Future of the Footy Class

The Footy class seems to be at a point at which it could either languish or boom. Anyone reading this has, by definition, at least some interest in seeing it boom.

Registered Footies managed to climb above the requisite minimum for recognition as a class in the USA relatively recently. The UK Footy register shows 28 boats – two of which are mine and most of the rest of which are from a single club. There are undoubtedly others: there are at least regular two Scottish users of this forum whose boats do not seem to be registered.

I have no figures for New Zealand and somebody is said to be putting a register together in Canada.

This is not entirely surprising. Many of the sources of information about Footies (particularly the commercial or semi-commercial ones) do not provide any references to (say) this Forum. There is a very good chance of a Footy just becoming an orphan boat, the only one in town, and one whose owner has little or no connection with RC sailing (the sport, not the site) as a whole. If this continues, I think it highly likely that the class will peter out.

We should stop this happening. I put up a number of propositions as Aunt Sally’s.

  1. The Footy is not a toy: However, on grounds of cost, complexity and portability its primary appeal is probably to the young. However, most people in this forum (except Brett, we’ll give him another year yet) are middle aged males.

  2. Youth is gregarious, fashion conscious and competitive. Young people like electronic scoreboards, Internet games, etc. And they like winning.

  3. There is no reason why the Internet Course cannot be used for normal fleet racing. If someone can come up with a way of attaching an outer limit mark to the leeward float so that there is always (in theory) a totally unbiased line, it has certain benefits over a conventional course.
    a) It is always a true windward course with a perfect line.
    b) It is easy to lay and, other conditions allowing, can be left permanently laid – while remaining a true course.
    c) For the inexperienced it has some interesting lessons of its own. If the consequence of getting on the wrong side of the course in a wind shift is that the course rams you, you might just pick things up that little bit quicker!
    d) It can be used for both individual time trials (recorded on an Internet scoreboard) and fleet racing as and when people find it convenient.

  4. The Internet Course should be regarded (at least for the time being) as the norm for Footy racing. Further, the expectation should be not that you post a time only if you are the world’s fastest Footy but if you beat (or even lose to) your sworn rival, that miserable bugger in Wyoming. I have had a great deal of fun at top class international regattas at which I was hopelessly outgunned by the big boys by simply having little private wars with equally incompetent Belgians half-way down the fleet.

4a) We still have to stop new boats vanishing into the diaspora. I, for example, intend to give two of Graham’s Kittiwake kits to the children of my two biggest customers for Christmas. These will be the first boats (as far as I know) in Belgium and Sweden. I will make sure that the kits come with instructions on how to find this and every other Footy site I know of. However, this should be the norm – the information should ideally be supplied by the builder IN HIS OWN INTERESTS.
5) Better, boats should be supplied with Footy sail logos (particularly since these are fiddly to produce) and should be pre-registered – i.e. they should come with a national sail number which has already been registered with the national registrar. In the UK, there is no problem in this in principle: registration is free. In the USA I understand that registration is technically free but tends to be bundled with membership of the AMYA. I would respectfully submit that this is short-sighted. If what is supplied is a registered boat INCLUDING REGISTRATION ON AN INTERNET SCOREBOARD, there is a possibility that the proud owner will join the national association. If the boat becomes an orphan, another unwanted Christmas present in the garage, the chance of this is minimal.

  1. There is then the problem of national authorities. I think it is important that sail numbers should be international (e.g. GBR 28) if only because this gives some feeling of belongingness to an international community which global web-based numbering lacks. I can also see the idea of registration and numbering of an AMYA class by a non-American body going down like a lead balloon in the USA. So, no problem: the national registers, where they exist, feed an international register. Unfortunately this runs into potential political problems in countries where there are no (or very few) boats. I assume that there is a Belgian Model Yachting Association. I am totally certain that they will not want to know about registering a stray American kit owned by a 12-year old somewhere up by the Dutch border. So WE have to allocate a sail number BEL 01. My view is that, if the Belgian national authority finds out and objects, the attitude should be ‘We’ve got the punters. If you don’t like it, do the job yourself’. Others may disagree.

  2. Ideally the scoreboard should give people who use it the ability to contact one another. I am NOT talking about a chat room or forum, simply the ability to send emails. If anyone can devise a method that will work simply, it should be able to locate people who are physically close to you. I live in a small town (say 30,000 inhabitants). There could be a dozen Footies here (indeed there may be) and I would probably be none the wiser.

  3. Cost. I am told that the price of providing an online database from a top quality UK provider is about £240 a year (about USD 480, NZD 720) as an absolute maximum, potentially much less if aspirations are low. I am prepared to put up 50% of this if the remainder of the funds for the first year of operation are guaranteed by others. Somebody else can do the software and administer the thing!

Now shoot me down in flames ladies and gents. That’s what it’s all about.


PS Guests to the forum are very welcome to join and put in their twopennyworth. It’s actually you we’re interested in!

Angus, I do have quite a supply of coconuts, but I don’t intend to throw any of them :slight_smile:

You have some good and interesting ideas there which are well worth thinking about. For my part I will do three things now… I will add links to here, RCGroups (sailboats) and the Footy Yahoos to my web link page.

I will enquire about AMYA literature to include with all of my kits and hull sales… can anyone here help with that?

I will address #8 by offering the Footy community free web pages and hosting within my domain which resides on a quality commercial server in the UK (no adverts or pop-ups). Presumably that is where the main cost is involved Angus? I would take advice on what would be suitable software to run such a database from someone who knows. Details can be ironed out.

Or does RCSAILING have a way of doing this? If so then I don’t want to step on their toes within their forum.

USA 10

I am curious about your scoreboard idea. I will put that topic in the pub to continue about that. (In order not to side track the rest of your ideas.)

A way of contacting eachother could be a system of personal spaces - this could include contact details, images of boats, corse times, position on “internet scoreboard”, opinoins and blog-ish things and any other relevant information (location, favourite sailing location ect). (Similar to myspace but i wouldnt advise using myspace or Bebo).

All you need is a webdesigner with a footy.

In addition to this, when sold all kits could come with a username and password to encourage newcomers into this onliner community.

That’s a pretty good list Angus.

  1. Toy status, hmm. I would say we promote the class like any other racing class. It’s as much a toy as any other model boat, no more, no less. Mostly we need some races to chat about.

  2. I like the idea of using the Internet course for all Footy racing. Most anyway. I’m going to build a course and see what I can do. Some other local Footy boats are almost ready to sail along with my 2nd boat so fleet racing should only be a month away at most.

  3. Yup, I’ll post all results. Let’s get chatty about racing. Will require racing.

  4. I’ve heard of decal “paper” that inkjet printers can use. Maybe Footy logos could be distributed with registration numbers. AMYA charges $7 per boat registration. This seems high considering Footy designs could change rapidly and a skipper may have several boats. Maybe AMYA could charge for just the first boat or every 3rd boat.

  5. Encourage international sail numbers, check. Skippers should register where they plan to sail. If a national body exists and will help great. If not, they can form a local chapter FootyInt. and self register. I’ll be adding USA to my sails tonite.

7-8. Sounds like Chad will host. We just need to find or create a scoreboard application. There may one around. Lots of online games have ranking/score sites. I’ll hunt around some.

I tried to help folks find other skippers with a Frappr page. I’m having trouble with it though. They don’t appear to want links on their map pages. Seems rather unsporting that they want links to Frappr but won’t return the favor of back linking. Their rep called it clever marketing. I may drop it if they don’t play fair, pretty clever huh?

Let’s keep the class rolling.

USA 33

P.S. The AMYA magazine just came out. The Footy class was proudly holding down the end of the Class News section.

I suspect that the biggest bugbear in this is the AMYA. It also think that, given what is proposed, their charge is just plain bad business.

Graham’s kits are $70 apiece. Add $7 to that and you have a 10% price hike, which is of no direct benefit whatsoever to Graham. All it does is make him less competitive with the slot car, or whatever else Granny has in mind for little Johnny’s Christmas present - so he doesn’t supply pre-registered boats.

From the AMYA’s point of view, they forgo virtually any likelihood of Little Johnny ever getting seriously into radio sailing, joining the AMYA or anything else. This is crazy when, as I understand it, the only service they are providing is for Bill to enter the details in the database.


Well, I found a possible scoring app. It’s written in perl and seems flexible enough to track whatever we’d like to track about our races. Now we just need to figure what exactly that would be.


What do you think?

That looks good. If we take on board CHRISABERDEEN’s ideas above, can we link it to some sort of personal space/location system?


Excellent Chad, much better to keep this all in or around the same place anyway.

Angus… Yes $7 is significant. I know there has been discussion about this before and as I remember it the AMYA would not make an adjustment. Am I right in assuming that if a footy were registered by a non AMYA member through our Class Association then that boat is still actually registered with the AMYA at the same $7 cost?

Being a part of the AMYA does bring us a certain amount of publicity. Particulary as there is no worthwhile model boat magazine in the USA where we can promote the yachts and advertise our wares.

Otherwise I would point your attention to the old ‘Duplex 575’, a yacht built in it’s thousands I would suggest, in Great Britain. It was a one design boat of simple vac. form construction, is sailed by many model boat clubs still and used to hold a ‘nationals’ once a year. All without ever being recognised by the MYA, perhaps they never tried, it really didn’t matter, boats were registered with the manufacturers or just within the club.

I am not suggesting anything by that, just pointing out that it is the footys themselves and having fun competing with them that really matters.

USA 10

Nice ideas everyone,keep them coming.

I like the idea of National letters but fear ISAF would not agree,more research needed in this regard.

I would like to see a world championship run via Internet racing in the next few years. We could make this happen if all we are talking about here bears fruit.

I think the compact nature of a Footy model makes them ideal for traveling to races also.A boat in a brief case as it were.

I think we should supplement the unusual nature of these boats by nurturing the unusual concept of " internet racing". I think the 2 things sit very well together.

I would like to think about the possibilites of a Footy association that has no releationship to ISAF,Not saying i think this is the route we should take but would say that our unusual boats and racing methods would seem to have not to much in common with what many consider model yacht racing to be,both in regard to the size of our boats and the style of our racing.

All food for thought.


Most of the ideas here are in synch with my direction, too. I’ve already written an article (with pics thanks to Ian) about building the Footy course that will appear in the AMYA mag in a couple issues.

A while back I suggested a 1/2 size version as an alternative for swimming pools and farm ponds, etc. Do you folks think that would be a good idea? I fear that 50 feet may keep people from being able to do sanctioned racing in some of the venues we hope to encourage.

Angus, please email me or post your questions regarding AMYA so that you won’t be posting inaccurate or misleading information. To clarify a couple of items:

  1. There is no requirement to join AMYA to register a Footy with the Class Association, and I’ve never said otherwise. If people have that impression, perhaps they were mislead by inaccurate posts in the forums.

  2. Since I hold both positions of USA Registrar and AMYA Footy Class Secretary, I encourage, but don’t force people to join AMYA. I don’t see this as a conflict of interests, since virtually the only racing in the US is through the clubs of the AMYA. Participating in the AMYA community give builders access to info and assistance, and local clubs are a great way to have fun with other old guys who have nothing better to do on weekends. I was invited to take both positions because of my passion for Footys, and, I think, because I’m perceived as a pretty straight shooter. If anyone is concerned about this and would prefer to take over one of these positions, it’s fine with me.

  3. $7 is higher that I would like to register a boat with AMYA. I’ve made the point that it can be a barrier to entry into the class, got shot down, but will continue the discussion. The money is not just for me to enter registrations. It is intended to fund all class activities, including things like supplies, mailing, race promotion, trophies, etc.

  4. Although you seem to see the AMYA as some kind of problem, the USA currently has the largest number of registered Footys, most of which, but not all, are registered with AMYA as well as with the Class Association.

Graham, When a member of AMYA sends me $7 to register a Footy, I automatically register the boat with the Class Association also. When a non-AMYA member registers a Footy with the Class Association, I can NOT register that boat with the AMYA Footy Class. By the way, there’s a one-page AMYA brochure on the AMYA webpage that you can download and print for inclusion in your kits.

Bill H

Thanks Bill I will go and look for that brochure.

Re. 1. I think that rather than ‘misled’ what we have happenning here is just a lack of organised information. As demonstrated also by the recent queries regarding the administration of the Footy Class Rules outside of the AMYA. It was requested then that that info. be posted in an easy to find place. The fee info. above can be displayed with it. That would save you the time Bill of having to answer the same questions over again.

To clarify your answer re. registrations. A NON AMYA member can register a Footy with the Class Association. If that boat is then NOT registered with the AMYA which would cost $7, then does that not mean that ‘we’ have control of what such a NON AMYA registration should cost?

If so, then would that not be our chance to register Footy Association boats at little or no cost to encourage the registering of many more footys and swell the numbers? I would likely register a couple of serious race boats (if I had one) with the AMYA/Footy Ass., and then register others like my semi scale boats with the Class Association only… hence swelling the numbers but not costing me $7 a shot.

I am not trying to cause a problem here… I am trying to tie up the loose ends.


I hope I didn’t confuse things regarding the AMYA. I think what I posted was correct. I was apparently incomplete though. Which leads to my questions.

  1. If I just wanted to register with the Footy Class Association (FCA), would I have been given a sail number but no AMYA hull sticker? I thought I was registering with the AMYA and that sail number would be honored by the FCA (reciprocity policy or something). I didn’t realized that I was registering twice.

  2. If I’m sailing a non-AMYA registered boat, are my options for regattas or other venues reduced? I know we haven’t had any regattas for the Footy yet but I would think AMYA sanctioned events would only be open to AMYA boats and skippers. Other sports I participated ran things this way.

I joined AMYA with EC12m racing in mind. It’s the featured class in the latest issue of their magazine. Otherwise, I may have just registered my Footy with the FCA. I may only register my 2nd boat with the FCA and save the $7 until I run into an AMYA requirement for an event somewhere. (I’m a thrifty yankee living in the south. AKA I’m cheap.)

For the record, I think Bill is doing a great job. I have no beef with him or the AMYA. I’m just trying to understand how things work so we can make the Footy a successful class.

Bill, you wear yout two hats with distinction. Thankfully winter is coming on so they shouldn’t cause too much overheating.

Do I take it from this that a production builder of Footies could be at liberty at register the boats he builds with the class association free of charge on behalf of his customers? If so, we have exactly the same position as with the MYA in this country and there is no difficulty.

Is there any legal or ethical difficulty in the content of that registration being passed on to some other computer system (i.e. an international register) hosted in the EU. USA or elsewhere?

If we take on board the ‘personal space’ idea, and the data in the personal space is created and maintained by the data subject, are there any legal problems in the EU, USA or elsewhere.

On both these mattets I can quite readily check on the position in Britain. Since our legislation is the result of an EU directive, the result should in principle apply thoughout the Union.

New Zealand, Canada, Australia?

Can the proposed scoreboard system automatically divide people into divisions? With promotion/demotion to the next highest/lowest division at the end of a period/series? When I was a lad, West Kirby Lake was too small for all the Fireflies and half the fun for the lesser mortals was to try to be one of the three boats promoted to the First Division at the end of the series. It’s the same point as the ‘equally incompetent Belgian’ (see above).

If so, can we get parallel division by world/country/fleet? This would give race results management to any Footy fleet/national association at the touch of a button.

Keep the ideas rolling, it looks like this might just achieve lift-off.


I second that…


AMYA requires that persons entering regattas be AMYA members with duly registered AMYA boats ONLY for National or Regional championships. (Section 8.3 and 8.4 of the AMYA bylaws) (Participants in such regattas from other countries must belong to their National Organization). So, you’re not restricted from entering any regatta until Bill, as Class Secretary, certifies one as being a National or Regional Championship.

I’ve sure been sitting back and following this thread with great interest. But, I am getting a bit confused, probably mostly out of ignorance. Most of you have been involved in model sailing for quite awhile and the clubs and associations involved in it. For me, it is all new to me. To make things worse, in my neighborhood, the people I know ask all the stupid questions and have absolutely no idea how a boat even sails.
So, in respects to internet racing, I am all for it! But, I have a few logistics problems with setting up an internet course on my lake. One, Lake Arrowhead is a private lake and I don’t have any lake rights (but I use it anyway). So, I would have to be able to remove it each time. This brings up another problem, getting the course out far enough from the shore to get away from the vagrant winds close to shore. I don’t have a 1:1 boat! And at 5000ft elevation the water gets cold fast!!! The other problem is very soon after you leave the shore, the lake drops to over 100 ft deep. Lots of anchor line needed there! Maybe my problems are unique, but it is what I face.
I have not even put my AMYA number to a boat yet. Mainly, because I don’t feel like I have built a competitive boat. I never did receive a hull sticker either. Also, was not aware that I could register a boat without paying seven dollars. Sort of feel like registering a boat that turns out to be a dud as a waste of money. I have no problem being a member of AMYA, but there are no sanctioned clubs closer than 150 miles away from me. I joined to help the class because I seem to have developed one heck of a passion for these little boats.
I commend you, Bill, for taking on all the resposibilities for all of this! You are really taking on a lot and you have done a great job with this class.

Bob, let’s try to keep separate parts of this complex problem separate.

I hear what you say about the AMYA but I’m a foreigner dealing with a foreign country. What happens within America is not really any of my business unless it has international implications.

On the technical aspects of the Internet course, there is a new thread under Internet Court Postings. Only put some ideas about how to deal with deep water there.

Others please follow!


Well, since I know nuthin’ I’ll stay out of the discussion

Hi Doug

I’m no expert on AMYA regulations, but based upon my understanding of the situation in the UK I suspect that this regulation intends to say that (1) anyone sailing on public waters in any kind of organised event should be a member of the AMYA because such membership provides the necessary public liability insurance; and (2) a class-registered boat is only needed when the event is a national or regional championship.