Q1: Is it permissible to use spectra shackles in the place of stainless steel shackles, for example at the outhaul of the main?
A1: No. Rule 1.2 states: ” Except where variations are specifically permitted by these rules, J/105s shall be alike in hull, deck, keel, rudder and spar construction, weight and weight distribution, sail plan, equipment, and interior furnishings.” (emphasis added) Likewise, 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.” (emphasis added) 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. Although spectra shackles may be functionally similar to stainless shackles, replacing stainless with spectra would provide a potentially significant weight advantage aloft. In addition, the cost, at least at current prices for spectra fittings, would be substantial. Thus, the advantage and cost of spectra, in the TC’s view, would be inconsistent with Rule 1.1: “These rules are to preserve J/105’s recreational features, including ease of handling, low cost of ownership, safety, comfort, and equality of performance while maximizing participation at J/105 events.” (emphasis added).

Note: This ruling has been superseded, in part, by the specification change of October 2003. This change allows a spectra shackle for the main halyard and outhaul. For all other applications, spectra or any material other than stainless steel is illegal.

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