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British Eight Metre Association

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British Eight Metre Association Home Page

Class Flag – Naval Numeral 8

“The owner can sail his Eight Metre round the coast from regatta to regatta for coastal cruising would give owners the two most sought things in life; health and happiness, for without doubt sailing at sea brings peace to the mind, and the clean salt-laden air health to the body; which are both needed by all in this mechanical age of irritating noise and poisonous fumes. The Eight Metres are very popular, for in the cabin and owner can live, or simply change his wet clothes after a hard race and eat his lunch in comfort according to his ideas of pleasure. Added to this there is the protection the cabin gives in bad weather, for then it seems to make what otherwise be a boat, a ship.”

UFFA FOX, 1934

“Eights”, as 8-Metre Class boats are commonly known, are part of an international family of elegant racing keelboats built in conformity with the International Rule, also known as the Metre Rule, which was adopted within Europe in 1907. The most popular classes are the Twelves (adopted for the America’s Cup series from 1958 to 1987), Eights and Sixes. The Daring Class boats, based in Cowes, are a strict one-design version of 5.5-Metre boats and the tiny one-man, one-design Illusion Class boats, raced mainly at Bembridge, Isle of Wight, are based on a 2.4-Metre scaled-down version of the 12-Metre Lionheart.

Confusingly, the description “Eight Metre” does not mean the boat is 8 metres long: in fact, Eights generally have an overall length in the range 14.5m to 15.5m. However the original Rule did envisage a waterline length broadly equivalent to the rating: so an original 8-Metre would have had a waterline length of close to 8 metres, and so on. But the Rule was created to allow considerable scope for experimentation, and over subsequent years waterline lengths have increased.

Racing Eights

Class racing

Metre boats are designed for Class racing and cruising in relatively sheltered coastal waters. Boats with the same rating, such as Eights, Sixes or Twelves, race as Classes on equal terms without any need for handicapping within their own Class.

Handicap racing

Additionally, a Metre boat may also race against other classes of boats using a “handicap” rating such as an IRC Rating administered by the Royal Ocean Racing Club based in London ( designed predominantly for offshore racing, or a CIM Rating administered by the Comité International de la Méditerranée based in Monaco ( designed for classic yachts racing in the Mediterranean. Each boat has its own rating, based on various measurements and characteristics, which is used to calculate a “corrected” time a boat takes to complete a race. The position of each boat in the race is based its corrected time.

The IRC formula, which is not published, produces a rating in the form of a time correction coefficient (TCC). Metre boats are rated as dayboats for IRC rating rules because of the absence of lifelines.

The CIM Rating is based on a published formula and results in a time allowance per nautical mile (APM) of the race course.

The Eights are especially appealing in that they are sufficiently large to be comfortable for cruising as well as racing, but not so large as to demand a very large crew. Although there are currently nine active British Eights they are geographically dispersed, limiting Class racing mainly to World and Regional championship regattas.

Under the Eight Metre Rules, the maximum number of crew is six for a Modern and seven for pre-1960 boats (“Classics”). The IRC rules also limits the number of crew, but to a much higher number, unless the sailing instructions provide otherwise.

BEMA officers

The BEMA was re-formed following renewed interest in the Class after the 2007 Metre Centenary Regatta celebrating 100 years since the adoption of the Metre Rule. At a meeting of owners and interested parties in 2008, the following Class appointments were made:

Class CaptainPeter Wilson
Tel01728 452019
AddressFort Green, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, IP15 5DE.
Hon. SecretaryDavid Glasgow
Tel01725 518700
Technical CommitteeIan Howlett (Chairman)
Tel01865 724958
SCRA RepresentativeAndy Cassell
Tel01983 294051