The New class rules are available to view at:
As far as I know, they do not contain any real changes: they simply fix typos, or correct references, or make the rules say what we have all been doing for some time anyway:
Allowing you to use filler to repair scratches in your keel
Allowing you to carry a VHF radio
I’ve spent a happy hour proof reading them, and found a few more things that need fixing. Some of these have already been mentioned by others. None of them should be controversial – just making sure the rules say what they mean and mean what they say. See attached txt file.
There are a few genuine issues to discuss – I’ll specify those in a reply to this topic to keep things tidy.
Two decisions were made at the AGM:
1. Proposed by Steven Rolland – essentially to remove C.2.1(b ) so that crew substitutions are now permitted.
I voted for this, along with everybody else: and still agree with the broad intent.
However, having had time to think about it. I feel that something like the following should replace C.2.1(b )
“Crew substitutions are permitted. However, crew substitutions during a single event of less than 7 consecutive days to gain competitive advantage based on weather or tactical conditions are not permitted. No action may be taken against a yacht for violation of this rule without prior warning “
The thing is – if people are doing this it is blatantly obvious and retaining this rule in this form give a race committee the authority to deal with it if it ever occurs again.
2. We agreed to allow corrector weights instead of cushions because boats moored in Poole (specifically) tend to get their cushions sodden.
I think that permitting air cushions (lilos) which are in fact much more comfortable and far more sensible in a yacht as they don’t hold water wet – original suggestion by Archie Campbell – may be a better solution
3. I think it would be much better to specify the minimum total weight of anchors (max 2) chain and warp at (say) 10 kg and allow people to construct any anchor system that suits the conditions they sail in.
The present rule is more complex, more proscriptive and more open to circumvention. If you have a minimum wight to work to, sensible skippers will put sensible equipment on board and nobody can gain an (unfair) competitive edge.
4. Race committees have started using SMS text on mobile phones to communicate the course etc to competitors. This is clearly a more effective way to do things.
However, permitting mobile phone does raise issues of outside assistance and are of course currently prohibited simply because the Class rules do not mention them.
What do you think?
5. I find that to permit mobile phones, GPS sets, VHF radios, but still prohibit wind instruments is perverse. They were expensive when the Sonata was first built. Now…
6. Life lines are traditionally made of ss wire rope, but this is really not very suitable – it is too rigid (whereas something with a little give in it would reduce any injury if you fall onto it) and can fail suddenly because damage to a wire rope is not easily visible.
Dyneema is really MUCH more suitable.
In addition, webbing is common between the stern-most two stanchions – mainly for comfort reasons. A number of boats at the Nationals had this arrangement.
I think we should either enforce the rules or change them to reflect current practice: but that’s just my opinion.
3 more thoughts:
1. I understand that at an AGM some time ago (not 2012 anyway) it was decided that a Sonata should carry flares.
However, surely that requirement should go into the Class rules, rather than being written into the SI for each individual race.
2. I can’t see anywhere where a log/speed sensor is permitted!
3. Some speed transducers include a water temperature sensor. Do we really intend that these should be prohibited?
93 reads… but not a single response.
I cannot believe that “silence means consent” – there is just too much detail, and a few of the points are clearly s matter of personal opinion.
I may be getting a bit blind in my old age but in this amended version of the rules I can’t see where wind speed instruments are prohibited in fact I can’t find a list of prohibitied equipment at all.
I am sure it must be me.
John Lanham (Samurai)
Its not really very clear to me whether it’s prohibited or not
Section ii (the equiptment list and fittings) states in the preamble that it is a closed class rule, so anything not specifically permitted is prohibited. Since wind speed instruments are not specifically allowed on the equiptment list, it could be argued it isnt allowed. Personally I think this is not a good interpretation of this section, since from my reading it means you cant carry things like winch handles, kettle, fenders and other ‘equitpment’ that a prudent owner may carry. Perhaps I have misunderstood this, and someone from the committee could advise?
It is still not even this clear cut though since part ii c.5 applied only to portable equiptment and later D 4.1b says all additional hull ‘fittings’ are optional and then F3.3b says that all additional fittings on the mast are optional. So if you have a windex as a permenant ‘fitting’ on the mast and a permenantly mounted display ‘fitting’ on the hull then you are not in breach of the class rules, likewise if i were to glue my ketttle to the galley unit.
Again, I came up with this from a once over read and I may be missing some crucial parts. If i’m right though, perhaps in the next rule change C.5 could be amended to include ‘all additional equiptment is allowed unless on the following prohibited list’. That way I could keep my kettle! Sorry if it looks like im being facetious, but it looks to me like these are all unintended consequences of the class rules being closed?
I don’t think you are being facetious at all. We all probably have a ” reasonable idea” of what the class rules intended to say: but unless we make sure that actually do say what they mean we will have serious disagreement one day.
The Sonata is a “One Design” Class, and that requires the basic rule:
“anything not specifically permitted is prohibited”
though in fact it means:
“anything not specifically permitted that lies within the scope of these rules is prohibited”.
And the “scope” of the rules is any topic it addresses at all.
You are right – it’s clear that a law of unintended consequences has been operating over the years, and every time a (perfectly sensible) rule has been added which happened to expand the scope of the rules a whole bunch of things got excluded in error.
You can wear a life jacket, but when that rule was added as second rule saying “all other personal equipment is optional” should ALSO have been added: it wasn’t.
As a result no clothing except life jackets is permitted, and for similar reasons tools, winch handles, a kettle etc. etc are all prohibited.
That’s NOT what the rules intended to say: nobody would take that interpretation seriously: but it IS, unfortunately, what they DO currently say.
A log/speed meter is definitely not allowed – if it were, it would be in C.5.1.b. A mechanical wind direction indicator is permitted, but not a wind speed indicator unless it’s attached to the mast, making it a mast fitting, and therefore permitted by F.3.3.b as you so rightly point out.
I think F3.3.b also permits a proper spinnaker pole track.
I also just noticed that D.2.3.b does NOT permit you to drill holes in order to provide secure stowage and the strops (or whatever) .used to secure items (such as an anchor) are not themselves “fittings”.
I think it should read:
“…Holes not bigger than necessary for the installation fittings, or to provide for secure stowage, may be made in the mandatory items.”
The washboards are not required, nor is the companionway step.
I think modifications whose effect it to strengthen the boat without changing the exterior of the boat should always be allowed:
D.2.3(e) Modifications that strengthen any mandatory item in such a way that the exterior of the boat (hull, deck and keel) is not changed, are permitted.
Keep Finding things:
Section D – Hull
(a ) Hull shell
(b ) Deck
(c ) Interior moulding
(d ) Moulded in main bulkhead.
(e ) Mast support strut.
(f ) Main saloon berth structures including tops and sides
(g ) Fore and aft stringers in fore cabin and main cabin
(h ) Bow well hatches
(i) Main hatch
(j ) Forestay attachment fitting
(k ) Half bulkhead beneath cockpit.
(l ) Cabin sole
D.2.6 BUILDERS, MATERIALS AND CONSTURCTION.
(a ) The hull and all items in D.1.1 shall be built, fitted or assembled by a builder licensed by the RYA.
(b ) All moulds shall be approved by the RYA.
(c ) The materials and methods of construction shall be as per the building specifications issued by the RYA.
(a ) Does this apply only to new boats, or must any repair also be conducted by a RYA approved builder ?
probably only new boats
(b ) Do these moulds exist any more?
(c ) Where are these building specifications? What materials are permitted for each of the Mandatory Parts?
You started this and out of the 10 replies listed, only Edward and John, and now me, have replied to your posts. The other “replies’ have been yours. Maybe that should tell you something about the ethos of the Sonata Class. We have happily lived with our rules for 30 years. We have amended them when we, as a Class, felt it necessary. You are technically correct about our ‘Closed Rules’ situation. If it’s not specifically permitted, then it’s not allowed. But this is not the Class ethos.
Let me relate you a story, apocryphal, maybe, but it sort of illustrates how the Class has survived for over thirty years in a calm and reasonably relaxed fashion:
David Thomas, the Sonata designer, was at home to let the electric meter reader man in. (no texting your reading in those days). In his garden was a racing trailer-sailer of some sort. In conversation with the meter man David discovered that he would never think about going sailing in “a boat you couldn’t make a cup of tea on”. And the result was David and Peter Poland of Hunter Boats designing the Sonata on the back of an envelope at the next London Boat Show.
In that design David included the famous Sonata ‘bustle’ which stops it planing, the requirement for a cooker, a galley, berths and cushions, etc etc. What actually resulted was a pocket cruiser which had, at the time, a quite extraordinary ability to point to windward and was very seaworthy. Peter Poland and Hunter Boats then built them to an indestructible standard. It was marketed as a ‘family boat’. That’s the ethos.
What actually happened, and you will know because you were there at the time, was that the Sonata achieved some remarkable success as a race boat. Hence the development, all over the UK, abroad, notably in Hong Kong, of racing fleets. But the ethos, and David Thomas’s vision, was an affordable pocket family cruiser and successive NSA Committees have maintained this via the rules and resisted attempts to make the Sonata faster by throwing money at it.
Boats that race regularly are a small proportion. Race boats are often still used to cruise (we have often taken BFG to the South Coast on its bottom). I think Edward has identified the problem accurately; to be technically correct under our rules he should glue is kettle to the galley. But this, and all the other points that you, Peter, have already raised, and I am sure you can continue endlessly on this theme, are of small interest to Sonata owners, racers or not and I have personally met and raced against many of them, particularly over the last two years. They are sensible people.
We have a one-design boat which has race fleets who compete amongst themselves and, occasionally, further afield. Technically, you may be correct on some points. You obviously delight in the details of the omissions and exceptions of our rules. What I alternatively suggest you might do is use your expertise to phrasing a rule which succinctly excludes, in general, and apart from the definitions already contained in the rules, anything that enhances the performance of the boat whilst permitting owners to add to their inventory as they feel appropriate for weather or area circumstances ( I am thinking flares, harnesses and jackstays offshore, for example, and of course, Edward’s kettle because a hot drink can be a life-saver). Such additions to be automatically allowed whilst racing as non-performance enhancing but sensible safety kit.
As an example, most owners, myself included, already carry extra safety kit whilst racing in potentially extreme conditions. On the RTI and when in the Thames estuary, BFG carries flares, two radios, a GPS, two harnesses, a tow line, a throwing line, four 175 lifejackets, at least two mobile phones, a first aid kit, a storm jib, a paddle (don’t laugh, it saved the boat when we lost out rudder off St Kats in 40knts) and various other bits and bobs that make me feel I have done my best to ensure the safety of the boat and the crew. Technically, I have probably broken the Class rules as written on at least three counts several times. I rely on the Sonata ethos that nothing I have done or carried aboard has ever been used to enhance the performance of the boat. BFG measures and it conforms to the Class Rules as published. I hope that anyone I have raced against, or anyone else in the Class, has no problem with that admission.
Finally, Peter, I have a problem with your statement above (18th August) “We will have a serious disagreement one day”. In the Sonata Class we don’t have serious disagreements. I take that statement as a threat. As Chairman of the NSA, and personally, I take exception to threats. In fact, I don’t tolerate them. You may well be better off looking for another class.
First – I’m sorry, maybe I expressed my self badly, but when I said “We will have a serious disagreement one day” I was voicing a sad fear, not a threat. My concern is that if the “Class Ethos” means that the rules as written and the rules as understood and enforced diverge sufficiently, then there is a serious risk that one day two people, probably from different fleets, will discover a material difference in their interpretations of the rules (both genuinely and sincerely held) and which has affected the result of a race. The RYA would then have to adjudicate – and that’s what I meant by a “serious disagreement”.
Second – alI I really want to do is to bring the rules as written in line with common sense and what is currently accepted: to remove the ambiguity and uncertainties that I found when I first read the rules on coming fresh to the class.
Many of the amendments I have suggested are small additions or changes to achieve precisely this effect. Certainly I think the situation where the rules currently prohibit entirely sensible, seamanlike behavior and equipment which does not improve performance in any way, and where the rules quite sensibly are thus routinely ignored, can easily be rectified.
I do not delight in the errors and omissions, they simply upset me as they leave me genuinely uncertain as to what I am and am not allowed to do.
There are in addition a few real issues where some discussion is needed to establish the consensus that manifests itself in the Class Ethos.
I don’t want or plan to do anything that would make my boat unsuitable for cruising, though there are a number of things I’d like to do that would improve it (inter alia) as a cruiser, but which I’m confident are contrary to the letter and spirit of the class rules, so I won’t do them. However, nobody cares if a cruising Sonata complies with the class rules, so the rules are in effect racing rules: and I certainly was reading them in that light.
I utterly agree that the rules should seek to prohibit improving performance by throwing money at things.
I think the suggestions I have already made allow most of the things you might want to do to make the boat more seaworthy, or safer, but not faster per se. Beyond that, specifically prohibiting things that improve performance is hard, though being more specific on permitted materials would plug the most obvious loopholes.
Apart from using exotic materials to get weight out of the boat (which -see above – I’m suggesting prohibiting) the only way I can think of to improve performance (apart from making sure the hull is smooth and the running rigging works properly etc.) would be:
1. Fit proper wind instruments – which is scarcely expensive and I think should be allowed
2. Use a radially cut mainsail. The restrictions on the cloth allowed in a Sonata mainsail means that such a sail WOULD be faster but WOULD ALSO have very short life. Nobody currently does this because of the expense, but there is an argument for either restricting the cut of the mainsail or liberalizing the material it is made of.
What I’d really like to do is simply effect all the minor wording changes that bring the rules into line with current practice; and then take stock and discuss those issues where there may be a genuine divergence of views on what the class rules SHOULD say.
I am going to start a new topic because this post has too much detail for a sensible web-based forum discussion. Lets try to move on and involve other Sonata members in a staged process where we can discuss specific changes to the Class Rules which we, as an Association, might propose for adoption. We can then offer the opportunity to all of our members to comment on any proposed changes. That’s the way we have always done it before. I don’t see any good reason to vary that.
I’m not quite clear how you discuss specific wording changes without the detail of the exact wording….. but I’m utterly happy with your new thread.
Most of the specific (and, I believe, non-controversial) wording changes I propose are in the original .txt file I attached to my first post so people could download it and/or edit it.
Everything in that .txt file is (IMO) entirely non-controversial: the changes are intended purely to make the rules say what we all (I believe) think they are meant to mean. Anything I thought required discussion w.r.t. the intent I brought up in the thread itself.
In addition, a number of points (many also not controversial, like the fact that the rules do not permit a log, but clearly should) came up on re-reading the rules. They too were brought up in the topic itself: I didn’t want to edit the attachment and have multiple versions floating around – very confusing.
Would it be useful to incorporate all the additional purely wording issues int a new version of the .txt file? I’m not trying to prevent discussion of the changes in the .txt file, but if I’m right and the intent is not in dispute and any discussion wily be around the purely technical issue of DRAFTING, then I think keeping those issues separate from points where we may not have consensus as to INTENT seems useful to me.