New low-cost "hardware store" racing class; input on proposed rules

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Petros, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Yobarnacle
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    Yobarnacle Senior Member

  2. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Styrofoam boards with untapered alloy masts would last pretty well. A 16 foot board like a giant D2 with styro core would be in the 22kg range fairly easily without exotics and even with a basic pinhead sail of 8m you're looking at something that will normally beat an International Canoe, 470, Thistle etc around a track; that's fairly easy to judge from experience with D2s and "Darts". Obviously the cargo box would slow it down but whether it would slow a board down more than a boat is a different matter. So IMHO you could simply ban rigs with universal joints, using the Moth's wording.

    The box seems excessively heavy to me and would need serious restraining lest it harm someone in a capsize, leaving alone the problems of getting it into the boat; reaching across a 7' wide hull with 100kg of bags is not nothing. But where I come from we're not as used to handling heavy dinghies as you are, and a fairly high minimum weight could be a good idea.

    As Paul mentioned, the light crews would be under a serious disadvantage as they lack righting moment (vital in dinghies).

    About hull width; generally a rise of floor measurement is used to mandate a minimum beam at a certain point and height above keel (or below deck), about 60% aft. Designers will of course distort the boat around this point in various ways, as in this Australian Cherub; not the chine line and the hard turn at the midships measurement point.


    A maximum beam can also be useful or you end up with something with gunwale beam of half the LOA and massive flare, like a Merlin Rocket; wonderful in its way but very demanding to sail.

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  3. Yobarnacle
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    Yobarnacle Senior Member

    ballast doesn't need to be sand. water ballast in a neoprene flexi-tank would work.
  4. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Writing rules is suprisingly difficult, and there are a lot of things to get right. Even in a box rule there are all sorts of complicated nuances.
    Chris alludes to the problems with rise of floor rules which is one of the classic examples, another of course is lumps and bumbs at the measurement points.

    But most of all you have to decide where you are going with your rules.

    Do you want to force owners into a boat that is typeformed by the rules into some sort of bigger or smaller mould, or do you want it completely free. And if you want it completely free then the results will approach firstly sailboard and secondly multihull as the rules permit.

    Alternatively if you do want to typeform the box more then to what degree to you want to do so. The fastest boat will be at the very limits of what the most talented sailor in the class can handle.

    So do you want to type form even more heavily to limit that?
    Do you want limitations that attempt to restrict sailors from doing things that won't work?
    Do you want to keep the boats reasonably similar so they can race together competetively or do you want it all wide open and very often the race result determined before the boats even launch?

    There's 150 years of wrestling with these problems in class rule management, and there are no right answers, but there are plenty of wrong ones... You do want to make sure you aren't just repeating errors your grandfathers and great great grandfathers came across and dealt with.
  5. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    My intention is to just keep the rules wide open within the box rule, anything goes. The fewer restrictions the better, I do not want to limit creativity, only cost. We might have to tweak the rules later, and design varied race events, and the crew+cargo rule, to keep extreme one designs from dominating.

    The cargo box must be secured, though we might allow the ability to shift it from side to side as long as it stays attached and movement is limited to a defined track. This only for the purpose of safety, but movable ballast is certainly a creative solution that, if done withing the box limit and the budget, would be interesting to see executed.

    We will likely create different classes of mono- and multihull as we get more participants. The multi-hull class would have only a length limit of 16', and perhaps a $1000 budget.

    I appreciate all the input, all are valuable contributions, almost all of the issues I will bring up at the meeting next month. Keep the ideas and considerations coming.
  6. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    Final rules for the class;

    Since it appears comments slowed down I thought I would post below my current proposed rules, along with my comments that I submitted to the committee. they will likely get tweaked some more before we finalize them. All of you are free to comment.

    Here is my reasons for the changes (from everyone's input): The cost limit being too low seems to be a legitimate concern. IF too low it will inhibit innovation, performance and quality construction. But if the cost is too high it will exclude a lot of people from participating. I thought raising the cost limit gives more flexibility and encourage better quality boat builds.

    The size limit should be reconsidered as well. 16' is the size of boat that does not have to be licensed in WA, and a few other states (some states do not require registration of any boat without a motor, some exempt all racing boats), but there are a number that require an inspection, a data plate and boat license no matter the size. Also, a 14' boat will
    take a lot less material, and space in a shop/garage than a 16' boat. As we get more participation we can add both a larger, more expensive class, and perhaps a junior class [i.e. 16'x 8'-$1000, 10' x 5'-$300), and perhaps a separate multi-hull. I am going to suggest that we start out with a mono and multi-hull class if we get more than three entrants in each category.

    All the other suggestions for limiting cost will limit design choices, creativity, and not always limit total cost, and some are not practical to enforce (it would encourage cheating). However I think a simple statement about construction methods might be useful: "tooling and construction methods should be kept simple and limited to those suited to a typical home workshop".

    Limiting the build to group events I think will reduce participation, raise costs, and might also limit creativity for certain time consuming operations. Many would build at their leisure in the home shop, a few hours at a time, but could not afford to spend a week in a building workshop. However, building workshops would be a great optional event, if some people are a bit intimidated by the design and building process, they can do it an a workshop with lots of tools available, and expert instruction (perhaps with design assistance as well).
    ================================================== ===========

    1. Max length 14', max beam 7', max mast length (step to peak) 16'
    including all appendages (except external detachable rudder). Size is measured
    with the sails centered on the hull, so booms or jibs, yards, etc. can
    go outside the box rule when underway. No spinnaker, or trapeze allowed,
    but foot straps and bars or benches for hiking out are okay (as long as all
    appendages are within max size limits).

    2. Races will be with two man crew or singled handed. To make sure
    the boats stay practical, some races will require boats to accommodate
    a minimum crew-plus-cargo weight of 500 lbs, and room for large cooler
    sized box (the "cargo box") must be included in the design. [need to find out what is
    the size of a standard large Colman cooler]

    3. Wood or wood/pulp based materiel must be incorporated into the
    structure of the hull (but the building method does not have to use
    wood exclusively-other materials are allowed). Construction method is
    wide open, but should be suitable for building in a home shop without
    extensive tooling (plywood forms or strong back acceptable, making
    parts in a numerically controlled mill is not).

    4. All the materials, fasteners and adhesives purchased for use in
    the construction of the complete boat, sails and rigging is limited to
    $600 (not counting sales tax and shipping costs). All materials must
    be purchased new in small quantities at retail prices from any mail
    order or national hardware store chain (such as-but not limited to-
    Home Depot, Lowes, or Ace hardware stores), this means no wholesale
    suppliers or bulk purchase prices to make it fair for everyone. The
    purchase unit of materials shall be used, such as if a hull uses 4.3
    sheets of plywood, material cost is 5 sheets. Fabrics or lines and
    rigging supplies sold by the running yard or by the foot, are counted
    to the next unit of measure. Screws, fittings or fasteners are
    counted by the way they are sold, by the box, pound, or each.

    5. All entrants must submit copies of receipts and a list of
    materials used when a boat is registered for the season. Entrants
    must keep original purchase receipts (or record of purchases) and a
    detailed record of the build (including photos) for examination if a protest filed.

    6. The cost of paint, sealant or preservatives will not count toward
    the materials cost, any type of one-part paint or sealant is allowed.
    Bright colors and attractive paint schemes are encouraged. The cost of
    the thread incidental to any sewing of fabric or webbing will also not
    be counted towards material cost. The cost of maintenance or repairs
    is not counted toward materials cost, nor the cost of replacing whole
    assemblies of items replaced (if a sail or rudder is replaced with one
    of a new design, but the cost of the materials is the same, than it
    will not affect the materials costs), experimentation is encouraged.
    However, if the replacement component materials costs more, than the
    difference from what is removed and what is installed, will count
    toward the class limit. Detailed records of cost of materials,
    and quantities used should be kept. Major repairs that significantly
    affect the cost of materials will require a judge to approve, with the
    intent that no advantage would be gained.

    7. At the end of each season winner must allow design plans to be
    drawn from their boat, and published for next season and made
    available to anyone for a reasonable fee (TBD). The proceeds from the
    sale of the plans are to be split between race organization and the
    boat designer.

    Any construction method, design, sail plan or type, and materials can
    be used within these limitations.


    Type of Racing Events;

    There shall be three or four race day events for each season (series),
    with varied events as outlined below.

    Each racing day event shall consist of two or three (or more) races
    arrange as either;

    1) a triangle coarse around 3 markers (with option of circling the
    "long way" around one, two or three of the markers).

    2) a rectangular coarse with a "bow tie" option around 4 coarse markers,

    3) a straight line coarse out and back around one marker.

    Each marker must be at least 660 ft (1/8 mile) nominally apart or distance from
    the starting line, longer distances preferred.

    4) At least one of the races on each race day, it shall be required
    to have crew and cargo equal 500 lbs, with cargo box carried on each

    5) The first contestant across the finish line shall be awarded 100
    points, second place finisher will receive 60 points, third place
    shall receive 40 points, fourth place shall receive 20 points, and
    each contestant that finishes the race after 4th place shall receive
    10 points. DNF receives zero points for that race.

    6) There shall be at least one Raid type event each season. It shall
    last 4 hours or more in duration, first leg out to a distant landmark
    or location (preferably a restaurant or park with a BBQ), and than
    back for the second leg. A beach "Le Mans" style start is required,
    and all skids, wheels or launching equipment (if used) must be carried
    on the boat for the duration of the event. All gear, refreshments used
    during each stage of the race, clothing, supplies and equipment must
    be carried on the boat or the crew for the whole event.

    7) First contestant to return will receive 300 points, second 180 points,
    third 120 points, fourth 60 points, and every finisher after, within
    the time limit (if any), 30 points each. Highest point total for crew and
    boat at the end of the season shall be the season winner.

    Event organizers or event sponsors are free to add other awards or
    prizes, such as best new design, or most innovative use of non-boat
    hardware, winner of any individual race, people choice award, etc.
    But these will not add points toward season total.

    8) All racing rules not specifically stated will be generally according
    to the current Racing Rules for Sailing by the International Sailing
    Federation. Rules will be generally observed but not necessarily
    strictly enforced.

    9) Any changes or adjustments to any rules will be announced
    by January 31 for that season's rules. Rule changes should be done by

    10) All competitors mush wear PFD, and imersion gear for the long
    distance events. The race officials reserve the right to disqualify
    any boat if it appears unsafe (especially for the longer distance


    Options to consider;

    To keep changes in material costs more fair from one year to the next
    we might adjust the cost limit based on an index of a sample list of
    supplies that equals the $ limit: like 5 sheets of 4x8-1/4" AC
    plywood, one gallon of Tightbond 3, 2 pounds of stainless screws. 100
    ft of 1/4" woven polyester cord, etc. And each year the race committee
    announces by Jan 31st the years build index cost. This would also
    allow different areas of the country to adjust for local materials costs.

    Another idea is that cost records should be kept on the honor
    system, and only the top 3 or 4 finishers must surrender the cost
    receipts for scrutiny at the end of the season. keeps judges efforts
    to a min. and will only focus on wining boats anyway.

    We could also perhaps consider publishing the plans for the top 3
    finishers as well, since each could have been the season winner if
    conditions were different. Also gives us more of a variety of plans
    to publish too.
  7. Jetboy
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    Jetboy Senior Member

    IMO the rules are great. I think the $600 cap is enough to build a real boat, but not too much to prevent people from doing it.

    You might clarify what the potential sources of material are, or at least require that a comparable material be available at Lowes or HD. There could end up being disagreement as to what is considered building materials. I can buy fiberglass and polyester resins at Ace hardware, but I can't buy 10 yards of 6oz biaxial there. If I order that, is it off limits? Also if I order a gallon of polyester resin because it's a fraction of the price as Ace, is that OK?

    The problem I see with ordering stuff, is that you might end up with an advantage for someone who can pay a lot for shipping to get a "deal" on materials that might allow for a much more expensive boat than what it would actually cost for a regular person to go to Lowes and buy the same stuff.
  8. sawmaster
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    sawmaster Senior Member

    re:rules for Hardware store class:--just for a bit of clarification --would the yard of a sliding gunter rig be allowed to project above the 16' base to peak measurement of the mast?--also,if a particular design was somehow able to rack up a lot of points in some of the earlier events would it be able "sit out" an event,or is the intent to have every boat compete in every event.I was very intrested until I found out about the beach start "raid" event.What distance would the skipper have to drag/roll/slide his craft across the beach in order to launch his craft?--would this requirement turn this event into more of a fitness contest rather than a design contest?-and would you have to drag it with ballast cooler intact? Also,would all designs have to have bouancy bags or enclosed compartments and pass a flooded floation test to avoid being disqualified as "unsafe" for the long distance event?-if not , what criteria would be used?-Just wondering--Im very interested in the concept --might even move to puget sound area to participate
  9. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member


    The intent is to use retail value of materials that are available to anyone. If you can buy it mail order like anyone else, than it would be allowed. If mail order gets you cheaper materials, than so much the better! The only issue is if anyone can buy it without buying bulk or need a wholesale license or being a dealer. The shipping cost is excluded because some people who live in remote areas can buy and build a boat to compete without being penalized for shipping cost. Not sure there is much of an advantage to pay more in shipping to get materials cheaper. We should consider it however, perhaps we have to have the committee determine a "retail value" for major componets should there be a protest over the issue. May never come up.


    I was intending the gunter or gaff rig also stay within the top of the mast, however, note that the mast length is what is limited, not the total hight of the rig above the hull. the idea is to keep cost down, that would include max sail size and length of mast.
    The idea with the scoring is to allow someone to skip the events and could still win. this is common in a lot of types of racing, if you are the points leader and no one can come close to you, no need to keep racing. The beach launch is not intended to be an athletic event, just a way to keep the boats practical, I would say 20 or 30 feet to the water max, you can use wheels to launch, you just have to carry they with you for the event. No cargo rule on the raids, you will already have gear on board for the day anyway, and I would not want to over load the boats in "real" sea conditions.

    I do not think we will have a buoyancy requirement, not for the short events anyway (there will be official boats at the ready). For this kind of event, the boat sinking is not really the hazard, it would be if was dangerous to operate in proximity to others. I would hope that judges be generous and allow almost anything to compete, and only forbid clearly poorly built boats that are falling apart to not compete. We will have to discuss if we will require buoyancy bags or water tight compartments, these too would limit design creativity, but might not be a bad idea.

    You would be certainly welcome to come and compete in Puget Sound (actually Lake Union would be the likely place of the first event in 2013). But once we finalize the rules, why don't you take a copy to a local dinghy club or boat building school and start a local chapter in Texas? I am sure there are several large lakes nearby that have sailing clubs. And though a bit of a drive from Tyler, I am sure there are boat building groups down in Houston or Austin that you could get interested in holding events.

    My hope is to make this eventually a national contest with lots of local or state chapters participating. It would be exciting to see what people, inventors, builders come up with across the country.
  10. sawmaster
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    sawmaster Senior Member

    re:--hardware store class :eek:.k.--count me in --I'll try to start a texas chapter- you can pm me with details once rules are finalized.This will be fun --my preliminary designs do not have bouancy compartments but should be extremely stable in all but the most dangerous conditions-chase/rescue boats would be an absolute must in anything over 24 knots
  11. luff tension
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    luff tension Junior Member

    how would using second hand/recycled bits count in the rules, i.e. using a carbon windsurfer rig and sail found in the dumpster could be problem.
  12. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    rule states all materials used must be purchased new. I have actually been in contests where salvage/recycled materials were the intent. It becomes a contest to see who is a better trash picker (I have won that contest 3 times!), and that is not the intent here. You can use recycled parts and materials to save money, but the new retail price would have to be counted. So a used sail or mast would not be helpful as far as "cheating" the rules.
  13. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    On rule 4, instead of one race per day, I would make it one day of racing per event. For beach launched events it may not be a problem to go get an ice chest, but if you sail out of a marina it might take a good amount of time to sail in get the chest for everyone then return to the race course. Alternatively you could set a minimum crew weight of 500lbs for all races with the option to add corrector weights for the difference.

    Either way, this rule significantly favors two heavy sailors over a husband/wife or parent/child crew. I am not sure that it really acomplishes much other than that. Most dinghys have an optimal weight based upon their hull design, in this class you would likely just have boats designed for different crew weights instead.
  14. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Its rather bizarre that it appears on a basic reading you are not allowed to use cheaper sources of materials if you can get them. As you are getting into rather a large administration overhead with the cost control anyway might it be worth including the price catalogue of certain large suppliers? Its strange, for instance, that as the rules are written you have to buy a new box of wood screws for every boat rather than use the half box you have on the shelf. Provided it can be demonstrated that everything used *could* have readily been bought within your limit price isn't it rather perverse - and indeed wasteful - to insist that it must be? As long as the boat *could* have been built with all new components within your price limit by anyone then isn't building it for rather less using second hand, discount or on the shelf components something to be encouraged rather than prohibited?

    I suggest that you really do need a buoyancy rule. Someone sitting out of the water on the remains of their failed craft is going to survive far longer and be far easier to find than a head bobbing in the water. I suggest there should be appropriate reserve buoyancy with one compartment or component punctured, to support the weight of sailor and craft in total with an appropriate safety factor. You want to be able to sit on the wreckage, not just cling to it.

    If the above rules are complete in their entirety then the first year the winner will have a sailboard specification, and when that's banned the second year would be won by a tunnel hulled catamaran-in-all-but-name. Third year would go to something vaguely resembling an International Moth with a two foot waterline hull. Masts will be two piece with telescopic type joins and be a pain in the neck to fabricate.

  15. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member


    I think you might be mis-reading rule 4. The idea is that we have several different types of races on each race day (except the raid), and on at least one of those races the 500lb crew+cargo must be inplace. Some race will be with the 500lb payload, and some without, but at least one will have it. Perhaps I need to clarify it intent?

    The heavy sailors would be favored only where the 500 lb payload is required, not on the other races.


    Yes, this issue has bothered me too since i have a shop full of screws, scrap metal, pad eyes, cleats and other stuff. I agree with the idea, if you have some left over materials, or even materials given to you, than I see no reason not to use it, but how do you enforce the cost rule? We have to have some way of measure the value accurately. What if someone uses epoxy on all the hidden joints and than list left over Tightbond 3 for the cost? What if someone uses marine plywood and lists AC plywood? Not easy to tell after the boat is finished. Of course this can be done even when buying new, but at least it would help minimize it by having to produced poof of purchase price. Though I do like the idea of a "catalog" price, but it just seems to easy to cheat. Is there a way to prevent cheating? Perhaps an option to use other materials, but you have to have a race official inspect the materials before you start building to verify they are what you say? An extra step, but not an unreasonable one. If building workshops are held it would be easy to bring the materials to these events. Or if the entrant prints out prices of the items used from store web site and mail order supplier, rather than a receipt, would that be good enough? How do you prevent blatant cheating?

    Rules are only as good as the character of those obeying them, it would still be an honor basis. I just do not want wide spread cheating to be the norm, as unfortunately happens in many contests.

    Part of the intent is if you have nothing but the plans, and a person buys everything on the BOM, it should add up to less than the cost limit (less paint).

    How would you suggest this be enforced?

    Of course with a low cost limit you are not talking about saving a lot of money to buy it new.
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