First EasyIII Rig Experience

The Quahog Regatta was yesterday. Winds were highly variable and gusty…coming from different directions all the time. Several times on the upwind leg we found that the wind tacked the sail over without the boat changing course at all! The water, though, was flat despite the gusty conditions.

I started with my new 490g boat with the EasyIII 13.1 rig and 70% ballast ratio…and won the first race of the day! Upwind the boat is great, but downwind it is tricky to control. The boat wants to turn left and broach when a gust pushes the bow under. I got maybe 5 races in before water leaks caused me to retire the boat. It is clearly competitive, but I’m not happy with the downwind performance.

After retiring the heavy boat, I sailed my 300g boat with my old McRig and 60% ballast ratio. I won a race with it, too. While I like the momentum the heavy boat has, the acceleration of the light boat is great. It is also superior downwind, sailing straight easily with the bow submerged. An indication of the ease of sailing this boat is that my friend, an inexperienced skipper in his second Footy regatta, won two races with his version of the same boat against very tough competition.

Two differences may account for the downwind handling. First, the McRig flexes when hit with a gust, but the EasyIII rig does not. I used smaller diameter wire for the Z-bends on my McRigs than what the Easy Rig plan specified. Second, the mast pivot of the McRig is closer to the CE of the sail…more centered…than the EasyIII. I think that may explain why the McRig boat goes straight downwind. Downwind, more of the EIII sail is on the right side of the boat, causing it to turn left.

Could this be why Claudio V prefers a conventional rig?

Moving the mast pivot farther back on the EIII would probably result in a “self tacking” rig that would not be controllable, but I will try a smaller-diameter Z-bend. I’ll also add a second mast tube to the heavy boat and see how it handles with a McRig. I also plan to develop a swing rig for it…if the water doesn’t get hard before I get to it. Our sailing season is quickly approaching its end.

It was a fun day, and now I have an interesting problem to work on. I finished fourth for the day behind 3 very good skippers who beat me most of the times we sail together…I design and build better than I sail :slight_smile:


Hello Bill,
On my boat I have always preferred the conventional rig due to my sailing experience on full-scale and on bigger sailing models.
I consider it easier and quicker in finding the best set up even if it has got all settings of an IOM and therefore very complex to manage: sometimes 1 mm of adjustment on a footy change a lot in performance …
The Easy rig was concepted to be easy and quick to be made especially for a beginner: it requires far less work to be done and is more easy also in set up.

To improve the Easy rig performace and handling downwind, it is possible to intervene in two ways:

The first and most simple way is to ease the mainsail over 90 degrees.
In this way the twisted top of the mainsail allows heeling the boat to windward and it is possible to pilot the boat without using the rudder, but only hauling and releasing the mainsail changing the heeling of the boat.

To maintain a straight line with the boat a little heeled winward, if the boat luff under gust, you ease a little, if the boat bear away, you haul a litthe the mainsail.
changing the heeling of the boat, it change the attitude.

It requires more work to “pilot” but you can get excellent results: I utilize the same system racing on dinghies with strong winds.

With an overrun set by the electronics of the radio, you can even ease so much the sail downwind till to cope with strongest gusts.

The second way is to change a little bit the sail shape

I have never liked the flexible rig because downwind bend forward and, if large, the bow sink more and the speed suffer a lot.
Unfortunately in the last months I didn’t have much time to develop the “school” boats like the Easy, but last year we set up the rig slightly different giving greater “control” to boat with gusty wind.

The type of rig has less square head and is more triangular. This is an example on the rig 19 dm2.

The boom is longer and the base of the main is increased as much as the top of the main is reduced.
The same change works well on all rigs from smaller to the bigger increasing the optimum range of wind for each rig.
We tried the 7.5 dm2 triangular with about 12-15 knots and it was fine.

Thanks, Claudio.

Gusts came and went so quickly that sheeting out wasn’t effective enough to avoid the broach in all cases. I never lost control of the boat, but I certainly lost speed. I may have made it worse than other Easy Rigs because I modified the top of the sail. I didn’t care for how flat it was, so I put a pivoting wire at the head of the sail and eliminated the reinforcements at the head. That way I was able to control sail camber all the way up. The wire prevents the top of the sail from folding over, too…which may have been a disadvantage in the gusts downwind, though I think it’s an advantage overall. I think that redesigning the rig as you’ve drawn would be helpful. I have a couple of ideas, too.


Hi Bill

I think that you utilize the same solution of the new rigs of mine “footy students” of the last couse as could you see on the dedicated descriptive photos in this album of 2013:

You’d see the rigid pivot made in 1,5 mm stainless steel wire

Yup, same idea for the wire, Claudio. I attach the sail at only the fore and aft ends of the head, though…so the camber of the sail goes all the way up through the head.

I’ll try to get some pictures of the boat soon. I modified the boom on the 13.1 sail and will test tomorrow if the wind is not too strong for that rig.


I decided to move the pivot point of the rig closer to the CE of the sail, so I made new booms with the pivot 30mm aft of the original for the bigger rig, 25mm aft for the smaller rigs. I moved the mast tube 30mm farther aft on the hull also, so the CE of the rig is in the same location relative to the hull as the EasyIII plans indicate. To make sure the boom will swing properly in light air, I glued a 1/4 oz fishing weight to the aft end of the boom.

I tested the 19.1 rig in a 4 knot breeze this afternoon, and Sheila took some pictures for me. The boat tracked nicely to weather, as it did before. What pleased me more was the downwind performance. The boat went straight, and when puffs pushed the bow under, there was no broaching like before…it stayed straight and easy to control. I need more test time to get the twist of the sail optimized, but I’m pretty happy with this initial result.

Still having fun with Footys…Bill