing of the Class Rules and was later defeated in connection with the establishment of the Chester NS Fleet 
But then the single spreader aluminum 7/8th rig has not yet been approved by the IOD / WCA either,  although it is in common use in L I S , Bermuda and Europe. 
Neither the traditional two spreader nor the single spreader enthusiasts at this meeting were about to give up their positions for a rig change,  so both rigs are comfortably in use where they are established.

A broad discussion then ensued with there being no definitive decisions made with the exception of the consensus that either of the two standard rig configurations currently in use should form the models from  which a Carbon Fiber rig solution should be designed.  NEH reported they were pursuing the initiative of replacing their wood spars with C/F material, but that this initiative had not been adopted by their Fleet as a solution for their wood spar replacement issues.

2)  At the AGM of the WCA  in L I S in Sept. 2006, the World Class did not object to  the initiative of the IOD / WCA or the NEH Fleet investigating the use of Carbon Fiber  as a material to replace Wood / Aluminum in IOD spars.  As NEH were thinking of replacing all their wood spars with new rigs their interest in adopting Carbon Fiber was seen as a possible way forward should aluminum spars become unavailable.  Design considerations for new C/F spars were discussed and referred as being consistent with existing IOD aluminum spar configurations, weight and rig design. This meeting chaired by Charlie Van Voorhis,  called to fill time due to a postponement in racing, was cut short by a decision of the Race Committee to sail the last race to  conclude the L I S World Championships 2006.
3)  At the AGM of the WCA in Nantucket in Sept. 2007  Sandro Vitelli was in attendance to report on the NEH Fleets’ position regarding C/F spars which initiative was proceeding.  At lunch after the AGM Herb Motley, Kin Yellott and Jordy Walker sat with Sandro and spoke with him about producing a generic C/F spar which could be rigged with either the traditional two spreader 3/4  rig w/ jumpers or the newer single spreader 7/8 rig w/ jumpers. With this generic C/F section and mast “pole”,  either rig configuration could be assembled to suit any fleet, and as the availability of aluminum sections became scarce, the Class  would have the C/F sections as replacements. It was noted that as C/F was lighter than aluminum,  corrector weights would be required to make the C/F spars equate to the weight of the aluminum spars.

4)    When it was discovered in November 2007 that Hall Spars (successor to Kenyon)  would no longer manufacture  the aluminum traditional rig sections used in the traditional two spreader w/ jumpers 3/4 rig configurations,  the WCA made enquiries concerning C/ F spars via a few C/F spar manufacturers.  The costs for the design and fabrication of the first C/F spar were exhorbitant and considered beyond the WCA’s financial capabilities without approval of such expenditure at an AGM. 

Then another manufacturer of aluminum spars to replace Hall / Kenyon was found.  Forespar were engaged in early 2008 to fabricate a die to extrude aluminum spars  and  supplied the Nantucket Fleet with a dozen aluminum spars to specifications for their traditional  two spreader 3/4  rig w/ jumpers.

The WCA then deferred the initiative of investigating C/F as a material for IOD rigs, and informed the NEH fleet of this fact.

5)  In none of these meetings or discussions has it been stated that there was consent to pursue a rig configuration that was other than that of the two rig configurations currently in use as “standard” within all of our IOD Fleets worldwide.  

6)  If a third rig configuration is produced it will require the approval first of the Northeast Harbor IOD Fleet, and subsequently  the IOD World Class Association before that fleet using this third rig configuration will be recognized as an IOD fleet.

7)  Therefore,  the NEH Fleet will have to apply to the WCA to have their C/F rig configuration approvedin order to allow these boats to be  recognized as IOD’s.  This issue can only be resolved with the subject  discussed  and approved at an IOD / WCA AGM.  This process should be commenced this June  in Sweden.

8)   It was also noted that if the NEH Fleet went ahead with the decision to replace their wood spars with their new design C/F single spreader spar (without jumpers) without the approval of the WCA ,  they could then NOT be recognized as a fleet of the International One Design Class / World Class Association.   Until the NEH Fleet  C/F spars were allowed as an approved IOD rig configuration by the IOD / WCA,   and a rule created to allow their use in their boats as  IOD’s,  these boats of the NEH Fleet would not be recognized as IOD’s.  This Class rule change when created  is then filed with ISAF, where Class rule changes are technically required to be filed.   

Sandro ,
Note:  As an example of this is the fact in point 8) above please understand that our IOD Class / WCA has been deficient in recognizing and allowing the aluminum single spreader 7/8th rig configuration w/ jumpers although it has had wide use in L I S , Bermuda and Europe for over 35 years.   We intend to correct this fact at our AGM in Sweden this coming June. 
We are just now trying to get our house in order on this issue, and  presuming we shall get the necessary WCA support to recognize and allow the use of the aluminum single spreader rig for IOD’s , we shall then be filing this rule change with ISAF.

Finally just a few thoughts !

If your NEH C/F spar had jumpers we would not have a third rig configuration to consider !.... and your spars would have the adjustment required to change mainsail shape as required when sails get older and distorted from  use,  particularly where some boats are more active than others.  “Jumperswill allow mainsails greater longevity and require replacement less frequently if jumper adjustments are employed to allow a sailor the options of different mast bend characteristics to keep sails competitive as they get older.

We also understand that the cost of “jumpers” for an additional $1000.00 is perhaps not worth the expense,  unless you consider the guy who has “won” two years in a row but now all the boats which have not sailed much in the last two years are consistently beating him.  He wants a new main and wants all the other fleet members to purchase new mains too !   How much aggravation and perhaps money  is that going to cost ?  With “jumpers” the NEH Fleet should get 5 - 6 years out of their mainsails.

And finally,  the cost of $1000.00 per mast for “jumpers” is very high. I would assume this cost is for the prototype mast to be fitted with “jumpers”.  The cost of “jumpers” for multiple rigs will surely be less  than $1000.00 per mast.


B. W. “Jordy” Walker