Rule Interpretation RI-03-01

Q1: May a "backup" chute or other older sail be replaced under the third sentence of rule 6.8 without counting the replacement against the 3/2/3 allotment?
A1: No.

The portions of Rule 6.8 relevant to this question read as follows: " For purposes of class racing, sail purchases shall not exceed (a) two sails in any calendar year, plus (b) one additional sail during any period of two consecutive calendar years. Further, any sail that, in the written opinion of the Chief Measurer or any Fleet Measurer, is destroyed or so substantially damaged that it cannot reasonably be repaired, may be replaced, provided such opinion and the certificate required by rule 6.9 are received by the Class Secretary." (emphasis added)

The highlighted sentence (which is the third sentence of rule 6.8) permits an owner to replace a destroyed or heavily damaged sail even if the first sentence of rule 6.8 would not permit another sail to be purchased during the year. One purpose of this rule is to provide relief to an owner whose sail has been destroyed and who cannot purchase another sail under the 3/2/3 rule during that year. Another purpose is to prevent an owner who still has room in his 3/2/3 allotment when the sail is destroyed or damaged from being at a competitive disadvantage by having to use his allotment to replace a destroyed or damaged sail. Neither purpose would be served by permitting the replacement of a chute with a new chute if the boat has a more recent chute in its inventory. In that situation, the owner can keep using the newer chute. Thus, in the view of the TC, the third sentence of rule 6.8 only permits the replacement with a new sail of the most recently purchased ("primary") jib, main or spinnaker of the boat. On the other hand, an owner could be at a disadvantage as well if the boat's "backup" chute (i.e. not the primary chute) is destroyed or damaged beyond repair. For that reason, the rule also permits the replacement of a backup chute in this situation, but only with a "used" spinnaker (as the term "used" is defined in rule 6.8 and RI 02-18.) Since there is no concept of "backup" jib or mainsail in our rules, the third sentence of rule 6.8 does not permit the replacement of a jib or main that is not the primary sail. For example, if an owner has a 2002 and a 2003 chute, the third sentence of rule 6.8 would permit the replacement of the 2003 chute with a new chute and the replacement of the 2002 chute with a "used" chute “ assuming in either case that the conditions of the sentence are otherwise satisfied. (Compare RI 02-18, which states that the third sentence of rule 6.8 does not permit the replacement of a "used" sail with a new sail.)

In late 2002, a number of owners of boats from fleets that used the 77m2 chute purchased two new full sized 89m2 in preparation for the effectiveness of the new 89m2 rule on January 1, 2003 or for the 2002 North American Championships (which were sailed under the new rule). Any owner in that situation may replace either chute (but not both) with a new chute under the third sentence of rule 6.8, but only until such time as he or she purchases a new chute in 2003 or later.
Note also that the replacement sail is counted in subsequent periods against the sail purchase limitations. In other words, if an owner purchases two sails in 2003 and replaces one of those sails in 2003 under the third sentence, the owner has purchased 3 sails during 2003 for purposes of the first sentence of rule 6.8. Hence, 2004 will be a two sail year. See clause (b) of the first sentence of rule 6.8.

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