Crew Needed: Skinnies need not apply
Published on December 9th, 2019
The J/105 burst on the scene in the early 1990s as the first production boat featuring a retractable bowsprit, growing into a popular one design class with active fleets throughout North America. It’s success is linked to restrictive class rules to allow for a broad range of people to enjoy this easily-sailed 35-footer.
As time has marched on, the Class Association has cautiously managed how the rules evolve, with an upcoming change involving the maximum crew weight. With the boat nicely managed with six people, the amount is increasing by 57 pounds from 1,045 to 1,102 on January 1, 2020.
Here’s how the Technical Committee explained the change to the Class Membership:
There has been some displeasure with this Rule change, especially among those who think that it will adversely impact the participation of women.
Looking at crew weigh-in data for the bigger events and bigger fleets, once you filter out women who are owners or part-owners, the average female crew weight is 120 lbs. There is only a small fraction of women who weigh 120 lbs, meaning that most women are still excluded.
Owners should take advantage of the increase to not only allow them to have men who are heavier but also to recruit skilled women who are no longer skinny.
In other words, recruit the women who used to sail for you 10-15 years ago but put on a few pounds with age and no longer meet your needs for a super lightweight sixth person. Odds are, they are more skilled now than they were then.
UPDATE (Dec. 11, 2019): Christopher E. Howell, Class Administrator for the J/105 Class Association, submitted this notice to Scuttlebutt:
On behalf of the J/105 Class Association Executive and Technical Committees, we sincerely apologize for the composition and the poor choice of words used in the Technical Committee Report published in the Spring 2019 edition of the Class Newsletter. Since its inception, the J/105 has proven to be an ideal platform for all sailors, and the Class remains dedicated to being inclusive for anyone who wishes to participate in its programs and events.