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From the ILCA Chief Measurer

Moving forward in the electronic age
By Joe Buczkowski
Posted: 2023-03-29T01:13:52Z

Following all of the action on the water over the past few months, while my boat was in winter storage, has me ready and looking forward to my first event- the Annual Moonshine regatta. I hope that all of the communication from the South Americans and the Southern Circuit has you ready for your return to the water. Whether you participated in a local fleet race, a regatta, a day sail or maybe you participated in the circuit, the ability to share stories and keep everyone up to speed on events around the country has grown in recent years and our class has been on the forefront of utilizing social media to get our stories out to everyone.

With that objective, over the past few months a group of class sailors, ranging in experience and age, came together to look at our current electronic policy and update it for the new age of electronics. I was honored to have Doug Wake, Dave Sprague, Bill Cabrall, Clarke Newman and Ryan Ruhlman on the team. Our goal was to update the policy to better reflect modern technologies and practices already taking place on the water.

After a comprehensive review of the current policy, comparing to what is available, what is actually happening in the class and what other one design classes are doing, I believe that the proposed change to the by-laws is a good balance of tradition, maintaining our core values and integrating electronics that makes sense. This proposal allows the class to position itself as leader, rather than a follower, in sensibly adapting electronics into our passion of sailing. Overall, the proposed policy revision creates a more enforceable, digital friendly rule which should not have significant impact on the spirit of racing.

The high points of the changes are:

  • Allow action cameras and other photographic equipment, such as GoPro, which have previously been illegal.
  • Allow for GPS and other data logging functions and devices, provided those devices do not display a readout on the water.
  •   Allow for additional devices that have digital compass functions, but may be locked down to not display said functions on water:
  •   Allow speakers, which have previously been illegal
  • Allow for smart watches on the water with limitations
  • Allows for VHF radios without an amendment in the NOR or SI's

If you have not yet read the proposal, I highly recommend you do. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or any of the members of the committee.

After you read the proposal, we ask that you give your input to your fleet Captains and representatives who will be voting on this proposal at the annual meeting in a few weeks.

As a long-time sailor in the class, starting in my teens and now approaching my 50s, I have been a part of the evolution of electronics in the sailing world and our class. I remember the days of disagreement of handheld radios and how they would be the end of the class (now you wouldn't think to go out without one) to the debates on electronic compass. In that time, the advances in technology has far exceeded anyone's expectations and through it all, the racing has been just as good as it always has been.

I write this as a sailor and a competitor, who happens to be your Chief Measurer, who believes we must evolve with technology, for the betterment of the class. I recommend approval of the proposal.


Your Chief Measurer and fellow competitor-


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