Please have your say

The post below about sails, battens and possible rule change affects you. The MYA International Officer, Phil Holliday, will need to respond on your behalf in the very near future. If you want your views to be considered and not let rule changes be implemented without your input then please email Phil at or join the conversation on the MYA Forum.

Should we consider a rule change?

The following conversation has been initiated by the IRSA Technical officer. The views of our skippers and suppliers are being sought in order for a reply to be sent on behalf of GBR. Individuals are also free to respond directly to the IRSA TO.

An enquiry about the compliance of an IOM sail that had a large patch (just within the leech stiffening zone template) of heavy sail film at a batten has led the IRSA TC to consider the wider problem of trying to limit the ‘effective’ size of battens in the Marblehead and A Classes.

In the Marblehead and A Classes there are no limitations on the thickness of material used for the body of the sail or their reinforcements. The body of the sail is required to comply with the requirement to be a soft sail. The ERS definition tells us a soft sail is where the body of the sail is capable of being folded flat in any direction without damaging any ply other than by creasing.

The films typically used for sails of rc sail boats will be damaged only by creasing when folded as required. The snag with this is that it effectively permits Mylar film (and other plastics) of quite high thickness to comply with the requirement to be soft sail material. Mylar film is available in thicknesses up to 350 and 500 micron, both well in excess of what is used for most battens.

It is clear that the restriction on the size and placement of stiffening (battens) becomes relatively meaningless when the body of the sail itself can be made as stiff or stiffer anywhere. Therefore the IRSA Technical Committee has considered how the class rules might be changed to maintain what has been the traditional understanding of how sails shall be constructed e.g. a soft sail with stiffening added where required/permitted.

One approach considered is to limit the thickness of the material used in the body of the sail. This would also require the reinforcement to be limited in size, otherwise the addition of thicker material at strategic points would not be prevented. A problem with this approach is that some scrim/laminate materials have an overall thickness considerably higher than their mean thickness (because of the presence of fibres laminated onto/into the film). Any minimum thickness limit would have to be high enough to permit these materials and that would work contra to the attempt to limit the thickness of pure films that can be used.

An alternative approach is to de-restrict all limitations on the size and placement of stiffening. This removes the basic problem by avoiding having to distinguish between the body of the sail and any stiffening.

West Kirby Worlds 2020 – Cancelled


2020 IRSA Marblehead and Ten Rater Class World Championships Cancelled. The ongoing Covid situation makes any planning to hold this event in 2021 a non starter. Our thanks to Graham Elliott and the team at Birkenhead and West Kirby for all their efforts in trying to put this event on.


2021 Events

The ongoing Covid-19 situation and the restrictions imposed upon us mean a serious disruption to our planned sailing calendar for 2021. The first major casualty of the year is Ranking 1 at Norwich planned for Saturday 17th April. This event has now been rescheduled for Sat 27th November. We will make announcements on other events as the relevant information becomes available.

The criteria for going ahead with Rankings and National Championship events is that the event will only go ahead if all UK based MYA Members are free from government restrictions to travel, and compete. Decisions on whether to go ahead with an event, or not, will be made a minimum of 6 weeks before the scheduled date. Events may be rescheduled for later in 2021 with the agreement of the Class, the host Club, and the MYA.