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What happened to the A Class?

AclassFleet7 March 2021

In January 2021, the A Class was quietly removed from the list of State Sanctioned Classes here in Queensland.  There was no fanfare about it, why draw attention to something no one wanted to see happen.  Now it is time to talk about what actually happened and why. 

The rules for recognising classes in States and National level are set by the ARYA By-laws;


Since 2019 the relevant section says;

1.3 State Sanctioned Class – to be eligible and remain eligible for recognition as a State Sanctioned Class:

i) six or more yachts must be raced regularly, in an organised manner by a Club affiliated with the ARYA.

'Regularly' could be a few times a year, but regularly, by a club and at least six of them.  The count was zero club events that complied.  For at least the last three to four years the only time six or more A Class boats appeared was for each of the three Championship events the QRYA scheduled each year.  Championships should be a result of qualifying to do so, not the only time they sail.

The QRYA drew this to the attention of the key A Class stakeholders and accepted the appointment of a Class Coordinator two years ago, but no regular sailing happened.  That effectively demonstrated that the future of any yacht class is in the hands of the owners themselves, not the administrators.   It's boats on the water that count, not sending emails.  So the State Association had a choice, to finally apply the rules we are there to administer, or continue to ignore them.  We chose to apply them.  Is that even a choice really?

I recall seeing the A Class for the first time while volunteering at a championship event at Newport QLD and was very impressed.  I saw a little flag on each backstay and asked what that was for.  I had a couple of A Class owners respond at the same time to tell me that it was the 'Owner's Flag', it was a Class Rule!  They glanced at each other sideways.  But I was impressed that every single yacht there complied, they respected the rules.  There are also rules that this State has to follow as a member of the National Association.

Understandably, A Class owners are still well less than impressed after being left with no Championship events to get the boats out of the shed for, and no regular class sailing to fall back on.  But that wake-up call has had an effect that other discussions have not.  The Lake Samsonvale club has now scheduled club events intended to get the class back on the State radar.  Meanwhile the boats can sail anywhere they want to including National Championships, they just do not appear on the State Calendar.

We commend the Lake Samsonvale club's actions and wish them every success in getting to these graceful classic yachts once again appearing on the State list of Sanctioned Classes.

Secretary QRYA


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