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:

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:

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:

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:

(a). Any yacht otherwise eligible in classes 1-3 with any material other than wood, aluminium or steel for spars (apart from topmasts and spinnaker poles).

(b) Yachts with sails that fall into JCH Type 3 definition may be put into class 4.

(c) Approved ’Spirit of Tradition’ yachts designed after 1974 with classic appearance above the waterline, but possibly modern hull profile below the waterline.

(d) Other traditional and classic looking yachts designed after 1974 which are approved by the organisers.

The number of boats in class 4 will be limited and they will not be eligible for the overall Dubarry Trophy.

[*see section on sail materials below for a link to the JCH rule].


Notes on Classes and Eligibility:

The cut-off date for class 3 is now the end of 1974 (it was 1976 for Regattas before 2017).

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 Classic Weekend and La Course du Tour de l’Île de Bréhat is 5.4 metres.

Boats competing the La Course du Tour de l’Île de Bréhat 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 all the passage races is is 7.5 metres. Notwithstanding this LOD restriction some yachts which have an LOD of less than 7.5 metres but a LWL of more than 6.5 metres may be eligible subject to the sole approval of the organisers who may take into account such things as engine capacity and sail plan. Yachts of less than 6.5 metres LWL may accepted for passage races which do not cross shipping lanes provided the skipper can demonstrate a track record of offshore racing/passage making in the yacht. However the organisers reserve the right not to let smaller yachts race if the actual weather conditions are considered beyond safe limits.

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

We are unable to accept multihulls.

AIS Requirement

We have for several editions of the Classic Channel Race from Dartmouth made the use of AIS receive and transmit transponders compulsory. This is the same for many yacht races including other Classic regattas which go offshore or through main shipping lanes. It is now mandatory for all Cat3 races run under WS OSR.

Complete Standalone AIS units with receive and transmit in the form of a VHF (eg: Icom IC-M510E at around £590 which will replace your current VHF) are available. There are also quite a few transmit units which can link to a receive only set for those who already have AIS receive only. So you don’t have to junk the receive only set, making it easier now than ever before to fit economically. Also, a splitter unit mean that the existing VHF aerial can be used.

We realise the cost involved is not insignificant for many of you, but we hope you understand the reasons why we believe it has now become necessary as a safety feature which can save lives.

If you haven’t had an AIS before, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how useful and effective it is at identifying other vessels that may become a danger to you, not just while racing, but cruising too. You will also know that the 120,000 tonnes of container boxes charging at you at 24knots on a dark and stormy night will also have seen you.

Bruce, our chairman, who is famously Luddite about all electronic gadgets (and still doesn’t have a chart plotter on board), raved about his AIS when he first got it saying “it’s the best gadget since GPS!”)

The requirement for an AIS transponder is included in the NOR for our Regatta’s Cat 3 races.

You will be able to enter the Dartmouth Classics or the Brehat race without AIS but you will not be able to enter the Classic Channel Race from Dartmouth and the Passage race to Paimpol.

Overall Numbers and Single Design Class Numbers:

We have a restriction on overall numbers of approx 100. This is because of the physical numbers we can get into our destinations (particularly Paimpol)

The number of entries from a single design class may be limited to a maximum of 10 or less so that we can achieve a balanced fleet within our overall limit.

Priority may be given to those boats which are of particular interest  (for instance; launch date, design and special achievement).

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.

Any grp boat with a hull laid up in a female mould was clearly intended for industrial scale production irrespective of the final numbers built. All such grp boats will therefore race in class 3 irrespective of design date, hull form or numbers built.

If you have any doubts about the eligibility of your boat please contact us with details of your boat by clicking here.

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.

The JCH Rules are:

C. : Materials of type 1: Sails made of woven material like cotton or other natural fibers (flax, hemp) will receive a bonus

C. : Type 2 materials: Standard panels for the construction of the sail body, battens and reinforcements, woven materials made of polyester fiber (PET, PEN, VECTRAN), high-density polyethylenes (dyneema) , and / or laminated polyester fiber (PET, PEN), with double-sided polyester taffeta.

C. : Type 3 materials: The sails in laminated polyester fiber material between 2 films in mylar (film / film), the Aramide, carbon, technora, twaron, vectran and other “exotic” fibers of construction in sewn panels, as well as that the “membrane” type sails inserting a complex of oriented fibers (3DL, 3Di, D4, DIAX LP, DIAXM, TAPE DRIVE, TRILAM, FUSION and the like), with or without taffeta are authorized but will be penalized.

All competitors should check what their sail material actually is at the time of applying for a JCH rating or entering a Regatta. The  full JCH rules can be found at Sail materials are covered in Clause C.10.7

If they are in any doubt they should send contact Peter giving the details of the sails they intend to use and this may be checked with the JCH technical committee if the sail material is not listed on the JCH website.  They may then need to amend their handicap accordingly. If any competitor fails to declare that they are using laminate sails it will be assumed they are type 3, their handicap adjusted accordingly and the boat will be put into Class 4.

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’

Next step: Handicaps