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Y’all remember this kerfuffle, yes? Looks like the right thing has been done to allow people to pole out a headsail (ahem, to weather) when running.

IRC Rule 11.1: Changes to Class Rules and 21.3.6: Whisker Poles  

With effect from 1 June 2021, in IRC 2021 Rules, amend IRC Rule 21.3.6 regarding  whisker poles and IRC Rule 11.1 regarding IRC Rules that can be changed:  

Amend IRC rule 11.1:  

11.1 A Rule Authority Prescription or Notice of Race may vary the requirements of  IRC Rules 8.6, 9.6, 14.1, 15.1, 21.1.5 (d) (e) and (f), 21.3.6, 21.8.4, and  22.4. Any Rule Authority prescriptions shall have been approved by the  national IRC Owners’ Association when such exists. No other IRC Rules  may be amended.  

Amend IRC rule 21.3.6:  

21.3.6 A boat shall declare using any spar as a whisker pole to set a headsail or a  flying headsail. This rule may be amended by a Notice of Race. 


It has been brought to our attention that in heavy weather a whisker pole may be  used to set a headsail to windward when it is unsafe or undesirable to set a  spinnaker. If a Race Organiser believes this may be the case for their race, then they  may consider that this circumstance should not result in a rating effect and therefore  may decide to not apply IRC Rule 21.3.6.  

Example of a rule amendment to 21.3.6 in a Notice of Race may be as follows:  

IRC Rule 21.3.6 does not apply. A whisker pole to set a headsail may be used  without IRC declaration.  

For the avoidance of doubt outriggers are not permitted in accordance with IRC Rule  21.3.2 and Racing Rules of Sailing 55. 

IRC Policy Steering Group  

1 June 2021 

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Australian Sailing has already issued a prescription exonerating poled out headys to windward (which normal vernacular for Boats here are not required to declare a spar or whisker pole used only to set a headsail to windward).

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