Sail Numbers

[QUOTE=Graham Pugwash;44214]… but two number 17’s? Confuse and conquer huh :rolleyes: [QUOTE]

This is a tangent off the “Sailing in Wisconsin” thread were Graham astutely noted that I’m using the same sail number on different boats. I did it this way for 2 reasons.

  1. In the world of iceboating & landyachting, the sail number is assigned to the individual, not the particular boat being sailed, as long as it’s in the same class. It simpler & has been done that way for many years. It offers the advantage of immediate recognition of the sailor, & the ability to use the same rig on a newer boat.
  2. It allows one to “switch out” rigs from different boats without having to change the sail numbers. The advent of the McRig makes this especially desirable, enabling quick sail changes for differing conditions.

I checked the Footy Class rules & saw only that a sail number is required, but that there is no prohibition against this practice. Another consideration is that if 250 sailors have 4 boats apiece (easy to do with Footys) we will be into 4 digits which become a tight fit on the small sail size, not to mention room for national designation letters.

Please inform me what exact rule I’m breaking by numbering my sails in this manner.

I must still register myself with the CMYA, and make my boat race legal.
I am wondering about the same thing.

Is the number assigned to the boat, or the person registering?
The latter would be great, as Bill has suggested.

Registration rules vary by country. Some countries allow ‘personal’ numbers. As I understand it, Canada is not one of them.

In Canada, the number is assigned to the hull. The number is then displayed on the sails (and hull too, if an international class). Usually only the last 2 digits are displayed on the sail.

At a regatta, if there is a conflict with 2 boats having the same number, then a “1” is usually added to the sail number of one boat (with removeable black electrical tape) to make the numbers unique.

Bill - and now it’s the nice, practical guys who are causing trouble. :zbeer:

I haven’t had time to read the rules, but the practical story goes like this.

Normal British practice (and that part of the rule was drafted in England) is to have a hull number at identifies the boat and a sail number - which is automatically the last two digits of the hull number. If this causes a confict, one number is prefixed by a ‘1’. The diagram of sail number sizes in the rule shows thismechanism, although it is perhaps not very good at explaining why.

If there is still a confict, ad hoc measures are used (a piece of sticky tape to convert 8 to 0 or vice versa). This system works well for us. The canny exploit it to some extent in their build cycles. For example, Gary Sanderson snapped up the hitherto unsaleable number 13 when allocated 113.

When I started writing this I thought I was going to end up making a plea for standardisation between countries. However, on thinking further, each country’s system is a watertight entity. Boats racng abroafd should be diplaying their national letters anyway, so no ambiguity is possible. Any country may do what it feels best without any ill effet on the international structure.

There are, however, two practic points that might be wort bearing in mind. First, the effective size and hence variety and or quality of courses at many Footy venues is limited by eye-sight/visibiity of sail numbers. The British system gives more big, highly visible 2-digit sail numbers than Bill’s. Second, if anyone feels strongly about it, itis totaly open to race organisers to override that section of the rules.

The first time I hear a sea-lawyer squawk on this matter, I shll offer my resignation to the Internaional Commitee. But thank you Bill for raising a practical and intelligent point on which I hope other good men and true :zbeer:have some worthwhile contribution to make.

Hi Bill… hopefully you realise my comment was made tongue-in-cheek.

I would assume that for us in the USA the AMYA practice of registering each hull will apply. As the AMYA and Footy Class registrations interlink to avoid duplication then they will work the same. I think that boat registering is a national body concern outside of any individual class rule.

Your idea would be helpful though I agree and you won’t have any problems at the Sheboygan regatta.


If you have an old hull you destroyed to salvage parts for a new hull but still have the sails what do you do with that number or is it just no longer good?

The correct answer is that you should remove the sail number of the old hull and add the new number…

However, the sail number is only an issue at a regatta. And, if you have a new hull, that is the number to register, Then ask the Regatta Race officer for permission to use the old sail numbers.

The purpose of having sail numbers is to allow the race committe to identify your boat, eg to call “over early” and to register finish position. It is also the way another skipper can call you for a protest, or to call for rights eg. “stay up # 11” etc.

The worst thing for a regatta official is if you try switch sail numbers during an event as that can really confuse things…remember : always ask for permission.

If you’re entering a regatta, you should have a sail number for the boat you’re racing. This is a development class and the performance of the boat is as important to track as the skipper. They’re very easy to get and cost nothing (till AMYA rules kick in). I will try to assign requested numbers but that may not be possible. I’ve recommended that skippers pick the last 2 digits and let me pick the rest. That way you have unique numbers for each hull but almost personal sail numbers for swapping rigs around.