Classes & Eligibility

Is my boat eligible?The Classic Channel Regatta is open to classic yachts which were designed before December 31st 1974 and approved more recent yachts of classic and traditional design. All rigs and hull materials (including g.r.p.) are accepted.

A boat’s eligibility to enter the regatta is defined by the classes set out below.

The Classes are:

Class 1 (pennant No 1):

Yachts designed before December 31st 1968 which are maintained to their original design without any significant changes. (Yachts built in a limited series are eligible, but those built in an industrial scale series are excluded from Class 1, but are eligible in Class 3.)

Class 2 (pennant No 2):

Class 2: Yachts as per Class 1, but which have had significant changes made to their original design and/or materials since the end of 1968. Replicas built to an original design created before December 31st 1968 are also eligible in Class 2.

Yachts designed after 1968 that faithfully follow the lines and appearance of a pre-1969 design may be eligible at the organiser’s discretion.

Note: In both Classes 1 and 2, changes in the material of spars, hull, ballast and major changes in the sail plan are considered as significant changes. 

Class 3 (pennant No 3):

Yachts designed between December 31st, 1968 and December 31st, 1974 built as a one-off or in series production and yachts designed before December 31st 1968 built in an industrial series.

Any series production boat must be at least 25 years old from its build or first launch date on the first day of the regatta.

Yachts designed after December 31st 1974 whose design and build, including hull, spars, rig, sails, etc., are considered equivalent to pre-1969 classic yachts may be eligible in Class 3.

All yachts potentially eligible for class 3 must be of an approved classic design and are subject to acceptance by the regatta organisers.

Class 4 (pennant No 4):

Any yacht eligible in classes 1-3 with high tech sails (that is any material deemed by the Regatta Committee to be primarily designed for racing) or any material other than wood, aluminium or steel for spars (apart from topmasts) will sail in class 4 regardless of year of design or may not be allowed to sail in the Regatta.

Cruising Class:

Boats eligible for any of the above racing classes are eligible for the cruising class.


Notes on Classes and Eligibility:

The cut-off date for class 3 is now the end of 1974 (it was 1976 for previous regattas).

The class structure does not separate boats depending on hull material – this is taken into account in the rating – so boats built as a one-off or in limited series of all types of construction launched before the end of 1968 sail together in classes 1 or 2. As most g.r.p. boats will have been designed after 1968 or built in an industrial scale series, almost all of them will be in class 3.

Classes will be divided into divisions according to the number of yachts entered in each, and classes 1 & 2 or 3 & 4 may be amalgamated.

The minimum length on deck (LOD) for the inshore races at Dartmouth and the Round Brehat race is 5.4 metres.

Boats competing the Round Brehat race must have an engine complying with WS Offshore rules for Category 3 races (i.e: minimum speed under power of 1.8 x square root of LWL in metres).

The minimum length on deck (LOD) for the Channel Race is 7.5 metres. [Notwithstanding this LOD restriction some yachts which have an LOD of less than 7.5 mtrs but a LWL of more than 6.5 mtrs may be eligible subject to the sole approval of the organisers who may take into account such things as engine capacity and sail plan.]

All yachts are required to comply with the World Sailing rules for the category of race regardless of size.

Originality and modifications:

It is important for the integrity and heritage of classic yachting that owners strive to maintain the original character of the yacht’s design and the JCH Handicap takes this into consideration by favouring originality. We accept that many yachts have been modified through the years and provided such modifications to the hull, rig and accommodation are in keeping with ‘the spirit of the period’ they are acceptable. We also accept that sail handling gear and deck hardware can be sympathetically updated to improve ease of handling and safety. However, the organisers may exclude any yacht that they deem to have been inappropriately modified.

For a yacht constructed after 1974 to a pre-1975 design to be eligible it must be as true and faithful to the original design and construction specification as possible. Major alterations to the design and use of inappropriate modern materials and construction techniques may constitute the boat being considered a new design and so render it ineligible. Both the spirit and letter of the eligibility rules must be honoured – if a boat is constructed or modified to give it an unfair advantage in racing against the genuine and original classics of the period, then it will be deemed to the ineligible.

The term ‘limited series’ applies to a design built in small quantity, normally of traditional hull materials in a traditional boatyard. ‘Industrial scale series’ applies to a design where the hulls have been made in volume, normally in a factory. See list of approved ‘industrial scale’ production designs.

If you have any doubts about the eligibility of your boat, either contact us at with details and a picture of your boat.

Acceptance of entries is at the discretion of the regatta organising committee – its decision is final.

Sail Material

There are three types of sail material governed by the JCH rules. Generally traditional woven natural fibres are type 1. Most woven man made fibres such as dacron are type 2. Laminate sails may fall into type 2 or type 3.

All competitors should check what their sail material actually is at the time of applying for a JCH rating or entering a Regatta. The exact rule can be found at Article 6

If they are in any doubt they should send an email to  giving the details of the sails they intend to use and this will be checked with the JCH technical committee.  They may then need to amend their handicap accordingly. If any competitor fails to declare they have laminate sails it will be assumed they are type 3 and their handicap adjusted accordingly.

Sail Numbers

Competitors must have either a valid national sail number or recognised class number (World Sailing and JCH rules) and display these numbers on the mainsail and spinnakers. Where these numbers cannot, or for reasons of authentic appearance the owner does not wish them to, be displayed on the sails the entrant may apply for an exemption provided that the relevant identification laid out in 4.3 of the NoR is displayed elsewhere on the yacht so as to be visible on both sides of the yacht in characters at least as high as those required on the sails. Such exemptions must be approved before the start of racing.

Boats without a national or class sail number must apply to their national authority for a number. In the case of French yachts a unique number for classic yachts may be obtained from the Yacht Club Classique online. For UK yachts application may be made to the RYA.

Failure to display numbers in accordance with the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions will result in the boat being declared DNS – ‘Did Not Start’

All photos taken at previous Classic Channel Regattas and reproduced by kind permission of Mike Wynne-Powell, Karine Gilles de Pelichy and