Merit 25 newsletter, October 1988 PROPOSED CHANGES TO CLASS RULES At the November 6 meeting, three changes to our local Class Rules will be discussed and voted on. Of the three, one simply corrects an error, one is a simplification of equipment-on-board requirements, and one is a substantive change that I think will have very little opposition. Proposal 1: When we allowed long battens in the mainsail, the intent was to use current Southern California IOR length limits. These are 23%, 36%, 40%, and 26% of the "E" measurement (mainsail foot). Our Class Rules, however, mistakenly limit both top and bottom battens to 23%. The difference is about 3 1/2 inches, but sailmakers seem to agree that this extra length is important, and a number of new class sails have already been built to the intended length. We need to correct the wording as follows: From the sentence that begins "Upper and lower battens ..." delete the words "and lower." Add the sentence "Lower batten length shall not exceed 26% of maximum E (=30 7/16")." Proposal 2: Class Rules as now written allow all four berth cushions to be removed for racing, provided they are replaced with "equivalent weight." In practice, this means that all you have to do is put a toolbox on one berth, a seabag on another berth, etc., and you are legal. Since we always seem to be able to find enough stray equipment to count as "equivalent weight," this provision of the rule has very little practical effect. One approach would be to simply not require cushions period, but then to be as competitive as possible we'd all have to drag the cushion off for racing and put them back for daysailing and cruising. If our intent remains to promote the Merit 25 as a multipurpose class, I think this is an undesirable situation. On the other hand, some owners have complained that their berth cushions are useless, and it seems unfair for the Class Rules to require them to be on board. The proposal is to require that only two out of the four berth cushions be on board, with no requirement for equivalent weight. This would mean that those of us with trashed-out forward cushions could keep their foredecks empty, while others (myself, for example) who have removed their main berth cushions would have to race with the forward cushions in place. Proposed wording change as follows: Delete the first two sentences of section 8 D. Replace with: "Two of the four berth cushions must be in place for racing. Berth cushions must have a total weight of at least 17.5 Lb." Proposal 3: This is a proposal to allow much longer battens in the working jib. Our experience with the longer battens in the mainsail has been so good that I can't see any downside to this change. In the case of my old mainsail, for example, after four seasons of heavy racing and a trip to Hawaii and back, converting to long battens made the sail as competitive as when it was new. (Twilight Zone won three races with it this year. It began to physically wear out, which is why I finally broke down and ordered a new one.) Also, the sails with long battens are easier to trim. The draft is pushed forward, and changes in mast bend seem to have a more visible effect. Long battens should do as much for jibs as they do for mainsails. This change will make our working jibs faster, easier to trim, and most important, will probably double the useful racing life of the sails. The beauty of this is that even an old non- competitive sail can be retrofitted and revived back into service as a good racing sail. If you can think of any argument against this change, let me know - because I sure can't come up with one. Wording change: In section G. 1, replace "Maximum batten length isz9"." with "Maximum batten length is 25"." Some of our fleet members have expressed an interest in eliminating all restrictions on number and length of battens on all sails. It would mean we'd be free to experiment with full batten mains, etc. The mid-girth limit on the main and the proportional girth limit for jibs would still limit the maximum size of the sails. Personally I think this would be a good idea - but then again, I tend to be something of a batten freak. This will not be a proposal for the upcoming meeting, but we might want to talk over future possibilities. SEASON STATISTICS Out of 34 YRA one-design classes, only two had 100% of their entrants qualify: The Islander 28 (6 boats) and the Merit 25 (8 boats). This means that, even though we are a small YRA class based on entries, we are about average based on number of boats on the starting line. In fact, 20 classes had fewer than 8 qualifiers, 11 classes had more than 8 qualifiers, and 2 classes tied with us with 8 qualifiers. Thanks to all of you who turned out for so many races, even during the late-season burn-out phase. 1988 was the third year in a row with 8 entries in the Merit 25 class, after starting in YRA with 15 entries in 1985. A reasonable goal for next season will be ten entries, especially if we can keep the attendance record so good. The best way to keep the class healthy and growing is to make sure the boats that are for sail get sold to racers. Always know who has a Merit 25 for sale, and be ready with a name and number when someone asks about buying one. In the case of a really hot prospect, lets make sure they get a good demo sail or a chance to crew in a midwinter or Friday night race. Ask not what your one-design class can do for you . . . M.Y.C.O. - BERKELEY MIDWINTERS The first weekend for the MYCO-Berkeley Midwinters is November 12 and 13. Traditionally we seem to get even better turn-out for this event than for the summer YRA series. But we need all the entries in as early as possible in order to get a one-design start. If you haven't entered yet, do it NOW! I suggest requesting one-design on Saturday and PHRF on Sunday (if you race both days). If you need an entry form (or a PHRF certificate) call the YRA office at 771-9500. Other midwinters of interest: Berkeley's "Chowder Races," last Saturday of every month. Encinal Yacht Club "Jack Frost Series," Saturday following the MYCO weekends.