There has been some discussion at regattas regarding sailing the the Melges 24 within the Class and ISAF Rules. Below are some frequently asked questions whether it be amongst Melges 24 teams or with race committees. David Chivers, IMCA Technical Advisor has offered clarification on several items.
This is covered under the class rules C.10.1, C.10.2 and C.10.3.
It is really very simple; the first opportunity you have to pull out the bowsprit is when the bow has passed the windward mark. However, you cannot do this unless you are also hoisting the spinnaker. If the leg to the spreader mark is too tight to carry a spinnaker then you cannot sail with the bowsprit out – you will be penalised. Pulling the tack of the spinnaker out a little and then waiting is not allowed. You must wait until you hoist the spinnaker before pulling the bowsprit out. One operation – not two!
The easy way to remember is: NO SPINNAKER - NO BOWSPRIT!
At the leeward mark, the rule is a little more flexible, but you must retract the pole as soon as you can. Judges are instructed to watch the crews not the bowsprit. If a crewmember is struggling to clear the spinnaker then a little more time will be given. If it is cleared away with the crew on the rail and the bowsprit still out – expect a penalty!
The Melges class allow a particular type of sailing method by hiking the boat against the hiking lines. However, it is expected that the crew remain inside the lines at all times. This includes the push-pits at the stern and the gate connecting them. There is nothing in the rules that allows crew to step outside these lines whilst sailing and it is therefore prohibited.
It should also be noted that Rule C.10.4 is very clear regarding the helmsperson and how they may sit. They shall not sit in any way that projects the body below the waist outside the sheerline. Nor shall they use any fitting or device to hike from – this includes mainsheet system and backstay adjusters. Helmspersons should not be seen with the feet or legs under or around any system in the boat.
On some boats, the forward hand will tack round the front of the mast and this is acceptable. However, roll tacking by standing and hanging on the shrouds is prohibited. C.10.5. “Hanging” covers all types of contact with the shroud the purpose of which is the heel the boat, including hanging outside or pushing from inside the shrouds!
Although pumping the spinnaker is unrestricted (C.10.6), the mainsail is still controlled by RRS 42. Only when planning is possible or you are able to surf down the leeward side of a wave, may you pump the mainsail. Then it is ONE pump for each wave or gust of wind. Interpretations regarding rule 42 can be found on the ISAF website, www.sailing.org
Check and be sure that you fully understand this racing rule. You are still required to comply with all of it, including sculling, ooching etc.
Please read the Class Rules and the Racing Rules. If you are penalised for breaking these rules, you have only yourselves to blame!