Branston Pickle and Birmingham Cloth

Branston Pickle

The Footy fleet (or some of them) met at Branston Water Park, Burton-on-Trent at 09:00 on the misty morning of Saturday 14 October. Since this did not involve any physical intervention by either Angus Richardson or Keven Jackson, it did in fact happen more or less as intended. Angus, piloted as ever by the faithful Mark Holcroft, arrived somewhat later.

At stake – the St. Modwen Trophy, a 2-pint brass beer jug presented as a perpetual challenge trophy for Footys. The problem: no wind. Nevertheless, with some 10 boats lying on the bank, marks were laid and all preparations were made for racing. The wind stayed obstinately away. Around lunch time, everyone agreed that nothing was possible, the marks were recovered and some people went away.

This was rather a pity because shortly afterwards a light, if patchy and irregular breeze set in, no doubt wafted down the A50 by the Ogre. Without any marks, we ended up playing tail chases, mostly instigated by the Ogre’s MoonShadow. After a while, Gary Zimbabwe got out his internet course, ballasted by massive quality failed nuts from the brakes of London Underground trains.

In the very informal racing that resulted, it was fairly generally agreed that, if there was any wind at all, MoonShadow was by far the fastest boat there. The Ogre is less convinced. Gary ‘Babwe’ Sanderson’s new boat went remarkably well, despite its small sail area. With more sail, it looks as if it could give MoonShadow a run for her money. In general concept, it is MoonShadow-like with narrow beam and full ends. Its transom-hung rudder is exceptionally good as an oar!

In no wind, there is no doubt that MoonShadow was by far the slowest boat present. In force 0 < -1, she carried vicious lee helm and the rudder angle required to keep her in a straight line was big enough to stop her dead. General opinion – including that of her often pessimistic designer - was that this could easily be sorted out.

Of the Razors, the most interesting (if only because nobody had seen it before) was Andrew Halstead’s new tomato coloured device, finished the night before. Nicely engineered in styrene sheet, she seemed to be reasonably light and had an excellent surface finish. Her rudder was very small and I suspect that Andrew is building an EDVMD (Enhanced Directional Variation and Maintenance Device) as we speak. His sails were large and well made from a redundant golfing umbrella, in stark contrast to Gary who favours yellow Argos carrier bags.

It was, of course Andrew – a man with a deeply engrained sense of sardonic humour - who provided the real entertainment of the day. As dusk crept over the lake and the great crested grebes made off for their tea, his batteries went flat. Innumerable attempts to lasso him (well, his boat) with the Internet course failed and finally Gary ‘Babwe took his courage in both hands. Duly informed that the lake was entirely free ofboth hippos AND crocodiles, he took to his canoe again, paddling himself swiftly over the calm waters with his hands. The surrounding vultures – human and otherwise – were sadly disappointed. He returned intact bearing Andrews boat and with his bum still dry

In terms of formal racing, a thoroughly disappointing day – but in terms of enjoyment most enjoyable. An afternoon in a beautiful setting spent sailing in the company of some really nice people. What could be better?

For some more photos, see

And now the other bit: what will probably be the last meeting of the UK Footy season will be held at Bournville, Birmingham on Saturday 17th November. Formal notice of race will be posted as soon as I can get my hands round Bill Green’s neck :rolleyes:. In the meantime contact me on 01492 534 356. There will be a short meeting afterwards to discuss what we should be doing next year.

Look forward to seeing everyone!


I never thought to use umbrella material as sail cloth! Now knowing this, my footy might actually get finished! Too bad I don’t live in England though, seems as though you have quite the time over there!

Thank you, Angus for that update.

A most entertaining report Angus… pass my congratulations on to Gary for not getting wet. Considering your many past comments about the mid-west USA and wind… maybe you should have imported a few of our buffalo :smiley: Glad you had a good day out.


sounds like a day of racing on Long Island Sound!!!:rolleyes:

wind or no wind, it sounds as if a good time was had by all… one more footy race in the books!


Graham, wirth draft Bass originating about 1000 m away, the buffalo don’t have a chance. Roll on opening time.

:zbeer: touche!


Consider my neck stretched. Notice of Race and SSI’s have been emailed to Angus who will distribute accordingly. I will act as the entry point. Be glad to see as many as can come. It’s a " No Fee No Prize" race so no pressure all you got to do is win. My nice new Micron will be on the water by then and I may have my Gary Sanderson one up and running as well, no promises though.

All are welcome just contact me in the nornal way.



Thanks for the race report - I’m glad that I provided the entertainment for the troops, and very grateful to the assembled Footyers for their help advice and in one extreme case, paddling.

You are perfectly correct that I am reconfiguring RAV the Razor to have a larger rudder, and doing a lot of other tidying and simplicatiing. Next time out and at Bournville she will probably sport a swing rig, lighter servos and simpler sheets.

The smooth skin you mention (the boat, that is) is alas no longer quite so smooth. I glued in the AA cells each side of the keel with Evostick, and the solvent has softened the bottom in a few areas.

I have (naturally) christened these areas local flow invigorators and convinced myself that now my Razor is faster than… for example its steersman.

Thank you Gary. Good person, great balance