Lystsejlads i Danmark - Eng
Lystsejlads i danmark
A great amount of experimentation
Traditions were thrown overboard; boats and gear were subject to trial as never seen before. Subsequently, a long pause of 50 years interrupted the wild experimentation, until in  when the Americans again got developments on the go with ‘America’.
Nathaniel Herreshoff, Rhode Island, thought of cutting away excess deadwood under the waterline, thereby giving less water resistance. He drew long lines with large overhangs, which gave a longer and therefore faster waterline when heeled over.
‘Gloriana’, the first of that boat type was born; a 46ft cutter. The boat beat all competitors and the idea quickly formed the basis for the entire school of yacht design for the next 80 years. Also in Denmark the ingenious new design was plagiarized. Newer and more complicated restrictions were introduced to create better race equality and more seaworthy and spacious boats.
After numerous more or less failed rules, the ‘Copenhagen rule’ was formed in 1898, partly or entirely by Alfred Benzon. The measurement rule was called ‘sail length’ (SL) and from this category many good boats were created, although it was quickly pushed to the extremes. The basic grounding of the rule was correct in that larger sail areas and a longer waterline was penalized.
The international Meter R Boats
This meter rule came about after a meeting in London in 1906, because it seemed an obvious development to get all the sailing nations to sail under the same criteria. In this way all boats could sail against one another despite the national boundaries. At the same time, it was hoped to bring more local rules to life as they didn’t seem to give particularly seaworthy of spacious vessels.
Many designers immediately began to draw along these lines, following the complicated formula that contained many of the boat’s dimensions, which after calculations should arrive at the number 6, for the six meter rule. The other classes were 5,7,8,9,10,12,15,19 and 23 meter R (R representing Rating).
Evidently, the numbers have nothing to do with the boat lengths. In Denmark it was more than any others the 6,7 and 8 meters that found a firm footing.
As usual, the system came to be used for purposes other than those intended. After WW1 the rule was changed for the improved in 1919, and there was actually a sensible Meter boat created to the pleasure of international racing.
As the north was not implicated in the war and the political leaders driving the war didn’t exactly have yacht racing on the mind, we [the Danes] changed the old rule of 1906 ourselves for that which we called the ‘S Rule’ in 1918. The aforementioned R rule of 1919 came to resemble the S rule so much that the Nordic initiative was dropped just as fast as it came about.
 Aare, Bent, Lystsejlads i danmark, sejlsportens kulturhistorie 1855-1966, forlaget cervus 19.., pp 25-27
(Pleasure Yachting in Denmark, cultural history of sail sport 1855-1966)
Translation by G H Gilbert