If this change is approved, space would be reserved on the main for the class insignia, national letters, sail numbers, and country flags. The class insignia and sail numbers would be on all of the sails, and national letters and country flags would have a space reserved for them in events that require them.
This change will apply to sails made after 1 June, 2017. Existing sails will continue to be class legal for as long as they last.
The Class insignia (the Lightning ‘Flash’) would be at the uppermost emblem on the sail, followed by the national letters (when required by an event), then the sail numbers. The change pushes the sail numbers lower on the sail in order to make room for national letters below the class insignia.
This change brings our sails more closely into compliance with the standards laid out in Appendix G of the RRS. Note that due to the size of the letters and insignia relative to the size of our sails and the location of the batten pockets, it is impossible to completely comply no matter what is done.
At the moment, World Sailing requires national letters for World Championships and “international events”. The phrase “international event” in the rules could be construed to include the Southern Circuit and events like the Atlantic Coast Championships (ACC’s). The final paragraph of the change clarifies when national letters are required, and specifies how and when the requirement is levied (i.e in the NOR, published well in advance of a particular event).
This is important because many hundreds of boats at the fleet level do not currently have national letters on their sails, modifications to older sails are difficult, and the Technical Committee does not wish to impede the ability of boats at the fleet level from moving up into larger regattas, or make it difficult for people buying used boats to compete in our larger events. The committee feels such action would not be in the best interest of the class. The change clarifies when national letters are actually required and requires sufficient lead time prior to such an event for older sails to be modified.
Applying National Letters to a new sail would increase the cost of a sail by the cost of the letters and the labor to apply them. This could run to an additional $40-60 (estimates vary), and there is concern on the Technical Committee that new sails are becoming increasingly expensive. As worded, the change allows boat owners at the local level to avoid this expense for sails that will never be used in international events (the committee feels this is the vast majority of all Lightning sails). It is felt that that a team buying new sails for an international event would be willing to pay the additional expense.
The change also requires the use of country flags to be identified in advance. Space on the sail is reserved for such flags, but the size and orientation is left to the organizing committee for the events.
The originator of the proposal felt that the change would make the sail more ‘modern’ and appeal more to a younger generation of sailor. This may be true, but hard data on this point is not available.
This change will be voted upon during the March Governing Board Meeting in Saint Petersburg.
ILCA Chief Measurer