One-Design – Why and How

Här är en beskrivning om tillkomsten av OD, den är skriven av International 2.4mR Class Association’s tekniska kommitte.

Why One-Design

The driving thought for the group that likes One-Design (OD) is to grow the 2.4mR class. We have noticed that it is rare with stable and growing design classes. The reason is that most sailors prefer fun on the water compared to time in the work shop. They like to be able to buy competitive standard equipment from a producer or vendor. We have seen sailors drop off when the word has been that a handful of sailors have better equipment. Equipment that isn’t available for everyone. We have also seen how builders are reluctant investing in moulds and production capacity knowing that it may be outdated over a night. We have after one year of One Design already seen the number of interested builders increase.

In a design class the control of boat selection and quality is entirely in the hands of the designer. The designer may decide to cease production any day. He may decide to switch to a different design or just stop because he has no interested builder. He may decide to change the production to low quality mass production. A design class has no control. In our class more than 95 % of the boats at all the world Championships has been Norlin Mark III. We think that a disturbance in the production or in the quality of those boats would hurt the class and we like to have some control. That is something the One Design agreement with Peter Norlin has given us.

The 2.4mR is a fantastic boat for disabled sailing. After 2008 the 2.4mR was almost voted out of the Paralympics and one reason was the fact that it’s a design class. A design class has not been Olympic equipment since 1968 and it’s not likely to come back. That we can race our boats in the big world cup events like Miami and Kiel is only thanks to Paralympics and disabled sailing. The international growth of the class is also to a large extent a result of Paralympics. We think that disabled sailing contributes in many aspects to our class, and would not like to be without it. To support Paralympics and disabled sailing a One Design is a necessity.

As we like the including culture of the 2.4, where young, old, man, woman, able bodied and disabled sail together we don’t like to exclude anyone. We have therefore suggested that all OD boats shall also be 2.4mR. It’s a requirement which means that every time we promote OD boats we promote 2.4mR sailing. It works in the same way that an advertisement for a small BMW also supports the BMW brand and sales of the larger versions.


The one-design initiative has now a long history. The story we are now involved in started with an AGM decision 2006 to investigate possible routs forward. It was clear that an OD class would evolve one way or the other. 2007 the ODRC committee was elected and started their work developing rules and other necessary documents. The rule has seen many versions and phases since then and in 2011 the AGM decided that both the OD rule and the open rule should be administrated by the International 2.4mR association.

The One-Design Committee

Håkan Kellner has led the committee developing the OD rule. He is an international measurer of the 2.4mR class and has been the chairman of the technical committee of that class for several years. He has also experience from measuring 6mR yachts and from an Olympic campaign in 5.5. Håkan has been an active 2.4mR sailor since 1990

Peter Norlin has been a committee member. Peter is the designer of the boat but also the person who constructed the 2.4mR rule and started that class in the 80-ties. Peter is the designer of many one-design classes as well as meter boats in several sizes, 2.4mR, 6mR, 8mR and 12mR, IOR racers…. Peter has one 2.4mR world championship gold medal, in his large collections of world championship titles from other classes.

Rikard Bjurström, has been a committee member. He has one world championship gold medal in the 2.4mR class. He is a sail maker and spar developer and is used to work with class rules. Rikard started sailing 2.4mR 1994 and has been the president of the Finnish 2.4mR association. Rikard has been a coach at 3 Paralympic games.

Stellan Berlin has been a committee member. He has 7 world championship gold medals in the 2.4mR class and one world championship gold medal in 6mR. He has a Ph.D in fluid mechanics, is a sail maker and experience from many classes and is used to work with class rules. Stellan started sailing 2.4mR in 1998 and has been president of the Swedish 2.4mR association for 4 years. Stellan has also been a coach at 2 Paralympic games.

Peter Wilson has been a committee member. Peter is an international active judge and has sailed the 2.4mR since 2001. He has been the president of the US 2.4mR association. Peter has experience from sailing 12mR in Americas Cup.

When the International 2.4mR class decided to administer both classes and accepted the OD rule. The development of the rule was turned over to the technical committee of the class.

Many 2.4mR enthusiast have during the long development period contributed with ideas and comments on the OD rule. This is very encouraging.

The rule development

Compared to other rule writers the committee has had one advantage. The boat, its performance and how the sailors like to use it, is very well established after 20 years of sailing. The difficulty has been the balance between a strict one-design, the need to make a large proportion of the existing boats fit in without major modifications and the need for the fun that sailors find in adapting their boat to their size, abilities and taste. Different to other OD classes we also want to consider the large fleet of disabled sailors, which clearly affect the OD rule and its strictness.

There is no definition of one-design. Classes that are considered one-design differ a lot in permitted variations. There are examples of classes that give builders and sailors a considerate freedom in both hull shape and equipment, e.g. Star and Dragon. Yet other one-design classes as Laser or 49:er are very strict. There is no evidence that one approach would be more successful than the other. The “experts” seem to have different views about this.

There have also been practical issues to consider. Is a certain material or equipment equally available to builders in all parts of the world? If a sailor breaks a mast or boom, is it reasonable to require that a specific spar shall be shipped from the other side of the globe. How will we find new builders if we stipulate every step in the production process? Remember, building 2.4mR equipment is not the most profitable business and our turnover does not match Laser or Star.

An example of an often discussed matter that we had to decide on is the ballast weight. We have to set it to something that is reasonable to produce. New boats should be able to reach the maximum. We don’t like the majority of boats to carry heavy corrector weights. It would not be practical and would be take the development a step back. It’s good for the class that there is a drive to replace old boats with new ones.  We set the maximum to 181 kg, which has worked well in the appendix K used for disabled sailing for several years. A minimum would definitely take some boats out of the class and we don’t see the point in that as we can’t imagine that they would ever have an advantage. Moreover, some sailors need to fit a lot of additional equipment on their boat, such as Peter boom, complex steering arrangements or something else. To meet the total weight they have to remove ballast. Why would we exclude them? If we like to push the producers, it can be done through the licence agreements.

The present result is what the OD committee and technical committee after a lot of work and consideration has come to. Some details that seem simple at first sight tend to be more complex when you give it some consideration and put it in a larger context. We are sure a different groups of rule developers would in some cases have found a different balance. We have certainly missed some details. However, class rules are living and in the same way as the 2.4mR rules are continuously developing, so will the one-design rule evolve over time. We think that the current result is a major step forward compared to the old Appendix K, and it’s a good improvement compared to last years version. We will in the future continue to find parts that need adjustments and improvements.

We hope that all the hard work we have invested will lead to more fun on the water for many more sailors in our class.

AGM motions passed

AGM 2006 passed the following motion:
The World Council shall, before the close of its 2006 meeting in Helsinki, appoint a qualified committee of five (5) class members (called the 2.4 one-design committee) to thoroughly investigate the opportunity to evolve the 2.4mR from a construction (development) class to a onedesign class. The committee will establish facts, assess the issues, and make a written recommendation, in concert with the Technical Committee, to the World Council within six months.

The 2.4 One-Design Committee consists of the following members:
Peter Russell (Australia), Chairman
Per Lindell (Sweden), Member
Stellan Berlin (Sweden), Member
Jim Linville (United States), Member
Thomas Franklin (United States), Member

Comment: The committee was in reality lead by Per Lindell

AGM 2007 passed the following motion:
2. The World Council shall form a committee (The One-Design Rule Committee – ODRC), who will work in concert with the Technical Committee, ISAF and IFDS to develop a rule that will govern the 2.4 mR .one-design boat including its production.

The goals of this committee are (but not limited to):

  • Develop a design based on the Norlin Mk III and secure exclusive Class rights to this design.
  • Develop a one-design rule and the requirements for grandfathering existing boats.
  • Working with IFDS, ensure that the rule has enough flexibility for the adaptive requirements of disabled sailors.
  • Develop construction specifications, working in concert with current Norlin Mk III builders.
  • Solicit input from the World Council on a going basis with a clearly defined process that enables the ODRC to pose questions, get answers and if needed conduct votes so as to move this project forward with consensus built along the way.
  • Ascertain all key steps required to gain appropriate ISAF approvals (as needed) to complete this project by July 1, 2008.

3. The .One-Design. Rule Committee shall be chaired by Hakan Kellner with the following members: Stellan Berlin, Peter Norlin, Rikard Bjurstrom and Peter Wilson.

AGM 2008 passed the following motion:
The One Design Committee continue together to facilitate the ongoing talks with ISAF and the IFDS. Also to develop the forms and license procedures needed to implement the change.

AGM 2009 passed the following motion:
The World Council agreed to the following next steps:
a. Continue on the path to await ISAF direction, and then prepare both building specifications and the OD Division rule according to ISAF preferences.

b. Submit the final ODRC recommended rule to the World Council for final comments and approval before submission to ISAF.

c. Recommend to IFDS that to help transition towards one design for their events, that they modify Section K in the Notice of Race with full permission from the Class to do so.

The new Class President and EC will develop the plan for work to be done, which of course will include continuation of the ODRC work, the new Policy Manual (described above) and any proscribed changes for the constitution or class rules, and the proactive search for WC hosts for 2012 and 2013.

AGM 2011 passed the following motion:
“The two classes, 2.4mR class and 2.4mR OD class, shall have the same administration on the international level”

AGM 2012 passed the following motion:
“When the amended Constitution is approved by ISAF, The EC will open consultations with 2.4OD CA with a view to concluding an agreement and then incorporate all documents and ongoing work related to the Norlin Mk3 Class into the 2.4mR ICA.”