“Safety is only an excuse”

by International A-Division Catamaran Association.



On February 18, in an meeting with the Vice -President of the French national sailing regulator, the FFV, Jean-Pierre Churet, French A Class Association President  Thierry Boisbouvier and Vice President Jacques Piallat  said that the FFV conceders the A-Class to be a flying boat and as such, two possibilities were offered to them:

  1. To separate the flying (Open) and non-flying (Classic) on different courses;
  2. To limit the number of boats (flying and non-flying together) starting together in one race to about 25, and thus to have several fleets if there are more than 25 entered.

Whether if either of these rules are to be applied, this could well lead to the cancelling of French National Championship in 2016 at Quiberon on the grounds of safety.

What is at stake?

Safety is only an excuse.  The real reason is that, in the case of accident, the FFV is afraid of ending up in court being accused of having run boats that are supposedly incompatible with each other, regardless of the fact that they all measure as ‘A’ Class Catamarans legally within the World Sailing affiliated international association (IACA).

Faced with this dogmatic position, no rational argument based on reality or facts seems admissible.

What to do ?

Five major options are available to the AFCCA.

1. Proposed “consensus” of the FFV

For larger gatherings 20-25 mixing vessels of both ‘Flying’ and ‘Classic’, the FFV offers to cut the fleet in as many packets of 20-25 boats as necessary and provide starts on the same course every 10mins. After each race, the fleet is remixed for everyone to race all their competitors. In the end, it comes back to the double classification.

This solution seems complicated to implement, will pose problems for validating championships in the difficult and variable weather, multiply the potential ‘dangerous’ crossovers on the course and take away a lot of sporting interest at large gatherings.

However, it is viable for regional regattas and TTs that rarely exceed 25 ‘A’ Class boats.

2.  Separate Open and Classic Fleets

Bowing to the diktats of FFV to save the Nationals only for 2016 and a separation is imposed between Open and Classic, with separate starts and separate results.

But remembering that any final changes such as this cannot be made that the AG and AFCCA, who by definition, must follow the rules of the IACA.

3. Hold it abroad.

In 2016, as a result of the intransigence of the FFV, the AFCCA organizes a foreign based National Championships, possibly by joining in with a regatta already organised. This will give them a year to find a solution.

4. Cancellation the 2016 Nationals.

The AFCCA simply cancel the 2016 nationals at Quiberon and still waiting to find a solution.

This can only be done in agreement with the club that has done them the honor of agreeing to host the event and suffer possible penalties in doing so.

5. Conduct a legal and media battle with the FFV.

Thierri has consulted an attorney who looked into an account of the light of the facts of reality, accidents between ‘A’ class boats, considering international practices, and it appears that the safety argument is devoid of any serious grounds.

This leaves them with Media actions and possible other remedies provided that members of the AFCCA would want this.

The survival of the class, as we know it, is at stake and its fate seems sealed already’ says an exasperated Boisbouvier. ‘If the survival of the class is not really in question, this development of the championships could be broken by the FFV, depriving France of international sailors. Then France becomes a terra non grata for foreigners. We cannot expect the 2016 Nationals at Quiberon to decide.

The AFCCA wants a vote (reserved for it’s members in 2015 or 2016) with a suggestion to 3 choices for each item:
Yes (I fully endorse this proposal)
No (I totally refuse this proposal)
Acceptable (to break the deadlock, I am prepared to accept)

This piece has been translated and edited from the AFCCA Website http://www.afcca.org

These guys need our support.

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