Ballot comment: Proposal 3b

I hope you will forgive the impertinence of a newbie non-owner commenting on the rule changes, but I am going to try to dissuade you from proposal 3b.

The objective of the change is as I understand it to stop a loophole in the 2 rig rule. I’m not entirely sure that this is a good thing in itself, however my objection to the change is that it will ban spinnakers. Under the current rules I think it would be legal (and possible) to raise a spinnaker when running, and then recover it when no longer before the wind. Proposal 3b would if I understand it bar this, as it changes the sail area.

One of the attractions of the Footy is that the class rules are open, (and brief), any idea to build a fast boat is far more likely to be bought to a crashing halt by the laws of physics than the rules of the class, please keep it that way.

There is nothing in the least impertinent about your views.

I think that the tech committee have done a good job here. If that is your view of the situation - i.e. that the buffers are the laws of physics, not some artificiality of the rules, the logical position is to abandon all sail restrictions (i.e. Yes to proposal 8). In this case proposal 3.a lapses and 3.b is contingent on its being there.


Wouldn’t hoisting & retrieving a spinnaker require more radio channels than the two presently allowed? Also, with the Footy’s tendency to nosedive, wouldn’t a spinnaker make this worse? While successful spinnakers have been accomplished in larger boats, and look very impressive when deployed, I had always heard that their added complexity and associated reliability issues usually offset any performance gains they may afford, especially since they are only useful on the downwind leg.

Bill Nielsen
Oakland park, FL USA

Good points Bill, although the hoisting and dousing of a spinnaker could be accomplished mechanically with the servo tripping a spring loaded devise somewhat like the NATO switchblade knife. This mechanism re-cocks itself after extending the blade from the front end of the handle so that releasing the catch again pulls the blade back inside. Swapping the blade for a means of pulling up and dousing the spinnaker halliard and you have a mechanical means of raising and lowering the sail without adding an additional servo.

Of course, it would have to be set up in a fixed position because you wouldn’t be able to adjust the trim of the spinnaker once underway.

There is one other reason why you don’t see spinnakers on r/c racing sailboats. The defense against a boat with a spinnaker is to luff her up head to wind so the sail tangles up with the other rigging, hence no more downwind advantage.

So David, I don’t mean to discourage you (we were all impertinent newbies once) or influence your vote (should you register a Footy before the ballot deadline), but spinnakers are not really a concern that should sway the vote one way or another.

I do agree with you that the rules should be kept simple but changes should be made that improve the Footy class as a whole. Right now the rig/sail rules are geared toward British sailing conditions, but there are other countries that participate in this class who sail in considerably different conditions. Here in the US I would endorse Proposal 8a if it were combined with Proposal 8c, that is 3 sets of rig and sails from 8a and deleting the clause limiting one of those rigs to be the 305mm storm rig. As it stands now though I will be casting my vote for Proposal 8d which eliminates all rig restrictions. This would make the rules simpler and the only real measurement would be fitting the boat in the box. Different sailing conditions would see the optimization of rig/sail designs to fit, making Footies more efficient in their home environment, hopefully attracting more people to join the class.

Also, rigging a Footy is pretty inexpensive. I can put together three McRigs for the cost of 4 AA Lithium Energizer batteries. A quiver of rigs might be in the future for large events, but they will in no way be as expensive as the travel costs to compete in these races. Right now we should be concentrating our efforts on building local clubs. One of the interesting things I’ve found is that even with multiple rigs allowed in the M Class the local guys only sail with the A rig. It is not due to expense really, a lot of them have B and possibly C rigs, its just that 99% of the time they don’t need them. I have a C rig that I’ve used only once, and I’ve traveled to a lot of races. So, we need to be practical about making the rules pertinent to as many different conditions and situations as possible. When what makes sense to one group doesn’t make sense to another then each group has to see the other’s point of view and adjust their position to be accommodating. Not to do so risks alienation of one group or another.

Nicely said, Niel.

Bill H

Now that the ballot has been closed, awaiting the results, I would like to add my own opinion about this point ( change of sail area within a rig )

My humble opinion is very simple : I have been the real target of this proposal ( not spinnakers ) :wink:

The story :

In the past, I have built several model ( free sailing and rc ) fitted with “reefable” mainsails.( see pictures below )
No high-tech, just brass wire, wood, glue and a bit of strings.

I have installed such exotic trick even on sailing models half the size of a footy ( 6’’ more or less )

By the way, due to the fact that I am a sailing instructor too, I have used such models also as teaching tools , showing how to reef, and different behaviour of the model before and after sail reduction.

When I started to design a model to enter EURO GP 2008, I discovered that wind speed to be expected at Liverpool was 10-12 kts as average, with sudden changes from 5 to 30 kts within the same afternoon .

For this reason it seemed to me a logical choice to take advantage of this trick to change sail area according weather situation

Due to the fact that I was not sure about rule compliance of this detail, I have ( on 4th of june 2008 ) written on official “request for rule interpretation”, and before going to liverpool with my ITA 5 - Folgore - I received a green light .
( as you can see on the footy official website )


Conclusions :

A reefing rig is an easy, simple and interesting option
If one of our goals, is to avoid costs and complication increase ( an infinite number of rig of different size ) this is an easy solution

I have been very surprised that proposal 3b has not been enclosed to “rig group proposals” ( 8a, 8b, 8c, 8d )

It seems to me not so smart to allow "the use of scissors in extreme conditions " instead of low tech reefing pennant.

I have made an enlarged photocopy of following words to be added to my Folgore papers : " Beware : there is such a thing as a high tech gaff cutter "

[FONT=“Book Antiqua”]In any case, even if my opinion about the point is very clear , I will accept our democratic ballot, and I will design my next boats in accordance to new rules.

All considered , even such small “legal wars” are parts of our model game ( on a scale of one to a million to america’s cup lawyers )


ps : meantime I have invented something else :slight_smile:

see below - a six inches “whoopy” sailing with first reef at mainsail, and Babau sailing in fine weather showing reefing outfitting

Hi Flavio,
After reading the result of your rule request before the birkenhead event I designed a rig with 5 sails which are interchanged as the wind increases.With the allowable 2 rigs I then had a nice arsenal of 10 rigs.
The trick was to present the measurer with my rig with 5 sails attached…then use one at a time and stow the other 4 on board ready for use later.hence complying with the ruling the tech team imposed before Birkenhead in every way.
Thinking that this was prob not what the footy class intended when they made there ruling I requested further clarification which I never actually got…the tech team never actually respoded to my request.
But I see in the ballot the question 3b which we are talking about here and assume this is the method of putting a stop to my idea inspired by your idea.BTW I agree that it should be stopped.
My 10 rigs mearsured as 2 would have been a clear advantage as anyone could see…though I understand your point of view as well, but I am sure you can agree that the result of such a rule might not be in everyones interests.

Hi Brett,

my request for rule interpretation was referring to sails "lowered,furled, rolled on boom or mast and never removed from the model "

I admit that writing " partially use of rig " is an open door to your 10 rigs proposal,without doubt an unwanted side effect of my request, with results opposite to intended goals :

  • reduce required number of rigs, and expand the wind operating range of a model without expensive and/or complicated devices


This is a nice opportunity to underline that instead of a careful selection of proper words, rules should be based on their explicit and useful purpose

example : I don’t care how many fraction of inches a bowsprit diameter is, what I am looking at is to avoid the smart boy adding a false bow to the model and calling it a bowsprit . Based on dictionary defition of bowsprit “something added to the bow, and below the jib”

or, to reference to rig :

a method to reduce sail area, loosely based on devices used on real boats ( reefing and so on ) is ok ( or not - according ballot results )

have a fair wind…


“Never removed from the model” was how I managed to stow my sails on board.
Sometimes you have to be carefull what you ask for!! you might just get it.

not witha footy ballot you won’t; you will get what you are given

Only an opinion from a “development class” sailor - both big boats and small.

The more rules you add, the more clarifications you need, and eventually the less development you have. Might add in that the more rules, the greater the desire to find a “loophole”!

“Traditionally” (from my experience ) Length overall, mast height (or sail area - not necessarily the same) and number of radio channels allowed (for r/c racing) provides boats that really are open for development. Anyone of these could be picked apart and argued - but you need to keep going back to the basics…

  1. Length Overall - this has been more than discussed for any handicap event, or development class. I’m sorry, but a 12" FOOTY is still a 12" FOOTY - whether it is in a box, laying on a table top, or floating in a box of water.

  2. Mast height - Not sure of intention of a maximimum “minimum” rig ??? :confused:
    A boat as a mast height limit - you hang as much material on it in any configuration. If it’s too windy, you hang a smaller amount of material. Everyone decides how much material to hang - and they maintain that mast height for entire race series. If you can reef your sail = bonus! (or you sail just like the ODOM Class - one rig, one sail set)

2a) Sail Area - now you start having to get into (more) complicated measurements. Instead of a ruler to measure mast height, you now need a calculator and knowlege of geometry to figure out how much material is hanging up there in the air. The 2 Meter multihull class specifies a mast height - and they don’t care how much sail area you have/use.

  1. Radio channels - self descriptive. Leaves the door open for ideas about mechanical trip wires, cams on one of the two servos, etc.

As I recall ( and was involved in way back when) the battery rule seems to already have gone by the wayside. “THAT” discussion also generated a lot of heat and bad feelings.

I’m sure that there will always be a statement … “But what about ----?” if it’s possible and doable, someone will try it. If it works - well, in my view that is "Development". If it doesn’t work, someone will surely improve it - or ash-can it. It’s kind of a self-policing effort. What works will be used, what doesn’t won’t and in the meantime, everyone can build to thier own ideas.

Logically, there might be other specs to be considered - keel depth, weight (minimum or maximum) number of hulls, rotating masts, movable ballast, etc. All these do is remove one more area of development for the builder. If you “WANT” to control everything - then a one-design class like the Laser or ODOM might be a better choice.

Again - a view from the outside when the class was first introduced as developments.

Regards, Dick

The radio channels rule is now just waiting for someone to push it over. Hasn’t anyone heard of computers. Someone who knows what he’s doing ccan have dozens og functions over a single radio channel without any clever kludges.


The RG-65 class has withstood 30 years of home “tinkering” and it’s 2 channel rule includes - “one channel to control rudder and one channel to control position of the sails”.

Some have considered mercury switches, mechanical arms off the rudder or sail servo, and even hanging weights to trigger other functions. They are all doable - but add weight and complexity. Therein lies the mission - how to add in a lot of whistles and bells and still be assured on the race course, in the middle of a tacking duel with your closest rival - what do you push/energize/turn-on/adjust/trim/pull/etc. and be assured it works?

Since you guys are all playing within the FOOTY size boat, will added weight - or size of components really be valuable on the water?
A rehtorical question. :wink:

Angus, again as an “outsider” - I implore all to stop trying to legislate anything more than what is necessary. You will close one door, and simply open another. I was a national class association secretary from 1983 until 1995 and trust me - the thing I hated worst were letters that started with those words …: "What about …?" :scared:

Arrrgh ! :lol:

You have a great idea and class and cannot begin to meet all of your members desires - nor can you read minds of ideas yet to be tried (or asked about) - like our F-48 class, let rules set for a minimum of five (5) years so everyone plays by them, and you build up some experience of what makes sense. Only then do you make change. A five year hiatus in rule changes lets the “tinker” type individual actually get his idea on the water to see if it works, and let’s other members consider its worth.

Again - just my view … all at no charge. :stuck_out_tongue:

The Vintage Marblehead rules are, I think, about as good as you can get. The only things that can move under radio control are the main sheet, the jib sheet, and the rudder. You can do that with 50 channels if you want, but that’s the only servomotion you get.

Actually, the threat IMHO is not that somebody would add channels, but rather use a PIC to gin up a vane controlled automatic sheeting system such as Francis Reynolds used in the 1950s to win the first US R/C championship. Then all one does is steer. This approach was so successful that many early AMYA class rules specifically required that the sheeting had to be controlled by the skipper. As time passed, people forgot … If I were of a malicious turn of mind, I’d show up at some IOM race with one, just to listen to the shouting :slight_smile:



Angus -

just a follow-up … couldn’t find it earlier today… but it brought a few laughs from the F48 COA when I ran it in one of our early 2000 newsletters.

Enjoy - but seriously … ! :wink:


Both Dick and Earl have just made the most sensible suggestions ever made since the “Footy” was invented.
But, will they be listened to - - I think not !!.

John. :confused: :confused: :confused:

Dick, I agree with you totally. All I said was that the radio channel rule was up fo graps. I didn’t say I thought the complexity was worth it. Even less did I say that anyone should try to stop it. :devil3::graduate::graduate::zbeer::zbeer::devil3:

It always strikes me that one of the saddest of the folies of middle-aged and elderly with no particula knowledge of the subject trying to out-guess or hamstring whizz-kid product designrs and engineers in the electronics industry.

I always felt some amusement at the foibles of our age when I read about all the quarrels and arguments associated with the rules for the America’s Cup, but now I am beginning to understand where it all came from. Please let us not do it all over again with the Footy class.
As was pointed out in an earlier post, the “laws” of physics are the ultimate restriction upon the extremes, and the whole idea of the class is to promote ingenuity. The “box rule” may well be all that is needed for the class.
If I get a chance to vote, I will be in favour of no rig restrictions.
Incidentally, has anyone found Bill Shorney? Canada NEEDS him!

I just talked to Bill.

He’s OK. Sharks havn’t got’em or anything.

Word from him is, he’s extreamly busy (as are all of us I’m sure). Job(s), regattas, builds, etc.


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