Following a ruling by World Sailing, the International Etchells Class Association has confirmed that 25 boats produced by Pacesetter Etchells Pty since 2011 from mold 11 are not valid Etchells Class yachts under class rules.
World Sailing (WS) has published an interpretation of the Etchells class rules, stating, among other things, that:
a) IECA class rules require mold approval by WS
b) Having a hull certificate alone renders a boat neither eligible to compete nor built to comply with class rules, and
c) Merely meeting the measurement criteria of the class rules renders a boat neither eligible to compete nor built to comply with the class rules.
The M11 was built by Innovation Composites Pty under contract to Pacesetter in 2011. To date, 25 boats have been built from the M11 and it has been shown, using laser scanning technology, that their shape was very different from that of the Etchells Class Yachts.
Specifically, they have a longer waterline, less rocker, a higher degree of bilateral symmetry, and more tip buoyancy. World Sailing has already established that the M11 has never been validated or registered by World Sailing.
The International Etchells Class Association of Australia (IECAA) is the owner of the M11. The IECAA has firmly maintained that M11 boats are Etchells because they have a hull certificate and measure like Etchells.
This Interpretation establishes that these two criteria are not sufficient. Boats must also be from a WS approved mould.
Tooling control for the construction of Etchells is the cornerstone of the class’s unique strict design ethic. Tooling control means that when a new mold is built, it undergoes a rigorous validation process, overseen by World Sailing, to ensure that the hulls it produces are exact copies of the official Etchells shape, within manufacturing tolerances.
This process was not followed for M11 and resulted in boats that do not have the correct shape.
The IECA recognizes that this result can be devastating news for owners of M11 boats. They are victims of circumstances entirely beyond their control and beyond their control. The results of the regatta prior to this decision will not be reviewed or revised.
The IECA is aware of the damage caused to the Class by this situation, particularly in Australia where most M11 boats are detained. While not seeking retroactive remedies, the IECA is committed to working with the IECAA, Pacesetter, IC and other stakeholders to find solutions for these unfortunate boat owners.
IECA IGC Chairman Andy Cumming said on January 22, 2021 that, “What is left for us to determine, and this is why this is such a deeply important issue for the Etchells class, is whether we, as governors representing you, the members, We’re willing to abandon the strict one-design ethos that has been at the heart of this Class’ success for over 50 years.’
‘Accepting M11 as legal makes us a development class. Changing to the development model would render obsolete every Etchells boat produced to date that is not from the M11.
The IECA is in the process of communicating with the stakeholders most affected by this situation, including the owners of the 25 boats that have been built to date from M11.
The IECA is working with World Sailing to try and pass a temporary rule change that will allow M11 boats to continue to compete in regional and national regattas in Australia, provided Australian members are in favor of this.
Etchells class declaration here. . .