International Mirror Class Association of Tasmania.

Toll Tasmania: Supporting Tasmanian Mirror Sailors




Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2006 11:01 AM
Subject: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change
rom: Martin Egan

Hi All,

 I've received votes in the Bermuda rig ballot from everyone (AUS, CAN, GBR, IRL, NED, SWE) except RSA. So far, everyone has voted in favour. This means the change will be approved by the IMCA since more than 60% of votes are in favour.

 One thing ISAF will want to know is, if ISAF approve it, when the class wants the change to become effective.

  As far as I understand it, the ISAF view is that, if passed, everyone who races may go out and purchase new spars and new sails (ISAF must have seen rule changes like this many times over the years in different classes). Thus their concern regarding a date is about the ability of Selden, Supespars and other mast manufacturers and sailmakers around the world to cope with demand. They don't want sailors to experience any sort of a shortage, so they want manufacturers across the globe to have had a chance to design spars and sails, and their customers have had the chance to buy them before they can be used in international competition.

ISAF have the power to grant dispensation to National Class Assocaitions to vary the class rules (by means of the Notice of Race). This would allow a National Class Association to choose to allow Bermuda rigs at say, open meetings or Area Championships etc. before the rule changes becomes effective.

 I've discussed this with Patrick Blaney and Simon Lovesey and we would like to propose that they should become effective after the European championships in the UK in July (so effective from 1st August 2006). Thus the first International event to use Bermuda rigs would be the World Championship in South Africa in January 2007.

 The UK the class is keen to allow the new spars to be used at Opens, Areas and the Nationals so would like a dispensation to be available for the 2006 season. Other National Class Associations may want to do something similar or not allow them until 1st August, this would be their choice. 
We would propose we ask ISAF to approve the following wording.

Effective: 1st August 2006

Dispensation for National Class Associations to vary the class rules to allow these rules to be used at competition up to and including National Championship level from 31st March 2006.

Does anyone have any objections to this proposal ?


Martin Egan 

Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2006 11:23 AM
Subject: Re: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change
From: Craig Bond

Hello Martin

Can the Selden and Superspars supply enough masts to make sure all who want the new rig can have it, I think maybe not. Can we confirm that the spar companies can supply first then come up with a date, this is only a thought but we must be able to supply and working in the industry I think there could be problems with supply!

Craig Bond


Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change
From: Simon Lovesy


Both Selden and Superspars have assured us they can meet an influx of demand,  their Mirror Bermuda masts are based on standard 'off the shelf' sections which dramatically reduces lead times.

With regards sails,  as you know many of the leading Mirror sailmakers now have masts and are looking how their designs need to change.  Some like North Sails,  don't plan any initial change.  Again they all see no problem in meeting the demand.  It should also be remembered the standard main will work with the new rig.

Finally we should not forget that new rig is only an OPTION,  talking to UK members I am sure many will stay with the gaff,  particularly in the early days,  so we are unlikely to see ALL mirors changing at once.

Martin has come up with a good working proposal,  that will allow us to keep the momentum moving and allow other countries to catch up.  The Europeans will be a great opportunity for everyone to get up to speed. 


Sent: Friday, 3 March 2006 9:13 PM
Subject: Re: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change
From: Craig Bond

I will go with the proposal



Sent: 03 March 2006 10:55
Subject: RE: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change
From: Celia May


This is a personal opinion, and not that of the Australian Association but I think that either, the change should be before the Europeans or after the Worlds. Australian suppliers have never seen the proposed rigs and if the team for South Africa are to have Bermudan rigs they will be sourcing them from local suppliers based on the very few specifications in the measurement rules. If you (those on the other side of the world) have a spar, namely the Selden spar, you think that there is only one way to interpret the rules but those who can remember back to the early experience when kits were brought to Australia and evolved sufficiently for there to be a huge amount of work when the design was internationalized will understand that there will be many ways to interpret a design.

Making the change after the worlds will give the design a chance to bed down with all the possible international interpretations and prevent the outcome in South Africa from being determined not on the basis of the best sailor but the most technologically equipped. At the other extreme, having it before the Europeans will at least give us the option of seeing (from a vast distance) the rig in action with some of the best sailors 

Celia May

Sent: 03 March 2006 15:02
Subject: Re: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change
From: Martin Egan

 Hi Celia,

The logic behind the proposal is that it gives over 9 months before the first International Competition at which the spar can be used - thus giving manufacturers in all countries a good opportunity to develop rigs and sails. It also means that those young sailors who are running a campaign which will end at the 2006 Europeans can ignore the bermuda rig altogether. Those running campaigns that will end at the 2007 Worlds have an incentive to look seriously at, and possibly convert to, the new rig. No doubt some will adopt early and take a risk that they have made the correct choice. Others may choose to hold back and see how things develop before deciding to buy new or stay with the gaff.

At the UK Nationals (which are over a weekend with the Europeans starting on the Tuesday) Bermuda rigs would be allowed. This will give an opportunity for best sailors from Europe (or further afield - RSA will be represented) to race the different rigs together. As mentioned above you should see good sailors with both rigs. This should give you on in the Southern Hemisphere an opportunity (at a distance) to see how the rigs compare which you suggest would be a good idea.

 If we were to delay implementation until after the 2007 Worlds, there will be little incentive for boats running campaigns for the 2007 Worlds to look at the new rig. I think very little development would happen worldwide during 2006. Rather than bed down,  it wouldn't be until late 2006 or early 2007 that interest would pick up with boat campaigning for the 2007 Europeans.

Regarding problems over rule interpretations from different countries, I would have thought it would be better to get any which arise sorted out sooner rather than later, so that fewer incorrect spars are built and sold. Delaying until after the 2007 Worlds will mean that we probably won't see an Australian or South African developed spar at an International event until the 2009 Worlds, by which time there will be over two years worth of production in the field.

In my original circulation to members of the Technical Committee on 28th November 2005, I suggested that each representative should circulate the proposal to mast manucturers in their own country for their comments. It's a pity if that hasn't happened, or if they didn't feel it was worth replying.

Regarding mast manufacturers not having seen the proposed spars. The 3 UK manufacturers had nothing to go on. Here in the UK we basically asked Selden, Super Spars and Z-Spars a simple question - what section would you suggest for a boat of this size ? They know their stock sections and which one(s) would be most suitable. It shouldn't take them long to produce a prototype mast, so long as they think there will be some demand in the near future. They might need a bit of help from you as Mirror sailors so they understand what arrangments you want regarding rigging, and the placement of some fittings like spinnaker pole eyes and pole lifts, but the key dimensions for the placement of shrouds, gooseneck, halyard cleats,.... are in the rules. As it is now, they at least know that, in the UK, Selden are using their Lambda section and Super Spars are using M9. There are also photographs of the finished UK rigs which they can look at.


Martin Egan

IMCA Convener of Rules & Chairman of Rules and Technical Committee

From: Patrick Blaney
Sent: 03 March 2006 20:11
Subject: RE: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change


I have been away and just now am catching up with all the email traffic on this topic.

Perhaps that is an advantage? You can be the judge of that.

When confronted with opinions as varied as have been expressed about implementation, I try, in so far as is possible, to revert back to the principle of why we are doing this (providing the option of a Bermudan Rig) and then look at how best to implement the decision we have made.

It remains my strongly held opinion (based on an objective look at the eloquently made arguments during the debate) that the Bermudan Rig, while theoretically more efficient and less awkward than its Gunter counterpart, will make a negligible difference to the performance of the Mirror dinghy. It is also my view that, initially, it will be less efficient because the necessary period of evolution to catch up with the wooden gunter rig (which has had 40+ years to evolve) will not have taken place. It is also my opinion that, in time, because of its ease of use (and with some evolution of both spars and sails) it will become the rig of choice for those who want to race the boat competitively.

Given that we have made this choice (subject to ISAF blessing), we should not allow its implementation to become just another (indirect) method of blocking the change we have already agreed.

We are working against the clock (and other competitive dinghies in our space) to retain the necessary critical mass of competitive international sailing, that is the reason we have made this change and unnecessary delay is counterproductive. Whether for good or bad (and only time will tell if we got this right), we have agreed this change and the sooner we find out if it brings us forward or not the better.

 The issues in implementation are thus only:

1. Whether there is an adequate supply available for those who want to make the change?

2. Whether the timing of that change is fair for all countries?

We should also recognise that there will never be a time that suits everyone, so we have to balance the arguments in both directions.

I also recognise that inertia is the easy way out, no risk no reward!

It is my considered opinion that Martin Egan’s suggestion is the fairest balance that both implements the change and gives us all (just about) equal time to try it out before we have to make the decision (on which rig to use) at the Worlds in 2007. If we delay implementation beyond Jan 2007 the next available event will be the Europeans 2008, in August (30 months away) or the 2009 Worlds, both of which are just too far away and, in my view, make this change effectively redundant.

We can all help make this change effective, seamless and fair, by sharing data between countries and mast manufacturers (over the next season in both hemispheres) and by pooling this in a way that gives everyone as much information as possible on which rig works best and (assuming we can find out) why. I will also (personally) make sure, in the unlikely event that the Bermudan rig evolves sooner than I expect, that a small number of the rigs of choice are made available in RSA in Jan 2007 so that those who have not used the rig, and who are willing to take the risk with it during Worlds 2007, can do so. I do not believe that supply will be the problem, only that some countries (like England) are more likely to try it out and have learned better how to use it.

To my mind, if we can all agree to share information and to keep each other well informed, the proposed timing of implementation will work out just fine. The key here is the UK Association agreeing to this, as they will be the drivers of this change.

I hope you can agree with my (perhaps tortured) logic and that this gives us the chutzpah to get on with this change and work together (in all our interests) to make sure that it works fairly for all.


Patrick Blaney

Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2006 11:44 AM
Subject: SV: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change
From: PG Andermo



Sweden will with our small fleet most probably buy any new spars from UK or Ireland and do not see the supply as a problem. We will also approve the rig for all national events if possible. As we now have decided to go for the Bermuda rig, do not hold it back.  

About Martin Egans text.

-    1st August is OK. We would not mind it to be effective any date earlier but certainly before the Worlds.

-    Possibility for national class dispenstation is supported.

 PG Andermo

IMCA Sweden

Sent: Monday, 6 March 2006 9:03 PM
Subject: Re: Mirror Bermuda Rig - date of change
From: Simon Lovesey


Just returned from the UK Dinghy Show,  this marks the start of our main sailing season.

UKMCA had two Mirrors on display (wood and grp) with the new rig,  this generated enormous interest,  our stand was inundated,  with people queering up to talk about the rig.  Everyone was very positive about the new rig,  importantly there was plenty of new interest from people who had previously discounted the Mirror as being too old fashioned.

The consensus from the hundreds of people we spoke to was that formal full adoption date needs to be as soon as practically possible,  unnecessary delay will achieve nothing other than watering down the benefits.  Full rig development and optimisation will only happen in earnest when people can start competing at the highest level with the new set-up,  we are not an Olympic class,  most (UK) sailors are only active in Mirrors for 2-3 years so don't have the time to do speculative development.

With regards supplies,  all the key UK spar manufacturers have produced prototype rigs and Martin Egan is visiting them to ensure full conformity to the new rules.  We met with them at the Dinghy Show and they are confident they can meet the anticapated demand.  They all supply masts internationally and are briefing their distributors in Mirror nations.  A Seldon Mirror Mast is on its way to Australia.

It is only now that the rules have been approved and finalised that our sailmakers have starting looking at optimising their sails for the Bermuda Rig,  as these are commercial companies any Mirror owner will be able to buy their products,  they will not want to restrict supply. 

I can guarantee that the UK will share information,  it is in all our interests to build the class Internationally.  We have commissioned our National Coach,  Peter Aitkin to write a tuning guide based around the new rig,  this will be made readily available to ALL Mirror sailors regardless of nationality.  Peter is not only a top coach,  well known to many Mirror sailors around the world,  but also a former sailmaker and mast maker.

So please can we move ahead as quickly as possible,  if IMCA wants to allow the rig at the Europeans we will accommodate this,  we see no reason to delay beyond 1st Aug 2006.

Simon Lovesey

UK MCA Secretary