Footy fun sailing

If it were legal for bowsprits & bumpkins to rest on the top edge of the box, there would have been no need to provide a slot in the box to accommodate them. If you have such an appendage that extends beyond the box, the only place it should be allowed is in the slots provided for it in the measuring box.

The placement of a hull in the box diagonally to gain a few inches of WL length goes against the spirit and logic of having a measurement box in the first place. Whether they will admit it or not, the rules committee’s choice to allow diagonal placement was a serious lapse of judgment and good sense that has caused several problems elsewhere in the interpretation of the rules (Sorry guys!).

Bill Nielsen
Oakland Park, FL USA

Q1. With Presto having a Bow Sprit, can it be placed in the box on the diaginal with the Sprit setting on top of the box corner? If not legal, then bow sprits are not possible on diaginal positioned boats?

I must admit that I have always understood the rule to mean that if the boat has a bowsprit it must fit through the slot, not simply above the box edge. Hence the compromise that a diagonal boat has no bowsprit.

If it can then I have a design on the bench which would love to have a bowsprit right now :lol:

Q2. Does a boat with a shallow draft have to rest on the bottom of the box or can it be propped up with a spacer so the deck is raised to just below the top surface of the box? If not, forcing a boat to rest on the bottom limits what can be done with sails.

Yes prop it up or just hold it in place as we do. This Q. comes around every few weeks it seems. None of my boats have had full depth keels so I know that works fine Frank.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Flavio et. al.,

I suspect the rules were written to accomodate a boat shape as used to illustrate the rules - i.e. where the hull has a rigid main sheet guide.

I know from personal experience that one of the rule compilers is of the opinion that a rigid mainsheet guide must be within the box. This interpretation even goes as far as the little 6 mm diameter screw eyelets which people use to screw directly into the deck. Using this interpretation of the rules would have precluded the use of deck mounted Bowsprits and Bumkins. Therefore, in order to allow the continuing use of legacy boats - those constructed before the rule was written down - the rule makers introduced the slots. N.B. This is only my interpretation - I am not one of the rule makers.

If you look carefully at the rules diagram you will see that the mainsheet guide is of such a height that without the slots the Bumkin and Bowsprit would not clear the box - even with the pronounced sheerline shown. What this doesn’t show of course, is that if you had a substantially flat deck with a chord and ring mainsheet guide then the Bumkin and Bowsprit could be above the box. This is because the ERS F.1.5 declares that anything that will only work in tension is called rigging, and the Footy rule B2 says that both rigging and spars may project above the top of the box. As Flavio points out, Bumkins and Bowsprits are most definitely spars as defined by ERS F.1.4

This introduces a paradox here, in that two components that do exactly the same job and take up exactly the same amount of room when working seem to be controlled in different ways simply because one of them is rigid and the other flexible. At the time I was warned about my little 6 mm eyelets I tried to argue that they were associated fittings and as such allowed by Footy rule B2 - but this was rejected. I would hope that this anomaly will be cleared up in the present round of rule modifications - but I’m not going to hold my breath.


firstfooty ( Mistralette 147 at Birkenhead )

It seems that an example of a 19° century technology ( a wooden bowsprit on a gaff rigged sloop ) is raising more problems about rule compliance than the discussion about the unbelivable Andrew’s ZBF unidentified floating object.


Frankly speaking it seems to me that diagonal ( and 3D diagonal ) boats are unforeseen effects of an open hole in first footy rules.

I agree with Bill N. that this unwanted side effect is against the original rule spirit, but - unfortunately - due to the fact there several models have already been build it is now too late to go back.

Broadly speaking , I can understand that cosmic batteries, or tungsten ballast are potential boosters to sailing performances, and their acceptance should be carefully assessed, but two sistermodels (not diagonal ) one fitted with a bowsprit on deck, and another one with a bowsprit within the slot are from performances point of view exactly the same.

I hope that “the bigs” ( Angus ? Bill ? Brett ? ) will add their opinion about the “diagonal sprit” to clarify the matter


Folgore ITA 5
Presto ITA 13 ( ?? )

By ERS F.15.1 a bowsprit is a spar!


Is this monster spar legal ?



Flavio - i get an error when trying to open the document
You may need to re-send

Good Morning Flavio

Your invention brought a big Smile to my face. I love it. Yes, I could see your drawing (even with my phone).

It is amazing how an apparent simple question Q1 generates so much flack and very few short direct answers and still leaves me confused (which is easy to do).

I suspected the answer to Q2 was YES, a boat can be raised up with a block.

The mention of Brett has me wondering if all is OK. I have not had any responses to emails in weeks? Hope all is well down under.

Hi Andy,

may be that you are unable to open my pdf due to a different acrobat release ?

It seems that frank has been able to see the drawing.

In case of trouble send me a private message with your e-mail, I will send you the attachement.

My drawing is showing a lateral bowsprit :

  • starting from hull side
  • crossing rule box slot
  • ending on model longitudinal plan

as view from top, this spar looks like an hook ( or an umbrella handle )

it seems to me that this funny and ugly looking object is legal… isn’it ?



ps - in any case I will post again the file

Which would appear to be a pretty definitive answer, thanks Angus. Just have to watch out for the bowsprit supports or epoxy fillet :scared:


Getting back to steering courses, one advantage of going that route is that I suspect many if not most UK model boat clubs will have steering obstacles etc. already to go. Powered scale steering events are always a favourite there. A lot can be done with plastic water pipe and those floating tubey things.

Regards the box, I think a little tolerence of non-performance enhancing attachments should be given to scale like boats, specificaly for steering events. I am thinking about cabin tops in particular. Would it not be a bit silly to disqualify a boat with a skipper whose head is above the box edge for instance?


I was at Southwater this last weekend and there were two delightful boats both by Ray Baxter. The Thames Barge which many of us have seen, and a Chinese Junk complete with authentic transom paintings. Wonderful things. Set me thinking …

Talking of racing the ducks - we had two nine ton swans (wing span 40 feet or there abouts) landing on the starting line with ten seconds to go. Someone remind me of the rule for claiming a fixed but arial obstruction.



178 and others, one sunk

It seems that my post requesting sugestions or even better pics for my next project has not produced the results I had hoped for so here is another one for you lot out there to ponder over. Would a fotty fun day on the lines suggested by Graham Pugwash be supported if I could persuade my club to let me organise one.We are situated in the west midlands so pretty central. Your commments please, Bob

Given that most kids who saw Stuart Little’s first movie wanted ‘one of those yachts’, and given it’s historic value as a racing yacht - why not ‘America’?

[i][SIZE=1]In 1851 one American boat challenged 16 English ships. The Royal Yacht “Squadron” of Cowes, England was the host. The New York Yacht Club entry was the schooner “America.” W.H. Brown, the designer, was so confident of his design that he refused payment if “America” did not win. The oft-quoted remark by the Queen was sparked by a great lead and victory around the Isle of Wight over the 16 other yachts. She asked, “Who is first?” “America” has won, she was told. “Who was second,” asked the Queen? The reply still echoes - “Your Majesty, there is no second.”

[/SIZE][/i]And then you might consider all the other yachts in the race (Stuart’s race of course), especially the Galleon. Then you could really have a race. Little blue sailor suits and all…

Thanks to the guys at
for the research.

Hi Bob, how about A Skipjack? I’m trying to find a drawing online but to no avail yet. I always liked their large triangular mainsail and raked mast. Could be done on a Kittiwake hull I think. To see some of Bob’s fun scale boats take a look at

Graham is a website of Atkin boat plans that has some good ideas for character type footys. There are flat bottom, v bottom, and round bottom designs. Look at P.M., Flying Saucer, Joan, Quiteude, the skipjack Jaquelin, Amos Brown, or the schooner Florence Oakland for some ideas (there are many more).

I think many of the Atkin designs would provide a good starting point for a footy, maybe with a fin keel and larger rudder. I hope to build another footy this winter with some ideas gained from this website. It will be tough to beat Flavio’s design though. is a website of Atkin boat plans that has some good ideas for character type footys. There are flat bottom, v bottom, and round bottom designs. Look at P.M., Flying Saucer, Joan, Quiteude, the skipjack Jaquelin, Amos Brown, or the schooner Florence Oakland for some ideas (there are many more).

I think many of the Atkin designs would provide a good starting point for a footy, maybe with a fin keel and larger rudder. I hope to build another footy this winter with some ideas gained from this website. It will be tough to beat Flavio’s design though.


Many thanks for you suggestions they have given me much to think about. Let you know what I decide on, Regards Bob

Flavio, did your beautiful boat ‘Presto’ take to the water yet?

Point-to-Point or long course ‘racing’
As I have been around this model sailing and footy world for quite a while it may be that footy history as I saw it is a little different. I have a copy of the August 2001 ‘Windling World’ in front of me, this was a now defunct small format publication by Mark Steele of New Zealand. The issue includes a report of the ‘Beyond to the pond’ races held in March and April of that year. A building frenzy had apparently taken place in the Ancient Mariners club of Auckland after an earlier mention (December 2001, WW) of Richard Webb’s 12" model yachts in England. The result was nine scale like footys coming together for two gentlemanly point-to-point races. This was footy racing as I first read about it and a great inspiration.

We started here talking about something other than racing as a way to bring scale like boats together. But racing can be a fun lighthearted affair if simply approached in a different way. Look at the Thames Barge group for instance. If I had enough interest locally I would put on a long course scalish footy day. We have an island on our lake and an awkward little neck and bridge at one end. With a bouy thrown in up in the neck and one at the other end of the lake where we launch, plus the island to negotiate we could have a very entertaining afternoon. A stroll around the pond would do us all good and without doubt it would be more banter and laughs than cut throat racing. For me the scalish boats came first and should be encouraged in any way we can.