Mal Smith wrote:
I think originally the idea of a weight limit was used to ensure the structural integrity of the boats by removing the possibility of gaining a competitive advantage by cutting corners on the hull structure. Over time it has become more a means of equalising the boats
I dunno, from a practical point of view, isn't a target the most important thing a weight limit gives you?
When you're building your boat you should be weighing bits as you go along, and aiming for that target. If you don't have a target then its rather easy to slip quite a long way. When I put a new interior into the shell of 257 I knew I couldn't get anywhere near a 50kg limit because the base shell was around 10kg or so too heavy, having been specified for an 83kg boat. This meant that I didn't really have a target because I had no doubts I could easily get lighter than the old 83kg limit, so I was aiming for "keep it light but be sure nothing breaks", and also made a few cost and time saving compromises. The result was that I probably added another 7 or 8kg more than I really needed to, even at my limited competence level because of a lack of focus at various stages of the build. So in my experience not having a target meant I ended up heavier than necessary.
We have a limit that's challenging but doable. The more minimalist you make your boat the easier it is to achieve it, to the extent that we know that a really minimalist and well built boat can get a fair way under it without resorting to real exotica, and we also know that most people get within close enough range of the limit that they don't feel the need to minimalise the boat by stripping off gear, or putting on ultra narrow planks and similar extreme measures. That seems good enough to me. There's no perfection in boat design or rule making - all one can do is achieve a reasonable compromise.