Martini Protocol:
In February 2012 representatives from the Dutch and Italian Associations met in Groningen to discuss future developments and to agree the route towards further internationalism.
These discussions are summarised in the Martini protocol.

INTERNATIONAL 12 FOOT DINGHY CLASS ASSOCIATION
M A R T I N I   P R O T O C O L

Why the Martini protocol?
There are currently Dinghy Class Associations in Holland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Slovenia and Turkey. We expect more associations to be founded in the coming years. For historic reasons our Dinghies conform to one of two different standards: the Italian rule-set or the Dutch rule-set. This situation is confusing for potential Dinghy owners, difficult for the national associations and hinders our aim of regaining international status.

On 17th February 2012, five passionate Dinghy lovers from Italy and the Netherlands came together in Groningen to discuss the future development of the Dinghy Class: Francesca Lodigiani, Giorgio Pizzarello, Renzo Santini, Henk van der Zande and Pieter Bleeker.
The resulting Martini protocol re-states the principals of the 2006 Jolanda protocol and represents another milestone along the route toward internationalisation.

Statement of problem:
The Dinghy Class lost its international status in 1962, and since then there has been a divergence in the class rules used in different countries. To a certain extent our boats have evolved to suit the conditions in which they are sailed: in the Netherlands dinghies are sailed in winds of Beaufort force 6 or 7, whereas in Italy wind speeds are usually lower. The Dutch sailors tend to be more conservative and appreciate the simplicity of the 1913 design, whereas the Italian owners have a more progressive approach.
Most countries have both plastic and wooden dinghies. The exception is the Netherlands, where only wooden dinghies are allowed. In regattas where plastic and wooden dinghies compete together there are differences in speed, especially in extreme wind conditions. There is also a small difference in speed between Italian and Dutch wooden dinghies.

International 12 foot dinghy class organization:
The International 12 Foot Dinghy Class Association was founded in 2007 on the initiative of three friends, Renzo Santini, Steve Crook and Pieter Bleeker, with the authorisation of delegates at the Jolanda protocol meeting. Since then much progress has been made, but in order to make further advances we now need a more formal organisation officially recognised by, and elected by, all present and future national class organisations. The International Committee proposes to elect a Technical Committee which will research, advise and oversee the introduction of harmonised rules.
Our website www.12footdinghy.org is now well-known in many countries. Steve Crook is the webmaster; the costs of the website are paid by the Dutch and Italian class organizations.

Dinghy standards:
The variation in speed between the different kinds of dinghy is not good for the health of the class and our international aims. The most fundamental differences to be resolved are the weight of the dinghy and the differences in rigging: in Italy and the Netherlands the sail and the method of adjusting it is different. The International Technical Committee will make rules that will initially be used for the Dinghy World Cup and other international events.
National class organisations may adopt these rules should they wish to do so. The goal is to make the differences in speed as small as possible so we can race together in international regattas.

Dinghy values:
Boat principles
  • Vintage look: we like the dinghy as it was in 1913, and it is this that sets our boats apart from others. It is the starting point for standardisation decisions.
  • Inexpensive: in 1913 the introduction of the Dinghy brought sailing to the ordinary man. Until that time only rich people could afford a boat. We want to keep the price of the dinghy as low as possible, avoiding the use of expensive materials to get a bit more speed.
  • No big differences in speed: it should be the helmsman that wins the regatta, not the quality of his boat. The boat speed of all dinghies must be similar, otherwise racing becomes meaningless. Ideally, plastic and wooden dinghies should have the same speed. Until this has been achieved it is better that they race separately.
The Dinghy community
  • With a dinghy you make friends: the dinghy community consists of friends. Buy a dinghy and join the club.
  • For young and old people: whether you are eight or eighty, the Dinghy is the boat for you!
  • For 1 or 2 persons: it is up to you! If you weigh 120kg it is probably better to sail a dinghy on your own. If you weigh 50kg then invite a friend to sail with you!
  • A Dinghy is easy to handle - you don't need a crew if you don't want one. With a car and a trailer you can do everything on your own.
  • Each country should have its own regatta schedule. The international regatta schedule will be coordinated by the International Committee.


Pieter Bleeker