Q1: Is it permissible to fit a swiveling cleat with an integrated block in lieu of the standard clam cleat and simple block for the outhaul adjustment? How about a cam cleat instead of the standard clam?
A1: No as to the swiveling cleat, yes as to the cam cleat. 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 states: “Except where variations are specifically permitted by these rules, J/105s shall be alike in … equipment,” 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 with functionally similar equipment made by other manufacturers at a similar cost. See RI 00-03 (Spinlock mainsheet cleat instead of standard is legal), 02-15 (spectra outhaul shackle instead of standard stainless is not legal). A swiveling cleat like the Ronstan “Headbanger” (or a similar cleat such as those made by Spinlock or Harken), although “functionally similar” to the standard clam cleat and block setup and modest in price, would cost a multiple of the standard setup. In addition, the general principle that replacement of equipment with functionally similar equipment of similar cost is permissible only goes so far: In light of rule 1.2’s mandate that all J105s have to be “alike” in “equipment”, the TC should not permit modifications that constitute a significant change from the standard setup. There are obviously many ways in which the outhaul mechanism can be rigged, the standard clam and block and the swiveling cleat being just two possible variations. The point is that JBoats chose to rig the outhaul a certain way and all boats should have a similar setup. It is certainly permissible to change the make of the block and clam cleat, but the overall nature of the setup cannot be changed. Consequently, a swiveling cleat is not permissible. Replacing the standard clam cleat with a cam mounted in line with the boom (like the standard clam) is a legal modification since it preserves the standard setup of the outhaul and in light of RI 00-03.

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