Advice for Competitors

At the World Championships in La Trinité earlier this year the organisers noticed some points that are important for competitors in future events:

  •  No boat name shall include a reference to any sponsorship or company name
  •  Sail numbers and letters shall be clearly visible. Please check your sails in different lights and talk to your sailmaker as necessary.
  •  All spinnakers shall as a minimum, carry the national letters and sail numbers on the front side of the spinnaker.

Advertising Names 

Class Rule 30 on Advertising restricts the areas of the boat where competitor’s advertising is allowed, to spinnakers, the transom of the yacht, and to flags hoisted on the forestay when moored. It also says that a yacht may not be named with an advertising name. It is this last point that may give difficulty. There is nothing to prevent an individual boat receiving sponsorship, but it is important that the boat’s name and the sponsor’s name do not get confused – it is not acceptable to use the name of the sponsor, or of a business associated with the owner, as part of the boat’s name. Please remember that you cannot rely on the organisers to detect the problem when you make your entry, because they may not be familiar with business names in your country, so they may not be aware that the name of a visiting boat breaks this rule.

Visibility of Sail Numbers 

The Racing Rules Appendix G1.2(a) requires that national letters and sail numbers shall be ‘clearly legible’. In La Trinité there were some sails where it was very difficult to see the numbers in certain conditions. Dark numbers on a dark sail can be difficult to see if they both reflect the sunlight, and numbers that are not opaque and allow light to pass through are difficult to see if the sun is behind the sail. There are no specific rules on what colours should be used, so it is up to the Race Committee to decide if the numbers meet the requirement to be ‘clearly legible’. Note that RRS G4 says that the protest committee may either warn competitors and give them time to comply, or penalise them, but it may be very inconvenient for you to have to change your sail numbers during the event.

Identification on Spinnakers 

Class Rule 34 states that sail identification shall follow RRS Appendix G, except that it specifies the size of the numbers, and states that G1.3(e) does not apply. But note that G1.3(e) only applies to headsails – it means that you do not need to have numbers on genoas and jibs. The difference between a headsail and a spinnaker is defined in RRS 50.4, in terms of the width of the sail at the midpoint of the luff and leach. In accordance with this definition a spinnaker is not a headsail, and so spinnakers have to have numbers in accordance with G1.3(d). RRS G1.3(d) requires that the national letters and sail numbers shall be displayed on the front side of a spinnaker, but may be placed on both sides.

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