STIFF CHAFING PATCHES
Q1: Can a jib chafing patch (stanchion patch) on the foot of the jib provide support to the jib foot roach?
A1: Rule Interpretation 02-12 previously established that the jib may not have battens on the foot and that a leech batten could not support the foot either. While we commonly think of battens as the typical fiberglass rods or bars, they may come in other forms as well. The World Sailing Equipment Rules of Sailing (ERS) defines stiffening as “corner boards and battens.” Reversing that definition, stiffening other than corner boards can be considered to function as a batten whether it is removable or sewn into or on the sail.
A jib chafing patch that is made of sufficiently thick material or multiple layers of material such that it provides support to the jib foot roach is effectively a batten and thus is not allowed by the class rules. The best way to quantify these subjective terms is to use the ERS to define what is allowed.
Any secondary reinforcement on a sail must meet the ERS definition of that term, i.e.: not more than two ply thick (commonly one layer on each side of the sail) with each ply not thicker than the maximum thickness of the ply of the body of the sail. Anything thicker or heavier constitutes a batten and is not allowed.
As a practical matter, sticky-back polyester is commonly used. This material is basically a wide piece of 4-5 oz. per square yard dacron sail repair tape. Chafing patches made from this or similar weight material are legal. Multiple layers of material or substantially heavier material is not allowed by the class rules.