(AGM 16.11.2016)


1          The Name of the Association is “The Falmouth Working Boat Association”, hereinafter referred to as “The Association”.

2          The Aim of the Association is to preserve and encourage the unique tradition of Falmouth Working Boat racing.

3          The Traditional Characteristics of the Falmouth Working Boat are;

a) West Country hull shape, with straight vertical stem, transom stern and long straight keel.

b) Constructed in a traditional manner of wooden longitudinal carvel planks.

c) Ballast; Internal iron or cement, External iron keel band and/or light iron ballast keel.

d) Three-quarter decked open boat, with foredeck and bulkhead forward of the mast, side decks and small stern deck.

e) Solid wooden mast and spars. The mast is hog stepped within the cockpit. The bowsprit is mounted on the foredeck, protruding to port or starboard of the stem head, but not in the mid line.

f) Gaff cutter rig.

g) Mainsail laced to gaff and boom.

h) Topsail set on a topsail yard with or without a jackyard.

i) Externally fastened chainplates.

j) Galvanised iron horse.

k) Single forestay from stemhead or bumkin to hounds.

Two shrouds per side from hounds to chainplates.

l) Jib tack attached to a traveller for hauling out along bowsprit.

m) Wood or metal blocks.

Only variations of the above are allowed that are approved by the Committee as being in keeping with the aim of the Association.

Such variations are listed in the measurement section.

4          Membership:

a) All those who sail on a currently paid up boat are eligible for membership of the Association.

Members may attend Association meetings:-

may vote at such meetings; one vote per boat.

may stand for election to the committee or sub-committees.

b) Individuals who do not, or no longer sail on a paid-up boat and are interested in being part of the Working Boat community are eligible for Associate Membership of the Association on payment of an annual fee of £10. Associate Members do not have voting rights and may not stand for election to the committee or sub-committees.

c) Honorary Membership may be given to individuals who do not sail on a working boat but who give or have given valuable service to the F.W.B.A. They may be elected to be officers and/or committee members.

5          Subscriptions must be paid between the AGM and March 1st.

Members failing to pay by March 1st will be considered to have withdrawn their

boat from the Association and they and all their crew will cease to be members.

Subscription rates are:           £30 annually

If action is taken against an owner or a boat under rule 23, the crew shall forfeit their membership of the Association and the sail number of the boat could be withdrawn and reallocated.

6          A boat-owner wishing to join the Association shall apply in writing to the Secretary and shall be proposed and seconded by different current members.

The boat shall be scrutinized by the measurer and then the application shall be considered at the next committee meeting.

7          The Committee shall consist of a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer, sailing secretary, measurer and three members.

All shall be members of the Association elected at each annual general meeting, holding office until the succeeding A.G.M. when all shall retire and may seek re-election.

8          The committee shall manage the affairs of the Association in accordance with the rules of the Association.

It shall define the duties of the several officers who shall, in all respects, be subject to the control and answerable to the committee.

Elected officers and committee members, except the chairman, shall have one vote at committee meetings and in the case of equality of votes, the chairman shall have a casting vote.

The quorum of committee members shall be four and a chairman.

9          In the case of a mid-year vacancy in the officers or committee, the committee may appoint one of themselves or some other member of the Association to fill the vacancy until the next A.G.M.

10        An Annual General Meeting shall be held in the month of November each year, on a date determined by the committee. The business at such meetings shall be the election of officers, committee and auditors and the passing of accounts (for the financial year up to January 1st) and any other business of which proper notice shall have been given to the secretary.

11        Twenty-one days notice shall be given to the secretary, in writing, by any member desirous of moving a resolution at the Annual General Meeting aimed

at changing these rules.

12        A Special General Meeting may be convened by the committee at any time and shall be convened within one month of the written request of any twelve members.

13        A notice of any General Meeting shall be sent by e-mail to the e-mail contact address for each boat by the Secretary at least fourteen days before such a meeting, stating it’s time, place and agenda. In cases where no e-mail address is available, the Secretary shall use the contact postal address to provide this information by letter.

It is the responsibility of the boat owner(s) to keep the secretary informed of current contact details for his/her/their boat.

14        At all General Meetings, the chair shall be taken by the senior officer of the Association present or, if no officers are present, by a member chosen by the meeting.

Every matter (unless expressly provided for by these Rules) shall be decided by a majority vote of members on a ‘one vote per boat’ basis. In the case of a drawn vote, the chairman shall have a casting vote.

Members absent from the meeting may vote in writing to the Honorary Secretary.

The quorum at a General Meeting shall be twelve members.

15        At any meeting, a declaration by the chairman that a resolution has been carried, shall be conclusive.

16        The Association’s accounts shall be made up to the 31 December each year. The Committee shall cause to be prepared, audited and printed each year, a statement of receipts and expenditure and a balance sheet made up to the 31st December which shall be submitted to the Association at the then next Annual General Meeting and a copy of the same shall be sent to every member, together with the notice convening such a meeting.

17        Construction and gear trends in the class shall be reviewed each year at the Annual General Meeting in accordance with the stated aim of the Association.

18        The committee shall be empowered to decide whether or not a new boat or a new modification of an old boat is compatible with the aim of the Association.

If they decide that such a vessel is in breach of the Association’s aims, that boat will not be permitted to race in the class and with Association boats until she is modified to the satisfaction of the committee or until she is voted by a two-thirds majority of a General Meeting to be “in class”.

19        The committee may, by unanimous vote, give a boat, with specific modifications that contravene these rules, ‘dispensation’ to race. Such dispensation must be reviewed at the next General Meeting and supported by a two-thirds majority vote.

  • A Measurer will be appointed by the committee. He will be empowered to check any boat at any time providing that the owner has prior notice.
  • He shall be responsible for checking hulls, spars, sails, ballast, etc., for compliance with the Association’s Measurement Rules, reporting back to the committee.

He must advise the owner of the boat in question of his findings.

He cannot himself rule a boat “out of class”. That would be the decision of the committee.

21        The Large and the Small classes shall separately decide matters appertaining to their respective classes but proposals concerning measurement or changes to these Rules shall be subjected to the A.G.M. in accordance with Rule 10 for approval of the Association.

Such approval shall not unreasonably be withheld unless it is felt that the proposed changes will affect the class as a whole or be against the aims, traditions or interests of the class.

22        The committee is empowered to co-opt up to four full members to serve on the committee if necessary in any one year.

23        If, in the opinion of the committee, a member be guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Association’s welfare, the committee may invite him to resign from the Association but shall first give him an opportunity to explain his conduct after which a resolution for his expulsion may be put to the vote by ballot of the committee.

To be accepted, such a resolution must be passed by a two-thirds majority. If deemed necessary the committee may, by a majority vote, suspend an individual from association activities while investigation of the above allegations take place.

24        The committee shall be the sole authority for the interpretation of these rules and the decision of the committee upon any question of interpretation or upon any matter affecting the Association of class and not provided for by these rules shall be final and binding on the members.

25        These rules may be added to, repealed or amended by resolution of any annual or Special General Meeting, provided that no such resolution shall be deemed to have been passed unless it is carried out by a majority of at least two-thirds of the members voting thereon.

26        The Committee shall draw up a ‘Risk Assessment’, listing all the risks of Working Boat racing with suggested means of minimizing these.

It shall be reviewed each year by the Committee and changes shall be presented at the AGM.


  1. The following variations from The traditional  characteristics of the Falmouth Working Boat are permitted;

a) GRP or Ferro Cement construction of hull.

b) External iron ballast keel of up to two tons in weight.

c) Encapsulated steel punchings as a ballast keel.

An encapsulated ballast keel shall contain two tons of steel punchings in a Large class boat and one ton of punchings in a Small class boat.

The punchings shall be positioned in the keel to correspond as closely as possible in length, height and position to that of an externally fastened ballast keel. (for boats built after 12.2.96).

It is the responsibility of the builder to ensure that this rule is strictly adhered to.

d) Lead may be added to the sides of the keels of wooden boats built before 1970 in such a way that it will not strain or damage the structure of the boat, to give a total of external iron and lead ballast on such boats not exceeding two tons.

e) Internal loose ballast may be concrete, iron or lead, but in a non wooden boat it shall not be stowed below the average internal depth of a traditionally built Working Boat of that size.

f) Wooden spars may be hollow.

g) Gaffs, topsail poles, booming out poles and jackyards may be of aluminium.

h) Chainplates may be fastened on the inside of the hull but must be bolted through the skin.

Specialised chainplates or attachments to the chainplates, having the effect of moving the lower end of a shroud inboard, are not allowed.

i) A track may be used instead of a mainsheet horse. Horse traveller tackles are permitted.

j) Up to four single or double action winches which may only be mounted on the decks.

k) An outer forestay from bowsprit end to masthead.

One cap shroud per side. A cross tree may be used.

Running backstays, from hounds and/or masthead.

Forestay and Staysail tackdown point may be on the bowsprit.

Large working boats shall have two and Small boats, one or more lower shrouds per side.

Standing Rigging shall be of galvanised or stainless steel multi strand laid wire.

l) Fittings and blocks may be of any material.

m) A main clew outhaul tackle may be used to adjust the sail shape when racing.

If the clew is lashed, a tackle may be taken to a leech cringle.

n) Mainsail slab or boom roller reefing may be used.

o) Battens may be fitted to the mainsail, a maximum of four in number.

p) Jib tacks may not be attached to the bowsprit end. They may be attached to a traveller and must be capable of being pulled in to the inner forestay from the deck.

q) Electronic equipment except for simple stop watches may not be used in Falmouth Working Boat races. In particular this includes echo sounders, speedometers, GPS equipment, electronic tactical compasses and tactical computers. Mobile phones and VHF radios may be carried for safety reasons but should not be used when racing except to listen to the committee boat.

r) In order to qualify for Wooden Boat races, boats shall be constructed in a traditional manner of a single layer of wooden longitudinal carvel planking with caulked or butt seams and transverse framing.

Seams may not be glued. Sheathing of any type is not allowed.

After 26.11.09 new booms shall be of constant cross section for at least 9/10ths of their length and the maximum cross sectional dimension shall be six inches.

t) After 23.11.2011 new jibs may not be hanked or attached in any way to a forestay.

2. Measurements

Both Classes

The hull draft shall be no more than 5.5/29ths of the overall hull length. (for boats measured after 3.3.93).


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The Large Class

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The Small Class

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3Boat modifications and new boats

a) Before carrying out modifications to an existing boat that will affect its performance, an owner must consult the committee, giving full details of the proposed modification and must obtain the committee’s agreement that the changes correspond to the letter and spirit of the class rules.

b) Before starting construction of a new boat and during its construction, the committee must be consulted to ensure that the boat corresponds to the letter and spirit of the class rules.

4. Sails

a) Before use in racing a sail must be measured according to the ISAF equipment rules of sailing (from 23.11.2011). It must be marked on the tack by the Association’s Measurer with his signature, the date of measurement, and (new sails from 20.11.07) in numbers at least four inches high, the area of the sail.

b) No sail may be replaced in under five years of its measurement date, except under special circumstances and with the consent of the committee.

c) For racing purposes, boats may have and use only one of each of the following sails under five years old:-

one mainsail, one topsail, one large jib, one small jib, one large staysail, one small staysail and one spitfire jib.

d) Repairs and recutting under the supervision of the committee may be allowed. A repair involving replacement of more than half a sail’s area shall be deemed to be a new sail for the purpose of this rule.

e) Spinnakers may be used in the Small class. The Large class may only use spinnakers on passage races and at Fowey.

f) Old sails may be used for racing provided that they do not exceed the areas currently allowed for individual sails and for total sail area carried.

g) Sails shall be made of polyester material. The colour of all sails shall be white except that topsails may be of any colour and pattern.

Camber lines and transparent sail windows are not allowed.

5. Dispensations

Under Constitution Rule 17 dispensation has been given to the following:

a) All boats racing in the class up to and including the 1978 season have dispensation to continue to race as they did at that time. Any modifications to the boats or rig since then are subject to Association rules.

b) January 1983. ‘Six Brothers’ was given dispensation for stability purposes to add lead to her keel.

c) January 1984. ‘Victory’ was given dispensation, under Measurement Rule l.d. to add lead to her keel.

d) January 1984. ‘Cousin Jack’ was given dispensation to encapsulate one ton of lead in her keel for stability and hull integrity purposes.

e) January 1984. ‘Mabel’ was given dispensation to have a steel box keel containing three quarters of a ton of lead.

f) January 1990. ‘Winnie’ was given dispensation under Measurement Rule l.d. to add lead to her keel.

g) January 1990. ‘Boy Willie’ was given dispensation to race in the scratch class. (being 30’6” overall).

h) May 1991. ‘Sadie Dalton’, ‘Lena’ and ‘Girl Sarah’ were given dispensation to have steel box keels containing a half ton of lead.

i) January 1991. ‘Boy Willie’ was given dispensation to have a steel box keel containing lead; the total keel weight to be no more than two tons.

j) January 2002. ‘Stella’ was given a dispensation to have a steel box keel containing lead; the total depth of her ballast keel to remain unchanged.

k) March 2003. ‘Holly Ann’ was given dispensation to have a steel box keel containing lead not exceeding a total weight of 2 tons.

l) April 2004. ‘Cousin Jinny’ was accepted into the class, being constructed of glued longitudinal and diagonal planks covered with epoxy glass. She was given dispensation to fit her chain-plates to mini bulkheads and not bolted through the hull, the chain-plates being as far outboard as possible, against the beam shelf.

m) April 2008. ‘Leila’ was given dispensation to have a steel box keel containing 5cwt of lead.

n) April 2010. ‘Muriel’ was given dispensation to have a steel box keel containing 935 kilos of lead in addition to her small iron ballast keel

6. Racing Rules

a) Working Boat Racing takes place under ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing, the RYA Prescriptions, the RYA racing charter, the Association’s Rules, harbour regulations and the sailing instructions of the organizing Clubs and Village Regatta Committees.

b) All boats must have a minimum £2.000.000 Third Party Insurance cover for racing.

c) Incidents and Protests. If an incident occurs that involves damage to a boat or boats or injury to a person, or potentially dangerous seamanship, the skippers concerned are to submit a written Incident Report describing the facts of the incident, together with details of any damage or injury, to the Association Secretary.  If the incident involves damage to a boat or boats or injury to a person, a protest should be lodged with the organizing authority of the race to determine the facts and the racing rules broken as soon as possible. Rapid resolution of insurance claims can best be achieved by agreeing the facts that are sent on to the insurance companies concerned. It is in the interests of the class to keep insurance claims as low as possible.”

d) For the purpose of claiming water at a mark, an overlap must be established on an outside Working Boat when the leading boat comes within three of her overall lengths of a mark.

In Working Boat racing the ISAF ‘Racing Rules of Sailing’ are modified as follows:-


‘Zone’  The area around a mark within a distance of three hull lengths of the boat nearer to it. A boat is in the zone when any part of her hull is in the zone.

For the purposes of this definition, ‘hull length’ shall include the bowsprit.

PLEASE NOTE that other classes are using the unmodified definition of hull length, which applies when working boats are rounding marks with other craft.

e) Penalties for breaking the racing rules.

After rule infringement or hitting a mark, a ‘One Turn’- 360 degree turn penalty including one tack and one gybe may be performed (modifying the Racing Rules of Sailing, rules 44.1  and 44.2).

f) No advertising shall be displayed on hull, spars, sails or equipment. It is however acceptable to have sail makers marks on both sides of each sail at the tack.

g) Only boats owned by paid up members of the Falmouth Working Boats Association may take part in Working Boat races, irrespective of the organizing authority.

h) Safety Equipment

Safety equipment shall be carried corresponding to RYA Category 5 as detailed in RYA publication YR9 with class modifications and is as follows:-

  1. A suitable means for bailing or pumping and a stout bucket of at least 9 litres capacity attached to a lanyard.
  2. At least two red hand flares and two orange smoke flares, suitably waterproofed.
  3. Boats carrying fuel shall carry a fire extinguisher.
  4. One lifejacket per crew member aboard to EN 150 Newton standard ready for immediate use.
  5. A rescue quoit or throw bag with at least 15m of floating line.
  6. At least one lifebuoy or lifesling.
  7. A waterproof first aid pack with instructions.
  8. At least one suitable anchor and sufficient cable to hold in the depth of ater and likely weather conditions in or near the racing area.
  9. A waterproof VHF radio transceiver or mobile telephone.
  10. A marine type steering compass of a minimal card diameter 60mm.

i) Staysails

(1) Staysails are not to be hoisted in the vicinity of the start line before 10 minutes before the start of the race (vessels may use their staysails to transit to the starting area).

(2) Staysails are to be dropped to the foredeck after crossing the finish line as soon as it is safe and practicable to do so. The staysail is to remain down until clear of all vessels approaching the finish line. (Thus indicating to other competitors that the boat has finished, and increasing the arc of visibility for the helm).