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The spate of recent keel and hull failures has highlighted the need for yacht designers, boat builders and owners to check their yacht structure and take steps to ensure such structural problems stop, say the ISAF and the RYA.

Careful design, build and maintenance of keels and keel attachments are essential as to lose a keel can be catastrophic with loss of life.

At the 2007 ISAF Annual Conference last November, in response to recent design and build failures, the ISAF Offshore Committee appointed a working party to review the requirements for racing yacht design and build as part of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations.

Under the existing regulations, yachts racing in Category 0, 1 and 2 should be constructed to one of the following three standards:

– the EU Recreational Craft Directive for Design Category A

– the ABS Guide for Offshore Yachts, approval for yachts under 24 metres withdrawn some years ago

– the newly approved International Standard for yacht structure – ISO 12215

The working party has now agreed that, in future, only the International Standard ISO 12215 shall be used for evaluating structure in the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations and is currently considering the implementation of a building plan review scheme to begin mid-2009 at the earliest.