maximum sail area

I was hoping someone could enlighten me on the basic rule for sail area for the footy class boat. the rules state that one set of sails or rig must not extend 305mm above the measurement box, but it does not state maximum sail area allowed. can this be as simple as what the small boat can handle based on keel length/counter balance and buoyancy ? I am in the process of building from scaled down plans of a nine foot dingy named blondie built by John Burgh in Indiana, I have sailed the full size version and have found it to be a great little boat. it employs a balanced lug rig and is quite stable and fast.

Not quite.

Within one regatta, a Footy is allowed two rigs. The larger one can be as big as you like. The smaller one canot exceed a height of 305 mm. The height limit on the smaller rigs is there to discourage the development of ‘freak’ designs.

You can have as many rigs as you like of any sizes you like, but you can only use one 305 mm rig and one larger rig in any paticular event.


I see ,so there are different heats using both spec(305mm) rig and unlimited rigs?

Hi Jim, no the idea is that you can choose one sub 305mm height (B) rig and one larger (A) rig for a single regatta, one, two or three days. Then dependant on the wind conditions you use one or both of those rigs. There is no requirement to use both.


thank you , I think I understand now .

FYI - There was a vote to change the sail rig rules, but they remain as stated by others above due to awkward wording.

I am beginning to change my mind about the two sail rig rule. Being in Florida for three months and sailing in 5 Footy Regatta’s & weekly at our events plus practice days, it is miseranle to sail a Footy with a sail that is either two large or to small. I can easily change McRigs in about 1 minute or less and our winds change a lot during a day and also go from dead to lively spots due to trees, etc. Having gone to 3 new ponds, it takes a few races to figure out a best rig size, so locals can have a big advantage. A 2 or 3 day event makes it more difficult.

I hope we get another vote for no limit on sails. This is the way the clubs seem to be doing it here in Florida anyway.

Anyone agree?

To frank,

in my part of the world ( italy ) weather is usually a little better than norther europe, and I have suggested to Italian footy skippers to use the same florida “deregulation” in order to allow use of two different - free size - rigs within a single event.

Otherwise, for an average size footy, a storm rig is almost useless.

We are still discussing about it, but this seems to be the way to go.

I agree with you.


Hi Flavio

Good to hear from you. I would like to see your vote soon as Bill Hagerup is planning a vote here in the US on total pkg. I would hate to see the US need to vote twice.

Do you recommend any two rigs or simply any # of rigs? I am coming around to any rigs as the better the Footy sails, the better the growth will be.

Have you checked out our new website recently? We have been busy adding content and have more planned. We also plan more videos in which we will follow individual skippers thru a race.

Is there a website to follow your race results? Take care.


Normally you’ll have to rigs for a regatta, The taller one for light wind days, andthe small one for heavier wind days. 305mm was a good idea to get people to build the storm rigs small.

Hi Frank,
However the AMYA vote goes, both the old Footy rule and the new amended rule still allow only the two rigs, one unmeasured and the other limited to 305mm in height. This is because while changes to the sail/rig rules were proposed on the recent IFCA ballot, none of them received the required number of votes to be passed. So, until such time as the IFCA offers a new ballot with new proposals concerning the number of sails or measurement of rigs, we will be sailing with two rigs, one limited by the rule & the other not. Hopefully by the time that might occur, the need for an additional AMYA ratification vote will have been eliminated. Personally, I feel that there should be a limit on the number of proposals (but not necessarily a limit on the number of options for a given proposal) submitted on a given ballot, and also a limit on how frequently a ballot should occur. Otherwise, we may find ourselves having a new ballot every year (or perhaps, even more frequently than that!).

Bill Nielsen
Oakland Park (Ft. Lauderdale), FL USA
AMYA #0835
Footy # 835

Not strictly true Bill. The organizing club has the discretion to modify it’s race instructions and this has been the recent custom in Florida in rigs deregulation at local regattas. In this part of the US the strict adherence to the rig rule only appears to be applied for AMYA chevron events. Because, as Ffrank points out, the wind conditions in Florida rarely call for the storm rig, the development of our Footy’s wiould be somewhat restricted if the class two rig rule is used as a design consideration. It’s a long jump between my current boat’s 26in mainsail luff on it’s light ‘A’ rig and it’s 12 in B rig.
The only consolation is that we’re ‘all in the same boat’ when it comes to rigs. Paul

It’s a long jump indeed Paul you are right. My approach has been to strive for a good ‘working’ rig with plenty of adjustment options as offered by the sloop layout. With a rig of about 190 which can be twisted off and depowered almost down to the 305mm B-Rig band the problem is eased. Definitely it will loose out to a large (over 200 light wind rig on a very light wind day but there has to be some risk to make it fun! Whether the rules change or not I think that broad band rigs whether sloop or una have much to commend them.


I agree. I do not think ANYONE with he possible exception of Brett and the certain exception of Roger Stollery likes the current rule. The problem is that not enough people could agree one one particular change for it to pass.
If anyone wants to go through another ballot, so be it - but the easistfix for the time being is in the sailing instructions.

There is one silver lining to the cloud though! Here in NW Europe the small rig has given the Footy an excellent reputation as a heavy weather boat!


Paul & Angus,
While that may be true for local club races, is it also true for bigger events such as those on a National or International level? If so, then why can’t the organizing club also modify it’s race instructions to include rule modifications in ANY category besides sail rigs, such as batteries, number of radio channels, keel depth or even hull length? At what point does it stop being able to be called a Footy regatta in favor of a free for all? Also, why then all the fuss over the recent rule changes? :confused:

Bill Nielsen
Oakland Park (Ft. Lauderdale), FL USA
AMYA #0835
Footy #835

I agree that it is sticking plaster and should not be applied to top level events BUT we then get the ridiculous position that club-level boats may outperform, be more of a challenge to sail and emore expensive (!) than those developed for top level events.

The only correct (if optimistic) answer to your question is ‘common sense’. Although it may not always seem that way, there is a surprising amount of it around this class.

Graham, that may be why I’m going retro and playing with gunter rigs. Pop the halyard by 2mm and depower the top third of the main, pop it a bit more and ‘scandalise’ the top of the rig to depower even more. I’m still in trials so it may not work, though the principal seemed pretty successful in the 12 sq metre sharpie, probably the last pre-bermudian rig performance boat. In a blow in flat water they would readily out perform quite a few of the early planing dinghies. Something to be said perhaps, for thin heavy chine boats with short readily adjustable rigs, when the wind pipes up… And Angus, this is observation not heresay, I raced dinghies on Chichester Harbour in the late
50’s and early 60’s, the last UK stronghold of the traditional 12 sq m sharpies.

… with ‘bollock-remover’ centreboards!


After reading the comments above, I see that this is a sensitive area. and a great deal of thought as gone into this subject. As a newbie to the sport,I have been looking for a class that would at least make me think I was competitive while having some fun in the process. I’m not sure that is the case with an open rule on sail area, it would be a lot like showing up to a car race with a austin mini & all the other competitors are driving austin minis with v8 power. after all ,we are talking about the engines of these little boats. I’m not saying limit the type of rig to be used,as this would encourage refined sail designs and hull development. but set a limit so that at least these little boats are par with each other so that skipper skills and good tuning prevail the winner.

The parralell isn’t exact - or perhaps it is! As I recall it, competition minis never went much aove 1000 cc, partly through class rule constraints but also because you couldn’t get a bigger engine in the engine bay, weight distribuion, ability to actually apply the power to the road.

If you look at pictures of Footys, you’ll find that the rigs are of fairly normal proportions - because that’s what works best. I wouldn’t worry on that score if I were you.