The H Class Association Rules

Accepted April 12, 2008 and November 19, 2011

The spirit of the H Class Association, based on Nathanael Herreshoff’s 1914 design, and launched in a fiberglass version by Doughdish, Inc. in 1973, was to produce a boat equally suitable for learning to sail, day sailing, and competitive racing by people of all ages and abilities. These rules seek to maintain the spirit of the original design while allowing the incorporation of new materials and construction methods. All boats must be eligible under the provisions of Article I of the H Class Association.

The purpose of these rules is to maintain the one-design integrity of the H Class that results in lasting value and fair racing, while allowing minor changes in structure, gear, and equipment as new materials and construction methods become available. Over the 35 years the H Class Association has existed, new gear, new sail cuts, and much improved cordage have come into use. Substituting modern gear for the traditional gear, if it allows for increased efficiency and enjoyment of sailing, is permissible. The list of approved rigging and equipment at the end of these Rules, which is not meant to be all-inclusive, is designed to give owners guidance as to what is permissible.

Boats not in compliance with these amended 2011 rules are subject to disqualification from racing in H Class events. Owners wishing to incorporate gear or changes not allowed under the present rules are advised to present their proposals to the Executive Committee for approval prior to January for the remainder of the racing year.


No flotation is required. However, adequate flotation is strongly recommended. A minimum of 15 cu.ft. of Styrofoam® or equivalent closed multicellular foam between 1.0 and 4.0 lbs. per cu. ft. density should be placed in the forepeak of the boat so that it will not come adrift in the event of a swamping.

Safety Equipment and Gear

One approved life preserver for each person on the boat must be carried in an accessible location. Also required are: one hand-operated pump, one bucket or bailer, one oar with oarlock, one yachtsman anchor of 12 lbs. minimum weight or a Danforth® anchor not less than 4 lbs., with a suitable anchor rope of approximately 60′ length attached thereto.

It is permitted to use aids to navigation such as charts, compasses, and timepieces. No other aids are permitted while racing, including GPS devices. Race Committee may use VHF radios to communicate with the racers.

Hull and Rudder Alterations

Not permitted: Any form of fairing between the keel, deadwood, and rudder, except for a rudder-keel gap protector at the bottom of the rudder designed to prevent lines from getting caught in the gap. Also not permitted is any change in the size, shape, cross section, or construction of either fiberglass or wooden rudders.

Spars and Tiller

Spars shall be made of wood and be of round, oval, or rectangular section. Hollow spars, booms, and gaffs of abnormal design, i.e., plank on edge, grooved Park Avenue, or mechanically stressed or bowed spars are not allowed. Spars should conform to the specifications herein stated. When spars exceed the standard lengths, sails shall not in any case exceed the measured limitations in these rules.

Gaff and boom measurements are made with boom attached to mast at proper height and resting in boom crutch with gaff resting on top of boom, and are taken from the aft side of mast to outboard end of spar.

Standard lengths:

Boom 12′ 0″
Gaff 9′ 0″
Jib Club 4′ 8″
Spinnaker Pole 6′ 8″ tip to tip including fittings
Mast 16′ 3″ top of tenon to top of mast

Note: The boom gooseneck shall be located 3′ 3-1/4″ from the top of the tenon and shall not be movable.

Tiller Maximum length of the tiller shall be 48″ from the inside of the transom to the inboard end of the tiller measured along top of tiller. No permanent or temporary extensions are allowed.

Sails and Rigging

The luff of the mainsail shall be attached at the throat only to the gaff and to the mast using five mast hoops or five slides on an external luff track and to the boom at the gooseneck. Any device other than halyards to control the tension of the luff is prohibited.

External type track and slides with outhaul fittings may be carried on the gaff, boom, and jib club. The head and foot of the mainsail and the foot of the jib shall be attached to the gaff, boom, and jib club respectively by slides, lace line, or other means at locations no more than 18″ apart with approximately equal spacing. Sliding throat fittings at the mast may be used. The mainsheet may not exceed three parts (mechanical advantage of three) and must be wholly rigged from the inboard side of the transom and/or standard traveler fixed thereon to a point or points no further forward on the boom than approximately directly above the transom. The jib sheet shall consist of one part which shall also serve as a traveler. The peak halyard shall not exceed three parts (mechanical advantage of three) and shall not be attached to any fitting projecting above the top of the standard mast. The throat halyard shall not exceed three parts, fastened at its upper end to a becket on a single block, which shall be located between the top of the mast and jaws of the gaff. The halyard shall pass down through a single block on a swinging tongue at the jaws of the gaff, and then return through the same single block with becket on the mast and down to a cleat on the foward bulkhead.

Any form of winches, cleats, cam-cleats, leads, and their locations are allowed for sail control. Running rigging may be of any fiber so long as the diameter is 3/16″ (5 mm) or greater. Tracks and cars for the spinnaker pole are not permitted; however such existing gear may be retained or replaced. Owners with such gear may comply with these Rules while racing by raising the inboard end of the spinnaker pole to a black band painted on the mast three inches above the gooseneck of the main boom, or in the absence of a black band, no higher than the gooseneck itself.

Sails shall consist of mainsail, jib, and spinnaker (single luff, parachute, and radial permitted). No sail shall be pulled out beyond the standard spar length, nor shall the luff of the mainsail be extended to exceed 9′ 2″ from top of the boom at the tack to the center of the throat cringle or ring.

Sails shall not exceed the following limits. Measurements shall be taken from points of intersection of lines representing the extension of the edges at each corner, i.e., from apex to apex. Mainsails and jibs shall be measured with each dimension under approximately 12 lbs. tension, except the diagonal in the mainsail, which shall be taken with the sail laid flat and only sufficient tension taken to remove wrinkles across the line of measurement.


luff 9′ 0″
foot 11′ 9″
head 8′ 10″
leech 17′ 6″
diagonal throat to clew 13′ 6″
A row of reef points may be carried in the mainsail, not less than 22 inches above the foot of the sail.


luff 12′ 4″
leech 10′ 7″
foot 4′ 7″


Luffs and leeches stretched under five lbs. tension only. Foot stretched only a sufficient amount to remove wrinkles across the line of measurement from tack (clew) to clew.
Parachute type: luffs 14′ 6″
foot 9′ 6″
Single luff type: luff 14′ 6″
leech 14′ 6″
foot 9′ 6″

All sails shall be made of woven fabric. Mainsails and jibs shall be made of Dacron® or similar woven polyester material of minimum weight of four ounces per sailmakers’ yard (28.5″ x 36″), and the material shall not be coated, such as yarn tempered material.

No battens are permitted in any sails.

Spinnakers shall be made of woven material, coated or not coated, with a minimum weight of 0.5 ounces per yard.

Strengthening reinforcements of sails to promote the integrity of the sail shall be of woven material only and shall not extend beyond 24″ from the reefing or outside corners, and shall not be arranged or stitched in a manner solely for the purpose of stiffening.

Not permitted: laminated sail material, film, two or more plys, Mylars®, Kevlar®, or other similar variations of material.

Note: Any person attempting to create a sail of any type or material which brings the intent of the foregoing Class Rules into question shall first submit a proposal to the H Class Executive Committee requesting an interpretation and approval before its creation or use by a member of the Class.

Diamond-cut, cross-cut, and radial-cut sails are permitted.


The insignia for the class shall be an H, no less than eight inches high, which may be sewn onto the mainsail at the option of the owner.

Ballast and Weight Limit

No additional fixed or movable ballast is permitted. The total weight of the crew shall not exceed 500 pounds, and a crew shall be not less than two persons.

Any use of a trapeze or other devices for hiking out is not permitted.

No crew member shall, for ballasting purposes, position themselves to place body weight on top of, or outboard of, the cockpit coaming, except in order to perform temporary, emergency duties of a sail- or boat-handling nature, such as retrieval of lines or gear which have come adrift.

Permitted Rigging and Equipment

Quissett blocks for jib and spinnaker sheets2

Dual spinnaker halyard cleats

Spinnaker halyard with one shackle (not shackled at both ends)

Dual Spinnaker halyards

Spinnaker pole material other than wood (an exception to the above rule regarding wooden spars and booms)

Spinnaker pole topping lift

Attachment of hardware at center of spinnaker pole for topping lift and foreguy

Twings for adjusting spinnaker sheet and guy

Second set of oarlocks for Quissett blocks to control both spinnaker and jib sheets3

Double-ended jib sheets, cleated both port and starboard

Jib Sheets led through holes in the coaming

Adjustable clew outhaul for mainsail

Non-standard clew outhaul at end of the boom

Non-standard outhaul at the peak of the gaff

Mast wrapped in protective fiberglass in the way of way of hoisted gaff

Wind direction vane at the top of the mast

Installation of bilge pump other than hand-held (but not to be used while racing)

2 A Quissett block is a swiveling cam-cleat mounted on a plate which is temporarily mounted in the oarlocks on the port and starboard coaming.

3 Allowed but not recommended.

Beverly Yacht Club


edgartown yacht club



Sign Up for Our Newsletter:

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software