territorial pissings, part 2

The name calling started in the Etchells boat park a while back. Mould 11 non-believers are called “cocksuckers”. Class officials stride across hardstands not making eye contact with non-believers.

There has been a major screw up and nobody wants anyone to be accountable. So, the type of thing that kill off an international one design class. But like the “X Files” the truth is out there.

For those new to the controversy, the International and Australian Class Associations have been at odds about the legality of the boats produced from “Mould 11” which is owned by the Australian Class Association.

The International Association asserted the Mould 11 boats were not Etchells so claims and cross claims followed whether the boats were faster or not faster, legal or not legal in a manner that did no one good service. In January 2021, Mr Andrew Cumming, the International Class Association President announced that “Mould 11 produces boats which have a longer waterline, less rocker, are flatter in the middle and fuller in the ends” and these boats are not International Etchells.

The Australian Class President responded by saying the Mould 11 boats had been issued with Measurement Certificates and were legal as the hulls met relevant template measurement stations. World Sailing has now ended that debate conclusively and the Mould 11 boats are not International Etchells.

The International Class Association posed three questions to World Sailing about the Mould 11 boats, which at its simplest was whether a boat had to conform with a registered mould or simply fit between three measurement templates.  The Mould 11 boats were never made from a registered mould but fitted between the three relevant measurement templates and had been issued Measurement Certificates in Australia.

However, World Sailing concluded that:

  1. Moulds have to be approved by World Sailing
  2. A boat that has a measurement certificate must also come from a registered mould
  3. A boat that “measures in” is not a legal boat.

Accrdingly, Hull Certificates for Mould 11 boats will be withdrawn.

The controversy is perfectly illustrated by the rendering at the top which shows a hull outline meeting the three template measurement stations but not conforming with the measurement points being any point on the original class plug save for a normal manufacturing tolerances.

This was a big win for the International Association which sought to protect the strict one design nature of the class. The Australian Class Association now has to ask hard questions as to how a plug and mould were built and used for production without approval with World Sailing. 

However, in by email to class members on 10 March 2021, International Class President, Andrew Cumming advised, 

The IECA is in the process of communicating with stakeholders most affected by this situation, including the owners of the 25 boats that have been built to date from M11.  We are working with WS to try to enact a temporary Rule Change that will allow M11 boats to continue to compete in regional and national regattas within Australia, provided the Australian Membership is in favour of that.

So, let’s work this through this proposed rule change.

The rule will only apply to regional and national regattas in Australia, so no Mould 11 boats can compete at a Worlds even if held in Australia let alone outside Australia presumably. You can use a Mould 11 boat to qualify in Australia for an overseas Worlds but can’t take your Mould 11 boat with you if the qualifying series is a regional or national regatta.

You can use your Mould 11 boat to displace a Mould 9 boat in World Championship qualification in Australia thus denying that boat a World Championship qualification. The resale price on Australian Mould 9 boats gets thrashed.

So, now you seem have the Australian Etchells and the International Etchells and there are only 25 Australian Etchells.

The solution put forward by Mr. Cumming may get the problem “off his desk” by making it an Australian issue, but that may not be solution for the good of the International Class as a whole. For American and British fleets, the problem is solved, as they will not have to deal with Mould 11 boats. To be continued…