International 14 class lay down the law on future developments
In a recently completed global vote, the International 14s have taken some key decisions over the future of the class. This has put an end to the last couple of years of uncertainty, during which various proposals to change the rules have been made and in some cases, trialled. It has now been decided NOT to change the class rules, other than the introduction of a restriction intended to prevent the emergence of fully-hydrofoiled boats (while allowing continued use of rudder T-foils or variations thereof). This will pre-empt some undoubtedly interesting, but potentially expensive, extreme development routes, but will otherwise allow continued active development within a stable rules framework. Boats built to the current rules but now a few years old (such as those which have won the last two Worlds) will continue to be competitive. And this all means that this could be a great time to get into the class! The 14s have been discussing for a couple of years now potential changes to the class rules - notably over whether to increase the width of the boats (to further increase power), or to allow wings to extend aft of the transom (to allow the boats to be driven harder downwind). A further dimension was added to this debate with the emergence of variable angle of attack rudder hydrofoils, and with experiments in Australia with a fully hydrofoiled boat. Although clearly a clever and innovative development, hydrofoils raised concern over future development costs and obsolescence of existing boats. Decisions were needed - and have now been made through the class ballot. The key points decided were: · NOT to increase the width of the boats, or to allow wings to extend aft of the hull; and · to continue to allow rudder hydrofoils, with some room for further experimentation, but to