When FISA considered the legality of the RANDALLfoil it needed to consult Rule 40.
Any novel equipment design needs to be submitted to FISA to determine if it conforms to the laws of rowing. If the new design conforms, it is considered NOT to challenging Rule 40 and is declared NOT to be an innovation. According to Rule 40, anything actually considered to be an innovation would NOT be permitted in the sport of rowing.
The use of the word ‘innovation’ has a particular legal understanding within the context of the FISA Rule Book. There are many unique designs which we would commonly consider to be ‘innovative’ but as they conform to existing laws they are determined by FISA not to be so. For example, the use of new materials, boat shapes, rigger positioning, blade and shaft designs we do consider to be innovations, however, as they are ‘legal’ they are not considered innovations by FISA.
If however, the FISA Equipment Committee did declare a novel design to be an “innovation” the design must then go before the full Executive Committee for further scrutiny. If considered to change the nature of the sport, the innovation will not be permitted. However, when a determined innovation is then accepted by the Executive it must then have a full 12 months of commercial availability before use at competitions.
We were thankful, and very relieved, when FISA Equipment Committee gave their determination that the foil design was not considered an innovation.
Long live innovation and those who possess that spirit of enquiry to push the boundaries of design within the rules of our sport.