Before most major international one-design class championships, competitors’ boats must pass a measurement check to ensure it complies with the Class Rules. This official measurement procedure is used by World Championship and similar-level regattas to enforce fair racing, where all boats are equal and no one has an equipment advantage.
Race organizers spend a day checking over everyone’s equipment. Hulls, spars, foils, sails, and other equipment are measured to confirm they fall within the standardized measurement ranges before the regatta begins.
If this measurement procedure wasn’t in place, it’s possible, for example, we might see rudders of different shapes and sizes at the Opti World Championship. Some competitors might use different lengths of masts in heavy wind vs. light wind. These one-design measurements make sure every sailor in the class is on an equal playing field with similar equipment. The measurement process might take only 15 minutes per boat at World Championships, but at the Olympics the sailboat classes have a very strict measurement process that can take one hour per boat.
The reason for doing these measurement checks is simple: It keeps racing fair and square, especially when the stakes are high. It’s the best sailor that wins the championship, not the best boat.
Enjoy this video from the 2020 Optimist European Championships in Portorož, Slovenija that shows some of the official measurement procedures for the Opti at this continental championship.