Footy Euro Grand Prix at Bourneville

Before the little grey cells fail me yet again I would like to thank the crew at Bourneville - Bill Green, Mike Harris and John Newey for staging the Footy event today.

I was initially reluctant to display my gross lack of skill in such illustrious company - but was made to feel at home from the start. It was all very low key with very few rules being enforced as it was supposed to be a fun and learn day. Learn I certainly did - probably more than several months of Internet reading.

The first two runs of the standard Footy 50 ft course was a real embarrasment - I couldn’t even get to the first marker before the rest of the fleet ( 5 of us in total ) had finished :confused:

However, after being taken aside by the hosts, and a few significant changes made to my McCormack rig things were a lot different. I eventually managed to post 1 win ( just ) a couple of seconds and numerous lasts places but at least I got around.

I always used to think of sailing as being gentle and relaxing, but now I realise that is only when you are watching. With a Footy you have to be alert 100% of the time, tireing but a hell of a lot of fun.

Thanks again fellahs - see you next time.

Trevor Thomas

sounded like you all had a swell time.

my race earlier this year started like yours, only i did not finish as well as you did…congrats on the win (only if barely)

Paah, the ever-efficient Footy publicity department pipped to the post by the punter (and try saying that after a few beers). Anyway, here we go.

Footy Euro Grand Prix

After horrendous weather in the Midlands resulting in serious flooding, it was debateable whether Britain’s first Footy open regatta would be on – but it was.

Folk came from Nottinghamshire, Derby, Gloucester and as far afield as Kent, as well as Bourneville, the host club. Unfortunately the contingent from Colwyn Bay were cut down by their various medical problems - arthritis and back pain to scream at, illness in the family - and the very unreasonable refusal of Keven Jackson’s kids to walk down the M6 from Burnley if father wasn’t going to drive them! Had they all turned up, there would have been a field of 11. As it was, we had to content ourselves with 5.

A total of 18 races was sailed using an adaptation of the 50 ft Internet Classic course with a wing mark added to give two triangles and a beat to the finish. As usual the wind at Bourneville was swinging around and varying in strength. All in all very testing conditions that kept everyone on their toes.

A variety of designs were represented; John Birnie was sailing his award winning Shazam, Gary Sanderson, Alan Nicholson and Trevor Thomas sailed Razors, Bill Green sailed his LaJabless. The Razors all had una rigs based on Brett McCormack’s input, Bill’s Lajabless had a swing rig to the Stollery design and Shazam was conventionally rigged.

Most of the guys had not competed in a race before so time was taken to adjust and sort boats where needed and all went away better for it. Not unexpectedly, experience, local knowledge, a well prepared boat and (just possibly) a modicum of talent (!) won the day - and pretty emphatically at that. Bill Green won 14 out the 18 races, the others being won by John Birnie and Gary Sanderson.

But was it fun? Well … First of all the Bourneville club hosted a really enjoyable day out, very ably run by Race Officer Mike Harris. Plenty of tea was drunk, chocolate biscuits devoured and a lot of information swapped. To quote “A jolly good time was had by all”. People who had come with some trepidation found out a lot they didn’t know about sailing model yachts - for which all thanks to our Bourneville hosts – and the much more fundamental fact that racing was not as fearsome a lark as they thought. At the end of the day everyone agreed that what to some extent turned itself from hi-fallutin championship to a kind of competitive workshop was both valuable and fun – and that they wanted another one, soon.

For design watchers, no firm conclusions could be dawn. In 7-9 mph (3.5-4.5 m/s), the Lajabless went well but Bill Green’s success probably owed as much to Bill Green as anyone else. Vindicating the Chris Dicks Award judges, Shazam seemed to be pretty much on the pace. The mass absence of Colwyn Bay was unfortunate: at full strength they would have contributed a small flock of Kittiwakes, Keven Jackson’s interesting Foot Print and examples of Angus Richardson’s Akela and 507 designs.

In conclusion, both competitors and the very experienced Bourneville race managers agreed that the modified Internet course was ideal for Footys. It was small enough for competitors to be able to see, and gave short, exciting races. In a relatively large lake like Bourneville, its small size means that many heats can be run simultaneously. Even at a relatively ‘beginners’ stage, everyone could see that it could be quite wickedly tactical.


  1. Bill Green 18 pts Heron LaJabless Swing Rig
  2. John Birnie 26pts Birnie Fat Bullet Conventional Rig
  3. Gary Sanderson 37pts Hagerup Razor McCormack Una
  4. Trevor Thomas 45pts Hagerup Razor McCormack Una
  5. Alan Nickerson 66pts Hagerup Razor McCormack Una

For pictures see.

wow, sounds like a great time! i gotta build my footy course!:rolleyes::cool::p:D

Ill health, little sleep and poor driving conditions served to sway me on the side of caution… I did not want to risk driving 130 miles whilst tired.

I must say I was quite surprised that the children did not fancy the short walk down the M6… after all, they are both much fitter than I am ! :smiley:

Hopefully, things will be more settled by the time the next meeting at Bourneville comes around. I’m already looking forward to it.
Any idea as to when that is going to be ?

Keven. :slight_smile:

Hi all
just like to add my comments to Trevors, although i had a few problems with my boat i had a good day. Thanks to Bill, John and Mike for the hospitality and to the unknown Bourneville member who lent me some 5min epoxy when my servo broke free.
Paper is out and new flatfoot is under construction this morning.
At last seeing more than 1 footy in a fleet has told me to stick with it, they are great fun boats to sail and my wife says that watching the races was more thrilling than watching the Americas cup as a couplr of races where literaly lost on the finish line.

A great day and i will be back


Nice report Angus and clearly a fun day out for the guys who got there. There is no doubt that getting some footys together and racing the bouys gives us all a boost every time it happens. I wish I could have been there!

Congratulations to all of the organisers both on here and on the ground on the day. Well done Bill and well done Nigel for supplying the hull, it is good to see your creation sailing well. In fact well done everyone for taking part and giving footys another good day out.


Great job Angus et al. Would love to have been there. Looks like Razor is still a viable competitor, even though a simple design. I’d have liked to see how the Razors might have done with a bit more sail area. Maybe next time!

Bill H


First of all, for my own benefit, are you the Bill H who designed the Razor ? This was, and still is, my one and only attempt at building a yacht, so it has been quite a learning experience. It has a 1/16 balsa hull - no resin, just painted, 2 standard servos, a standard 2 CH Rx, dowel mast and boom and 165 grms of lead ballast. All things considered I am well pleased with the result. It still sits a bit low but seems to sail well. I must just learn to build a bit quicker.

Anyway, back to your question about sail areas. When I first pitched up at Bournville I had an untried 192 ins^2 McCormack rig with a Luff of 600 mm set at 140 mm from the pivot point to move the CoF forward to reduce a perceived tendancy to turn into wind. I seemed to be having no end of handling problems with this setup so I quickly changed it for a 144 ins^2 sail with a 450 mm Luff but still set at 140 mm from the pivot. The Bournville crew thought that this setup gave too much area in front of the pivot which was causing weather cocking so I kept the same 144 ins^2 sail but fitted it to a spare pivot boom with only 100 mm forward if the pivot. This appeared to be a big improvement, and I sailed the rest of the event like this.

Being a bit of a novis, I think I am confusing the effects of the different sail parameters. I am now wondering if it was the weathercock effect and not the CoF position which appeared to be turning me into the wind :confused: Perhaps I should have stuck to a conventional rig for starters until I achieved a bit more experience

The trials continue. What I am looking for now is a stretch of water with a raised edge for easy access, no weed, no trees, and a wind that stays at a constant speed all day long :rolleyes:

What sort of areas do you think your hull should run with ?


Trevor Thomas

Hi Trevor and all, a quick rule of thumb for balanced rigs like swing rigs or offset pivot uni-rigs; no more than 30% of the sail area should be forward of the pivot point of the rig. For my swing rigs I use between 26% and 28% jib area to account for the offset in leverage of the jib slot.

The reason for this is that the mainsail part of a balanced rig is downwind, so to speak, of the pivot point, and has to have the larger area to overpower the sail area in front of the pivot point thus providing control of the rig. Just picture a weather vane.

To determine where your balanced rig’s pivot should be placed you first need to know the location of the Center of Effort for your sail plan. If you have information from the designer about the area and orientation of a conventional sail plan then your balanced rig can be superimposed over it to find the pivot point location on the hull. If you know the designer’s recommended C of E for their hull’s sail plan then you need to determine your rig’s C of E so that you can find the pivot point.

For a swing rig the quick and dirty way to do that is to trace the outline of your sail plan’s configuration in relation to each other. I’ll assume that both are triangular. On your trace, draw a line from each corner of the jib to the mid-point of the opposite side. Do the same for the mainsail. Now draw a line between the intersection of the lines on each sail. Measure the length of this line. The approximate C of E lies along this line in proportion to the percentage of the areas of each sail. If you have a jib that comprises 30% of the sail area, the C of E is around 30% of the line length measured from the intersection of lines on the mainsail. This usually lines up just aft of the mast on my sails.

If you have a well designed boat I’ll bet that the pivot for a 28/72 rig will line up with the leading edge of your keel fin (where it meets the bottom of your boat). It also helps to have a few mast tubes or a trunk system in your deck so that you can move the rig forward or aft to find where it works the best. Over the winter you can remove the extra tubes once you’ve found where you rig’s pivot should be located.

I am not a fan of sheeting forward of the pivot. In my experiments with this type of sheeting set-up all sorts of control issues surfaced, particularly as the wind piped up. With balanced rigs the Achilles Heel is sailing into strong heading shifts. These wind shifts, if not anticipated, can reverse the sails and stop your boat dead in its tracks. I found that with forward sheeting getting out of one of these stalls was more difficult than with sheeting the mainboom. Thats all for now, I hope it helps.

Clear explanations like that Neil are always useful, I had been wondering myself what the basic numbers were for a swing rig. Print and save…


Interestingly enough First footys rig ended up pretty much as I discribed the rig on my first post on the subject.
As Niel points out ther is much more to these rigs than just making something and hoping it works.


I second Graham’s comments - clear, concise and to the point.

My McCormack rigs all follow the same pattern of a triangular " Jib " section and a 1/4 ellipse for the " Main ". I then have a spreadsheet which calculates the CofA of both these sections and then combines them. I also have a spreadsheet which calculates the co-ordinates of the ellipse which makes drawing the actual sail a lot easier.



Thought I would share this with you


Bill - can I have a decent file of that. We can use it for publicity somewhere. It’s brilliant!


On its way,Footy04BV070422.jpg

along with some others