World Sailing WS is the recently renamed world peak sailing administration body previously called ISAF. They do lots of really good stuff for sailing apart from producing the Racing Rules and updating them every four years. They have however recently come up with a proposal which we think would be very bad for Laser sailing.
WS have a proposal to get rid of Rule 42 for all WS Championships and the Olympics. Now most Olympic classes already allow pumping, ooching, skulling and repeated tacks and jibes to propel a boat which Rule 42 prevents. Lasers do not and we believe it should stay this way. It is our view that this proposed change as it inevitably trickles down from international to national, state, interclub and ultimately club events will be quite negative for Laser sailing generally. If you want to see what sailing without Rule 42 looks like have a look at the short video clip from the Rio Olympics HERE.
The main motivation for this change by World Sailing WS is said to be to “increase athleticism and competitiveness on downwind legs”. Others suggest that their focus is on making the sport more exciting for spectators and hence more marketable.
The Australian Laser Class Association and the International Laser Class Asociation are lobbying to have this proposition thrown out. It was recently very narrowly not adopted by the WS Council but it will most likely be submitted again for voting in November 2017.
If you are interested you can see our letter on the subject to Australian Sailing and their reply HERE.