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?