Coloured resin

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A number of radio sailing designers, manufacturers, and owners have such reservations about IOMICA Resolution 6.7 of November 2012 that they have written the following note to IOMICA. 

Readers will recognise that the note seeks to give full effect to Resolution 6.7 while protecting owners, builders, and the class from its unwelcome and unintended side-effects.


IOMICA Resolution 6.7 of November 2012 said, "D.2.1 (a) (3) is changed to: '(3) Resin, which may be coloured and/or reinforced with glass fibres', and D.2.1 (b) is deleted."

The changes to D.2.1 raise two significant issues.

1. Dealing with non-permitted materials

The owner and manufacturer of a boat suspected of containing non-permitted materials and refused a certificate on those grounds by a measurer/certification authority would have no clear way of demonstrating to the measurer/certification authority that it does comply.

Regardless of the veracity of the suspicion the consequences that follow from this include:

  • the boat would become valueless and the owner would probably feel aggrieved.
  • many or all boats made by the manufacturer concerned would become of questionable compliance and therefore lose much of their value.
  • the manufacturer’s boat building business would be undermined by the question mark placed over their integrity and loss of income and/or livelihood would follow.

Clearly none of these situations is good for the people involved due to the distress generated and time spent dealing with the fallout. The possibility that legal action would be involved cannot be ruled out. The people/bodies involved may include owners, builders, measurers, certification authorities, clubs, NCAs, IOMICA, and the wider sport of radio sailing.

The proposer of the rule change stated “We do not know of any moulder that would not gladly welcome this change.” Neither Brad Gibson nor Graham Bantock was asked by the proposer for his views. Those consulted in formulating this note (BG Design, Huub Gillessen , RC-Jachtwerft, SAILSetc) do not agree with the statement and do not support the proposal.

We contend the following:

  • we are not aware of any non-compliant boat issues to date.
  • at least 10,000 boats have been certified since 1988.
  • hence the current rule has worked successfully since then.
  • the rule change is proposed for the sake of convenience.
  • it may be convenient for some.
  • as the proposed rule stands there is no clear route for an owner or builder to establish his boat is compliant if accused of being non-compliant.
  • the potential risk of the proposed rule change to owners, builders and the class is large.
  • if owners had had their attention drawn to these issues they may not have supported the proposal.

2. Dealing with the deletion of the definition of glass fibre

In seeking to allow pigmented resin, resolution 6.7 deleted D2.1(b) entirely, and in doing so removed the statement of permitted forms of fibre as well as removing permission for an external gel coat and external paint. It is not at all clear why, in seeking to permit pigmented resin and in removing the requirement to allow inspection of the internal hull, these other matters were also removed. They were introduced relatively recently in amendments to the Class Rules in 2003 in preparation for the class to become self-governing, for presumably good reason.

Proposed rule changes

We contend that, if the proposed rule change is accepted by the joint IRSA/IOMICA sub-committee, then the following rule changes shall be considered to be a necessary addition to the class rules in order to provide a means whereby the interests of the owner and/or builder are protected, and the “inadvertent” removal of D.2.1(b)(1), (2) and (4) is reversed.

In closing we strongly contend that the current rule has been perfectly satisfactory, it remains so and will be so in the foreseeable future. Bearing in mind the risk that the proposed rule represents we contend the rule should not be changed. However, if the rules are changed as proposed, we contend use of the additions suggested here will minimise the risks. They make it clear that, for non-testable material, innocence is assumed until proven otherwise i.e. compliance is the status quo until there is “comfortable satisfaction” about any proof to the contrary. (“Comfortable satisfaction” is a new standard of proof introduced for 2013-2016 into the RRS for rule 69. It is a useful concept, providing for a standard of proof somewhat stronger than “balance of probability” and somewhat less than “beyond reasonable doubt”. We suggest its use here.)

1. New A.11.4

A.11.4  Where the successful certification of a hull and/or its equipment depends on compliance with rules that cannot be directly tested, and where there is doubt about compliance

(a)        the official measurer and/or certification authority shall accept as authoritative a declaration made by the manufacturer in respect of the materials and equipment in question and

(b)        the authority of the declaration shall remain valid until such time that there is comfortable satisfaction about any proof to the contrary.

 2. Addition to measurement form

x          The manufacturer declares the hull contains no non-permitted materials – declaration attached.

 3. Add new clause A.13.1(e)

(e) comfortable satisfaction that materials used in the construction were not compliant at the time of certification control.

 4. Replace D.2.1(a)(3):

(3) Glass fibre reinforced plastic,

(3) Resin, which may be coloured and/or reinforced with glass fibres,

 5. Remove D.2.1(b)(3) and renumber (4):

(3) the laminating resin shall be unpigmented,

(3) the reinforcement shall be glass fibre in any of the following forms: roving, tape, chopped strand mat and woven cloth,

 6. Remove D.2.1(b)(5):

(5) the interior shall be un-coated to permit non-destructive examination for verification of the material content.


©2022 Lester Gilbert