RYA revokes Squib Class builder's licence

Tue Nov 12 2013, 15:52 PM
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The Royal Yachting Association in the UK has withdrawn the licence issued to BP Sailboats for the production of the national Squib Class keelboat

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) in the UK has withdrawn the licence issued to BP Sailboats in Essex that allowed it to build the national Squib Class keelboat. A recent series of events have led to the withdrawal, including the modification of the boat’s keel pattern without prior approval.

“The purpose of the RYA’s involvement within classes such as the Squib is to protect its design integrity and to ensure that any developments within the class are controlled and considered before being voted on,” says Bas Edmonds, RYA technical and racing services manager. “However, it came to light that BP Sailboats had modified the keel pattern without approval and when the RYA came to arrange an inspection we were informed that the company were no longer trading in the UK. We had no alternative but to initiate a one-month cancellation clause within our licence with BP Sailboats which will prohibit BP Sailboats from building Squibs."

The Squib moulds, which the RYA and the National Squib Owners Association (NOSA) believe belong to the Squib Class, have been moved to an undisclosed location. This leaves the Squib Class with no licenced builder and no knowledge of the whereabouts of its moulds.

NSOA chairman Steve Warren-Smith says: “This has come as a surprise to the NSOA. I visited BP Sailboats in September to discuss how the NSOA and builder could work together to help stimulate new growth in the class. Bruce Parker has built well over 100 Squibs, all to the highest quality, including our present national champion. Nothing was mentioned at that time, and to find out that the business has closed was unexpected and that our moulds have disappeared is rather puzzling as they are of little value without the RYA licence to build Squibs. Nevertheless, we as a class are using the present situation as an opportunity to modernise the Squib brand and I look forward to working closely with our new builder to achieve that outcome.”

Bas concludes: “In these kind of disputes it is important to appreciate that both parties may have differing viewpoints and we would be open to facilitating a meeting between the BP Sailboats and the NSOA to make sure that we can get the class back on its feet as soon as possible. The Squib Class has a strong following with numerous fleets around the UK and it would be a huge injustice to see the class disrupted in this manner.”

The RYA says it would very much support a successful resolution to this matter which would see the moulds being returned to the class and them being able to carry on producing boats.