Does anyone know when the new build and measurement rules that were voted on at the SCRA AGM will be published?
The reason being we are currently building our third skiff and need to know the correct wording to all the points discussed so that we can ensure we comply with the new rules.
We also need these new rules along with other clubs so we can work out if we need to modify our existing boats to ensure that they comply. i.e. gunwale, foot plates, oar system.
I am sure we will not be alone in looking for this information giving everyone as long as possible over the winter to bring their boats to meet the new rules before the start of the 2014 season or we may be faced with a situation where a number of the existing boats will not be allowed to race.
Those who are building their first boat should bear in mind that a hull built according to the plans or with certain modified elements that enhance the appearance and individuality of the boat without pushing the boundaries of weight saving, impacting on safety or changing the basic character of the boat ( such as planing the lap of the clinker planking ) will not fall foul of any measurement rules. The amendments voted for at the AGM should be considered as part of the existing 2012 rules.
I agree that if you build the skiff to the plans you will meet all the new build regs however there were some deviations from plan approved at the AGM, mainly hollowing the gunwale to form handle holes and the size and shape of the rudder. However I believe that the final wording for these deviations were not finalised at the AGM and that the SCRA Committee would do this.
There are a number of skiff currently being build and it would not be great for the builders to find that after spending many hours building that they then have to go back and modify it to meet the new rules before allowing them to race in the 2014 season.
The wording is very important as depending on how it is worded could mean complying or not complying.
There are also a number of existing skiffs that may need to be modified ie adding additional wood to the gunwale, remaking the rudder etc so to comply and where not practical to modify to meet the new rules such as using plywood in the stems / hog. They would need to apply to the SCRA committee for an exemption and for the committee to consider approval / rejection of the request before being allowed to racing in the 2014 season.
I feel that it is important that somebody from the SCRA committee gives a date when this will be published.
I agree that this needs clarification for many reasons and as soon as possible. I think it best to email the SCRA secretary Peter Ashe email@example.com with your concerns as comments on the SCRA article scottishcoastalrowing.org/2013/11/06/news-from-the-scra-agm-26-10-2013/ are closed. I am of the impression that committee members will not get involved in any official capacity in posting on this forum though they may well do so as individuals, and this is understandable, but have stated that they will reply to direct contact by email.
A quick look at the New Rules does raise some interesting questions: (1) What is going to be the approved protocol for weighing the skiffs ? (2)The geralds on older boats may not comply with the new Rules. Do they have to be reconstructed for compliance? (3) The stem width of 1.125inches is metrication gone mad and suggests an accuracy beyond normal woodworking techniques. It is clearly meant to be 1 1/8inches. Is a stem which has this approved width at 2inches and tapers to a smaller width at 3 inches illegal? (4) The rudder area is a pretty arbitrary as long as it gives control of the skiff. The notion presented at the AGM that it should be 1/6th of the wetted area is what might be appropriate for a sailing dinghy. This is going to be a difficult one to check as "normal waterline" is dependent on the crew weight and distribution. (5)The first Regatta is about 4 weeks away. Where are the measurers?
Some very good questions Shug and I think unfortunately there are no clear answers to most of them. The SCRA made a strong attempt to regularise the measurements issue ( if there ever was one ) in my mind in the light of vague perceptions that some clubs were seeking an unfair advantage with modifications to some boats and also with a view to limit development of fixtures and fittings so that a more level playing field is established, basically so that those clubs not interested in spending time on development can compete with those who are. Sadly or even inevitably the attempt has failed and produced a set of measurements that are at best unwieldy. Despite supposedly long consultation by the measurements committee with clubs, the voting at the AGM was fairly chaotic with the wording of a lot of the amendments being disputed, made up on the spot and some voted on without any proper agreement on what that wording should be. It was a bit of a mess and a major reason why I decided to set up this forum. I felt there was very little communication or discussion of the issues and most of it came from the top down. It was never established to my mind that there was much need or desire for any changes to the measurement rules in the first place. As regards your questions... 1. None in place. As far as I know only two excellent boats are slightly under the weight, leaving them out in the rain instead of their cosy shed may suffice to make the weight. 2.Not sure if this affects any existing boat, maybe there just in case a carvel St Ayles is attempted. 3.A silly level of accuracy, but you have to draw the line somewhere, though you may not be able to see it. 4.A pointless ruling made in the name of fairness and safety 5.Getting their eyes tested and buying calipers.
I don't want to sound dismissive of the SCRA committee or the measurements committee's efforts in respect of this issue, they have worked hard and done their best in the circumstance, but once set out on the path of change they rumbled along to the conclusion ( ? ) at the AGM. I would have preferred that they had come to a different more coherent conclusion or failing that, make a later attempt with possibly broader consultation, particularly with respect to the physics and science of boats and rowing, or...just sit back and relax with a wee dram and realise that the existing rules properly enforced. were all that was needed. What we are now faced with is enforcing very exacting rules where the more general rules were never enforced. We have added to sensible rules such as "The hull is to be constructed as faithfully as possible to the St Ayles Skiff plans produced by Mr Iain Oughtred " ( which could have been used to rule on excessive fairing of the Geralds for instance ).. with some very specific rules. If someone wanted to make scuppered gunnels that was also covered and only needed to be enforced if an unfair advantage was presumed or safety compromised. Basically common sense has been put aside and I think reluctance to make rulings within the original sensible rules when clubs have stretched the limits of innovation has led to the committee trying to pre-empt any future infringements they can imagine with very specific rules. The limit on the wetted area of the rudder shows a desperate desire to set some limit, any limit and to hell with good design or efficency. Hopefully with contributions from others such as yourself we can have a proper wide ranging debate on these issues. The more skiffers we get involved the better, and if the majority want a raft of new specific rules so be it, but at least make sure they are sensible, meaningful and enforceable.
Well said AP and congratulations on getting the Forum established. I think the Forum is where the Rules can be clarified in an orderly way but...the less detail the better. I sailed in the Sigma33 class for many years and the Rules were simpler than the current Rule book for the St Ayles Skiff. Standard hull,standard fittings, standard sails...go racing.
Possibly the best strategy is to leave the existing Rules to see how many exemptions are requested. If new innovations are introduced, they can always be banned immediately on "aesthetic grounds". What may happen in practice is that Measurement will not be taken seriously which means that the minute details of the Rules are a waste of time.
Fortunately I think the new rules will in no way affect the majority of boats and the other few could probably get exemptions if they were at a tiny variance. If a boat is constantly winning, a close inspection and enforcement would be appropriate if unfair advantage is suspected. I think that the development of aspects of the St Ayles has been a great positive and I am sorry to see it being throttled. Designing a better rudder is an advantage, but certainly not an unfair one as most boats are on show for measurement and there is a great history of sharing ideas and spec between clubs, either at Regattas or on the internet. In this way we would end up with an even better boat to take racing against other classes such as in the Tyne Row, Great Thames Race and the Ocean to City.
As the Worlds approaches, there will be increased interest in the Measurement Rules and there will presumably be scrutineering to ensure that all Skiffs comply with the rules. There is however one area in which I think that scrutineeering is impossible (or at least extremely difficult)and that is rudder area. Rule 4.3:... Rudders must have an underwater wetted surface area of 850 cm²calculated against the expected waterline of a skiff with a normal weight crew rowing in salt water. This Rule may be impractical for the following reasons:. (1)The area specified is hypothetical and impossible for scrutineers to accurately check at Regattas.
(2)There is no particular basis for the figure of 850cm2 and it is not clear if this figure refers to the wetted area or the projected area. In addition, there are no practical tolerances on the measurement.
(3)The requirement that the area be measured in salt water is problematic for skiffs, which are normally used on freshwater rivers and lakes.
(4) The “expected waterline” is vague and should, if anything, be the “actual waterline”. This is so dependent on other factors as to be impractical. . (5) The crew of “normal weight” is undefined.
The general purpose of the Building and Measurement Rules is to create a “standard boat” within which there is some scope for experimentation to maximise the performance. This kind of experimentation has already taken place with oar development, seat spacing, lifting rudders, tiller configurations, footrests etc and should be continued with rudder development. All that is needed instead of the complexity of Rule 4.3 is....“ The rudder shall be securely fixed to the stern and be of sufficient area to give full control of the skiff”.
Last Edit: Oct 23, 2015 11:33:16 GMT by shug: typo