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From the ILCA Chief Measurer

Legal Spinnaker Pole Materials
By William F Cabrall
Posted on 7/1/2020 4:12 PM

It is the responsibility of each Lightning owner/skipper to ensure that his boat is maintained and raced in class legal condition in accordance with the boat’s measurement certificate. A question came up recently concerning carbon fiber as an allowable material for spinnaker poles.

The class specifications do not allow carbon fiber in spinnaker poles.

Current Lightning Class Specifications allow spinnaker poles to be made of wood, fiberglass, foam, aluminum (alloy), or any combination (of wood, foam, fiberglass, or aluminum (alloy). In 2002 a ruling was made prohibiting the use of carbon fiber in spinnaker poles.

You can find the exact language of the spinnaker pole specification on the class website under the ‘class rules/Lightning Specifications’ tab on the home page.  The specification pertaining to spinnaker poles is in Article III, paragraph 59 of the specs, and the ruling is contained near the bottom of page 23 of the specifications in the ‘Questions/Interpretations’ section.

It is possible to find ads for almost anything online today, however it is only possible to legally race a Lightning if the boat complies with a valid measurement certificate. Using a carbon fiber spinnaker pole would be a very easy way to get disqualified from any race it was used in.

Our class rules and specifications are maintained on the class website to ensure instant availability of the current language and requirements for everyone involved in the class. Questions concerning the rules or specifications can be resolved by reviewing them online, talking to your local measurer, or contacting the Chief Measurer.

Bill Cabrall

ILCA Chief Measurer

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