My First Footy Build

My Footy Boot (building a Razor)

I wonder if I can put together a Footy Yacht, I’m now retired and thus having some
time to myself and having an interest in model boats the idea was growing in my
mind. I have only ever built one thing before and that was a springer from and ABS
moulded plastic, which I re-enforcing with some balsa and pine before putting the
internal in place, I figured this was going to be a bit more difficult. First move, look at
various photos and plans on the net to see what others have done before me, there are
some nice builds out there as well as some well design kits, I already own a Wind
Warrior yacht, which I got second hand so I didn’t want to put together a kit, I felt
that I need to start from a simple set of Plans. I liked the simple plans of the Razor
designed by Bill Hagerup so I down-loaded them and as many photo’s of other
people builds and started from there. I would need to find as many bits I could from
odd stuff around the house as I really did not want to spend heaps on new material etc
if I could find a suitable substitute in my shed I would try and use it. Having got the
plans down loaded now print them, no legal size paper, it’s Aus, so stick two sheets of
A4 together and away we go.

As I was not being sure how it was going to be assembled I also printed it out on
some light card board the idea being to tape it together and see how it worked out.
Tapped the bottom sections together and then decided I could use this to enable me to
put some panel pins in a piece of flat pine to help hold the bits together as I assembled
the base.

Stuck the design onto sheet 0.8 mm ply, decided not to use balsa as I felt the ply wood
be a little more robust to my handling. (I’m not good with wood, much happier with a
lump of iron and a big hammer.) Used a water soluble glue so the plans could be easy
to remove once I had the shapes cut out to the exact dimensions

Start cutting the sections out with a Stanley Knife for the approximate shape then re-
trimmed with a pair of Scissors and finished it of with a sanding block.

Start the process of putting the bottom together, I started from the transom end and
taped the first couple of inches together, and put several spots of 5 minute epoxy glue
along the fitted section and waited for it to set. Having made a pin board from the
cardboard version I then proceed to do a couple of inches at a time until the two
sections were together. Once dry a layer or epoxy was put down internally for the
complete length.

More to come

any comments are welcome


Sides not so easy but a similar process to that above, tape an inch or so then glue, then
repeat until I got to the end. Second side more of the same lots of tape and the odd
elastic band finally got the job done. Did get some distortion doing this but seem OK
once I put internal spreaders in.

Added some Spreaders and the Transom, this gave it the increase in strength that I
wanted, next figure out where to the keel and mast base need to be added, then cut the
slot for the keel. Had looked at ways to make a suitable keel and came up with some
1 inch by 1/8 Aluminium flat bar hiding in the roof of my shed, which I then decided
to cover with balsa to give it size and shape.

Figured Aluminium would be both light and strong for this job, and I should be able
to bond a 4 oz Lead fishing sinker to the end of it to give me the required ballast.

To make the boat I little more robust while I was build it I gave the shell a quick spray
with some clear epoxy, and after it had dried some sand and sealer. Profile was now
looking a bit more like the photos I had looked at on the net, so felt I must be headed
in the right direction.

Next Step was to locate the Servo’s within the shell and allow room for the receiver
and battery pack. I had a couple of Futaba S3003 standard servo’s, and looking at the
specifications on the net they would have no problem being used with a sail arm, so
back to the Aluminium flat bar and make a sail arm that I would fit on the standard
servo arm. After some head scratching settled on a length of 2 ¼ inches, this would
clear the other servo on the layout I had proposed and should give enough sail
movement as well.

Now need to think about Rudder and Mast and location of the fittings for the sails,
and for and the remaining equipment, also had to make the keel with ballast, so
decided to tackle that next. Roughly shaped the Lead sinker purchased from the local
large super markets fishing section. Cut a slot in the lead to match the bar, and then
attached the bar in to the slots and pined it in place with some small nails. I then
mixed up some fibreglass resin (normal used for small repairs on cars) and coated
around the lead bulb and bar to fix it in place. Once it had gone off then cleaned up
the rough shape with a file and glass paper. Next step sandwich the flat bar between
some Balsa to give it the required size and shape. Now the are no real dimensions
shown on the drawing I had for this design so I elected to guess this by looking at
photos and then knowing the length of the yacht (12 inch’s) guess the size of the keel.
The basic concept behind the footy, allows for some variation so that as long as fits
within the Box it seems the rest is up to the builder. It looks OK to me and so that
was the way I came up with my keel. Next step would be the Rudder. I looked at
some more photos, came up with what I felt would be nice dimensions new that it
could be up to 200 mm long but settled on 90 mm by 50 wide. I had some balsa left
over from my springer build 6 mm thick so cut out the shape and drilled a hole to take
some brass rod and 5 minute epoxy held it in place. Out with a sanding block and
shaped it to the improve it’s overall efficiency.

To fit the keel to the main body, I elected to go for the fibre glass resin again, I had
drilled the end of the aluminium that made up the keel with two holes the idea being
that I would insert rods through these holes and distribute the load of the keel across
the bottom of the boat. I mixed up some fibre glass to hold it in, however did put in a
little to much hardener, so although I fitted it in OK and it was glassed it in place the
mixture went off before I smooth out the surface so it looks a little rough. I does
however have the strength of the proverbial “Brick Out House”.

Now to give it first coat of paint, Test fit the servo’s, rudder and mast etc to make sure
that it’s all going to work together. I now need to make a boom for the main sail, so
did it in such away that it rotates around the mast. I made the boom from aluminium
tube and the bearing unit from some galvanised iron sheet, which was held into the
end of the boom with epoxy. The boom is re-enforced with wood dowel inside the
tubing, as is the mast, as it was very thin walled tubing.

I have since modified the design above to that shown below so that it does not move
out of line, as I found on its first test sail, that it moved upwards to much as the
pressure came on it from the main sail, this distorted sail shape, and then it tended to
fall over.

Test fitted all the components and then added the deck to the main body of the boat,
you can see from the photos that the deck was left untrimmed so that I could cut
notches in it to put elastic bands around the model to hold it in place while it was
glued. Looks ugly but it was effective in holding it down. The deck also contains
three beads in it to allow for the control threads to pass through, as well as a small
tube for the antenna wire. I put in three beads as I was not sure at this stage which
way I would run the control threads for the Jib, this was really getting to the stage of
design as you build, but I tried to leave several options available as I went.

At this point of the construction I decided to fill the bath with water and check for any
leaks. After an hour or so, it was as dry as if it had never been wet so I guessed it had
passed that phase of construction. Several days where now spent sanding down and
painting the main body of the boat, as well as creating a hatch cover that is held in
place by a couple of strong magnets. My next move was to create the sails. To start
with I obtained some plastic sheet from a heavy duty shopping bag, and after studying
lots of Sail photos cut out the main sheet and fitted it. Testing with a fan I modified it
to get the correct looking sail shape then I need to get some Sail material. No kite
shops near me, but figured while having a shower that polyester shower curtain
material was close to what was needed, so down to the local super market and home
with one shower curtain, small problem with choosing the colour however, I could
have pink or pink, I got pink.

Using the original plastic sail as a pattern I cut out a main sail and fitted it, tested with
the fan seemed to give me the required shape so now I need to make the Jib from the
same material. More examining photos and two attempt later I had that made and
fitted it to the boat, it looked OK. Fitting the various control lines proved very fiddly
but got there after a couple of goes. It looked OK now I needed to charge the batteries
put it in the water and see what it would do.

More in the near future, think I am getting the hang of
adding the pictures now!!!

Sunshine :cool:

Good job Sunshine, some serious engineering in that boat. Let us know how she sails.

The Story Continues The Test Sail.

Out to my pond, which as actually two artificial lakes that have a large
circulation pump that pumps water from the bottom lake to the top smaller pond.
This means that the pond has a constant current which is good because if all fails on
your models it will in time end up against the rubbish grid and the head of the second
water fall, you will see why this has a bearing on my test day later. It was a gusty
overcast day, the main pond that we use was very choppy and I probably would have
hesitated with my Wind Warrior in this one, so of to the top pond, much smaller,
much shallower and well protected with trees most of the way around it.

Turn on the Electronics , test all the controls are working, all looked good, and then
just because, tapped around the hatch to exclude any water if things went wrong.
(Some one was looking after me). Put on the water with just a gentle breeze it moved
away nicely, responded to the rudder and sail controls I was now happy I had this
working OK. (Sorry no photos) As I got a little more comfortable with it I ventured
further toward the middle of the pond, this area is not so well protected, and has a
stronger current. I could see a bit or rain coming in this distance. I now began to
notice that the rudder did not seem to have the same control of the boat as it did in
shore. The stronger the wind got, the less control there was. At about 10 mph the boat
was going side ways and the main sail was riding up at the rear of the boom. Total loss
of steering at this stage it had a mind of it’s own. It’s a closed pond and I know where
it is heading so it would come to shore somewhere or the rubbish grid so I was not going
to loose it, I just have a bit of a walk to retrieve it. The Rain came and with it strong
gusts of wind, with one very strong gust the boat now lays down with the sails in the water
It stays afloat, thanks to the tapped hatch but it is out in the middle, even the ducks
had gone for shelter, and it will not stand up, the ballast should have pulled it back but
it didn’t. I should have brought my Springer as a rescue boat, but I hadn’t. The boat slowly
drifts on it’s side to shore, with the sails still in the water. 5 minutes go by the wind
and rain is gone, and for no reason the boat pops upright and I have some control. I thought
about this and concluded that with the wind running in one direction and the current in the
other and the jib fully in the water the effect was to hold the boat on it’s side. With
it now up again I managed to convince it to come back to me and remove it from the water.

I have now learn’t several things at this point of time.

A. The Jib once it gets in the water switches direction and as the boat get pushed by
the wind tries to force it into an upside down state. NOTE Re-design the Jib.

B. The rudder is too small make a new bigger rudder.

C. Always tape up the hatch with water proof tape.

OK so now I remove the Jib from the boat, check to see if the insides are still dry,
only a few drops of water, add more tape and put it back in the water to try again. It
sails out OK but with less speed still needs a larger rudder, but seems to be heading in
the general directions I point it. Out to the middle for stronger wind, the gusts put it
over at up to 50 or 60 degrees but it right’s itself OK, Still tends to go a little side ways
with full rudder applied in strong winds but I can sail it back to shore, and so I
conclude that I will need a smaller Jib, and bigger rudder, and dry clothes.

I have now increased the size of the rudder from 5 ½ Square inches to 10 Square inches
(Probably over kill but can always cut it down)
The main sail has stayed about the same but the boom has been modified so it stays
in the same plain. The Jib is much smaller and it no longer on a Jib boom, (I will return
to this method later) but is held from the main front stay line and is left to look after
it’s self with a simple holding line. Have not had a chance to put it back in the water,
but I fell I am now heading down the right track. More importantly I’ve also brought
some more water proof tape.

I have looked at the possibility of increasing the square area of the keel but want to
test it again before modifying this part of the boat. Footy’s are a experimental class
and I can see many changes coming up on this one in the future, no doubt several
different sets of sails, possibly a different mast. Maybe a swing sail instead of the one
on it now. Bow spits etc, it seems to be endless. The main advantage I have found in
building this Razor as a scratch build (and I thank Bill Hagerup for his great design)
is what I have learnt about model construction. As yet I have not named this boat, but
am tossing up between “Epoxy” I used heaps of it on this build or “Ugly” as my finish
has got a long way to go to match the standard of other builders. To anyone who is
thinking of building a footy or constructing one from a Footy kit, I can only suggest
you go for it. I am a total novice but I have learnt much, it has given me a greater
understanding of sailing and what makes a yacht tick, I hope It will improve my
ability on the water, with what ever RC yacht I sail. I would like to thank those of
you who go to the trouble to contribute to Forums and put your ideas, drawings and
photos on the net, it really does help those of us who are entering the hobby.

This is the current state of my footy it’s great fun, no doubt there will be much more to come as the learning continues.


Sunshine, a good first effort. Your construction photos are interesting but show a typical novice’s tendency to overbuild and use more glue and materials than are required for the loads these boats are subjected to. That you recognize this is a step towards refining your craftsmanship, and you seem to have enjoyed the process which is a big plus. Your next build will show the things you’ve learned with this one.

What you can do for improvements on this current boat, hmm, well to start with your steering concerns from the photos I read that you are using a rudder that has the rudder shaft pretty much at the front edge of the rudder. In the photos your rudder looks pretty large too. The standard rudder configuration in model sailing is the spade or semi-balanced type. This rudder features the shaft located aft of the leading edge with about 25% to 30% of the rudder area ahead of the shaft. This will allow you to use a smaller rudder to greater effect. It also places the shaft near to the maximum chord thickness of an airfoil shape rudder. You just need to make sure there is no “play” in the rudder linkage because if a spade rudder is allowed to wiggle it creates drag and slows the boat down.

Handling characteristics are also affected by the sail/rig and its interaction with the hull and the lateral plain (the keel and rudder profiles and their position under the boat). A balanced boat has these different elements working in unison. Generally speaking, if you have your sail/rig in the wrong position your boat won’t sail well or sometimes at all. For example, if your sails are too far forward in relation to the boat then the boat will tend to head away from the wind. If your sails are located too far aft your boat will have a tendency to head up into the wind and stall. Often, the signs that your boat is not well balanced is when it just lays over and doesn’t move forward but just side-slips. Judging from your photos and your description I would say that your sail plan would cause you to experience stalling and side-slipping. Your mast looks to be raked aft which would tend to move the sail/rig’s “center of effort” even farther out of alignment with the boat’s centers.

Most conventional jib and main sail combos in model yachting use a 40% jib/60% main ratio. Standard also is the jib boom for the jib. In almost all instances the jib boom has the pivot string aft of the leading edge of the jib. With tension on the jib stay this arrangement prevents the boom from lifting and the jib from cupping and losing shape. Not using a jib boom guarantees that your jib will cup and not add any drive to your sails. Many of the conventionally rigged Footies use bowsprits as the mounting location for the jib pivot. This is because most Footies need to extend the sail plan ahead of the bow to balance the rig with the boat. I would recommend that you scour this forum and the Yahoo Footy Group for photos of how other folks have rigged their boats. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the best way to learn and develop your own better mousetrap.

Just to expand on Niel’s comments about balance.

The small size and inefficient mounting - boom - of your jib leads to the centre of area of your sail assembly being too far rearward relative to the hull, fin and rudder. I suspect the reason you perceived an improvement with the new rudder is not that you have more steering effort but that the rudder altered the balance of the hull and effectively pushed the sail further forward.

Your first rudder area at 5.5 ins ^2 is not stupidly small for this hull and sail area, but to double it - my fin areas are only about 11 ins^2 :wink:

For a good first stab at a sail rig you could do a lot worse than that shown for Bob About on the Plans section of this website. It will also show you the Kicking Strap between the base of the mast and the mainsail boom which helps to control the mainsail lifting you commented upon.



To both Neil and Firstfooty, I thank you for your comments, The rudder is over kill and I must admit I did increase it’s size very tongue in cheek, but had not thought about balancing the rudder as you suggest Neil, mind you If I had looked at my Wind Warrior in more detail I would have noticed it follows the balanced concept. Sails are a total mystery to me but I am happy to know what the general ration of Jib to Main sail is, as you can see mine is not even close, but there is heaps of shower curtain left so there are many sail left in it yet. I have had a chance to actually see a completed footy in the form of a Kittiwake when visiting another club, it allowed me to get a greater understanding of both construction, and balance of the boat, so heaps of mods will be coming up soon. Unfortunately the model club I belong to mainly has either sports boats or scale, still with luck I may be able to convince some others to have a go at a footy boat.
I have found both the forums and other photos most useful so far for my original construction, and will try both your suggestions and some of the other methods and ideas I have seen. Like all new things you don’t learn much until you try. So that is the state of my knowledge at the moment, big learning curve.

More photo’s and postings to come as I try the mods you have suggested. Thanks…



Sorry to be late in replying - but welcome to the warm, balmy waters of footying.:smiley:

I, too started with Razor, learned a lot from her and am still learning, I hope.

Thank you for sharing your build - you are clearly used to facing and solving problems and quickly arranging solutions.

If I may make a suggestion going right back to your first post and pictures - this method of assembly is called “stitch and glue” in full size boats, and the panels are held together edge-to-edge with copper wire twists or tiewraps, or in my case garden wire. In models it is usual to use adhesive tape, or masking tape since the forces are quite low. When you have taped the seam with lots of tape on the outside, then you can apply the adhesive and/or filler on the inside, so that it forms a smooth fillet. With any luck none creeps to the outside!

Here is one I made earlier (last week, to be precise)

This whole hull is taped (yellow PVC insulating tape) ready for glueing

Keep sailing, trying, modding and improving:D


Well after the suggestions, I have carried out some modification to the Sails, First I have increased the size of both the Mail sail and the Jib. Much closer now to the 40 to 60 % plus have returned to the Jib boom. The main sail is now held to the mast using a similar method to that of the Kittiwake, so all that is needed is another test sail, most likely this weekend. All I need to do now is finish of the new rudder, smaller (6 square inches or so) but now with some balance applied about 25 to 30%

This time I will remember to take my camera, so it will give a better idea how it performs in the water.


Out to the Pond on the weekend to test all the changes only to find NO wind, 38 degree Centigrade and no chance for sailing, nice day however for the performance boats in the group, water dead flat and they enjoyed the race around the course makers, me I just played with the Springer.
Hoping to be back for a Test sail before Christmas, so stay tuned the is lots more to come…

Sunshine :wink:

Well the break between Christmas and New Year provided a chance to sail and test
the footy in a scratch twilight sail with a couple of other yachts including
the maiden test sail of Steamboatbob’s new Micro Magic. Another really hot day
about 36 Centigrade, but only 2 to 3 knot winds this time but enough to gauge
how the changes made to the sails and the new mast would go. I happy to say it
did OK and performed much near to what I had hoped for. It was also a chance to
play with others sailing at the same time, (no footys) but still OK for a little
competition. As you can see by the couple of photos it was happy out there.

The jib still needs a little adjustment, I found the travel was a little large in proportion to the main sail, but that’s just moving the connection point on the sail arm to fix that, so next sail should be even better.

The fun continues….

Well back out for another little sail after making more changes to the jib boom, moved the mounting point about 10 mm back towards the main mast so it’s now about 20 % in from the bow, as well as adding a small lead weight to the front of the boom. The other minor chages was to move the battery pack right to the rear and thus shifting the C of G back a few mm. Wind was around 5 to 6 knots and fairly constant and temperature for those playing in the snow and waiting for spring was a little hot at 46 degrees centigrade and smokey from the bush fires , it does get like that some times down in Aus.

It sails better most improvement seems to be down wind with very little nose diving, still not as quick as the bigger boats but I am slowly getting there. Did take some photo’s but have not got them up-loaded to photo bucket yet so have to include them in the next episode.

It’s been fun building sailing the footy so far all though it’s taken a bit of time to get it to perform well but I have learnt heaps and still adding to the knowledge…

More to come


Well more changes this time to the jib, re-cut it slightly larger and again moved the mounting point for it, this time back to the original setting. Great day for sailing and and also I had a little competion from Steamboatbob’s new Micro Magic, we both had a great afternoon, plus temperature a nicer 30 degrees C instead of over the fourtys.

Wind was about 6 to 8 knots and fairly steady so after little tuning on the sails it was going fairly well

Occasionaly I even got ahead of the MM but not that often all in all great afternoon on the water

My next mods will again be to the sails would like to try a swing sail system to see how all that works have seen a couple of great examples of them elsewhere on the forum.

Still having fun and learning heaps…:cool:

Well Sunshine, your boat is much improved over when you started this thread. I would suggest that a good next refinement is to swap out your oversize aluminum spars for pultruded carbon fiber kite tubes, 4 mm outside diameter is a good size for mast and spars although for booms you may want 3.5 mm for your top suit. I use the narrow end of a tapered kite tube for my masts, “Sky Shark II - 2P”. A Google search may locate this tube at a supplier down under, mail ordering from the US would be pricey.

No wonder you got ahead of your friends MM, his main looks like puss.
He needs to have a serious look at that sail to get his boat up to speed.
Then you will not be able to catch him unfortunately. :lol:

My Final Entry

Well since my last update I have done alot of fiddling and had alot of fun.
Started by replacing the mast with carbon fibre, which while it was much
lighter than my original mast and boom, it was too flexible and as I had
never designed the boat to have mast stays to stop this decided that this
experiment would work better on my next footy build.

Next experiment was building a McRig Sail to try on the razor, my first
attempt had just too much spring and would give so much with a gust
of wind that the sail would loose all it’s shape, back to the shed next
version much better gave just the right amount of shape change in wind
gusts and sailed well although the sail area was a touch small.

Next version to build a full swinging sail, and why not increase the sail
area, I did, by almost half the original size again. Bit of engineering
and off to the test pond, result too much sail, except in just a few knots
of wind where it sailed very well any more and it kept trying to fall over.
The test in much strong winds ended up breaking the rudder post, so small
rebuild needed before any more play.

While I was having fun with my Razor, I completed a partly built Kittiwake
for another member of our sail group. This is a nice little boat and was not
all that difficult to complete and then rig. Once I had finished did a
couple of test sails with it before returning it to it’s owner. It sailed
really nicely which is a credit to the design of the Kittiwake. It also
helped me to decide that if I was going to rebuild my Razors Rudder Post
I might like to take that a bit further and reduce the weight of my boat,
and slim down the keel and rudder so that it cut through the water a bit

The result was to opening it up and grinding away some of the internal fibre
glass to reduce the weight by about 90 grams and then I modifying the keel
and rudder so they present almost a knife edge to the water. Went back to my
sail that is a copy of a Kittiwake and it is really now satisfying to sail
in both light and media winds , while it will never perform as well as either
a Kittiwake or a 507 it is now a really nice boat to just potter around
with in the pond.

I have gained heaps knowledge and experience from building it even with
all of my errors and modifications. It has given me a much greater
understanding of RC yachts and there construction and tuning, but it’s now
time for it to be put out to pasture while I build my next footy boat, I have
already got the kit (new 507) now all I need to do is clean up the bench
to make some space and then start on the build.

I would like to thank all of you who have taken the trouble to read about my
first attempt at building a footy, and especially those who have taken the
time to make helpful suggestions and comments. To any one who has yet to
try there hand at building a RC sail boat, then I can only suggest that you
have a go because there is lots of info to aid you on the Internet and many
helpful modellers out there that can answer your questions and help overcome
any build problems.

Thanks all

Sunshine :zbeer:

Update --> Since my final entry in this log, I have been playing with footys
and have now got two more to the collection, a Kittiwake and a 507, I guess I still like the Kittiwake as the nicest to sail, but there all fun, and I’m still fiddling with my original razor, change to the jib and now moved it out further, improved it’s down wind speed, and also seemed to point a little higher, but cant really match the Kittiwake or 507 for overall performance…

Still having fun…


now you are bragging:lol::lol:
Great fist build…just the way it happens in life. I am just building my K2 and am ready to order the team (3 more) package for some of the others in my family. It sounded like you liked the square chine of the K2 over the 507’s round chine…is this the case? Thanks for beinng brave enough to post your progress, be it up or down:)