Rules of The Tideway Owners’ Association and the Class Rules Governing the Tideway



    The Association shall be called the “Tideway Owners Association” and the terms “TOA” and “The Association” shall be understood to mean this wherever they appear.

  • 2 OBJECT

    The object of the TOA shall be to promote, organise and develop the Tideway dinghy as a restricted class for sailing, cruising, racing and general interest and to help members to gain the maximum enjoyment from their dinghy.


    a. The management of the affairs and finances of the TOA shall be vested in a General Committee of no less than four members, subject to the control of any Annual or Special General Meeting.

    b. The General Committee shall consist of the Officers of the Association and at least one other member who shall all be elected annually. The Officers shall be the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. Their duties may be combined provided that the General Committee is made up to a least four in number.

    c. The Committee shall have the powers to co-opt members as necessary to undertake any duties or additional functions, and to make any class rules, temporary rules, or standing orders regarding the management of the TOA which it deems necessary.


    a. There shall be the following classes of ordinary membership: FULL MEMBERSHIP – Open to all individuals interested in the Tideway dinghy who will be eighteen years or older at any time during the subscription year. The minimum age limit may be waived at the discretion of the Committee. CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP – Open to any organisation, which owns or uses Tideways.

    b. There shall in addition be HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP, which shall be an honorary non-executive status, awarded by vote of the General Meeting on the recommendation of the Committee, for outstanding service to the TOA. An Honorary Life Member shall pay no subscription and be entitled to all the benefits and rights of full membership.

    c. Prospective members shall apply to the secretary for membership and furnish any particulars required. In the case of prospective corporate members, the organisation applying shall nominate a person of full membership age to be its voting representative in all matters, and shall undertake to inform the secretary of any change of representative.

    d. The Committee shall have the powers to refuse membership to an applicant and to withdraw membership or take any other action necessary where the conduct of a member is, in the opinion of the Committee, detrimental to the interests or spirit of the TOA.

    e. Any member wishing to resign from the TOA shall do so by notifying the secretary on or before the 31st December, otherwise he or she shall become liable for the next year’s subscription.

    f. Upon joining a member undertakes to comply with these rules.


    a. Upon joining, members shall pay their first subscription; this shall entitle them to membership until 31st December, (or 31st December of the following year if joining on or after 1st October), and shall thereafter be due annually on 1st January.

    b. The amount of the annual subscription and other fees shall be determined by the Committee from time to time as appropriate.

    c. Any members who have not paid their subscriptions within a reasonable period shall be requested to pay within one calendar month, and if they fail to do so shall be removed from the list of members; they may be reinstated at the discretion of the Committee upon payment.

    a. An Annual General Meeting shall be held at the earliest practical opportunity each year, or during the annual Championship Meeting. Members having business to bring forward shall send the Secretary written notice of items to be included on the agenda.

    b. The Secretary shall arrange a Special Genera! Meeting on receiving a written request stating the object of the meeting from the Committee or from not less than six other members.

    c. At least fourteen days’ notice of any General Meeting shall be given, accompanied by an agenda.

    d. These rules may be added to or amended at any General Meeting, provided that the proposed change of rule is included on the published agenda. A quorum at General Meetings shall be 10 members of which not more than half are Committee members.

    e. The names of members willing to be nominated for election may be submitted at any time prior to voting.

  • 7 VOTING

    A majority vote shall be required to carry any motion at a General Meeting. In the case of equality of votes the Chairman shall have a second, or casting vote. A member who is unable to attend shall be permitted to vote upon published agenda items by proxy, or by a postal vote received by the Secretary before the meeting.


    a. The Treasurer shall keep a record of the financial affairs of the Association, hold its funds, and make such disbursements, as the Committee requires.

    b. The Committee may grant such expenses as it thinks proper.

    c. The Committee shall arrange for annual accounts to be prepared and independently examined, which accounts shall be presented to the Annual General Meeting.

    d. In the event of the TOA being wound up, the Committee may dispose of any remaining funds and assets to the benefit of the RNLI, RYA or any similar body at its discretion.


The class rules are primarily intended to enable boats to race together on a level footing by ensuring that the hull, the sail plan and the equipment carried by the boats participating are basically similar. Modifications for cruising and day sailing are permitted providing that they do not materially exceed these constraints.


The Tideway (TW) Dinghy is a restricted class 12ft dinghy with a hull of clinker or simulated clinker construction, designed by Mr.L.H. Walker.

a. The Committee of the Tideway Owners Association shall compile and administer the rules of the class and shall be the ruling authority in all matters arising from them.

b. The Committee shall have the rights to request such information and make such conditions regarding the registration of boats or the issuing of log books, as it deems necessary, and to refuse or withdraw a registration or certificate for any reason.

a. The purpose of registering and numbering a boat shall be to provide a definitive means of identifying a specific Tideway dinghy.

b. A Committee member shall maintain and administer an up-to-date and comprehensive register of TW dinghies.

c. A sail number shall be allocated upon registration and shown on the sails and centre thwart as in part “B”.

a. No boat shall race as a TW class dinghy unless the owner holds a valid Log Book for it in his or her own name.

b. The Committee shall issue a Log Book if the dinghy meets all class and Committee requirements, and the owner has paid the appropriate fees and made an owner declaration.

c. Any features of a dinghy or its equipment which do not meet the class requirements but have been declared acceptable for racing purposes by the Committee shall be specified on its log book.

Each owner shall make a signed declaration undertaking to be responsible for-

a. Ensuring that the boat complies with the class requirements and any subsequent changes of rule.

b. Declaring for approval by the Committee any alterations which could outclass the dinghy and

c. Returning the log book for amendment whenever necessary.

A log book shall remain valid provided that the current owner of the boat is a fully paid-up member of the Association, has made an owners declaration, and the boat remains as shown in the log book. In particular, this shall apply where a boat changes hands.

To register a boat or change of details, or to obtain a log book, an owner shall first complete and return the appropriate forms to the TOA with the current fees, which the Committee may set from time to time.

The authority responsible for the organisation of a race shall have the right to scrutinise any boat and see its log book.

The TOA shall take such action, as it deems suitable where the class rules are found to have been contravened.


a. HULLS shall conform to one of the following description

i. Shall be made of wood and of clinker construction, with not more than 13 and not less than 11 planks on either side, and built by L.H. Walker Ltd.

ii. Shall be made of glass reinforced plastic, with no more than 13 and not less than 11 planks on either side. These hulls shall have a minimum glass weight of 4.5oz (dry weight) and be produced from a mould, which has been measured and registered by the Committee. Each registered mould shall carry a distinguishing mark so that it can be easily identified by the Committee. The basic hull, which includes all permanent fixtures and a galvanised steel centreplate of at least 20 lbs. but not items such as spars, rudder, and floorboards, shall have a weight in excess of 260 lbs.

iii.  Shall be made of wood and of clinker construction, with not more than 13 and not less than 11 planks on either side. These hulls shall be made from a set of at least 3 frames, which have been measured and registered by the Committee. The form and shape of the hull shall be such that any dimension taken from it lies within the range of dimensions held by the Committee for the original boats built by L.H. Walker Ltd. A slight variation may be acceptable but this will be at the discretion of the Committee. The basic hull, which includes all permanent fixtures and a galvanised steel centreplate of at least 20 lbs. but not items such as spars, rudder and floor boards, shall have a weight in excess of 260 lbs.

b. The LENGTH OVERALL (excluding stem bands, rudder fittings, tendering or rubbing strakes) shall be not more than 145 inches nor less than 143 inches.

c. The MAXIMUM BEAM, (measured along the centreline of the centre thwart between the outer faces of the sheerline planks, but EXCLUDING rubbing strakes), shall be not more than 60 inches nor less than 56 inches.

d, The BEAM MEASURED ALONG THE TOP OF THE TRANSOM shall be not more than 43 inches nor less than 41 inches.

e. The HEIGHT OF THE TRANSOM measured vertically above the point where it joins the skeg shall be not less than 16 inches.

Buoyancy shall be fitted as follows: –

a. Hulls made of wood shall be fitted with buoyancy bags totaling 400 lbs. or more, distributed evenly about the boat. An additional bow bag is recommended and may be included in the 400 lb. total. Each bag shall be fixed directly in contact with the hull by two or more straps.

b. Hulls made of glass reinforced plastic shall have at least 350 lbs. buoyancy in the form of fixed tanks arranged around the boat so as to give maximum stability. If any of the standard tanks are negated in any way, replacement bags must be fitted to achieve the 350 lbs. minimum. If the only buoyancy fitted is in fore and aft tanks, it is suggested that a minimum of two additional 77 lb. buoyancy bags be fixed directly in contact with the hull so as to provide better stability in the event of a capsize.

a. Rigs shall be sliding Gunter or Bermudan. Running rigging arrangements shall be optional, except that no centre mainsheet system shall be used.

b. 1997 amendment: – The use of jamming devices on the mainsheet is strongly discouraged when the Tideway is raced under class rules.

Spars shall be made of wood. They shall conform to the design as produced by L.H. Walker Ltd. Mainsails should be attached to the boom and gaff by boltrope grooves or lashings. Loose-footed mainsails are not permitted.


a. Sails may be of Gunter or Bermudan pattern and of woven material only. The use of a spinnaker or Genoa (and the handicap number used on such occasions) shall be restricted to the handicap races of individual clubs at their own discretion. Spinnakers and genoas shall not be used in scratch or class events.

i. Sails shall be measured dry, laid on a flat surface under sufficient tension to remove wrinkles along the line of measurement being taken.

ii. The dimensions of the luff, leech and foot of each sail shall be not more than the following: –

Gunter Main       Bermudan Main          Foresail

Luff             175.5 inches           180.0 inches           116.5 inches

Leech         192.0 inches           201.5 inches           105.0 inches

Foot              99.0 inches             99.0 inches             51.0 inches

The throat cringle of the Gunter Mainsail should be situated at one third of the distance from the tack up to the head of the sail, i.e. not more than 58.5 inches from the tack.

c. BATTENS (1999 rule change)
Three battens shall be used each not more than 24 inches nor less than 18 inches long. When in their pockets, the outer ends of the battens shall be not more than 3 inches from the points, which are respectively a quarter, a half and three-quarters of the distance along the length of the leech of the sail from the clew up to the head.

i. The class emblem shall be a solid red or black disc 12 inches in diameter containing the 1-inch thick block capital letters “T” over “W” as illustrated in the handbook. A white class emblem to the same dimensions may be used on dark coloured sails

ii. Where an older sail emblem of different design has been permitted, this shall be detailed in the log book.

iii. Any boat which does not comply with class rules B1,B3 and B4 or has sails other than permitted under class rule B5bii shall not carry the class emblem or any emblem which might be confused with it. This rule shall apply to boats whilst racing, cruising or day sailing except that a boat using a spinnaker or genoa may whilst cruising or day sailing carry the class emblem on its Mainsail provided that sail complies with rule B5bii.

iv.  The registration number shall be carried on the Mainsail below the class emblem (unless the emblem is not permitted to be carried under these class rules) in figures not less than 12 inches in height. To avoid confusion due to the translucency of the sail, one number (normally that on the starboard side) shall be offset vertically above the other.

v. Any slight variations in the sizes and details of markings on sails made before 1986 shall be permitted

A whisker pole may be used to boom out the foresail. Its effective length shall be not more than 40 inches.

An effective pair of oars not less than 78 inches in length shall be carried ready for immediate use together with efficient crutches (rowlocks); their supports or mounts shall be fixed in such a position as to enable a person sitting on the centre thwart to row the boat efficiently. Longer oars are recommended for tidal waters.

An efficient painter and anchoring gear shall be kept attached securely to a structural part of the boat ready for immediate use at all times. An anchor and chain of not less than 3kg total weight, and not less than 20m of warp of adequate strength to anchor the boat securely in the prevailing conditions shall be used.

The crew whilst racing shall consist of two persons including the helmsman unless otherwise permitted under the sailing instructions of the organizer of the race.

The use of any device attached to the hull, spars, or rigging in order to assist in supporting either of the crew wholly or partially outboard shall be prohibited, other than the use of toe-straps.

The registration number of the boat shall be clearly marked upon the centre thwart in a visible place.


The Tideway is extremely stable, not too highly powered, and easily reefed afloat and thus well suited to cruising. Cruising activities tend to fall into two types, day sailing and extended cruising. Members attention is drawn to the TOA’s adopted Health & Safety and Risk Assessment document viewable elsewhere in the Members section of this website.


The Association recommends that certain basic safety items are carried for all types of cruising, as follows: –

Proper personal buoyancy equipment.
Suitable protective clothing, including hat & gloves.
Correct boat buoyancy.                       Bailing equipment.
Flares (smokes & hand-held).             First aid kit.
Spare warps & Bosuns bag.               Emergency exposure bag.
Emergency rations; hot drink.             Chart & compass.
Powerful torch.                                    Sound signal, e.g. horn.
Adequate anchor & warps.                 Oars.

Great attention should be paid to: –
a. Stowing gear in properly waterproof containers.

b. Tying all gear into the boat to prevent loss during a capsize.

c. Stowing gear in such a way that it is accessible when needed.


  1. Be able to right and empty the dinghy in case of capsize.

  2. Know your own and your crew’s limitations as to sailing ability, seamanship and endurance.

  3. Check the prevailing and forecast weather conditions before setting out, and cancel if doubtful.

  4. Find out local tidal information and navigational hazards and take them into account when planning your journey.

  5. Before setting off make a contingency plan as to what to do if conditions worsen or the wind drops.

  6. Leave details of your plans with someone ashore who can raise the alarm if necessary. Don’t forget to inform them if you change plans, in order to avoid the alarm being raised.

If an over-boom tent cover is carried, the halyards can be tied to the end of the gaff to support the boom or sometimes a topping lift or crutches are used. For sleeping on board, the usual system is to put the sole-boards (floorboards) on the front side- benches and centreboard casing and sleep on these.

For storage, some dinghies have netting bags fitted whilst some have watertight boxes beneath the centre thwart. Tideways tend to gather spray in lumpy seas, and thus it is sensible to fit or carry a good pump in addition to bucket or bailer to empty out water.

Needless to say, there are many ways of equipping your Tideway according to the type of cruising you are undertaking, and members are encouraged to let the Association know of modifications and improvements, which can be made. The Dinghy Cruising Association is well worth joining for further ideas and information if you contemplate extended cruising.


Presented by lan McCreery in 1986, this trophy will be awarded annually for the best account of an exploring holiday, cruise or day sail made by a Tideway dinghy published in the Newsletter. This competition is open to all members, and accounts should be received before December 31st each year.

Revised Edition:  January 2021.

Portsmouth Yardstick for Tideway RN 1447 (recorded number)

Editions            [post 1994]
                           1999 (rule change)
Revised edn.     2005 (class Rules when racing)
Revised edn.     2010
First re-print      2013
Revised edn.     2014 (rule change)
Revised edn.     2021 (amendments to class rules)