Footies Offshore

I am intrigued by the fact that an A class has been sailed across the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. We all know that Kiwis are totally mad but …

‘Real’ waves are much higher than those on your local pond but generally much less steep. For a Footy they are probably something like a long ocean swell. Keeping sight of the boat might be a problem, as might keeping radio contact - but I think the seaworthiness problem might be much less than you might think. What about a Footy distance race of a couple of miles?

as soon as i get a boat back in the water i’ll try it on long island sound… [not sure how, but i will…] might have to wait till spring though, its supposed to get down to 17F this week… yah sure right… maybe by then i’ll haave an M505 finished too, then we can race!

I sail mostly at my local marina. sometimes I take the little bugger outside the marina walls for a little play in the rough stuff.Great fun indeed.

I can see how a bit of “offshore racing” might be fun.

OK - so two people are taking this at least half seriously.

How do we arrange it?

We need 1 or more (how many more) control boats to carry skippers and a rescue boat. What kind of length is sensible? Do we allow crews of more than one so you can change helmsmen? What’s a sensible maximum length? If there’s any tide at all, I suppose that the most sensible format is a passage race that can be completed withinn 6 hours (or 12 if you have a 24 hr tidal cycle).

Possibility/ Can boats be recovered to change rigs in mid-race? How do you stop this being abused?

Big(ish) lakes are probably better than the sea.

you are gonna need a REALLY big lake if you want to emulate the ocean, [or it is gonna have to be blowing like stink!] [i live on an 11x2 miles lake all summer that looks like glass 65% of the time… lousy sailing, but really sick wakeboarding! anyhow, your chase boats don’t need to be anything special, after all footys go what 3knts on a good day? about the rig thing, couldn’t there just be a general consensus needed to change rigs? also, will these thins last 6-8 hrs in ocean swell?
last thing, it would have to be a pretty nice day, because if the waves get too high they wil blanket the sails as the boatss sail down into the trough…

Where is your big lake? Most of ours are reasonably windy because of proximity of mountains/sea. I’ve sailed on a few very big lakes in continental Europe (Vanern, Vattern, Maleren in Sweden, Balaton in Hungary). All are much bigger than your lake. The Swefish ones are ideal places for sailing. Balaton is brilliant in spring and autumn but mostly flat calm during the hot part of the summer (and engines are forbidden).

It has always been true that one of the things that wins offshore races is to be the first boat to but reefs in and the first to take them out. I think that skill or whatever you care to call it) hould be passed into offshore Footys.

Will it last? Probably not unless you make it that way!

Swell height is a problem full size - including in very severe conditions when being semi-becalmed as the bottom of a trough can occasionally make it difficult to align the boat to cope with the next peak. This usually occurs when a rapdly inceasing gale whips up a steep secondary wave system on top of an established big swell.

Taller rigs? Better hull balance? Retire? Impractical?

OK - how about a Footy race starting in Mackinac City, Michigan - out around the far (north) main pier of the Mackinac Bridge and back. The confluence of Lake Michigan with Lake Huron.

Call it a “Big Mac Attack !” :lol: :lol: :stuck_out_tongue: :cool:

c. mid-May 2007?

how about around mackinac island … everone puts up at the grand hotel and the race progresses around the island … a long slow walk perhaps (is the entire foreshore accessible?)

in mid May I’m seriouisly open for anything (decent:devil3: )

Besides the late Euan Sarginson’s crossing of Cook Strait with a “Highlander,”
several long open-water sails were made during the free-sailing era. In the 1930’s, at least two trips were made from the West Coast of the US to Catalina Island. There is one mention of an M Class race from San Francisco to Treasure Island (in SF Bay) during the 1939 World’s Fair, along with plans to sail a free-sailing boat to Japan [!] but we have been unable to verify either of these. There have been both deliberate and accidental crossings of the English Channel; in one accidental one, around 1911 or so, the English owner was not allowed to reclaim his boat until he paid customs duty to the French. My most prized possession is a BRA 18-Footer (about the size of an M) that was plucked out of the North Sea by a yachtsman sometime in the early 1930’s. It had evidently gotten away from its owner and was plugging along toward Norway when sighted.

If you chose your venue and day carefully, e.g., so the route could be crossed on a beam reach, you should be able to dispense with the sail servo and run rudder-only. With a little thought a “bang bang” rudder control could be devised which only drew current when “banging.” I would image you would want the highest aspect ratio rig you could carry in order to get up into the wind, and of course a well-balanced hull design so she would sail herself most of the time. Sydney to Hobart, anyone?




Would you please remove you spybots from m:zbeer: y notebook?

I have daydreamed at the possibility of building a very substantial free sailing footy with a small rig and letting it go from our harbour entrance.
Factoring in the prevailing winds and about 1/2 knot average boatspeed,I reckon it would make landfall some where up the coast of America in about 150days.

put a little GPS tracker on it! [how fun could that be! “footy “xyz” made landfall this morning at 0500 hrs in the port of well, actually it was a barren beach on the coast of Chile!”]:zbeer:

That could put some real meaning to the Frapper map:) :stuck_out_tongue: Could plot the course

Photo of the above course… we had a lovely few days there in '05, nice city. I forget if there is pedestrian access on the bridge or not?


I would guess that there might uite often be a steady current out of Michigan into Huron that might make the course unsailable by something as slow as a Footy.

The Mackinac Island idea probably works, but it could be too long (I’m guessing 15-16 miles and you’re in the Frozen South with relatively long nights even at midsummer.

yah, how about the “round Newport Harbor race?” or “Keywest footy week?” or “the great footy raid?” [just trying to think of warmer climates!]

warmer climates generally mean longer summer nights. Somewhere in Sweden round Stockholm or even up at the top of the Gulf of Bothnia could be incredible. Pleasantly warm and never really gets dark.

Millions of lakes - hmmm. Same applies to Finland.

For the ultimate in Footy distance racing - the Fort Augustus to Drumnadrochit Race. This is about 15-16 miles down the southern part of Loch Ness. The loch is reasonably windy and the prevailong wind is from the south-west - i.e, the race is likely to be a downhill sleigh-ride all the way. If it were held close to midsummer, you could probably expect 19-20 hours of working light.

If anyone else will give it a go, I will.

And what publicity for the class - Footys versus the Loch Ness Monster. If only we could arrange for a boat to disappear in mysterious circumstances.

For the post-race party, see