Cauldron Stir of the Week!

Since the ‘Tonnage’ rules went out in the 1880s, I cannot think of a yacht measurement rule apart from the Footy that did not include sail area somewhere. This makes life in the Footy class rather different from anywere else: sail area is free! It must be a bit like that driving an SUV in the US!:devil3:

This makes it rather surprising that rigs are as conservative as they are: virtually all masthead Bermudan sloops. I may be wrong, but most of the exceptions seem more directed toward character than performance - and very nice they are too.

Problem with this free sail area is that we have to keep it out of the water - sideways and fore-and aft, and by definition something the size of a Footy is going to be a bit lacking in the stability department.

We can overcome this problem (in both planes) by making the rig lower and spreading it out longitudinally. Depending on how we do it, we may or may not lower the aspect ratio. Bigger problem is that we are operating in or very close to the boundary layer between air and water, and the wind speed is falling off pretty drastically at low level. However, this doesn’t really matter: sail area is free - let’s just help ourselves to some more.

There is one very serious objection. As and when racing gets going, a boat with a low rig is going to have to get away in clean air every time the gun fires. That thing with a towering 26" mast may have less sail than your stubby little 15 incher, but it will guzzle your wind sure as eggs are eggs if it gets the chance.

Has anyone explored this route?



Have you checked out the Australian Balmain Bugs?

Free sail area maybe…but the size of the 2nd rig(305mm above box) means you prob don’t want the “A” rig to big or you will be overpowered early and most likely underpowered when you change to the smaller rig.

I’d have thought it was the other way round - the lower the main rig (albeit with lots of area), the less the diffeence between the primary and storm rigs,


And that is one of the lamest ideas incorporated into the Footy rule, no offense Brett.
Most club level sailors will have only one rig if the Footy follows suit with all other classes in r/c sailing. The one free rig/12" “storm rig” requirement is part of what designates this class as a toy. And as I’ve pointed out before, it will not keep the top flight sailors (if we can attract any) from carrying a quiver of rigs to a race. Yes, currently they would have to choose one to compete with but it would probably be more fine tuned to conditions than the generic rigs of the locals. So, the question that should be at the root of any restrictions placed on a class should be, who does it help and how does it effect development of the class? I am very leery of the “design challenges” that are so often the defense of decisions that retard the performance potential of the Footy, like the AA battery restriction and this rig concept, that are not grounded in experience but based on unrealistic ideals and disingenuous rational.

Hi Angus,

I’ve thought about giving the B rig more area while keeping it low. I called it a crazy idea in this thread. I haven’t actually built a rig yet though. I’m spending my time on a second hull with more forward bouancy to counter nose diving. Details here in the photos area. (Should I cross post to this forum or point to the other? Hmm.)

Another question I have is also about nose diving. Is there a jib that will produce upward lift when running downwind? Maybe a bowsprit mounted kite sail?

Ok, one more thing. Check out my Footy Sailing Fappr map and add yourself if you haven’t already. It’s fun to see where all the folks live. International skippers welcome, we have 3 already. I need to reset the default view so it’s more than just the US. The frappr site has some odd quirks when I try editing things.

#33 USA

Bowsprit mounted sails? Could this be the ultimate Footy?:scared:

Seriously, according the all the best authorities on seamanship in an 18th century man-of-war, one of their nastier problems that very largely governed how the rig was designed was submarining! It’s not just Footies.


The less the difference in power would be a bad thing wouldn’t it Angus… or did you mean in heeling effect?

tallastro may be on the right track… if we were to start with the ‘B’ rig and increase its area/optimise it’s shape to become a viable option in less than survival conditions. The ‘A’ rig could then come off sooner if conditions dictated.

As a sailplane builder/designer I hate to give up aspect ratio… but sailplane design is oh so easy compared to this! As in all things there will be a compromise A/R which works well on footy size craft. Giving wind gradient due respect I do not think that mast height and the related A/R will become too low.


The 12 inch high rig allows me to sail my “toy” whenever I want,and belive me around here I would use that rig 40% of the time.
Without it I won’t be sailing as much as I could be.
I belive this is the case in other parts of the world too.

Don’t penalise the rest of the world because Americans only see the need to have only one rig.

Just what are its dimensions? I’ve never actually seen any details of what anyone has done in this department.


I’m confused. I thought we were discussing whether the tall or the short rig would best serve as the low wind rig. That doesn’t sound like penalizing anyone and it certainly uses more than one rig. That wasn’t my intent, sorry if I phrased things badly. :confused: The other funny part is that I’m using Brett’s Bobabout rig on my boat. :cool:

Anyway, I’m more interested in the nose diving solution. I’m going to build a quick little foil for the bowsprit tonight. My footy will look like it has a Formula1 car downforce wing. My idea is to lift the bow while running downwind. It will probably do bad things while close hauled or anytime I’m heeled over. Maybe a helium ballon would be better, nah. :wink:

um…12 inches high:)

I am confused too… If you were refering to my comment Brett, quote…
“tallastro may be on the right track… if we were to start with the ‘B’ rig and increase its area/optimise it’s shape to become a viable option in less than survival conditions. The ‘A’ rig could then come off sooner if conditions dictated.”

I did mean ‘increase and optimise’ within the rule as it stands, and of course that would take local effects into account. Only the height above the box top is stated is it not? Adjusting said sail to suit myself is not penalising the rest of the world as you put it!

I thought it was abundantly clear by now that I am in full favour of the box and associated rules as they stand at this moment.

As a ‘club’ sailer I will certainly experiment with different rigs and I do find it hard to believe that in this class anyone would be so financially strapped as to only have two sets of sails. Especially as we are mostly using so called ‘flat’ sails at the moment which are very cheap to produce.

If you were not referring to my post then at least I have made my thoughts more clear now.


Sorry for the confusion,
I was refering to Niels post,
Niel doesn’t agree with the 12 inch B rig rule, and belives that most US sailors will only ever have one rig.Actually Niel doesn’t agree with many of the rules:)

Appologies Brett… my post sat directly above your comment so I wrongly assumed I was getting the tongue lashing :slight_smile:

As to the above… yes I have noticed.

Here is an e-mail the Brett sent me in June:

Hi Niel,
My eyes are being opened to what could be possible in a 12 inch yacht,pretty much as you said,forgive me for taking so long to reach this conclusion.
I am now quite taken with the idea of building and sailing the ultimate 12 inch yacht,rules as they are now be dammed.Modern electronics and technology are begging to be used to produce a truly outstanding small model,one that would make eyes pop when they see it on the water.
Have you seen the “balmain Bugs” that were raced on Sydney harbour many years ago?
look at this site if you havn’t already. www.the
I don’t really want to rock any boats right now…but I think a revision of the Footy rule could be made at some point,a few things I would like to see addressed.
The Diagonal boat,the aft triangle for the rudder gear,
and possibly the beam and maybe allowing 3 rigs as well.
failing that…how about a new class,or just you and me for starters
GP12 or Footy Extreme class
a rule similar to what I first proposed but more open with regard to the radio equipment etc

Internet racing.
I have one of those Dwyer meters you speak of,If we both collect data from sailing the course then we would have a database from which to try and build a formula around.Nothing ventured nothing gained,at the very least we would get a VPP of sorts for our own boats.

I am in the process of building a new boat,influenced by yours.150mm beam and 650g displacment,a much bigger bodied boat than my previous ones which will be able to carry more sail,I think this is the way forward.My small ,light designs get knocked around to much.

So, yes, I disagree with quite a few of the rules. The rules that block improvements in the Footy’s potential as a serious racing boat.
For example, this whole rig discussion has its roots in a British children’s freesailing and vocational program. As a matter of fact the rules that we are governed by now were first outlined in a position paper produced by the MYA and authored by Roger Stollery. The paper defines the Footy as a beginners boat the purpose of which is to encourage youngsters to engage early in model yachting. But the implication is to prepare them to move on to real r/c boats as they gain proficiency in the skills involved, and that undermines the legitimacy of the class. The 12" storm rig was a concept to keep freesailing boats controllable and more uniform.
So the current set of rules is derived from a British freesailing boat not from Brett’s “Bob-About” as many of you may have assumed. And objections from Brett or Bill aside, the two other people claiming authorship, the current rules are lifted pretty much verbatim from the MYA position paper. Bringing up what I see as problems with some of the provisions of the rules is meant try to redefine them to reflect our current experience with the class and endorse 21st century thinking and technology. This new class should envisage the future of model yachting, not cling to past sailing practices.

Rig restrictions/choices aside, “Modern electronics and technology are begging to be used.” I couldn’t agree more: I like the idea of a toy-boat class for kids (it makes sense) but I’m personally attracted by the challenge of building small and extreme; in solving the Footy “battery problem” alone, we should see two development tracks, ultralight (maybe narrower hulls, deeper keels??) and then the broad beamed max displacement approach, such as Brett is describing and your boats (which look mean as hell underway).

Certainly we not loose any of the fundamental freedom of design.

I might possibly be more personally concerned about the beam restriction had I not come to the tentative conclusion fairly early on that the right way to go was moderate beam, medium sisplacement, low centre of effort and every known trick of the trade to keep the boat sailable at high angles of heel: even the most steam-roller like Footy is a bit small for trying to stand up like a mighty oak-tree.

Which philospohy is right remains to be seen! I am quite certain that anyone who wants a ‘traditional nice little boat’ is going to end up at the back of the fleet: the physical/engineering constraints are so different from anything else. I think it almost certain that if either the ‘light-and-low’ or the ‘jumbo’ approach has anything to recommend it, it will be a matter of horses for courses.


Well Niel,you never ever answered that e mail,So I have to assume 1 of 2 things.
You are just whining for the sake of it.
You don’t want to play unlimited footy at all.

Niel I opened the door for you…you never walked through it,you continue to whine about the rules on this forum.

I belive there could be a place for an unlimited 12 inch yacht…it wouldn’t be for everyone though as it could prove very differcult to control.Few ppl would participate,this doesn’t mean I am not uninterested in this concept,only That I don’t think it will be a good class for most sailors.

The Footy rules as written are working…models are being built and sailed.

Niel I could publish the abusive e mails you sent me…I won’t I am better than that.
You just showed your hand though, and also you just showed the world the chance you had to improve/alter the rule but never took.

I did not respond to Niel on other than a purely technical level until Brett had had the chance to reply.

To my mind quoting private emails in a public forum is hardly the act of a gentleman.

Neil, you are undobtedly knowlegeable and talented. Your arrogance and sour grapes make you unconscionable, Get a grip and bulild the world’s fastest Footy at a beam of 15 cm. That will prove that you are a good designer. At the moment you are proving that you are a class A nark - and nothing else.

I’m sorry: I’m slighty drunk but I think this had to be said by someone.