RATCHET BLOCKS (2002-05-13)
Q1: Is it permissible to fit ratchet blocks in the place of the spinnaker turning blocks at the stern of the boat?
A1: No. Rule 1.3 states “All yachts, competing in one design or class sponsored events, shall comply with standard specifications published by J Boats, Inc. and these class rules. No alterations or modifications are permitted unless explicitly permitted by these rules.” Rule 1.2 is to the same effect. None of the express exceptions in the class rules apply. In prior interpretations, the TC has established the principle that standard equipment can be replaced for functionally similar equipment made by other manufacturers. See RI 00-03. This principle does not apply to equipment that serves a different function from the standard turning block. A ratchet block would permit trimming the spin sheet by hand in conditions where other boats would have to use their winches. Consequently, the ratchet block is not permissible.

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