International Committee

Subject: ORC Press Release

Date: Fri, 16 Jul 1999 13:54




Ariadne House, Town Quay

Southampton SO14 2AQ



16 July 1999


ORC Acts on Racing Mast Design


Chief Measurer Nicola Sironi of the Offshore Racing Council has ruled on the wing-shaped mast fitted to French Admiral's Cup contender, Krazy K-Yote2. The mast had been deemed an infringement of the International Measurement System (IMS) rule which governs the large boat class in the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup (CMAC) run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). However, with the approval of RORC officials, the Chief Measurer declared that the mast could be accepted only for the duration of the 1999 CMAC event and only if the yacht were awarded a rating considered to be appropriate to the performance advantage implied in the design of the mast.

The yacht's rating was adjusted through reductions in the values affecting the mast's windage drag. The result was a faster rating, particularly upwind, but still well within the CMAC upper limit. The CMAC upper limit is specified in terms of IMS General Purpose Handicap (GPH). The GPH awarded was 6.5 seconds-per-mile faster (i.e., less favourable) than would have been the case without the award.


The ORC action was also upheld by the CMAC International Jury and an IMS Rating Certificate deemed to be valid for the event was issued accordingly.


The Chief Measurer's action followed months of frustrated attempts to learn details of the mast design and construction from the designer and owner in order to rule definitively on its legality. The designer, Juan Kouyoumdjian, first approached Mr. Sironi last November with questions about a possible mast project in which the mast would be designed to permit a natural or induced rotation progressing from little or no rotation at the deck to as much as 20 degrees near the truck. The rotation would tend to reduce drag by better aligning the wing shaped mast with the apparent wind flow over the mainsail. Mr. Sironi requested more details in December, but cautioned that as outlined it appeared to him the mast would not be permitted under the IMS as he would consider it a rotating mast. This opinion was confirmed in January by the ORC's International Technical Committee, the Minutes of which were issued to the designer along with another request for information from the Chief Measurer.


Publicity and other photographs of the mast under sail were displayed in various sources in the past month, but the mast was only presented for IMS measurement a week and half before the CMAC event. In addition to therotation of the mast, said to be aided by the runners, it has recently been stated by the mast's builder in Seahorse magazine that the mast incorporates a substantial proportion of Kevlar in its construction. Essentially, only masts of wood, fiberglass, steel, aluminum and carbon are permitted under the IMS rule.


In ruling on the mast and awarding the rating for the CMAC, the Chief Measurer acted under IMS rule 101 which states in part that:


"It is not possible for the Rules to cover every eventuality nor to anticipate every innovation in design and construction. The Council therefore reserves the right to refuse rating or to award such rating as it considers appropriate and to interpret clauses of the Rules at any time. Between Council meetings the ORC Chief Measurer shall be responsible for interpretation of the IMS and measurement rules and his decision shall be final until it is ratified or overruled by the Council."