At the 2021 Annual Meeting, held on 11 December, the World Council decided to remove class rule C.10.4(b) as per 1 January 2024. As a result of this decision, the requirement to set the jib tack at or above the apex of the forestay bridles will be removed.
This amendment of the class rules brings the following benefits:
- it allows – but does not require – raising the apex of the forestay bridles without loss of performance that would otherwise result from raising the position of the jib (tack).
- raising the apex will significantly reduce loads in the forestay bridles and hulls, and will thus improve hull stiffness, longevity and F18 resale values.
Once class rule C.10.4(b) is removed, the logical place to set the jib tack will become the bowsprit. The World Council therefore also approved to allow the use of an optional compression rod in to counter the jib luff loads for when the jib tack is set below the apex of the forestay bridles. This option will also be introduced as per 1 January 2024.
Please find below DRAFT class rule wording for this added option, subject to approval by World Sailing:
F.6 STANDING RIGGING
– (b) OPTIONAL
– – (3) The forestay may be fitted with a compression rod
It will be straightforward to retrofit and lower the jib position on existing F18s.
On many modern F18s the apex of the forestay bridle (and jib tack) is already positioned (nearly) against the bowsprit. It is not expected that removal of class rule C.10.4(b) will lead to a further lowering of the bowsprit because that would rapidly increase the risk of burying it in waves.
The positioning of the jib tack (nearly) against the bowsprit on modern F18 designs has thus far not led to the introduction of snuffer bags that function as an endplate for the foot of the jib. However, any future development in this area will be closely monitored.