Racing Rules of Sailing - RRS 51 Moveable Ballast

The following exert has been taken from a letter from YWA to all yacht clubs.
Dated 28 August 2013
Re: RRS 51 – Moveable Ballast
Following consultation with members of the offshore keelboat fleet, progress has been made to allow Clubs to modify RRS 51 Moveable Ballast with particular reference to the practice of stacking sails. It will apply to Category 1, 2 and 3 races held under Yachting Australia’s Special Regulations.
A survey of Australian boat owners revealed that the stacking of sails is already common practice, despite it being a breach of Rule 51, and that the RRS allow a race committee to change the rule via the Sailing Instructions (SI’s). Research carried out on the application of Rule 51 has revealed that there is no restriction imposed upon sail sacking within the IRC Rating Rule; however, the ORC Rating Rule (Rule 203.1) prohibits this unless prior permission is sought to change it.
It had been noted that several concerns had been raised about the safety implications associated with allowing sail stacking during competition. An independent discussion paper, commissioned on Yachting Australia’s behalf, has determined that the effect of potential safety hazards to crew as a result of sail stacking has been found to be negligible.
Following the results of the discussion paper, Yachting Australia applied to the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) on the behalf of organising authorities for approval to change ORC Rule 203.1 allowing the practice of sail stacking during competition in ORC division racing. The ORC has provided approval to change Rule 203.1 on the basis that this is for a trial period until 30 June 2014. Please see the attached for the ORC approval.
Following the above, the Yachting Australia Board has given approval to advise Clubs of the opportunity to make changes to Rule 51 and ORC Rule 203.1 to allow sail stacking. The following wording can be included in race documents for Category 1, 2 or 3 races:
Racing Rule of Sailing 51 and ORC Rule 201.3 are amended to allow sails to be moved below deck to alter the trim of the boat.
The positioning of such sails shall not impede access to any Special Regulations equipment and shall not introduce any further hazard to crew.
Heavy items shall be securely fastened as required by SR 2.03.2©.
In accordance with Rule 87, ORC has given permission for ORC Rule 201.3 to be amended by Sailing Instructions for races conducted under Yachting Australia jurisdiction until June 30 2014.
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