B rigs - a new controversy

Time to stir the pot again. Let me know what you think about B rigs.

Now that people have actually started racing Footys competitively on set dates (rather than going for a nice sail on a sunny day), the need for and characteristics of B rigs are becoming apparent. Inevitably there are mutterings in the jungle, some of which has come to my ears. Unlike previous discontent, it is polite, behind the scenes and originates from people who have been actively designing and sailing Footys for some time.

The first point being made is that the rule is a nonsense in that it is intended to promote simplicity for children but does no such thing. There is no limit on the number of A rigs a boat may have, only on the number it may set during a particular event. There is nothing to stop me turning up with a pantechnicon full of A rigs and choosing one to suit the likely conditions on the day. This is undoubtedly a skilled activity – the bigger the rig in relation to my sail carrying power, the bigger the risk I am taking of having to change down to a B rig that is too small for the conditions – but it hardly makes things simple (or cheap) for children.

Second, it is said that such a restriction typeforms. This is not the end of the world – all rules typeform. Further, there is no clear consensus on what type is being formed. Some ay tat the answer is a ‘muscle footy’, some that it is a narrow, easily driven lightweight, some that low aspect ratio A rigs are de rigeur, some that multi-masted rigs are the answer. There are other more bizarre (and much more complex) approaches possible. What about a single-masted A rig and a multi-masted B rig? What about reefing?

Experience from Gosport does suggest that ‘muscle footy’ types are favoured as the windspeed rises, but not to the point where the B rig would pay off. However, looking at the quality of preparation of the boats and the known talent of the people sailing them, it is far from clear whether the type of boat made any particular difference. It must further be said that, with one or two exceptions, there were no B rigs to be seen on the water.

The New Hampshire event was won by boats that brought secondary rigs. It is not clear whether these were actually B rigs or small A rigs. What is very clear is that the local boats from the backwoods of New Hampshire found themselves totally overwhelmed by quite moderate winds and were carved into small pieces by the opposition from windy Long Island.

So is the B rig rule a quite unnecessary piece of complication? If so, what, if anything, should replace it? In my view we should wait to gather more experience. Does everyone else ageee?

I do agree with your last paragraph Angus… after all I do need food on Saturday! We should wait and see.

If I were to suggest a slight change it would be to a simple ‘two rig on the day’ rule. Any two from your quiver or pantechnicon. Same challenge, same decision to be made but less restrictive. Assuming the ‘when to go B’ point were to be type forming (which I am not convinced of) then the side effect would be to happily confuse that type forming effect.

Just a thought… no axes to grind :slight_smile:


Er, I humbly submit that this topic is inappropriate for any rating rule that aspires to global status. The reason is the wide variation of wind conditions worldwide. England is reputedly the windiest nation on earth, with New Zealand and coastal Australia coming close. The US is way behind, so much so that during the heyday of US challenges for the Yachting Monthly Cup there were only three venues in the US (Berkeley, Boston and Chicago) that even came close to the conditions at Fleetwood and Gosport. This can also be seen in the evolution of the M Class during the free sailing era: year for year, top UK and Australian designs averaged about 3 lbs heavier than the top US ones. A very experienced Australian skipper deemed “Rip Tide,” at 18.3 lbs, as too light for their conditions.

It’s not only the higher average wind but also the variability that comes into play. It is/was common practice for UK 36R skippers to have a minimum of three and a maximum of five rigs, running from about 1100 down to 5-600 sq in. You could sail for years at San Francisco and San Diego without needing more than two; in fact, I’m not aware of any San Francisco skipper in either 36R, M or X (like a 10-rater) classes who even has a B rig.

So I think an attempt to come up with a global rule in this area would lead to a lot of unfortunate misunderstandings and talking at cross-purposes based on widely differing geographical experience. I think the topic properly belongs to national authorities and individual race directors, who are best qualified to make judgments based on knowledge of local conditions.



The rigs that were first and second in New Hampshire were true “B” rigs. Both boats have three different rigs of greatly different sizes. With the “C” rigs on, the boats can handle more wind than my Marblehead! I was annoyed when the wind came up because I had just made new “A” rigs for both boats that I considered my ‘secret weapons’.

I have introduced a proposal to Bill to eliminate all reference to a shorter rig in the rules as I think it is, as you said, a needless complication.

I like everything you said except for the “windy Long Island” bit. We are famous here for our lack of wind!

Earl, I think that we agree in a strange sort of way. The nub of the question I am asking is whether a fixed size B rig makes ense. The incident in New Hampshire was, I agree, exceptional. I, on theother hand, sail on a lake that is probably even windier than Fleetwood. The problem is not simply international: a boat optimised for Llandudno is unlikely to do well in, say, Bourneville - for the reasons you suggest.

Nevertheless, I think it is vital that we remain an ‘international’ class with a common rule.

Did I really say anything?:devil3:

I know I am going to receive some flak here (dare I say it…!) but I feel
that maybe a fixed size, 2 or 3 rig rule might be a good thing. It seems to
work well for IOM’s worldwide.

One reason: Seeing as Footys and thier rigs are usually home built and
therefore not usually as costly as say an IOM or marblehead rig, maybe
having 2 or 3 rigs available might not be too expensive for kids or us broke
skippers!! (as from your post I understand minimum cost is an important
part of the spirit of the rule)

The possibility of a pantechnicon of rigs of all sizes turning up to an event
to have the “right size” chosen for the duration might mean expense and
complication that may deter youngsters and beginner adults too?

Just a couple of thoughts…:slight_smile: Now shoot me down…


I think you will find find there is a fundamental difference between a Footy and an IOM. An IOM effectively has a fixed displcement of 4000 grams. Current Footys range between about 335 (Moonshadow) and 1000 g (Swede Johnson’s ‘football’) With a fixed sail area, one of them HAS to go.

As I pointed out to the ODOM Class - their rules simply say “maximum sail size shall not exceed …” so in heavy weather … No where in the rules does it say they can’t be less, and reefing - until the rules change is possible and legal. Amazing how many folks read rules and miss the concept of the word “maximum” - which means you can’t be bigger. Seldom (except for length) do rules include a minimum.

Might consider same for FOOTY’s and get out of the worry about what size, how many, etc. show up. so as long as the sail being used doesn’t exceed a maximum size - who cares except the owner?

Then again, if you have a penchant and enjoyment for rule writing… and arguments if the rule steps over the original objective of a development class idea …? :confused: :scared:

Dick, you just inroduced a new, heavy restriction on the development development class idea - restriction on sail area. This will type form - probably away from the muscle Footy. I thought that was the kind of thing you didn’t like.

Not at all Angus. Did you ever really read the F-48 Class rules?

I have always stated that a class needs to have rules to limit/control/manage/ or whatever you want to call it - a way for all boats to have some basics … length, weight, sail area, and I suppose keel depth are all accepted methods to identify the “GENERAL” characteristics of a certain “size” class. This is needed if you wish to race boats of the same waterline length. So starting with those rules, as soon as a multihull shows up, the rules are suddenly changed to exclude boats with more than one hull. This is fine to me, as I have grown up where classes are separated by one or more than one hull.

Back to the F-48 - we have beam, length, sail area (and more than one hull). We don’t try to limit development with artificial rules like defining two hulls, three hulls, a cat, trimaran or proa configuration, nor do we spend time on masts sizes, diameters or shapes as do some classes. We DO identify how we will measure a mast (or solid wing) to determine if they are within sail area - but once again, it is maximum sail area. If some folks want to race with an 800 or 600 sq. inch sail area, they are welcome to do it if they feel that is a way to keep from capsizing should the winds pick up. We don’t specify weight, nor do we specify number of rudders. We don’t restrict movable ballast or addition of foils. We don’t restrict or legislate the number of masts, or their location. Unlike a certain monohull “development” class, masts can rotate, they can be foil shaped, and a uni-rig (main only) sail plan can be used. Canting rigs are allowed, as are spinnakers all with in the “maximum” sail area limit, and if someone felt the need for training wheels, a canting keel system could be used.

I did forget we ruled that kite sails weren’t allowed - mainly for the reason that ISAF has yet to develop racing rules that address issues surrounding when kites can be flown several feet, yards or meters ahead of the actual platform. It seemed odd to us as rule-makers, that two boats 4 feet from the line would allow one with 5 feet of kite line to be declared the winner over one with only 3 1/2 feet of line.
(For newbies: a boat finishes when any part of the boat or it rig or sails, in normal sailing position crosses the line).

Thus, back to your Footy question - what benefit does one gain when you legislate a specific sail size - and how do you enforce it? Are you saying that I couldn’t use a smaller sail area if my boat is known to be “tender” in a breeze? You don’t have a maximum sail area but you do have two rules that seem (to me) to contradict each other. In one rule, the mast and sails can project above the top of the box (without limit) and then further down, when racing I can use two sets of sails, but the smaller set can have a mast height of no more than 305 mm above the top of the measurement box. Thus I would take it the rules for sail area are really a minimum size and there is no maximum. I’m not sure why the rule was written this way as it is seemingly backward from any other class who includes sail area as part of their rules. I do recognize that some formula based classes would have a “calculated” minimum and maximum when they relate to different waterlines as well.

So back to your erroneous assumption - I don’t see identified sail area (maximum or minimum) as being outside of what I would consider minimum Development class rules. Ours (the F-48) is wide open, and anyone building is free to build what they want, how they want with a very limited set of rules. It is patterned after the “C” Class rules where they specify length, beam, sail area, and number of crew. Those rules have and are fostering some of the fastest boats afloat - single or multi hulls for closed course buoy racing.

When you wind up with boats that are 1.2 meters, by 1.2 meters, with .90 sq. meters of sail area and weighing in at around 2 kg. I would call that a pretty open development class. (For US readers, we are talking 4 foot x 4 foot x 1400 sq. inches and around 4 lb. all up sailing weight)!

Since the AMYA class page states: “Simple to build, the Footy provides a very low cost development platform to test new design ideas.” I am suggesting to stop messing with the rules every other month and see what development takes place - unless as I said, you have a penchant for rules re-writing and arguments along the way. Also, I fail to see how the words “development” and “low cost” can be used to describe a class - although I won’t belabor that point.

So I do not have any problems with a sail size as a rule if that is what the class wanted. It simply provides guideline of what the boat would look like when built. I am very familiar with the Balmain Bugs and their sail area. Not sure if their rules limited sail area - but it sure didn’t look that way. Pile it on and race what you brung. I guess that might be the ultimate in development class rules ? :smiley:

Regardless - I still love ya, man ! :zbeer:

Dick, I certainly do not have a penchant for re-writing rules and this thread has been started to get a wider view on the content of a number of ‘for your eyes only’ e-mails. I am NOT going to be drawn on my personal opinions

That said, the Footy rule is (apart from some bureaucratic twiddling round the edges) much freer and much more simple than your beloved F-48 rule. The size of the hull is limited by the size of the box. That’s it. Length isn’t limited directly. Neither is beam or draft. I suppose that there is ultimately an upper limit on displacement of 14 kg (any more and a ‘full’ box sinks!). If the hull goes in the box, it’s a Footy.

Apart from the restrictions on electronics, sizes of sail numbers moveable appendges and this confounded rule on B-rigs, EVERYTHING else is there to define what constitutes the hull and to stop the otherwise untrammled rudders, bowsprits, bumpkins, radio antennae, etc suddenly producing a boat with a waterline length of 2 feet.

Maybe “fixed size” was not the right choice of words. Even though I think Footy design might possibly evole and after a while end up with most boats having similar displcements. (Think Marbleheads that are developmental but after years, design has stabilised to a point where all competitive boats are of basically similar dimensions and rig sizes.)

Like Dick put so well - a maximum size of rig sounds better.

Maybe 2 or 3 rigs allowed, with a maximum size of XYZ sq inches for whatever rig A, B or C. That way one could make rigs for one’s own Footy design, handling qualities and displacement. In other words - the ultra light and tender boat could possibly have a low aspect A rig at max size and then a smaller B rig and smaller still C rig. While the heavier displacement, stiffer Footy could use a high aspect shape max size A rig, smaller or lower aspect B rig and so on.

Still allowing choice and development but keeping things simple?

Just some tired, after 10 hour workday thoughts…/:slight_smile:

hey guys, i’m back!!!:rolleyes:

jono, i must protest!

perhaps i mis-understand you, but if i read correctly, you are suggesting a limit on the size of all rigs on the footy? to me, that would suck from the class one of its most interesting challenges/attributes - namely the dilemma, how do i design a boat, the will be more powerful than anything else out there, and yet, not become so tender as to be rendered useless. i have looked into other developmental classes - M, IOM, USOM, 36/600, etc. many, if not all of them impose some maximum sail restriction. this is why the boats form “types” so easily! the best hull form for the alloted sail area has been found. how boring! footys will inevitably type form at some point, that i accept. however, why make the footy - which is perhaps the most unique of all developmental classes - a model of its bigger relatives? in my mind, if the footy class started to more and more resemble the IOM for instance, then, it would, very likely lose much of its magic. why would you have a 12" IOM, if you could have a fullsize IOM that performed (obviously) better?

i agree that there are definitely areas in which the footy rule can be clarified, but i do not believe that changing its intent - to my reading, allowing for those who choose to try to push past the envelope within reasonable bounds - is at all beneficial to the class.

dear me, who would have known there could be so much to discuss about a boat that is in general smaller than our shoes!:cool::D:devil3:

I strongly recommend leaving the rule as is. The maiden voyage of my first Footy used the storm rig, and it was very useful. The boat was heavy, at 20 ounces, yet the rig performed very well, while the other Footies were wallowing on their sides. Our pond is well inland, on the NY-NJ border, so we don’t get a regular 15 -kt sea breeze, or anything like it.

Gents here’s thoughts for you.

In the UK we have them 36 rule which is a boat that has to fit in a box, just like a Footy. It has no restriction on number of rigs or their size. It has no restriction on displacement. It has no restriction on hull materials. The only restrictions are on mast material, wood or aluminium and two channels of RC. It is no accident that the Footy Rule was based on the UK 36 rule. The limiting factor on what area/ what type is limited by the hull that has to carry it. In other words it is self limiting it does not need restriction. On the basis of that I see no reason why there should be a limit on number of, types of or sizes of rigs. I suggest that the restriction is taken out of the rule but you do include a regulation into race entry of a maximum of two rigs used on any one day and nomination of the rigs must occur at the start of the day. That way it does not matter where in the world you sail you have choice to acommodate the likely change in conditions on any one day and that the skipper is not restricted in his approach to his yacht.

In the words of the great democracy “I commend the suggestion to the House”


Wow - it seems everytime I post, I stir up something… I don’t mean to be contraversial or anything… :smiley: :smiley:

I actually agree with everyones sentiments and ideas about NOT limiting the size or numbers of rigs. I like the Footy class as a development class for the design creativity it encourages and do not wish to change the rule. I am really only voicing ideas, thinking out loud as it were.

My only real reason for inquiring into limiting rigs is to keep costs as low as possible to encorage new sailors, broke skippers and kids into the hobby. Being an owner of a 5 rig ex-worlds Marblehead, a club competitive 3 rig IOM and a Nats competitive R6M, I have “just a few” rigs & sails sitting around the house. And the costs involved in upgrading, replacing or repairing all this carbon & “bling-bling”… Yikes :scared:

So how to keep costs down to low levels and keep the fun in designing Footys?

(And Bill - I’ve always wanted to try my hand with a 36R class boat. I presume they are fun to handle in gusty conditions…!)

Jon0 - 36Rs - very!:slight_smile:

I have received a proposed rule change to allow unrestricted rig size and number.

Now that Roger is back from holiday, the tech committee will prepare comments on the rule change proposals that we have and publish them shortly. Then they will be put out for vote. Given the enthusiasm on both sides of the debates lately, it should be most interesting.

Bill H

Which I think is where I came in… so I agree with your suggestion Bill. That would appear to make the rule adaptive to local conditions as Earl mentioned rather than applying the current ‘global’ B rule.

Hi Jono… on cost… my test rigs are usually birch dowel and a garbage bag… pretty cheat R&D I think you would agree. They actually work rather well too… and free/cheap floral wrap is even a preferred material by some around the world.

But an unlimited number of rigs on the day would be missing the point I think… and potentially somewhat more expensive. If the proposal is for unlimited number on the day then … nope. IMHP


Graham! One of the formaqtive experienes of my life was when I was about 12. An extremely expensive Illingworth designed 31 footer called Green Highlander appeared in Holyhead. She had just won her class in the Fastnet and her crew (not her owner) were taking her home to Scotland.

She had an incrediibly complex rig: I guess a choice of 8 or 9 salils in the fore triangle, excluding spinnakers and spinnaker syaysails. This was complemented by a bendy boom, spirit levels to indicate fore-and-aft trim, …

My father invited them on board for a drink - I suspect largely so that I would be invited to drool over this gorgeous racing machine. They sat down in the cockpit if our identically sized Rockabill, which was a vastly simpler, although still very competitive boat. After about the third scotch they turned to my fatherbd aid ‘You know Dick, I wish we’d had this boat on the Fastnet. She must be so much easier to sail’.

I’m not sure that a pantichnican of rigs is a great risk to anything but the vanity of the owner.