The credentials of the IHC scheme were confirmed when the first IHC built sails were presented for measurement at the Beijing Olympic Games. Sails used by competitors in the 470, Finn and Yngling fleets, self certified by North Sails OD in Gosport, were despatched to Qingdao and passed the equipment inspection with no problems.
Rob TAYLOR, ISAF Technical Co-ordinator with responsibility for IHC, is very pleased to see the scheme progressing to the Olympic level. "It's great news to see the first In-House Certification sails used at the Olympic Sailing Competition and is clear proof of how well the system can work."
IHC works by giving builders the ability to self-certify their equipment, once certain standards have been made. The Certification System is subject to the approval of an IHC Authorizing Authority, in most cases an ISAF Member National Authority (MNA), which then reports to ISAF. Using this process, the IHC system can then be pushed forward on a national basis, but always ensuring the same international standards and certification apply.
British Women's 470 crew of Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK were one of those to use self-certified sails at the Games. The Royal Yachting Association's (RYA) Technical Racing Co-ordinator, Bas EDMONDS, has been working on the IHC programme in Great Britain and is delighted with the results. "We are very pleased that the new scheme is already bearing fruit, as it is the culmination of many years of hard work for the RYA's Technical Department, working in conjunction with ISAF," he said.
"The fact that the IHC sails are already being used at the very top level is a ringing endorsement of the new scheme," EDMONDS added.
The scheme has been further bolstered by the fact that Westaway Sails, based in Devon, has been granted an IHC licence which will allow them to certify sails for racing without bringing in an external measurer.
John POLLARD, Managing Director of Westaway Sails, said, "Signing up to the IHC scheme will prove itself to be invaluable to our business and customers.
"We will now be able to sell our customers class legal sails and will maintain and enhance in house quality controls by making the whole system more user friendly.
"All of this will lead to an improved service to our customers."
Westaway Sails follow on from North Sails OD, whose Gosport loft signed up for IHC last month. Other leading manufacturers embracing the IHC programme are Italian sailmakers Ullman Sails G.Z and Zaoli Sails S.r.l.
For more on the In-House Certification programme, including a list of participating classes and equipment, and the IHC Information Pack, visit the IHC microsite at www.sailing.org/ihc.