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Administering the Hartley TS16 Class Rules

Issue 3 – 9.3.2009

 The Committee of Management of the Hartley Trailer Sailer 16 Association of Australia Inc. (the Committee) is sometimes asked how it goes about making decisions regarding the various class rules that govern the Hartley TS16 Class. In making these decisions the first and overriding principle that the Committee follows is that it should act in the interests of the members as a whole rather than any individual member or group of members. However, while the benefit of members as a whole is paramount, the Committee also tries as far as possible to be fair to individual members.

Some of the matters the Committee considers in acting in the interests of members are;

  • safety
  • minimizing the cost of acquiring and owning a Hartley TS16
  • maintenance of the value of boats owned by members
  • the fairness of competition when racing.

Racing centre board boats need some class rules to ensure that the competition is fair. There are many types of class rule - they may be to do with measurements, number of crew, what equipment you must carry or are not allowed to carry, rigging arrangements and many other aspects. There are usually considered to be two types of class rules - those for development classes and those for one design classes. The basic difference is that with development classes there are few rules and
building and fitting out the boat is part of the competition, whilst with one design classes there are many more rules and the aim is to as far as possible have the boats all the same and for the competition to be on the basis of sailing skills only. The Committee believes it is very much in the interests of the great majority of our members for our class to be administered as a one design class and that most members would want us to administer the class rules in that way.

There is sometimes discussion amongst members about the ideal shape for a Hartley TS16. From the Committee's perspective the ideal shape is the one using exactly the measurements in the plans produced by Richard Hartley. If all boats were able to be built to this accuracy competition would be completely fair and no one's boat would lose value because it was believed to have a shape less competitive than another. That way all members with "A" Class boats could rely on their current boat remaining competitive and its value being maintained if it was kept in good condition. For that reason the Committee believes the aim should be to have all new boats built as closely to the original design as is practicable for amateur builders.

However, in pursuing the objective of minimizing the cost of acquiring a TS16 the Committee also believes it should make every effort to create a situation where it is practicable for an amateur builder to build one at home. That was the basis of the original design and it was a major factor in the Committee proposing the approval of the foam sandwich on male mould form of construction a few years ago. While it would be ideal if all boats had identical measurements, it needs to be recognized that there is a limit to how accurately an amateur builder can work and that there needs to be some tolerance for minor inaccuracies.

To meet the above objectives the Committee believes that measurement tolerances it sets need to be sufficient to allow for unintentional errors by amateur builders, but not sufficient to allow a noticeable difference in performance in boats at the limit of the tolerances. The Committee believes the current measurement tolerances meet these requirements. However, it should be stressed that the tolerances are there to allow for unintentional errors by amateur builders and are not intended to allow a boat to be built differently to obtain competitive advantage, and that builders should be encouraged to build as closely to the nominal measurements as they can so that if they do make an unintentional error the tolerances will be sufficient to allow their boat to measure in.

Administering the class rules as described above means there has to be strict control over the boats we allow to be classed officially as "A" Class TS16s. This will inevitably lead to debate at the margins over what is and is not allowable. One problem is that you would need something the size of the Encyclopaedia Britannica if you wanted to write down every possible thing that anyone might ever do that you would not want to allow. Not only would this be impossible to write, but also measurers would find it very onerous to check hundreds of rules to make sure they are all being followed. On the other hand, if we operate on the basis that if the class rules don't explicitly ban something you are allowed to do it, we run the risk of all sorts of odd things being done and the class going down the path of development classes. We could find older boats rapidly losing their value, the cost of competitive ownership increasing and the supply of competitive second hand boats drying up. This does not seem to be in the interests of the class or the members of our Association.

From the Committee of Management's perspective this means that if anyone is proposing to do something different to what is currently normal practice in building, equipping and sailing a TS16 he or she should ask the Committee for a ruling on whether what is proposed is acceptable. It cannot be assumed that just because something is not prohibited in the current rules it will be accepted. Examples of such situations which have occurred over the last couple of years include unusual shapes at the top of the mainsail, use of large handles or straps on the side of the cabin and the use of digital compasses. In each of these cases the committee of Management has provided a ruling which it believes is in the interest of the members of our Association as a whole.