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I’m all for changing the wording of any rules which are unclear. While it’s clearly poor sportsmanship to take out a heavy set of benches after the boat has been weighed, it appears to be allowed by the current rules. This bench dispensation rule is also unclear in that it implies that the boat must have a set of forward benches, though they do not need to be fitted to the boat, which seems a bit pointless.

Changing the weight rules would be more involved than changing the wording of a few rules. For a start, what would this new ‘total weight’ be? If you make the new weight too low, then suddenly a lot of existing boats are overweight, which I imagine would cause upset. If the new weight is too high, a lot of existing boats will be asked to carry an extra lump of lead about, which I expect would displease a lot of owners.

I’d suggest weighing a brand new Hartley boat, built to the current weight rules, with all the standard spars and foils etc (not including sails), and make the new weight very slightly less than that weight. That way the vast majority of new boats should be unaffected. I have no idea whether a complete new boat would be heavier or lighter than a complete old racing woodie for example.

Having said that, in principle, the idea of levelling the playing field for all boats as far as weight is concerned is one I support, and is very much within the aims of the class rules.