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National 12 Rule changes debate

Started by Jeremy C, 04 Apr 2014, 09:50

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Jeremy C

Having been following the earlier thread regarding the future of the 12 and having already started discussion about what we could do to make the class more attractive to potential new owners in our last committee meeting, we agreed to ask 12 owners and interested parties alike what changes we could make to the rules to make the class more attractive and widen its appeal.
With that in mind I would like to encourage as many people as possible  to post ideas and thoughts which they would like included in the debate on this thread, bearing in mind the current National 12 Class Rules. What do you think would make the class more appealing to potential owners and existing owners alike?  Different sail plan/ measurement rules; redefine hull measurement rules/weight etc?
Whilst I understand the frustration of looking back on the 'glory years' of 12 development and sailing, the reality is that few people have time to build themselves in the modern world and so I think it is important as a development class that we look for ways to move forward not backwards. Also bear in mind we are in a competitive and shrinking market.
Should be pointed out that there is currently a plywood interpretation  of a DCB currently in build not a million miles away from where I sail.
For info, we are currently addressing the issue of a recommended handicap for non foiling DB boats.
Jeremy Carey
Chairman NTOA
Trick Cyclist-3444<br />In the pink-3408<br />Kifi-2431- under restoration<br />Flying Saucer 1277 (joint owner)<br />and now Bart 3455 too (sigh!)


Glad my previous post was of so e use in what it set out to do. I don't have any specific ideas how things could be moved forwards which is why my previous post. Somehow I feel the class needs to address the perception it has become over complex and very difficult to sail. Ideas I have are in no particular order
reduce width of wings or ban them
allow daggerboards (I think wings are as much an issue inland and many classes sail inland with daggerboards
modernise sail plan, allow more experimentation with fully battered..semi batterned rig
limitation of exotic materials in hull construction
limit areas where exotic materials can be used
hope this at least encourages discussion
12's are for life not just for christmas.


I think most potential new N12 sailors will join via 2nd hand boat route and will not consider too greatly what the rules say. In my experience most casual onlookers find my boat attractive but clearly not suited to their personal needs. The usual comments are about its stability, lack of room, complexity etc.
I do not believe that the price of second hand boats is  a barrier and right now there is loads of choice. 
Perhaps the rules do need changing so that the focus of development is channeled to optimizing new boats for the real world conditions we sail in week in week out and not Burton Week.
I have reluctantly put my boat on the market as it no longer meets our needs. After 20 years of 12 sailing it was not a decision took lightly but on Monday we collect a boat with blue sails and join a. growing fleet at our Club.
I would be tempted back if there was a boat available that carried the weight of normal sized people, had a bit more headroom, good all rounder particularly in very light winds, perhaps a deeper cockpit , but not odd looking like Paradigm, keep it self draining, a top batten that does no stick, less string to faff with and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Apologies if this is a bit random but time is short and I wanted to get something written to keep the debate going..

Simon moss (Guest)

I have recently returned to 12's after a very short affair with an Ent as I saw it as more stable, simple to rig and great for taking more than 1 child in. However I got rid of it as one man and a child find it very hard to man handle on land which put me of using her..
I agree second hand boats are not expensive  but appear complicated and only do one job which is race as a 2 person crew who weigh about 19st.
whilst I'm 14st and my 7 Yr old is already a brute at  5.5 st  I fear our time together in a 12 is limited. So rather than looking at wings and trim tabs and fancy materials  I would favour a simple to rig and use self draining  boat that carries proper persons weight .(I do like pies and beer)
trouble is it sounds like an Enterprisen


I should clarify why I feel our 12 no longer meets our needs.  My wife who crews for me finds having to move around the boat quickly, particularly when the boat gets unexpectedly headed in a blow, difficult. (Low boom, high thwart, kicking strap etc) It is worse when wearing winter sailing gear. In light winds she is sat up the front on the floor and if the roll tacking is too enthusiastic she ends up sat in a puddle of water despite the boat being self draining. To put it frankly she is not enjoying her sailing in the boat added, to which we have been marginalized by the PY changes.  
I think going back to an older twelve would be a retrograde step and so we agreed a fresh start would be best. We tried an Enterprise  last year and really enjoyed racing together in it . Finally the right boat has come along and we are both feeling positive about sailing again.
I suspect the issues we have with the twelve are shared with others and if they could be addressed and applied to not so new  boats then I think the class will move forward again.


Having just bought my first 12 (N3124) and coming from a low-rider international moth,

I think we need to make the boat more comfortable to crew, and generally update the rules, but I also think it is important not to ban anything currently allowed

1. allow dagger boards, having no centre board case would make more room in the boat so should be easier to crew although downwind with the dagger board most of the way up it might be a bit tricky, but if you allow them and their rubbish you've not lost anything as no one will use them
2. more sail area, I would reduce the rules to a max luff length(set this so current masts can be used) and max area(say 12 or 13m^2), at the moment we have the width of a RS400 with the less sail area than a RS200, allowing fully battened mains and jibs with a square top mains would modernise the look of the boat and make a big speed difference to us river sailors and also get both crew sat on the side sooner which is much more comfortable
3. allow none standard kickers, as far as I can tell gnavs are allowed although I'm not sure if anyone has one, but temple vangs are banned by the boom dimension rules, they would give the crew much more room to work
4. mast CG correctors seems a bit pointless when carbon masts are not much more expensive than alloy ones, keep the same overall sailing weight but losing the mast correctors would reduce the height of the GC of the boat and I think would make a noticeable difference to the stability and ease of righting from a capsize
5. winged rudders, I think with extra sail area winged rudders would make a larger difference than they do now, they could make the boats much easier to handle downwind especially in big chop, I would allow a gantry system similar to I14's as I think this would make them easier to fit to older boats 


Back in the eighties when I sailed a Cherub,  I recall there was a move from deck stepped masts to hog stepped.  Rather than buying longer masts the boats were fitted with spigots ( effectively a mast extension at the foot) If it was thought that a taller rig might be the way forward to give more boom height in the cockpit, then this might be cheap retro fit for older boats.


an idea to encorage home building,
i'd like to think of myself as compitant with the expox and carbon/fiberglass, the odd repear here and there or the extra bracket. for me by far the most daunting part of home building would be geting the design right. you could spend mounths in the shed only to find your new boat is slow. there are plenty of guides and tutorials on how to build in wood or carbon on this sight, the cherub page has lots of usefull info too. but there is no info on what to build. i segest a "open sorce" rule where the plans or nowadays the CAD files of any new boat should be published under a none comertial licence. this would allow a home builder to go straigt from the shed to the front of the fleet.
a few other clases also have a set of class moulds that can be borrowed/hired


Most of the designers active in the class are pretty open with their designs, and will probably give advice for home building. The pics above are an obvious example. 
I must admit I was against T foil rudders when they became vogue, and wanted to see greater sail area, and partially battened mains.
The T foils I think have allowed greater weight to be carried, most of us are slower then the front guys mainly due to lack of practice and fitness. They also make the boats much easier to sail. I am much happier in a blow now than I was in my Foolish, or Baggy. Does this meen we can have more saill area? I doubt it, as it would certainly stop me taking more junior or novice crews out. There may be a good argument to go partialy battened and square topped, but its a hard one.
As for T foils inland, I sail inland, and first tried one on the river thames, they were fine, and quick. Once you get used to transporting them, they are not much hassle at all. 
We actually, like before the introduction of the DCB's and the Merlins are now benefit from a period of stability. There has to be enough competative boats to make people feel good, even though there are only really ever 5-10 competative crews.
I would like ot see the end of some more odd rules, like the lead strapped to masts. The boom and jib stick and redder should be weighed in the boat as well. 
Andy Mck<br />3529


Sorry Andy have to disagree. The class is not entering a period of stability, it's entering a period of stagnation. Stability =the same design being dominant for a long time and new boats being built. One boat, two or even three boats being built a year does not reflect stability at all. It reflects decline. Sad to see nobody is even prepared to invest in another hijack. Is the cost just Too much for people to take anything but the safest option. Perhaps cost is one of the biggest factors we face. Problem is the huge gap between new costs and secondhand prices. We need more DCBs etc on the secondhand market cheaper than new. Problem for non foiling DB boats is all their equity has gone so they can no longer upgrade. Most people selling at the moment are moving out of the class. I really think the class has to look at ways of reducing costs..either of hulls( many people used to fit out their own boats), masts, foils so people do not have to fork out what is equivalent to a down payment on a house. The hardware now needed to control the rigs is also very complex and expensive compared to yesterday year. 
Please guys don't react as if I am having a go. But like a good Doctor we need to ask what the symptoms are if we are to produce a reasonable diagnosis because I for one know this is not a terminal illness. Perhaps an amputation here or ther is what is needed but perhaps it's just a small tweek
12's are for life not just for christmas.


Actually, though I do admit to a typo, we are in agreement. The time of stability I was refering to was prior to the DCB. We had almoost 80 boats at the Nationals the when the first DCB came.
What we need now is a period of stability, and I agree we need more boats. Boats are expensive. We are also coming out of a recesion. The real question is how do we promote class building. Meds and co almost got there with the Paradigm, with quite a few boats being built. The DCB kind of spoilt it. 
Can we build it cheaper? The cost difference between carbon and non carbon when i ordered mine was i think only 400 quid, so that isnt really the issue.
The ICONists seem to be building some momentum with the try an ICON day, do we need to do the same?
Andy Mck<br />3529


I think we also need to keep people in the class, it seems a lot of top flight helms borrow or buy a twelve and sail it for a year or two and then disappear. How can we keep them?
what do the association offer outside of Burton Week. I have often thought all my money goes into Burton Week, paying for prizes, venues etc. what does club sailing get from funds, what do individual members get.
used to do Burton Week in the 80 s early 90s but spent the best part of 3 decades club sailing, so where does all my money go. I, along with I believe a few others, felt more engaged with a hard copy class newsletter
anything to rebuild up club fleets must be a big plus and even more importantly get youth sailors like Nick into the class rather than the RYAN where you will all be Olympic champions. Gone are the days where Olympic sailors came from twelves, 14s and Merlin's but that happened because we engaged kids at the first possible opportunity.
12's are for life not just for christmas.

tom lee

I would advocate a general simplification of the rules, we seem to have quite a few rules which have no effect on performance (sheerline rule and the fore triangle height rule for example) there are also illogical rules for example, rotating masts are banned but canting masts allowed.
I agree with Andy on the weight measurement, we should include the rudder, boom, jib stick and sheets.
On the sail plan, I'm in 2 minds, part of me thinks we should simply have a max sail area (no increase on current) and leave the shape free.
I think we need to keep a minimum mast weight removing this rule would allow the cost of a mast to spiral upwards. The old argument that carbon masts will become cheaper than aluminium has so-far been proved wrong; a carbon mast is currently 2 to 3 times the price of aluminium.
One more thought, you don’t have to change class rules to influence boat development; a change of format at events can influence boat design and setup. Short course racing would bias development towards boats that can turn corners easily while distance racing would favour straight line speed.
Having said all that, I think the best way to increase interest in the 12 is to have more boats at events and show we can have fun in all sections of the fleet. In my view the first step to achieve this would be to drastically reduce the number of event to avoid diluting the fleet most classes have less than a dozen events per year.
finally in response to previous posts:
- designers in the class are very open with their designs and advice. I guess they don’t publish their designs to help protect their ideas. After all, they have to make a living. I think the best way to encourage home building is to have moulds available.
- headroom can easily be increased by raising the boom on the mast
- I think  it is possible to make a temple vang within the current rules. The rule only says that the boom must be capable of passing through a 102mm circle, it doesn’t specify the axis of the circle so it can be twisted round the 90degree angle of the strut. Other option is the system used on scorpions. Gnavs do horrible things to mast bend.
Tom<br />N3545


My reading of the rules is that a L shape boom would be prohibited as a perminant bend of mast or boom (9.5)
not realy sure though

Interested Party

I read the previous thread with great interest.  As already alluded to, I prefer the simpler older clinker or single skin designs, as a 'classic nut'.  I make no apologies for that.  And as a result some might think that I have little to add to this thread. But as one thread dies another starts....
My preference is for a simple boat with some cockpit depth and a higher boom, better weight carrying ability and room in the front for the crew, tin rig, simple controls, no more than sheets, kicker, outhaul and down haul, to be sailed predominantly inland, but able to cope in larger waters. I do not want anything hard chined - nothing pretty about corners.   That puts me back in the 60s and early 70s. 
So if £10,000 were to fall into my lap to spend on a new boat, I would actually be looking for a 'new classic'.  Not quite 'Gruffalo', a much newer design (!!!????).  But we are still talking either one of the last glued clinkers or perhaps a 4 planker, if not too shallow hull. I am sure a 4 planker would be cheaper to have built than a clinker.  But I am dreaming....
Anyone likely to be making a 'new classic' and to what design?   Perhaps a different thread might be in order - sorry...
Steve Hawkins <br />N12 - Planet 672 -1948 (Holt modified 500 series)<br />N12 - Spider 2523 - 1971 (Spider) <br />N12 - Sparkle 2383 - 1967 (Starfish)

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