October 17, 2018

IHCA Rules Committee update the Finline Rudder case

The Rules Committee has recently received a copy of a Hobie Cat Australia letter dated in 1993 indicating the Finline rudders were inspected and approved by Hobie Cat Company. A letter, which was not available to the Rules Committee, when the Finline case was discussed in 2016-2017 leading up to the amendment made to Hobie Cat 18 class rule 1.1 in 2017.

The Rules Committee appreciates the receipt of the letter as it shines new light on a controversial case with outset in what was done and not done 25 years back. Since then, Hobie Cat Australia organized as it was then is no longer existing. Hobie Cat Company has got new owners and there are new people on most positions in the IHCA.

In light of the above, the Rules Committee has reviewed and reconsidered the amendment made to Hobie Cat 18 class rule 1.1 in 2017.

The Rules Committee concludes the following:
– Hobie Cat Company apparently approved the Finline rudders in 1993 and allowed Hobie Cat Australia to supply them.
– Based on what is not said in above mentioned letter in combination with talks with members of the Rules Committee in 1993, the Finline rudders never followed through with due process to be officially declared “class legal” as required under the provisions of General Rule 6. At that time (1993) the IHCA would have needed the approval of IYRU (now World Sailing).
– When products are supplied by Hobie Cat Company, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are class legal. Hobie Cat Company must comply with the class rules as shall the sailors.
– The Finline rudder does not comply with the Hobie Class rudder template.
Decision: Hobie Cat 18 class rule 1.1 is maintained as is.

It shall be noted Rules Committee member Steve Fields, Managing Director of Hobie Cat Asia Pacific, has abstained from the Rules Committee discussions and the decision on this case.

Instead and in order to show support to the HC18 class, Hobie Cat Asia Pacific will re-open the rudder buy-back program up till December 1st 2018. Sailors can take their non-class legal Finline rudders to Hobie dealers and they can purchase new rudders for $225.00 AUD each. The Australian retail for an EPO 3 rudder is $670.00 AUD each.

On behalf of the IHCA Rules Committee
Erik Olsen/Chairman

Historic links:

IHCA Class Rules updated

Ruling on Hobie Cat 18 rudders and buy back in Australia

PDF document