2011 February 17 WCA to NEH

The Fleet Captain and Technical Committee Chair
Northeast Harbor IOD Fleet
Attn:   Fred Ford and Sandro Vitelli
Re: Carbon Fibre Spars for NEH IOD Fleet

Dear Fred and Sandro:

As you are aware I have accepted the interim position as WCA President until the Annual General Meeting in June of 2011.

In recent WCA discussions to bring me up to date on the various issues that Jordy and the WCA were working on, it became clear that the WCA Exec. has been delinquent in keeping the NEH Fleet Technical Committee informed about the recognition of a carbon fibre rig as a third ‘officially adopted’ rig for the IOD Class.

I refer you to Jordy’s correspondence of February 27, 2009 (copy attached) which succinctly lays out the history and issues leading to WCA approval for the NEH Fleet to pursue the experimental development of a carbon fibre rig for the IOD.

The approval to pursue this experimental development was predicated on the inability, at the time, to find a source for aluminium extrusions suitable for the IOD.  This is no longer an issue since Forespar have fabricated a die which allows for the extrusion of aluminium masts for the foreseeable future and spare masts may be obtained from the Nantucket fleet.

Further, carbon fibre was allowed as an approved experimental material to provide another alternative, with the understanding that any new masts would match the configuration of either one of the existing rigs, namely, 3/4th double spreader or 7/8th single spreader.  Exciting, and potentially performance enhancing as the experimental rig you have developed may be, it clearly does not conform to either of the existing rig configurations – which was a requirement of the approval to move forward with the experimental development.

The ability to now obtain aluminium extrusions for an IOD mast(s) would suggest that there is no justifiable need to further consider a third rig configuration for the Class and ,as such, you should be aware that the WCA Exec. does not, and at this time will not, advise the Class membership to recognize the NEH experimental/demonstration rig as an officially sanctioned IOD mast.

Since this decision states clearly that WCA recognition for the carbon fibre rig as an approved rig for the IOD Class will not be forthcoming, it follows that while a boat remains with that rig configuration it cannot be deemed to be an IOD and, accordingly, racing results recorded for this boat may not be used as part of a qualifying series for Local, National or International IOD regattas, or to determine in any way the results of local fleet racing.

Having made you aware of the WCA Exec’s position with regard to the experimental mast I would, never-the-less, like to applaud your efforts and that of your Technical Committee in pursuing this project.  It cannot have been easy and I am sure required a dedicated level of time, energy and money. 

This is such an important issue that I will be circulating all Fleet Captains with a copy and by posting the decision on the WCA website.  You may wish to comment on the decision so, in fairness to you, this will not be circulated or posted until you have had the opportunity to do so.  However, I would appreciate it if you could do so fairly promptly.

Carbon fibre may well be the ‘wave-of-the-future’ as far as performance sailing is concerned…………..but it is not yet in the future of the IOD Class!


Robert O. Duffy
Interim President