The debate about the smallest size that’s reasonable to sail has been based more on opinion than fact.
Here’s what I’ve seen with my Footy’s:
They are very capable of sailing well, and they handle better than most people expect.
In moderate, steady wind they are a joy to sail. In heavy, steady wind they can still sail well, in spite of waves in a typical pond (I don’t have any ocean experience with them except in calm conditions.)
Top speed is limited by their short LOA, so course lengths should be limited…and a light-air race can take a LONG time.
Aging eyes make it hard to see the orientation of the boat and sails when too far away, so courses should be close to shore.
Transparent sails (thanks, Brett) are even harder for aging eyes to see!
In gusting conditions they react more quickly than larger boats to wind direction and speed changes, so they can be a real handful! Quick reflexes are needed in those conditions.
I think Razor might be more inclined to turn upwind in a gust than some other designs because of the chine “carving” the turn, like kayakers do with chine designs. I didn’t get enough experience with it to be sure that’s a factor, but it was challenging to sail in very strong wind with lots of gusting and direction changes in 20 degree Farenheit weather. Then again, so’s my Soling 1 meter in those conditions.
I think Footy’s may be more sensitive to COE changes than larger boats, so small changes in mast location may be important. I’m going to try to work on this next season to get a better feel for it. My theory is that a small change in mast location has a proportionally greater effect because of the percentage change it represents with such a short LOA.
Lightweight sails, like mylar, work better than heavier materials like dacron, especially in light air.
A nationally rated, very experienced skipper told me, when sailing my HalfPint for the first time, that it sailed better than a Laser, but I haven’t sailed one so I can’t validate the statement.
We have much to learn about the performance of these boats and what works well or not. Optimal displacement, sail area, standard vs. swing rig, narrow vs. wider hulls…all areas to explore.
So add your observations and experiences to this thread. Both general observations and those about specific boat designs would be helpfull to all.