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IDRA 14s Reformat Dinghy Class Rules to Comply with World Sailing's Equipment Rules of Sailing

20th November 2020
The start of an IDRA 14 race at the Sutton Dinghy Club Regatta on Dublin Bay The start of an IDRA 14 race at the Sutton Dinghy Club Regatta on Dublin Bay

Virtual meetings, which are part and parcel of life now, are nothing new to the team of IDRA 14 dinghy sailors who have just completed the task of formatting the IDRA 14 Class rules to comply with those of World Sailing. The IDRA 14 Class Association Rules 2020 document was launched online recently with all the committee work leading up to the launch, being achieved through online meetings.

Starting as far back as 2018, the team of three on the IDRA 14 Class Rules committee met virtually, on a fortnightly basis, via Skype and used Google Docs to complete the intricate work of transposing the 1983 IDRA 14 Class Rules from various class documents and drawings to the latest World Sailing template. Meeting remotely meant that they could get on with the job without having to spend time organising a venue and travelling.

Having a set of Class Rules in line with the World Sailing Class Rules template 2009 (updated 2012) is very important for any competitive class. It means the Class Rules can now be read in conjunction with World Sailing's Equipment Rules of Sailing for 2017-2020, known as the ERS. The Equipment Rules of Sailing (ERS) govern the equipment used in the sport. They are revised and published every four years by World Sailing. The ERS provides sailors, measurers, boatbuilders and sailmakers alike with standard definitions and methods of measurements that when used in Class Rules avoid misinterpretation and potential conflict.

The IDRA 14 dinghy class prepare to start a race - 2021 sees the historic class celebrate its 75th anniversaryThe IDRA 14 dinghy class prepare to start a race - 2021 sees the historic class celebrate its 75th anniversary

The IDRA 14 Dinghy Class will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary next year. The class has kept its appeal as an exciting two crew dinghy with trapeze and spinnaker and a fibreglass version of the boat being included in the class rules over the years.

This family-friendly class is known for competitive and affordable racing, with a great team spirit throughout the class. The class members were very much on board with the move to reformat the rules and held two Information and Question & Answer sessions at the start of the process. These two meetings were held in Clontarf and Dun Laoghaire, as IDRA 14 racing takes place in Sutton Dinghy Club, Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club and in Dublin Bay Sailing Club, with most of the Dun Laoghaire boats raced from the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club.

At the information sessions, it was made clear that the aim was not to change the class rules but to make sure that they were compliant with the latest version of the World Sailing ERS and to sort out any anomalies.

When the IDRA Class Rules Committee got started on their Skype meetings, it soon emerged that each of the three IDRA 14 sailors had their own area of specialisation.

Alan Henry, an engineer and numerous times class national champion, had consistently innovated and pushed the boundaries within the class. Donal Heney's expertise was boat building as he played a central role in the building of IDRA 14 166, in 2016 (the first wooden IDRA to be built in over thirty years). Julie Ascoop, a civil engineer and also former class national champion, specialised in standards and specifications. "Each brought a different experience to the job which made for a very good team", Julie commented.

A computer render of the traditional clinker built IDRA 14 dinghy hull(Above and below) Computer renders of the traditional clinker-built IDRA 14 dinghy hull

IDRA 14 hull Computer drawing

Each team member took on homework to be completed before the next online meeting. This entailed tasks such as measuring a part of the boat, taking photos or checking approaches taken in the rules of other classes, such as the Fireballs or 470s. Using Google Docs during their meetings meant that when a committee member was inputting text in the new document, the others could work on the same document at the same time thus addressing the issue of revision control.

The task involved sorting out quite a few anomalies, one of which first appeared to be quite dramatic: the current masts were 8cm longer than the measurement in the 1983 Class Rules. "That had us spooked", Alan said, but when the team discussed it with Class historian, Ian Sargent and his brother Charles, the IDRA Class Commodore, it was quickly established that the mast measurement had been changed at a past AGM and, after some searching, the relevant rule amendment document was produced. If someone had used the old rules when purchasing a new mast they would have found themselves at a serious disadvantage, Julie explained. This highlighted the issue of maintaining the current set of rules and avoiding spurious versions. A process of updating and maintaining the class rules has now been developed, and the current version is now held online so that it can be easily accessed.

Donal explained that another challenge was that the original offset table, a set of measurements defining the IDRA 14 hull shape, had gone missing.

The IDRA 14 Class was very fortunate to get naval architect Ruairi Grimes involved who produced a digitised version of the original IDRA 14 drawings and set up a 3D model of the IDRA 14 hull from which the offset table could be derived.

Ensuring that these new drawings were a true representation of the original IDRA 14 was crucial so it was decided to compare the original drawings and the digitised version. To this end, the digital version was printed at the exact same scale as the original Class Rules drawings. The newly generated drawing was placed over the original and with the aid of a lightbox, it was established that there was only one flaw in the computer-generated drawings, which was duly corrected.

Voting at the IDRA 14 class egm, pre COVIDVoting at the IDRA 14 class egm, pre-COVID

The IDRA Class Rules Committee managed to complete the vast majority of the work through virtual meetings and was extremely lucky that the information meetings, the meeting with the class measurers and the EGM all took place before March 2020. By the time the country was in the grip of Covid restrictions, all that remained to be done was just to implement the decisions made at the Class Rules EGM.

As well as passing the IDRA Association Class Rules 2020 at the January EGM, the class members accepted 18 of the 22 proposals which the Class Rules Committee had come up with arising from the anomalies they had identified during their class rules work.

Julie Ascoop sees a lot of benefit for the class in having the IDRA Class Rules compliant with the World Sailing Class Rules. "The main thing is that it's now in the right format and uses the correct definitions", she explains. "A sailmaker, for example, will know the relevant ERS numbers for each particular measurement of the sail and will have all the information to hand in a format that's familiar", Julie said. It will also make it much easier to update the class rules at any point, something which might be required if there are any future developments in technology or racing equipment.

The IDRA Class Association Rules 2020 can be downloaded below.

Published in Historic Boats
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