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.
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. Additionally, a Metre boat may also have an IRC Rating based on a different formula administered by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The formula, which is not published, produces an IRC rating in the form of a time correction coefficient (TCC) which allows any boat to race on handicap against any other boat which has a TCC. The TCC is applied to the time each boat takes to complete a race in rather the same way as a golf handicap. Metre boats are rated as dayboats for IRC rating rules because of the absence of lifelines.
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 (click Eights in Britain
for details) 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.
8-Metre World Championship 2012
The International Eight Metre Association has accepted the offer from the Royal Yacht Squadron to host the International Eight Metre World Championships at Cowes, from 16 – 21 July 2012. Details at mR Worlds
The BEMA was re-formed following renewed interest in the Class after the 2007 Centenary of the adoption of the Metre Rule. At a meeting of owners and interested parties in 2008, the following Class appointments were made: