RIVER CRUISER CLASS RULES

Approved  November 2014

Objectives

1.   The objects of the class are:

      a) To further the interest of the River Cruiser Class yachts and their owners; to maintain a register thereof; to allot handicaps thereto.

      b) To organise matches, regattas, rallies and other social events for River Cruiser Class yachts and their owners.

      c) To do all such matters and things as may from time to time be expedient for the welfare of the class.

Organisation

2.       The Annual General Meeting of the River Cruiser Class will be held during the winter, the date and venue to be notified by the Honorary Secretary to all paid up members. Joint owners shall have only one vote at a General Meeting.

3.       On receipt of a notice, with agenda, signed by 20 paid-up members, the Honorary Secretary shall call an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Class.

4.       All cruiser owners shall pay such subscription as shall be determined by the Annual General Meeting and defaulters shall be excluded from the mailing list, shall not be eligible to vote at owners’ meetings nor eligible to win Class trophies at events organised by the Class.

5.   a) Except in so far as specifically covered by these rules, the management of the class’s affairs and decisions relating thereto shall be at the discretion of the General Committee, which shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and which shall define its own standing orders. The General Committee shall consist of Honorary Commodore(s), Captain, Vice-Captain, Rear Captain, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Registrar, Honorary Treasurer, the Retiring Captain and a minimum of three and a maximum of seven other members. Not less than eight members of the committee shall be cruiser owners. Not more than one member of any joint ownership shall be eligible to serve on the General Committee. Notwithstanding any of the above, the General Committee reserves the right to co-opt any member onto the Committee for a specific purpose. The quorum for a scheduled meeting of the General Committee shall be six. (The following rider to this rule was approved at the November 1987 AGM: It is recommended that the composition of the Committee should adequately reflect the geographical spread of River Cruiser Class Sailing.) 

      b) A schedule of General Committee Meetings which will consider the allocation of ratified handicaps shall be published for each season at the preceding AGM, with any subsequent amendments listed on the Class website.

      c) In pursuance of the authority vested in the General Committee by members of the Class, members of the Committee are entitled to be indemnified by the members of the Class against any liabilities properly incurred by them or by the Honorary Secretary on behalf of the Class whenever the contract is of a duly authorised nature or could be reasonably assumed to be of a duly authorised nature and entered into on behalf of the Class. The limit of a member’s indemnity in this respect shall be a sum equal to one year’s subscription at the current rate.

6.       These rules may be changed only by a two-thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote at a General Meeting, after 14 days’ notice of any proposed change.

Construction

7.       The Class is open to bona fide river cruisers and the interpretation of this definition rests with the General Committee.

8.       A River Cruiser shall be a boat designed specifically and exclusively for the Norfolk Broads. A River Cruiser’s hull and decks may be constructed of any material, and shall include:

      a) An aft cockpit or well, surrounded by a substantial coaming, capable of seating at least two people each side, inside the coaming, on fore and aft bench seats.

      b) A cabin at least 6ft long between aft bulkhead and cabin front or rear of tabernacle, whichever dimension is the smaller, with a minimum height throughout of 3ft between cabin sole* and coachroof, measured on the centreline with the coachroof in its lowered position. The cabin should contain at least two bunks, with mattresses and bunk base.

       *  Note: where the cabin sole is interrupted by bunks, engine casings or the like, the measurement for headroom is taken from where the sole would be in the absence of such obstructions. The roof beams are not taken into account.

      c) A forepeak, with hatch, to allow the mast to swing for lowering. The mast shall be mounted in a tabernacle, which forms an integral part of the structure of the boat. The tabernacle shall be stepped on the hog or GRP equivalent. (Yachts built before 1975 may be exempt from provisions a), b) and c) above at the discretion of the General Committee.)

          NB – Prospective applicants seeking registration of a yacht are advised to contact the Class Committee prior to purchase, building or alteration of a vessel.

9.       Any innovation in the materials used in the construction or alteration of keel, hull, cabin, sails, spars or equipment, or the adaptation of offshore or racing dinghy technology to River Cruisers, shall be approved by the Committee prior to its use. Furthermore, the General Committee reserves the right to refer any major innovation to the Class at a General Meeting.

          (A rider to this rule was presented to the January 1984 meeting and contains advice on materials and equipment which, on application, would expect to be ruled admissible under the provisions of that rule.)

10.     In variation of ISAF RRS 50, a whisker pole need not be attached to the mast when in use.

11.     In variation of ISAF RRS 54, headsail tacks may be attached to a jib boom whose other end is attached approximately on the boat’s centre-line.

Handicaps

12.    Any yacht on the River Cruiser Class register may be eligible to compete for any cruiser trophy, provided that it has a ratified handicap, as published in the Green Book or amended by the General Committee. The Committee may issue a provisional handicap to any boat for which, in its opinion, it has insufficient knowledge to issue a ratified handicap. Yachts sailing under a provisional handicap may compete in Class events but shall not be eligible to be awarded a place in the race results or a trophy. (See guidance note at end of rules).

13.    Any alterations to keel, rudder, hull, deck, cabin or rig may render a yacht’s handicap invalid, and written notice of any such alterations shall be made prior to competing to the General Committee. The General Committee may decide to allocate a provisional handicap whilst the performance of a new or altered yacht is being assessed.

14.     a) At the end of each season (deemed to be November 1st), handicaps shall be reviewed by the General Committee ("the Annual Handicap Review"), which shall allot new handicaps (ratified or provisional) for the following season. Handicaps shall be subject to alteration at any time thereafter, subject to the proviso that ratified handicaps shall be allotted only by a quorate meeting of the General Committee, the date of which has been published as described in rule 5. The General Committee will publish on the Class Website the section of the Minutes of each General Committee Meeting which relates to handicaps and which will include a definition of those races or regattas which have most influenced the Committee’s decision in respect of any change of handicap.  

          b) Members may request a review of their handicap in writing, to the Honorary Class Secretary. Members who remain unsatisfied with the General Committee's response may make a final Appeal to the Committee via the Honorary Class Secretary using the procedure and pro-forma document adopted at the AGM of 29th November 2014. The full procedure is in the Guidance Notes. The Appeal will be final and the appellant will receive a full and reasoned reply. This will be minuted and will be published as in (a) above.

15.     In the event of a new or changed boat presenting to compete in an event, the Captain or other committee members present may call an Emergency Committee Meeting. Any handicap set by an Emergency Committee Meeting shall be a provisional handicap. The quorum for an Emergency Committee Meeting shall be three.

16.    Provisional handicaps shall be ratified by the General Committee at the earliest reasonable opportunity, which will normally be at the first scheduled, quorate meeting of the Committee, following completion by the yacht in question of three races under a provisional handicap. Normally there will be scheduled meetings of the General Committee in the weeks immediately prior to Thurne Mouth Open Regatta, Wroxham Week and Oulton Week. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that details of any changes to a yacht, and any race results and times relevant to the ratifying of a handicap, are received by the General Committee.

Competitions

17.    Paid hands shall not steer during a race.

18.    Should the number of entries, the weather or any other conditions make it desirable, the Officer of the Day may order a River Cruiser race to be sailed in two or more divisions according to handicap. The Officer of the Day shall fix parameters for such divisions above and below particular handicaps. Such races are to count as one race with any difference in start times between the divisions being adjusted. (See guidance notes at end of rules.)

19.      Time allowances shall be calculated on the elapsed time of each boat, not on the first boat to finish.

20.      All cruisers shall be limited to using the following sails when racing: a foresail or foresails, which can be used on all points of sailing, a mainsail and a topsail where appropriate. The use of spinnakers when racing is prohibited.

21.    Any boat competing in events run under the River Cruiser Class rules shall display sail numbers. Owners not wishing to affix numbers to sails shall display their numbers on yellow boards in black lettering not less than ten inches in height and one and a half inches in width, the boards to be clearly displayed on both port and starboard sides and affixed to cabin sides or shrouds.

22.     The General Committee reserves the right to withdraw the handicap of any yacht that does not comply with any of the above rules.

Responsibility

          RCC members and their crews, and the racing committees of sailing clubs, should be aware that sailing or racing River Cruisers presents a risk of damage to property, personal injury or death. Participants (including the parents of participating minors) should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement. The RCC, in admitting or maintaining any River Cruiser within the class or in allocating a handicap (provisional or ratified) to any River Cruiser, makes no representation, express or implied, as to the fitness or suitability of any River Cruiser to participate in yacht races or any other sailing, and accepts no responsibility for any damage caused to any person or property by any River Cruiser registered with the RCC.

Guidance Notes

1)       For Race Officers

          The Class Committee would ask that clubs organising River Cruiser Class racing bear in mind the following points when implementing rule 18 (split starts):

      a) The handicap system is based on the assumption of a single start, anomalies arise as a result of split starts and   therefore there should be a presumption in favour of a single start unless safety conditions direct otherwise.

     b) The rule requires the fleet to be divided according to the relative speed of yachts.

      c) When setting the handicap parameters for the divisions, care should be taken to ensure that there are an appropriate number of yachts in each division. Usually it will be appropriate to have fewer yachts in the ‘faster’ division(s) to reflect the fact that the faster yachts are generally larger and less manoeuvrable.

      d) In the interest of safety the ‘faster’ division(s) should usually be started before the ‘slower’ division(s).

      e) In the interest of safety, single-handed racing of River Cruisers should be actively discouraged.

 It is recommended that Sailing Instructions provide that the 1 turn and 2 turns Penalties (rule 44.1) be replaced by Time Penalties, of 1 and 2 minutes respectively added to the Yacht’s elapsed time, to be acknowledged by the said yacht flying a green rectangular flag. (It is the responsibility of the helm to declare to the Race Officer, within the prescribed time limit for protests, which penalty or penalties the yacht is taking. A yacht that fails to make a declaration will be assumed to have retired. It is the responsibility of other competitors to ensure that these provisions are enforced.)  The General Committee recommends that River Cruisers, whilst racing, should not carry their outboard engines on the transom, unless circumstances, including the tidal situation, make it safer to do so.

2)       Carbon Fibre

          In 2005 carbon fibre was added to the list of materials expected to be approved for spars. Application should be made to the committee in the usual way (rule 9).

3)       Mainsail Roach

          The Class has determined that sails (including gunter and gaff) shall not have excessive roach. A set of guidance notes for sailmakers is available from the Class Registrar. Details of new or revised sails should be presented to the Committee before use.

4)       Provisional Handicaps

          Any newly registered yacht, or one which has undergone substantial modification or has not completed three or more acceptable races in the two preceding seasons, will be allocated a provisional handicap as described in rule 12. Normally, this handicap will be ratified (or amended) as described in rule 16, once the yacht has completed at least three qualifying races. Qualifying races must be:

i)   run under these class rules

ii)  organised by an RYA Affiliated Club

iii) races in which at least two other finishers have ratified RCC handicaps.

For a handicap to be ratified the results must be made available to the RCC Committee and responsibility for that rests with owners. The Committee should receive results from all Sabrina and Snowbird Trophy events. If your qualifying races are not included in these, you should ensure that a copy of the results (which must include times for all finishers) is e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sent to the Hon Registrar at the address in the Green Book.

5)  River Cruiser Class -  Draft Appeals Policy (OPTION B as adopted at the AGM on 29/10/14)

Purpose

This policy document sets out the draft River Cruiser Class Appeals Policy for Handicapping and related issues.

General Principles

Handicapping is carried out by the full Committee of the Class, as elected at each year’s AGM,

Handicapping decisions are made only at formal meetings of the full Committee on the meeting dates advised for the year ahead shortly after each AGM.

The Committee will carry out handicapping in accordance with Rules 12 to 16 inclusive, and take into account the handicapping guidance notes, which are determined by the committee following consultation with members at the AGM and published on the class web site.

In common with all other handicapping matters the proceedings of all appeals will be published as part of the committee meeting minutes.

Step 1 - application for an appeal to be heard by the committee

A member wishing to appeal a handicapping decision, should contact the Honorary Secretary. Applications for appeal shall be in the form of a written statement for which the pro-forma is attached.  For an appeal to be valid, it must meet these criteria:

         i.        The appeal must relate to a yacht owned by and registered to the member who submitted the appeal – the “appellant”.

        ii.        The appellant’s annual subscription must be paid in full.

       iii.        The appellant has not made a previous valid appeal against the same handicapping decision

       iv.        The Appeal Written Statement contains adequate information, together with all supporting factual evidence such as race results as appropriate.

The Honorary Secretary shall inform the committee of any appeal for which the required information has been received. Appeals received at ten or more days notice will be considered at the Committee’s next scheduled meeting.

Step 2 - Committee’s consideration of the Appeal

The Committee, at its next scheduled meeting, shall consider any valid appeal received by the Hon Sec.  The committee will not be bound to consider an invalid appeal. 

For all valid appeals, the committee will consider the Appeal Written Statement, and decide whether any of following apply: 

a)     Failure to follow due process

b)    Bias/undue influence

c)     Error or omission

d)    Some other misconduct

The Committee will consider the appeal and review the subject of the appeal, a handicap decision or some other matter, and will make a decision, which will be final. The Committee’s decision will be summarised in a letter to the appellant setting out the decision of the committee, the factors taken into account and whether the decision was by simple majority or unanimous.   The appellant’s completed Appeal Written Statement and the committee’s decision letter will be posted on the Class Web site.

Until the outcome of the appeal is decided, any handicap in question will remain as determined by the Committee.

Decisions by the committee shall be final.  If however a member is not satisfied by the outcome of an appeal, he or she may raise the issue at an AGM or EGM convened in accordance with the rules of the Class.

 

Appeal pro-forma