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Lightning Class Association
Home2017 Proposed Amendment Plans/Specifications2

Proposed Amendment to the Plans and Specifications
Article V - Sails, Section 75

During the Governing Board Meeting on August 15, the initial proposal was referred back to committee.

The ILCA Technical Committee has studied and revised the sail change proposal sent to it following the Governing Board meeting at Rochester Yacht Club in August 2016 and recommends the following NEW amendment to the Lightning Plans and Specifications, Article V-Sails, paragraph 75:

75. For sails built after 1 June 2017, sail numbers, national letters (when required), and the class emblem shall be on both sides of the mainsail. The class emblem shall be located just below the top batten, back to back above the national sail letters, with the tip up and pointing forward, positioned as per plans. The national letters (when required) shall be located just above the middle batten, starboard side above port side. The sail numbers shall be located just below the middle batten, starboard side above port side.

The country flag (when required) shall be located below the bottom batten. The size and orientation of country flags may be defined by the Organizing Authority and the ILCA Executive Committee for a specific event. (March 2017)

Numbers and national letters (when required) will be 300 mm (12”) minimum height and 200 mm (8”) wide except for the numeral one or letter ‘I’.

Sail numbers with an optional class emblem will be on the outside of the spinnaker or may be placed on both sides within the area designated by World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing.

Appendix G1.3 (d) of the RRS is amended so that national letters on the spinnaker are not required. (March, 2007)

Appendix G.1.1 (b) of the RRS is amended so that national letters on the mainsail are not required for events other than the World Championship unless the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions specifically requires them. (March 2017)


75.  Racing numbers and the Class emblem will be on both sides of the main sail, and be located above the middle batten as per Plans, and racing numbers with an optional class emblem will be on the outside of the spinnaker or may be placed on both sides within the area designated by ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing. Numbers will be 300 mm (12") minimum height and 200 mm (8") wide except for the numeral one. Boats sailing in international events shall be identified by national sail letters as defined by the ISAF. Appendix G1.3 (d) is amended so that National Sail Letters on the spinnaker are not required. (March, 2007) 

The Photo below shows what a main with the new layout might look like. It was taken at the last Worlds Championship at the Buffalo Canoe Club in 2015.

Example of the New Layout

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.

Bill Cabrall
ILCA Chief Measurer

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