Footy book !

Next christmas don’t ask your wife another pink tie : ask something better :wink:

Within few days ( starting from 15 december ) thanks to an international joint effort ( Italy, USA and UK ) the world first footy book will be available.

Title of the book is " How to Build the Footy Model PRESTO" and I am, of course, the author.

Publisher is wooden boat books, distribution will be started by “The wooden boat store”, and - hopefully - in a not too far future this product should be also available at “normal” bookshops.

88 pages, softcover, 8.5"x11" ( 216 mm x 279 mm ) $ 19.95.

see her for more info

Book is made of three main parts : model hystory, plans (14 sheets ) , and building sequence ( approx 100 steps ).

There are about 150 photos, diagrams, drawings and diagrams.

Bill Hagerup ( also know on this forum as “mudhenk” ) has be so kindly to write a nice foreword - see below attached pdf - < many thanks Bill >.

The friends of WoodenBoat magazine a so enthusiast of our class activity to put my ITA-13 as “cover girl” of their Fall 2011 catalogue.

All considered, a nice achievement for our class !

Last but not least, this book has been dedicated to the memory of the great Angus Richardson “the ogre”

Folletto ITA 150

plans only , and kit box package are also for sale

Nice way to skew the public’s perception of the class to a “semi-scale” template. No offense Flavio, but I won’t sail with boats with bow sprits and they don’t belong on the race course.

Hey Flavio,

Never mind the sour apples…

It is beautiful!

Dear Niel,

I will take advantage of your post to discuss here - once again - about “a different approach” to the footy class.
Even if I have designed built and raced several classic footies I agree with you that gaff rigs and wooden bowsprits are today an unusual sight on race course.
Even if I am still dreaming about “the ultimate wooden winner” I am not an idiot, and I am able to understand that there are several alternate -and simpler - technical solutions to win trophies.

The real point is that, even if seems un rational , there are a huge number of persons that don’t care about races and pure speed.
There are modellers that are just looking to have fun building something at same time pretty and able to tack and jibe decently.

Around the world there are now more than 200 set of plans of my catboat footy “Brando” and I am currently receiving many e-mails asking for details or advices and suggesting improvements or modifications to my drawings.
I ask all of them to describe their intended use of their model yacht and the almost standard reply is : " I am happy to sail her on a small pond not far from here " .

May be in the future we will see real semiscale competitions based on static score + on the water results ( such as for model airplane contests ), but - so far - it seems that are overgrown children happy enough to just use their toyboats during sunday afternoon eating a sandwich and drinking a beer.

My good friends of Wooden Boat magazine , even if they are supporters of every object made of wood, are basically involved to semiscale footy models also to earn their bread and butter.
It seems obvious that they are doing their best to promote this kind of “products”.

They are perfectly aware that Bill Hagerup’s projects are simpler, faster, and absolutely for free.
They have even shown these “competitors” on their spring 2010 catalog .

They just believe that this models are “earning their ticket”.

Nobody is looking “to skew public’s perception of class”.
On the water there is room enough for carbon fiber shells and spruce rigs too.

Isnt’it ?


see below a nice gallery of classic footies on the race course :wink:

Dear Flavio,

A foot long boat is looked at as a toy by most, but not by folks that race them. Racing is serious no matter what the size of the craft. I have pushed very hard for the rule changes that have resulted in the current crop of better performing Footies. Footies that are no longer “bobbing about” but actually sail somewhat like a larger competition class boat like the M or IOM. Footies that don’t perform like toys anymore. There is still a ways to go though and semi-scale is not that way.

Your direction satisfies the needs of non-racers, I give you that. But WoodenBoat is another order of magnitude over offering plans on the internet or by mail. It has been hard enough for Footies to get a “foot hold” in the US overcrowded model yacht market. Building respect for these little racing boats and getting venues to sail them has been an uphill battle from the start and continues to be so.

That is why I have a problem with positioning a friendship sloop type boat as the archetype for Footies in a mass market magazine. In one move it undoes all the work by so many to bring Footies into the 21st Century. Dedicating the book to Angus, who pioneered ulta-light performance Footies I find offensive as well.

Maybe you still won’t get it after I’ve said my piece, or maybe you have so much confidence in what you are doing that you don’t care about how this is going to effect the racing folks that got this class off the ground. Maybe you don’t think about any of this. Or maybe this is just a commercial venture and the return outweighs the harm. Perhaps there is a market for little captains in foul weather gear smoking a pipe as a spin-off?

I’m sure you have many fans out there who disagree with me. I had many folks disagree with changes in the battery rule, or undoing the limitation on the number and restrictions on rigs which I championed, or diagonal/angle placement in the measurement box which my Brujo design pioneered. These changes in the rules have resulted in small breakthroughs in Footy performance. That is why I care about the direction the class moves in.


may be I am wrong, but these are your key points :

[FONT=Arial]- racing is serious.

  • semiscale models are slow.

  • their painful show of poor perfomances ( most probably due to the additional ballast of little captains in foul weather gear smoking a pipe ) “undoes all the work by so many to bring Footies into the 21st Century”.

  • the unrational effort to have not too ugly models on the water “bobbing about” seems to be - to you - just a clever “commercial venture”.

  • behind this “commercial venture” there are powerful dark terrorists currently working hard to destroy the respect for this class .

  • respect for this class has been build winning “uphill battles” thanks to your powerful effort.- alone -

  • due to the fact that Angus pionereed light displacement models you find my dedication “offensive”.

Racing is serious.
I am aware about this.
I am a dinghy, keel high performance yacht, and offshore sailing instructor, as well a naval architect, a marine engineer, a ship surveyor,and a “real” yacht designer.
I won my first sail trophy in 1981 - thirty years ago -
I wrote a Velocity Prediction Program VPP ( a racing yacht simulator ) as my final degree thesis.
Last but not least I am the only skipper to have been lucky enough to attend all footy euro gp ( 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 ).

Footy class is - in my opinion - not so "serious".
Footy class, may be you have forgot the point, is an entry level class and has been - from the beginning - aimed to friendly and fun competition.
I feel that your comments are - unfortunately - far to be funny.

Your improper interpretation of Angus’s mind seems to me to be - indeed - offensive.
Angus pioneered light displacement boats, as well proper use of brain, and gentlemanly sportsmanship.
I have been lucky to share several pints of beer with him, comparing our different designs in smoky liverpool pubs .
Angus , most probably due to the effects of the copious abovementioned liquid fuel, was crazy ( or kindly ) enought to write on this forum nice comments about performances of my footies.
(*) Performances - not aestetics -

From his cloud hovering above footy races around the world he will be able to appreciate my dedication much better than you.

Awaiting a match race - on the water - between your “actually sailing” model and my own " group of planks floating in close proximity " I suggest you to relax and to enjoy the game.
Model yachts ARE toys, this is the point.
I hope you will find a pretty pink tie under your carbon fiber christmas tree :wink:


( [COLOR="#FF0000"]* )performances
during the Wroclaw Euro GP 2010 in Poland, unloading the smoking captain, my Presto MK II dragged herself ahead of two ICE, one 507, three moonshadows,one voortrekker and one razor ( not to mention other competitors ).
Skipper of Voortrekker was gary Sanderson , former winner of the first Euro GP, builder of not less than 15 different “actually sailing” footies, a man taking racing seriously but - at same time - still able to smile and enjoy the game.[/FONT][/COLOR]



Part 1 I have decided never to take part in any yacht race again because I do not enjoy over-competitive attitudes

Part 2 I will sail in Footy events where the competitors are friends, friendly and courteous, but I am sailing for fun, participation and the sheer admiration of elegant craft on the water.

Flavio was good enough to share the early plans of Presto with me. So I built the first UK example

We sailed our Prestos together at Birkenhead, and beautiful they were too.

In Flavio’s hands they are capable of being up among the leaders in each race
Thank you, Flavio, lovely boat. I look forward to reading the book

In order to extend the powerful realm of footy models made of vegetal carbon fiber ( aka “wood” ) as clever “spin off” , I am happy to report that my future footies will be provided with salty sailors and pretty seagirlfriends.

This smart marketing decision shows our commitment to “customer satisfaction” and it’s an example of prompt and positive response to our client feedbacks.

Flavio :slight_smile:

[i]see below :

Capt. Mc Wirr

Mr Stubb

Miss Helen

Miss Jennifer

As well a serious competitive duck ( on board his 1/2 Footy “Perepè” )


It’s interesting to note that this book was not planned until few months ago.

One year and half ago, WB decided to promote this footy as our second “commercial venture”, following the unexpected positive response of my first model ( the semiscale catboat “Brando” ).

First prototype was sent overseas to be put on display during the 2009 edition of the wooden boat show in mystic.

A second protoype was built few months later to enter the wroclaw euro gp.

Following a very long rest after the contest, I started to work on plans during last spring ( not less than 80 hour have been spent to polish my sketches ).

Meantime I started to write a detailed building sequence aiming to have a level of details at least double than Brando ( 104 steps on Presto , 45 on Brando ).

More than 120 photos have been selected within a gallery of more than 700 .

Even if in the past Scot, the person in charge for the Wooden Boat publication, was looking to publish a book having not less than four or five footy projects at same time, I have been able to persuade him that - adding few more pages - we could have been able to reach the “critical mass of paper” of a real book.

Interesting to note that these critical masses are not a casual number of pages.

One of the magic number of pages is - for example - is 64 . Why ? because 64 means 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 , or in other words a big sheet of paper , printed on both sides and folded five times.

Another funny point is the binding method :

  • spiral bound is perceived as a cheap low quality product
  • stapled ( saddle stitched ) bound looks as a magazine
  • a book thick enough to have a spine ( you know the side space where title is printed ) is considered as a “real” book

Even if started to write “few more pages” having in mind to describe materials and methods ( glue, paint, wood, how to cut , sand and paint wood and so on ) , the initial part about model design and calculations was so big to postpone “basic footy technology chapter” on a future next book aimed to a simpler project more suited to an “entry level” approach.

Presto is - most probably - not a footy for first time modellers, and -most probably - it’s not necessary , in this case, to explain ( for example ) the difference between different types of glues.

Basic “handwritten” book book was ready after the summer, and - since then - text has been “sanded and varnished” to achieve a proper editorial finish.

Last but not least, my many english grammar horrors ( not errors ) have been adjusted to somebody more qualified than me to do that.

  • Rome was not build in one day only -


see below an extract from the wooden store catalogue

This book has been , for me, a nice opportunity to show that - even today - different design tools can be used at same time.

A computer 3D cad software, a pencil on a scrap piece of paper, and a more detailed “artistic” handmade drawing can - and should - be used during different design phases.

A simple sketch to define a concept.

A computer to make calculations , to explore different design options, and to plot perfect and wondeful perspective renderings.

A final set of plans with handwritten calligrapy lettering and pencil shaded drawings to finalize the work.

I like the philosophy of the well known yacht designer Paul Gartside, these are his words :

" Part of the job of the drawings is to pass along the information needed to built the boat, but it’s actually the smaller part.
The truth is, the most important thing the drawings have to do is to excite the imagination of the customer.
Ideally they lodge themselves so firmly in the poor fellow’s brain that he has no choice but to possess them one way or another.
We would prefer that he go on to built the boat, but if he is only buying plans for his stash, that’s okay too.
We have computer payments to make, after all " :slight_smile:

Computer cad drawings are useful to “to pass information” needed to buid a new model of washing machine, but hands on paper are the only way to transfer the emotion of wooden sailing boat .


Flavio -

You and I have very different views on model yachts.

You make a differentiation between “real” boats and Footies that are toys. For you Footies are “entry level” boats.

First there are no “entry level” boats, that is imagineering. In fact Footies are damn hard to sail well. With the rule changes they have become more predictable but just because they are small does not make them simple to learn on. If you want to teach your kid to learn to sail model yachts then you are better off with a Victoria or a Soling. Second, to race a sailboat you must have a knowledge of the rules governing a race. That doesn’t change no matter if the boat you are racing is a foot long or a dingy or a 12 Meter.

My point of view, which is the racer’s point of view, is that the boat is the means by which we race. It is the tennis racquet to the game of tennis. And even if you might dismiss the Footy as more like a ping pong paddle, have you ever watched Olympic Table Tennis? It doesn’t matter if the boats are small or huge, the Racing Rules of Sailing are the same if you are going to race a boat.

That is why we have measurement rules in design classes like the Footy, to govern the basic parameters of a particular class. These are individual rules for individual classes. They are crafted so that different designs can race together and still be somewhat competitive with each other. The key here is competitive. Design classes put limits on essential performance elements and designers work to make the fastest yacht within those design specs. The idea behind the design classes is to win races as consistently as possible, and make the best tennis racquets to help do so.

Presto, engineered to be pretty and uncompetitive, doesn’t contribute to the evolution of the Footy design class. I don’t really know what “semi-scale” means but it doesn’t mean Footy. Really, if you showed up at an IOM regatta with a “semi-scale” Friendship sloop IOM what do you think the reaction would be? Oh cool look at that, or, wait until we are finished with the racing.

Now, you’ve represented the Footy class as a goofy sloop class in an International magazine. The folks that build your design will show up at Footy regattas and get demolished on the race course. They will be very happy that they spent money on your plans and your book. I am sure you will be quite popular!

It would have been far better if you had just made your Presto into a one-design class that measured outside the Footy measurement rules.

I guess I can close those barn doors now.


Your vitriolic attacks are hardly in the spirit of Christmas. Nevertheless, you are putting a heavy burden on yourself to show up at our Region 2 Footy regatta in April, and test the competitiveness of your Brujo.


Why don’t you just go home…every time you say something in one of these forums, it is negative and snide. Hardly constructive, per your opinion…


Come on people. Neil was just making a valid point. Everybody has different ideas of what sailboat “racing” is. Some are very competitive and some just want to sail around the buoys. This seems to be an ongoing schism in every club I have ever sailed in. It was even a topic of conversation leading up to an AMYA National Championship.
I have known Neil for many years and he has consistently innovated and contributed to many classes, the Footy among them. Personally, if he has an opinion, I would like to hear it. Is that not what this forum is for?

Flavio - congratulations!
It’s a pleasant surprise - I think not only for me.
In terms of the discussion: This class was supposed to be different than all - first of all was to be friendly to everyone - not just for “carbon professionals.”
I am convinced that Angus certainly would not be offended by your dedication. IMO he would be grateful to you for it!
Hold on to your way - I’m with you!

The best for all in 2012!
POL 01

Letter from a competitive footy skipper to a skipper of bigger - competitive - full size boats

Dear Larry,

I wish to express you my compliments for your wonderful battle against slowly sailing boats.
Thanks to your uphill battle, oceans are now free from the old fashioned expensive monouhull yachts bobbing about not far from Valencia ( sometime - unfortunately - bobbing ahead of your own team ).

Your lawyers have been more skilled than your designers and huge masses of lead have now been removed from america’s cup challengers enabling human beings to sail into a new fast century.
IACC class are no longer expensive unrational toys.

Racing is serious.

Unfortunately it seems that these new boat having two hulls running - usually - in close proximity are in many cases floating in the wrong direction.
Most probably their crews are not serious enough to pilot these leadless yachts , and stupid sail magazine are writing a lot of wrong stuff about their unusual heel angle sometime approaching 180°.

I have a solution.

Use footies for next America’s Cup Edition.
Footy are 21st century racing machines.

Footies are damn hard to sail well. With the rule changes they have become more predictable but just because they are small does not make them simple to learn on. If you want to teach your kid to learn to sail model yachts then you are better off with a Victoria or a Soling.

Taking advantage of my experience and of your lawyers we will , at same time , ban the vegetal made goofy models from ponds, lakes and oceans.

Please feel free to contact me for your next - competitive - defender



First, the “N.” at the end of the previous post implies that I wrote the piece which I did not.

I made my point about racing previously.

The first “Brujo” shown in the measurement box was made of fiberglass with a cedar keel fin and balsa rudder. I usually make my larger hulls from Kevlar or Spectra, but all of the composite cloths, Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, and Spectra are too heavy to use for Footies with exception of keel fins. I make my Footy fins from two sheets of Carbon Fiber with foam or Balsa cores now.

The Brujo photo was published in the AMYA Quarterly to illustrate the versatility of the Footy and being creative with the measurement box. I had a whole bunch of “traditionalists” screaming at me because the box had accommodation for a bowsprit and a rudder so all Footies should be put in the box along the centerline only. My presentation of this concept was derided as not being in the “spirit of the rule”. Well, that argument didn’t fly.

I have also made my share of “veggie” boats, but now I am back to glass. And here I am going to make another controversial statement: Home made Footies will eventually phase themselves out as the competitive weights come further and further down. Advances in powering the servos and the servos themselves will continue to get smaller and lighter. The evolution of hull design and construction techniques will continue to improve to reduce sailing weight and improve efficiency. Like it or not, as the class grows in size, professionally made competitive designs will displace home built boats. Average home builders/designers will not be able to compete.

So, semi-scale (whatever that means) boats with cockpits and cabins and trim and bulkheads and bowsprits and gaff rigs are antiquated as soon as the varnish dries. Pushing Brando as the archetype Footy does a disservice to the international audience that WoodenBoat Magazine appeals to.

It happens that guys get so wrapped up in what they are doing that they don’t look up and consider the big picture. “Is what I am pursuing moving the ball forward?” “Is this the right direction for the class?” I can see why Flavio is so upset after being confronted about his promotion of his semi-scale design, after being fluffed by all his supporters who are so quick to jump to his defense. But take a moment and consider the questions above. Put aside friendship and admiration of the guy and just consider whether this is what the class really needs.

Dear Niel,
I perfectly understand some or your points, I myself am a builder of “hi-tech” footies. My last FOOTYPOZ is fiberglass and has a hull of bare 18 grams.
If you will have the possibility to race agast one of Flavio’s boat, you will immediatly notice that they are FAST.
Despite their “semi-scale” and vintage look, I’ve seen with my eyes, they can well compete with ICE’s, or Moonshadows, or the best Razor3’s.
My girlfiend, who is a footy-sailor like me, uses one of his designs, and she performs well too. With a small cabin, etc, she was able to race decently in Wroclaw (Pawel do you remember?) against many other skippers with more experience and tech-oriented footies.
I own a IOM yacht too but I will never attend a IOM race because they usually are un-friendly events, with lots of angry people, and discussions, etc.
I attend footy races because people are nice, relaxed, they enjoy their small boats and someone wins… but at the end there is beer for everyone!
Sincerely I hope that footy class will remain a group of friends who enjoy playing with small boats. Maybe someone will use a gaff-rigged boad, maybe someone else will use a shoe with a sail on it… when you will come to Italy I am sure you will find some strong competitors for your footies but, more, you will find friends to share designs, suggestions, tricks, spend some relaxed time and drink beer.

so…welcome to hi-tech designs and welcome to semi-scale, and the best wins!



Dear Sirs,

I wish to give you notice that your interesting proposal ( relevant to use of Footy Yacht for next edition of the America’s Cup ) has been duly noted, and that We have brought the proper attention to the matter.

I have given detailed instructions to my staff to investigate and to report me - on short notice - conclusions about this quick but extensive research.

These are main key points my legal advisor and my technical consultants have underlined :


1 - Footies are , indeed, fast and responsive yachts and n - moreover - are usually floating almost upright .

2 - Even if they are damn hard to sail well, we have hired some young and promising british sailors to help us understand how to manage these dangerous fighting machines .

3 - From design point of view, We feel confident to have our young technicians focused on a new really competitive challenger as soon as possible.


4 - It seems that , once again, swiss sailors are leading the way.
According confidential reports, a footy model designed and built in this country so far from seas, has been able ( for unknown reasons ) to win the 2011 edition of Footy Euro Grand Prix.

5 - According other very confidential reports, these modellers have close - and sospicious - connections with a well know unfriendly sailing Team

6 - Last but not least, it seems that due to an old statement written and undersigned by Mr. Angus Ogre Richardson, " supreme court of New York has no authorithy on footy class activity "


Even if We have appreciated the great competitive potential of Footy Class , unfortunately We can’t accept to start a new venture suffering an unfair initial “technology gap” following Alinghi’s wake .

Moreover my Lawyers have been really impressed by the legal mousetraps that Mr.Angus leaved to protect his creature, and their advice is to stay clear of troubles.

For the above mentioned reasons I prefer to leave to you this funny game .


ps : During my christmas vacation, on my 452 ’ yacht , I have been reading a nice new book about wooden footies :wink: