Andrew's Corner by Andrew Kerr
The Santana 20 mast has undergone 2 major changes since was first put into production in 1976. The first mast had the jib halyard under the forestay attachment and the spinnaker halyard exit above the forestay as in Figure 1.
A problem was discovered with chafe on the spinnaker halyard. In 1978 the spinnaker halyard exit was changed as shown in Figure 2.
This configuration has the advantage of having interchangeable jib and spinnaker halyards, but it requires a large hole in the mast and the spinnaker halyard still chafes. In 1981 rig was changed to its present configuration. This system is shown in Figure 3. The halyard leaves the mast at the same height as the original exit, but the exit itself is positioned higher on the mast to get it out of the way.
If you have inherited an older mast and standing rigging, you can make a simple change to the halyard exit that is class legal and will significantly reduce chafe.
Figure 4 shows the mast with the addition of a spinnaker crane and a bullet block on a swivel. The pre-1978 system is shown, but it should still work for the dual halyard system. The spinnaker crane is riveted into the mast with stainless steel rivets (or it will pull out!). The spinnaker halyard exits the mast normally, then it is lead though the block on the crane. This allows the spinnaker to be launched and retreived from the cockpit without chafing the halyard.
The spinnaker crane used to be available through West Marine (part number 303479). I'm not sure that they still carry it. But the manufacturer should still have them. The company RWO (part number #R4210) should be able to set you up for around $50. For another $10 you can get a Harken H166 block and some rivets and be up and running in no time.
Does your tiller feel sloppy? Have you tried to fix this problem by shimming the tiller fork with washers and tightening everything in sight? Well Jay Aronow thinks he has a quick and easy fix for this problem. I asked him to describe what he did to fix his tiller in a step-by-step description. So here it is, enjoy.
Okay..step by step to my best recollection:
You'll need a drill press, 22/64ths " bit, 3/8ths " bit, 3/8ths" coarse tap, 3 1/'2" stainless bolt with at least 1 1/4" of thread, 3/8ths stainless nut, 3/8ths" stainless Nylock nut, 2 stainless washers for the bolt and nuts, thin brass washers probably 4 but depending on how worn your fork is perhaps 5 or 6.
1. Remove the tiller and tiller fork from the rudder head and take the tiller off the fork.
2. Remove the rudder head from the rudder taking care to support the rudder from below so that it doesn't fall and get damaged.
3. With the head perfectly parallel to the work surface and using a drill press drill a 3/8ths inch hole in both sides of the rudder head. Do not drill through one side to the other but perform two seperate operations.
4. Now on one side of the tiller fork and with it perfectly parallel to the drill press bed drill a 3/8ths inch hole.
5. On the other side of the fork using the same care to keep the work parallel drill a 22/64ths inch hole.
6. On the side of the fork you just drilled tap a 3/8ths inch hole. I used a coarse thread bolt so of course I used a coarse thread tap but I don't think it matters if its coarse or fine. Be sure the hole matches the thread.
7. Smear a good water proof grease (I used Phil Wood bicycle grease because I had some) on all bearing surfaces and washers. Assemble the whole thing using the brass washers as bushings between the head and the fork and tighten the bolt very snuggly into the threaded side of the fork add the nut and again tighten very snuggly and now the Nylock snuggly. Now back off the nut against the Nylock to prevent any loosening. I cant stress enough the care that you must take to drill perfectly straight holes. Every thing must line up as perfectly as possible or you just end up with same problem you're try to fix. My observation is that the problem is not so much that the tiller fork doesn't match the rudder head but that the bolt is smaller than the holes. This causes the holes to get larger over the years with wear. The brass bushings are sacrificial and will need to be replace periodically and remember to lube the assembly every now and again. I have used this set up and although it's still fairly new I've done about 200 hundred tacks a close to 20 minutes of sculling and everything is just as tight as when first assembled as far as I can tell and it all moves together as one unit. It feel good to the hand and best of all its not sloppy all for less than three bucks.
Main Halyard 60' x 1/4"
Genoa Halyard 55' x 1/4"
Spinnaker Halyard 65' x 1/4"
Topping Lift 30' x 1/4"
Foreguy 13' x 1/4"
Backstay Adjuster 28' x 1/4"
Mainsheet 40' x 5/16"
Spinnaker Sheet 2 @ 50' x 5/16"
Spinnaker Tweekers 2 @ 10' x 3/16"
Genoa Sheet 1 @ 52' x 5/16"
NOTE: These are suggestions only. Your rigging lengths may vary based on the style of mast.
So you've checked your tiller and it is OK, but your rudder still feels sloppy? Well your problem might be in the rudder bearing. Lucky for you Tucker Strasser has developed a way to repair worn out rudder bearings. He makes it sound so easy you will probably want to do it every time the relatives come over!
What better time of year than the Holidays, when the relatives are over, to repair your boat. If your rudder is loose from years of using it for propulsion before during, and after a race now there's an easy fix! YOU will need a wrench, a screwdriver, paste wax, graphite powder, and silicon spray. Buy the following:
105 West System Epoxy
423 Graphite Power
(The epoxy mixed with the graphite will be self lubricating. For technical information or to order materials, call Gougeon Brothers at (617)684 7286, or Mike at Multihull Marine at (310)821-4647.) Also helpful, one small person, appropriate beverages, paper towels, Band Aids, and wax paper.
First chill the beverage then remove the rudder. Have someone hold the rudder so it doesn't fall and dent the driveway. Then get someone small, who doesn't complain too much, to crawl into the back of the boat with a screwdriver and remove the two hose clamps and then the rubber tubing. This will take some work, but it will eventually came off. Next wax the rudder post with a paste floor wax (such as Johnson's Paste Wax) and then spray it with silicon. Make a mix of epoxy and graphite and coat the inner bearing at the deck level and at the bottom. Tip: I used a stick to coat the inside as best as I could. Slide the rudder back in the hole and attach at the top. Note, it's a good idea to cover the rudder with wax paper as most of the epoxy will drip-out as you're attaching the rudder. Next, go back inside the boat and clean up the epoxy where the rudder tube attaches. Leave excess epoxy on the post since it will peel off later While the epoxy sets up, four to six hours, consume the beverages telling your spouse that you're too busy to help with whatever.
At the point when the epoxy has set Up (4-6 hours) rotate the rudder a few times to break the bond. It will be very stiff, but don't worry. Let it sit over night. The next day remove excess epoxy on the rudder post and remove the rudder. Reinstall the rudder hose, wax post again, and reinstall everything. If the relatives are still around you might want to get your crew and go sailing to make sure it all works. Now you will win all races! Happy Holidays!
Note: If the rudder is extremely loose check to see that it doesn't tilt to one side or the other. You want to keep it in alignment with the keel. If you have any quest ions, or heck, just want to talk about racing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
So now you are asking "How much graphite to add to the mix?" To give a facetious answer, "Enough." The reason is that when you mix epoxy resin and hardener with other materials (such as graphite powder, micro-balloons, silica, cotton fiber, whatever) usually the consistency of the mixture is specified rather than the component amounts.
The consistencies are - from thinnest to thickest - syrup, ketchup, mayonnaise, and peanut butter. For small batches, I usually start adding the solid powder to the resin only, mixing as I go, until the mixture is a little stiffer than desired, then add hardener. If you judge right, the hardener will thin it down to the right consistency. After the first batch or two, you'll get the feel of how much powder to add at a time. I start with a volume of solid equal to the resin and keep adding and stirring until it looks right.
For this job you won't need very much. A few ounces of each should do it. I think peanut butter is the consistency you want, so the stuff will stay up there.
Be sure to wax the rudder shaft and turn it before the resin sets hard. Setting time will be determined by whether you use fast or slow hardener, by the temperature, and by how big the lump of resin is. (Bigger amounts set faster because the process generates its own heat.)
I would recommend using West System products, which you can order off their Web site, if you don't find them at your local chandler y or borrow from a buddy. West has everything you'll need, including the graphite powder. I recommend West because of the quality and their clear instructions. You don't want to do this job twice! Not because it's so hard the first time, but it would be really hard the second time.
By Jeff Kerr - S20 # 338, Fleet 15, Dallas
Since the Santana 20 measurement certificate does not provide every single detail of what should go where on the S20 mast, I thought this drawing from the Owner's Manual could be of help to anyone (like me) who has had to replace a mast.
A. Extrusion Length 26'8"
B. Bottom of Black Band to Deck 26'4"
C. Main Luff (Between Black Bands 24'6"
D. Centerline of Upper Shroud Bolt to Deck 24'5 1/2"
E. Spinnaker Halyard Exit 23'8"
F. Spreader Height 11'9"
G. Centerline of Lower Shroud Bolt to Deck 11'6"
H. Max Height of Spinnaker Track 65"
I. Top of Black Band to Deck 22"
By Jeff Kerr - S20 #338, Fleet 15, Dallas
Amended for work by Greg Smith
The classic Santana 20 has a wooden mast post inside the cabin that transfers the compression forces of the mast down to a marine plywood stringer that runs athwartship just in front of (or on top of) the forward keel bolts. This stringer is made of 2 layers of 3/4" plywood that are encased in fiberglass. The entire load of the mast is transferred into 2 square inches on the stringer. Along with the compression, a very large shear force is applied to the stringer.
There are 2 things that can cause the stringer to compress. The first is that first couple of hundred boats that were made had an air gap under the stringer down to the hull. When enough pressure was applied via the mast post, the stringer would flex. If the backstay were left on for a period of time, this flex could become permanent. The symptoms of this problem are typically poor performance in heavy air. The reason is that as more backstay is applied, the more the stringer flexes, and this effectively reduces rig tension. So the rig gets loose just when you want it to be tighter. This problem was realized by W.D. Schock and boats since then have been made with a fiberglass filler between the stringer and the hull.
The second cause of mast post compression is the way the stringer is cut to mount the keel on the boat. In order to get a socket on the forward keel bolts, part of the stringer is cut away with a hole saw. This is fine if you live in a dry climate or dry sail, but if the boat is left with water in the keel pan, the stringer will eventually soak up the water and get soft. So again when backstay pressure is applied to the mast, the compression is transferred through the mast post and the step compresses. If not treated this can cause some minor cosmetic damage, but severe structural damage would occur only after the problem is very visually obvious. Here is a photo of a mast step that has gone soft and suffered from the large mast post shear force.
There are many half documented solutions in the Santana world. My first attempt to fix the compression problem started by cutting out the compressed area. As a temporary measure, I put in a piece of 4x4 lumber cut down to fit my cut-out area. This 4x4 was not attached to be stringer at all. The mast post rested on it and the 4x4 rested on the hull. I noticed very quickly that the the leading edge of the keel was starting to separate from the hull. When I removed the 4x4 and mast step (with the mast down), this separation went away. It could be that my hull is inordinately soft, but I didn't like the idea of transferring the mast post load to the hull.
A better solution was to keep the mast load as a closed system. Since the mast was connected to the shrouds and the shrouds connected to the bulkheads via the chain plates, I needed to get the mast post compression forces into the bulkheads. Since the stringer for the mast post is glassed into the bulkheads, the best solution seemed to be to spread the load of the mast post along the stringer. This would keep all the loads of the mast in one mechanical system. It would also keep my hull from deforming at the leading edge of the keel.
I had a 3/16" stainless steel plate made from this template at a cost of about $50. To install the plate, I sanded a bit where the outside edges of the plate would come in contact with the stringers, then filled the middle part with epoxy filler before using #12 wood screws to permanently attach the plate to the stringer. I also reinstalled the mast post before the epoxy could cure to prevent is from cracking once it became loaded. As with other methods, I had to use a hydraulic jack on the inside of the boat to get enough room to reinstall the mast post. I also cut about 1/4" off the post to allow for the width of the newly installed plate.
This solution has been in my boat for several years now. From looking at the repaired step it may be noticed that the plate has a slight bow from the load. This is probably because I weakened the step when I cut the big hole in it (although I cut the 4x4 down so it wouldn't touch the hull and put it in place with epoxy filler). In any case, my speed and heavy performance have increased. Most of the other boats in Fleet 15 have implemented this same fix and our boats were 2nd and 4th in the 1995 Nationals. In fact the boat from the above "soft" photos was 2nd!
Greg Smith has come up with an alternate mast plate template. It can be downloaded here. It is a scanned image so it will look big in the browser. Save it to your local hard drive and open it with an application like MS Photo Editor or Adobe. Then you can print it out in a landscape format and force it to fit on one page.
Spinnaker Setup Notes
Following is a collection of excerpts/comments from the Bulletin Board. Descriptions below are the opinions of the person providing the comments.
I used 1 1/2" Forespar pole ends from West Marine at approx. $55 per end. Other ends are available (like RWO) through Defender, etc. For the pole I went to a Wire Rope supplier and ordered 1 1/2" Pike Pole tubing (which is anodized aluminum) I got 16' for about $30, and now have an extra pole in my garage. It was just as cheap to get 16' as it was to get 8'. If you have any questions let me know, It's much cheaper to make your own pole.
Launching/Dousing a Spinnaker
Spinnaker is packed on the forward port hatch. You would normally have a spinnaker bag inside the boat and attached to this hatch. The popular configuration seems to be the use of continuous spinnaker sheets. Spinnaker sheets must go outside of the forestay and all shrouds.
The spinnaker halyard is the topmost exit on the mast. This halyard is led over the shrouds to the port side to a shackle attached to the port spinnaker ratchet block. This keeps the halyard away from the jib sheets. Just before you tack on the starboard layline to the windward mark, the halyard is released from the shackle so that the spinnaker can be hoisted. Instead of using a person to unshackle this, some have used rubber bands to hold the halyard. Others have also used velcro.
When you are on the starboard layline, it is time to set the pole. The pole arrangement varies. Some have it on the boom and others lay it on the deck. Attach the pole to the afterguy, and clip the other end to the pole car on the mast. The foredeck then needs to open the hatch and begin prefeeding the spinnaker. This is done by pulling on the afterguy back and forth until the end of the spinnaker is near the pole and over the forestay. Then position the pole back towards the desired position. Topping lift and pole car height is also adjusted to the proper position.
(By the way, the selection of type of pole arrangement - end for end, trolley system, etc. would be the subject of another topic. Also some poles have a bridle, some don't. Some use thick poles some use thinner poles. So let me know if you need help on this).
After reaching the windward mark and while bearing away, the foredeck can now hoist the spinnaker and the middle crew fine tunes the guy to the course and then begins to trim the sheet. The foredeck can now douse the genoa/jib, and place it under the bungee cord on the deck.
Twing lines (tweakers) are used instead of a foreguy on other boats. These lines are attached to the spinnaker sheets somewhere near the hatch area forward of the shrouds on the gunwale. These are trimmed during maneuvers (jibes) which keeps the spinnaker sheet/guy closer to the deck. This keeps the pole from rising and during maneuvers, chokes the spinnaker so it can be controlled. When on course, the sheet side tweaker is eased and the pole side is kept trimmed tight (almost to the deck).
On an S20, the spinnaker is always hoisted from the port hatch and the pole is stored on the starboard side. This makes a "jibe" set unlikely. To do the equivalent of a jibe set, you would have to either (a) hoist the spinnaker without a pole and attempt to balance the spinnaker in the center of the boat (a difficult manuever) or (b) jibe shortly after the bear away set.
To douse the spinnaker, hoist the genoa first. This will blanket the spinnaker so it can collapse. Then, the foredeck should release the spinnaker halyard (usually the foredeck will control the spinnaker halyard while forward) in a controlled way while grabbing the spinnaker from the port side. The foredeck will stuff the spinnaker directly into the hatch. If the spinnaker hoisted properly on the previous run, you will expect the spinnaker to come out properly again without any repacking.
In some cases, it is possible to douse the spinnaker on the starboard hatch (if this is necessary for the course) but this is usually only done if the spinnaker will no longer be used.
Spinnaker Setup with Trolley System vs. End-for-End
My system is a lot like Robert described, it's a trolley system on a bungee around the mast. This does eliminate end-for-end jibes since the inboard end of the pole is attached to the trolley. so, you're locked into a "bayonet jibe" where the pole comes off the guy and the mast, is slid part way back along the main, then the main comes over allowing the pole to go out on the other side.
The extra lines attached to the sheet and guy are called "tweakers" or "twings" and they do provide some downward pull on the guy. (You want to have the twing on the sheet side off except in heavy air.) My spin sheets are run through blocks on the twings, but some use cunningham hooks so they can come off easily.
We've found that, in some conditions, the twings don't pull the pole down enough on a tight reach, so we have a foreguy that's rigged to the pole in heavy weather.
When the pole is stowed, we clip the forward jaw into a line at the gooseneck to keep it from bouncing around.
If you want to use end-for-end jibes, you can still stow the pole on the boom. You'll need something like a ring or cap at the aft end and something to clip it to in the front. You would rig the topping lift to the center of the pole or on a bridle. Rig the foreguy to the center; don't use a bridle here unless you want to strangle your crew. When the pole's stowed, clip the foreguy into the jaw to keep it out of the way and leave some slack in the topping lift so it doesn't destroy the shape of your main.
Where to hoist from: EVERYONE launches from the forward hatch - bags are slow. If you use a bag, you have to re-pack and re-rig before you can hoist again. with the hatch, pull the chute down into the hatch, close it and you can hoist again in a heartbeat. Don't untie any lines, or they'll be fouled when you re-tie them.
You can launch from and take down into either hatch; just remember the chute has to come out of the same hatch it went into.
Douses are usually done on the weather side of the boat, unless you want to make your foredeck miserable.
1. What is on the front part of the pole to hold it up?
2. Do the topping lift and down tension lines remain attached?
3. Is it always better to launch out of one of the hatches or use a bag?
4. What is the best method of running the bungee lines to tuck the Jenny during a spinnaker session.
... On my boat, I attached the topping lift to one end of spinnaker pole end fitting and removed the foreguy(down tension sheet). To control the spinnaker pole from rising, I've attached a stand-up block to the port and starboard railing and about one foot in front the mast. A block is ran through each spinnaker sheet and is attached a sheet to the stand-up block and back to a camcleat by the cabin/cabinway. The spinnaker pole is a trolley system which hold one end close to the boom. The trolley line is a bungee cord attached to starboard clew of the boom the front the mast and then back to the port side clew. I stored one end of the spinnaker pole in a PVC cap near the tack of the boom. The shock tension keeps the polein the PVC cap until needed.
I launch my spinnaker from the port-side hatch since majority of my spinnaker setting is for a bear-away set. I've got two bungee cords running from the bow to the shrouds/aft lowers and then a small bungee cord with hook attached.
The following table shows what rig measurements must be made on a Santana 20 to validate a measurement certificate and comply with the Class Rules:
LOA 20' 2 1/2" Displacement 1350 lbs.
LWL 16' Ballast - Fin 550 lbs.
Beam 8' Ballast - Wing 600 lbs.
Draft - Fin 48" Sail Area 186 sq. ft.
Draft - Wing 32"
FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAINTAINING FAIR SAILING, THE FOLLOWING MEASUREMENTS MUST BE MAINTAINED PLUS OR MINUS 3/8 INCHES ON THE RUDDER AND KEEL:
The thickness of the rudder section measured down from the top edge 3 inches is 2 1/16 inches.
The thickness of the rudder section measured down from the top edge 20 inches is 1 5/8 inches.
Intentional hollowing or changing of the cross section outside of a straight line top to bottom is not allowed.
The gap between the top of the rudder and the hull and between the front edge of the rudder and the rudder post may be filled with any material provided this material does not extend out from the profile or section of the rudder.
The thickness of the keel section measured down from the hull 3 inches is 4 inches.
The thickness of the keel section measured down from the hull 20 inches is 3 3/16 inches.
Intentional hollowing or changing of the section outside of a straight line top to bottom is not allowed.
The thickness of the keel section measured down from the hull 3 inches is 3 inches.
The thickness of the keel section measured down from the hull 16 inches is 3 inches.
The thickness of the wings measured 3 inches from the outboard tip is 2 5/8 inches.
The thickness of the wings measured 5 1/2 inches from the outboard edge is 3 inches.
Intentional hollowing or changing of the section is not allowed.
A hollow of 1/8 inches is permitted on a straight line top to bottom of the keel and rudder. Under no conditions may the profile of the keel or rudder be extended.
The keel and rudder may be smoothed and made fair within the following provisions:
Aft lower shrouds. The aft lower shroud is optional and need not be fitted, may be fitted permanently, or fitted in a manner that is adjustable so long as the dimensions given in this rule are maintained. The aft lower shroud shall be attached to the mast at the same location as the intermediate lower shroud as shown on the measurement certificate.
The maximum that the rear lower shroud may go aft is 15 inches from the back side of the chainplates. This position is measured by projecting the aft lower shroud to intersect the deck.
All mounting points of the aft lower shroud must be located on a line 12 1/2 inches inboard from the outboard edge of the deck non-skid. The inboard measurement of the mounting line is determined by measuring at right angles from the deck non-skid to the mounting line at both the forward and aft ends.
23.AThe lone exception to this ruling is that a short bracing line may be run from the underside of the aft end of the checkstay track down and forward to the lower main bulkhead. This will prevent the deck from lifting and developing a weak spot when the aft lowers are brought into tension. However, it is imperative that the lower bulkhead attachment point be longitudinally in-line with the checkstay track attachment point, be well-backed, and be low enough that the mounting bolts go through both the main bulkhead and through the aft vertical wall of the vee-berth box structure. This will ensure that the minimal load is spread evenly through as much of the structure as possible. See attachment
From: Chief Measurer
Date: February 15, 2005
Subj: Carbon Fiber Spinnaker Poles
Q: Does the Santana 20 class currently allow carbon fiber spinnaker poles?
A: No. There appear to be no Santana 20 Class rules that allow poles that differ from the standard equipment provided by the S20 builder (i.e. aluminum) so by default a carbon spinnaker pole is not allowed.
There are three class rules that apply (which you can find at www.s20.org under the Association and Measurement sections) to changes in equipment when no prior rulings exist to guide us. They are:
1) Articles of Incorporation Article III.2 - Relating to keeping costs of
upkeep within modest limits
2) Bylaw Article VI.2 - Changes are illegal unless specifically allowed
3) Bylaw Article VI.5 - Substitute hardware allowed if there are no
The first two rules set our overall strategy and are the basis of not allowing the use of carbon in making S20 spinnaker poles. The third rule is the only rule that theoretically could allow a carbon pole but this rule is commonly interpreted to apply only to the fittings permanently attached to the boat that, over time, become obsolete and worn out and must be replaced with "not factory standard" components. I interpret this rule as NOT being appliable to the spinnaker pole because the pole isn't a permanent part of the boat and there is no difficulty in finding brand new aluminum poles that are exactly or nearly exactly the same as those provided by the builder.
In summary, two rules against the proposal and one rule that is marginally in favor of the proposed change leads to my no decision.
S20 Class Measurer
On June 4, 2010 Santana 20 Class Association President Derek Martin publically announced a project to weigh Santana 20 boats using a scale purchased by the Association. The original announcement is available here... Original Project Announcement
On July 27, 2010 the first report on weighing was publically published. The report is available here... Boat Weighing Project Update
June 4, 2010
By Santana 20 Class Association President Derek Martin
A long standing issue within our one design class has been how to best measure the weight of our boats. Our measuring rules have long called for the use of float tests (with float lines marked on the boat) but we know that this method can be difficult and inaccurate. The alternative is to use an accurate weigh scale however there are complications with that too – expense, access to hoists, setting a weight specification, etc.
The time is right to make a change but it must be done with great caution, patience, and support and participation of the membership.
To start the process, the Governing Board of the Santana 20 Class Association recently purchased an excellent quality 2000 lb digital weigh scale and has sent it to several fleets to collect data on the weights of our boats. After conferring with US Sailing and other Classes, the boats will be weighed with only hatches, floorboards, and spinnaker poles. As of this memorandum, 22 boats in Eugene and 10 in San Diego have been weighed with the new scale. The Oklahoma fleets will get the scale next, and this should be complete in the next two weeks.
Building a database is the first step in determining the minimum weight for a Santana 20 boat. Note that the boat is marketed as weighing 1350 lbs. The next step would be to develop weighing procedures (what gets weighed, etc.). The final step is to amend the Bylaws of our Association to make the weight and procedures cast in stone. This last step, of course, only happens with the consent of the membership – via a vote.
It should be noted that the weight of a boat does not seem to be a good indicator of how well the boat will perform; known heavy boats have performed very well while known light boats have performed worse. More weight data will help us understand if there is a correlation between the weights of our boats and how well they perform.
What follows are several questions (and our answers) that we imagine you might ask.
Why are we doing this? Has it been a problem in the past?
There are two main reasons.
First, using float lines is an inherently inaccurate, time-consuming, and manpower-intensive task. It requires the water to be absolutely glass-smooth, the boat to be level and motionless, and if a boat is underweight – multiple trips to the weight locker as weight is incrementally added. Anyone who has ever gone through this will tell you what an absolute pain in the rear it is.
Though not a reason to change, it appears that our class is increasingly in the minority by continuing to use float tests – most are now using scales to weight their boats.
Second, weighing boats with a digital scale is easy, fast, and accurate. Pull the boat up to hoist, hook on, raise the boat just enough to get her off the trailer, take the reading, set her back down, and move on to the next boat. Since the boats will be weighed empty (with only hatch covers, spin poles and standing/running rigging on the boat), this can be done while the sails are being measured separately, thus improving the rate at which boats can be measured at an event. With the current procedures, the boats are floated with all of the above onboard, plus sails, life jackets, floatation devices, etc.
In the past, none of this has been a problem, mostly because float testing was not conducted. Though float lines were marked on the boat, they only served the purpose of being able to conduct a proper float test should the need arise (e.g. as a result of a protest). The last Class Measurer to actually go through the procedure as it is written was John Papadopoulos back in 2003. You can ask him (or anybody who went through that measuring process) how much fun that was. So we currently have a set of procedures that nobody really wants to use. That does not bode well for the long-term health of a one design class.
What will be the plan for determining the minimum weight of the boat?
There are two obvious choices: leave the official weight at 1350 pounds, or specify a heavier weight. Of the 32 boats weighed so far (with only hatches, sheets, and a spin pole aboard), nobody came in under weight. So the first choice is easy, the second one more complicated.
First off, let me just say that I understand that anytime you start playing with the minimum weight of a boat, many boat owners will experience a certain level of anxiety. After spending thousands of dollars on a boat, keeping it in fine racing shape and legal, a boat owner will be rightly upset to find out that rules have changed in a way that may impact him/her.
If we choose to move to a higher weight, there will be several competing factors at play, including: preserving the weight of a new-build boat, ensuring the value of “heavier” boats, not penalizing those owners that have worked hard to keep their boats light.
After talking with one design experts at US Sailing Association, other class presidents, measurers, and Tom Schock (who wholeheartedly supports this effort), what we need to do is come up with is a weight that our class feels comfortable with.
Every one design class is different and has its own personality as to what level of sophistication they want to go with something like this. This requires discussion, and the more brains we have contributing to this effort, the better.
We will be publishing all the data after the weighing efforts are complete, so that everybody will have a look at it, and you can offer your own conclusions and recommendations. As it stands right now, we hope to have somewhere around 40 boats weighed, and with a current registry of around 90 boats, this is a very good sampling.
Only boats that have been dry-sailed (meaning they have not been sitting in the water when not in use) have been weighed for our purposes. Obviously we can’t weigh every boat in every fleet, so we have been concentrating on the bigger fleets. Each fleet that has been weighed already knows what their group results have been.
Once we are complete with the Oklahoma boats, we will publish all of the data and let the discussion begin, using the forum on wwws20.org as our primary venue. Hopefully responsible and mature discussion will ensue.
Does the Governing Board have a time-line for bringing this to conclusion?
Yes and no. The general plan is to get a good database built up first, then start the discussion among the members. As the discussion continues, there will be probably be two or three competing plans that will emerge.
At some point, the Governing Board will determine that the discussion phase has run it’s course and will come up with it feels is the best course of action, based on the wishes of the membership. Then, the Board will present a draft wording of the changes to the Bylaws, and will then let the Membership comment and suggest changes. The Board will then make changes as needed, and then present the final version to the Membership for a vote (probably electronically). We really want to take our time on this and get it right, and there is absolutely no need to rush this process. The rules and procedures we have in place now will continue to work just fine, as they have for the last 33 years. I think an acceptable conclusion to this process would be to have it complete before the end of the calendar year (2010) and in place for the 2011 Nationals at Oklahoma City, but the Board is not wedded to it.
Will this have any impact on the measuring-in process at the 2010 Nationals? Will my Measuring Certificate still be valid?
Your current M/C will still be valid, and the existing procedures will be utilized at Huntington Lake. We are hoping to have the Membership engaged and educated in the process so that we can have a good discussion at the Annual Meeting.
Are there any dangers in doing this?
Yes, there are. Change is scary and uncomfortable. The old adage of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” may very well apply. If the official weight changes to something more than 1350 pounds, some owners will have to add some weight. If the weight isn’t set higher, some of the owners of heavier boat may feel at a disadvantage and discouraged.
As our boats age, it will be increasingly common to rehabilitate them and that may provide an irresistible opportunity for some owners to seek out ways of saving weight that might not comply with the spirit or the wording of our class rules.
We have been a fairly laid back class and we do not get overly hung up on minutiae, so again let me restate the mission of our efforts: (1) develop scale-based weighing procedures, and (2) develop a weight that the Class is comfortable with.
On the opposing side of the question, a well thought out minimum weight can be a great asset to a one design class. This will be the first time in the 34-year history of our Class that the Membership has tackled this issue. It will be well worth it in the long run and I hope you will join us in the spirit of helping ensure a vibrant future for our great one design class.
Hope you all are enjoying the water, warm weather, and our great boat!
President, S20 Class Association