Etchells Class: Going under the knife

Published on June 15th, 2022

For a one design class with theoretically tight measurement rules, when the Australian-built Pacesetter boats uncommonly dominated the 2019 Etchells World Championship, eyebrows were raised. After investigation confirmed discrepancies, the class found itself with the monumental task of putting the genie back into the bottle.

An incident like this should frighten every class organization, particularly those which offer elite competition. Here’s the update from the International Etchells Class Association on June 14, 2022:

Over the past several years, the IGC (International Governing Committee) has been working to rectify the situation with the Mould 11 boats. Over the past few months, a panel of experts has developed and recommended to the IGC a remediation solution that will modify these boats with the goal of making them more similar in shape and performance to an Etchells.

In order to enable a trial period in which to assess the performance of modified Mould 11 boats, the IGC resolved at last week’s meeting to give permission for events to make temporary changes to the Etchells Class Rules via Notice of Race as described by RRS 87, to permit boats originally built in Mould 11 that have completed the M11 Protocol of Modifications as approved by the IGC and World Sailing to race as Etchells, subject to compliance with the Etchells class rules as modified by the Notice of Race.

This permission is valid for all events at which the final race takes place on or before 30 April 2024, with the exception of the 2022 (Cowes) and 2023 (Miami) World Championships. We have received World Sailing approval for this trial period. If the trials are successful, permanent changes to the class rules to allow remediated M11 boats to race would be voted on by the class.

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