After months of work and preparation including 1800+ lines of spreadsheet items to tick off, using most of our spare time for the last couple of months, the bit that got us stuck was the clause of:
- an ORCi stability index of 115 for the configuration in which the boat proposes to race; orWe knew we could have got the ISO certificate at the boat launch in 2013 but didn't think we'd need it and thought we could get it later.
- International Standard ISO12217-2 Design Category A except that the STIX Number shall be increased to a minimum of 35.
We had a STIX Number of 36.697 so we thought: no problem. We didn't know about the ORCi side, but wanted to get an ORCi rating as another handicap to compete on. So we got the boat measured, and the ORCi stability index came out too low for the S2H, at just under 110.
No problem, we thought, we just need to get the ISO12217 and we have the STIX (Stability Index) well in excess of the requirement.
But, then we heard from CYCA who said that even with the ISO certificate and the STIX in excess of the requirements, they would not accept our entry. We thought of arguing this lack of understanding of what "or" means, but we figured we'd do that after getting the ISO...
We sent off two emails: one to get the ISO done formally, and another to ask the ORC people what we had to do to get a better number. Neither replied immediately ...
So we thought ... how do we get up to a better ORCi number...? Add weight to the keel. So on the day we were supposed to leave for Sydney we found out from Rob that the boat was engineered for a keel that was 60kg heavier, so we could do that minimal adverse effects on performance, except for VMG running and light air performance. Nobody could tell us at that time whether that would be OK, so we lifted the boat, stripped the keel to bare lead, and set about adding 60kg.
At about that point we heard from the ORCi guru we'd asked for help ... he said we would need to add __300kg__ to the keel, to nearly get to 115... ! Yikes, no way that can, or should, happen. Not only would the rig, keel structures, etc etc, pretty much the whole boat need to be re-engineered, it would no longer be a fast boat.
Then the really bad news. The ISO certificate criteria had changed, it now ignores the buoyancy of the cabin top and other structures above the deck. Now we fell just short of getting that too. He estimated that the 60 *might* have done it, but wasn't sure.
That, the very limited time available, plus the CYCA saying that even if we did get the ISO that they would decline our entry (arguable, sure, but sailing 1200nm to Sydney to then argue and possibly lose that argument doesn't sound like a good bet). We heard that Groupama the Volvo 70 won the Volvo Ocean Race, but the same boat wasn't able to race in S2H without adding weight to the keel. We suspect that the ORCi SI rule set by CYCA could do with some modernisation, like their insistence on SSBs.
Just for added interest, we heard via another participant in the S2H that, with a few weeks to go that NZ Safety at Sea certs would no longer be acceptable. With no option to do a course in Australia in time, and a requirement that half of the crew had a valid certificate. That's a little, er, underarm too.