Ranger plans and pics

For those interested in building Ranger, the best source is my article in ModelYachting magazine. It includes a lot of build pics and very nice drawings done by Jim Linville from my rough originals. The magazine has been distributed to AMYA members, and is available for others from the Ship’s Store at theamya.org.

Given the difficulty of international mailing, etc., I am posting my originals as requested for those who can’t get the magazine. They aren’t as pretty, but they are what I build from. Designed displacement is 300 grams. I hope you enjoy the boat.


Hi Bill,

Thanks for sharing your designs again.
It looks interesting.

Peter & Clare

Another great design Bill thanks !

One question, what is the reason for the strong rocker and curved sheer if i may ask ? :slight_smile:


Have down loaded and printed the plans at 100% scale.

Can you tell me the overall length of the Ranger, as my plans look too big :frowning:

I like the design, simple, and looks extremely well balanced.

Looking forward to trying a depron hull for this one too.


Hi Bill,

Forgot to ask.
What is the initial anecdotal or empirical conclusion regarding performance?
Is it faster than your previous designs?
Is it faster to windward?
Does it point as high?
Is it as fast downwind?
Is it faster in all conditions, light and heavy?
How much does it like to submarine?
Is the submarining exacerbated by the high position of the sail?
Are there any other positive or negative effects of the sail position?

Peter & Clare

Lots of questions…but here goes.

Meatbomber, the rocker is to add displacement to the narrow boat (wide/shallow, narrow/deep) while keeping the ends up for better tacking…submerging the bow and stern seems to make it resist turning, as you might expect. With Footys, you have to accept that they are unlikely to be the most graceful looking boats…for that, build a 10R '-) The sheer is to raise the bow height for reserve bouyancy because Footys like to dive going downwind…also because I think sheer is prettier.

Scott, if you printed on legal paper at 100% it should be fine…the leading edge of the fin should be 230mm.


Performance looks good overall, but it hasn’t been tested in real competition.

Probably not faster overall, but maybe in light airs…I think we have seen that the speed limitation of Footys is their size, and many designs appear to be equally competitive…but I keep looking for the best combination of the myriad design tradeoffs.

It points beautifully, and sails hands-off upwind even in chop like the pics…Scott Spacie took them while sailing in pretty strong wind.

It doesn’t submarine at all (LOL) except in big gusts…actually I’m quite happy that the reserve bouyancy in the bow does it’s job pretty well. The price is more bow wave than I like under certain conditions…I’ll be working on that. See attached “outtake” pics. Submarining does not appear to be exascerbated by the high rig.

Here’s some comments from Scott: “Bill, This morning, at 2:24, I had an ‘aha’ moment (actually it was more of a ‘duh’ moment). I figured out what caused the handling problems I had had yesterday and how I should have rigged the boat to prevent it. It caused me to reflect on what a great job the Ranger really had done. A lot of the time when I was fumbling with the camera, the boat was sailing ‘hands off’ in as bad a chop as I have ever seen at Heckscher. At the same time, ten miles south, on a smaller, more protected pond, the wind was literally shredding a fleet of Victorias – including the #4 boat at the nationals! As you noticed in the pictures, the bow worked exactly as it was designed to do. The boat never submarined or did the Razor 7 (both of them) trick of sailing happily with solid water back past the mast. I still have no idea of relative speed as I can’t find another skipper to sail against. Orangeburg never thawed, the guys down south had gone home when I got there, and we are back in a cold snap that is too much for me, so that question will go unanswered for a while yet. The red-trimmed rig you saw in the pictures is the B2 one we talked about after the nationals last year. It is half way between the B and the C and was just perfect for winds that gusted in the high 20’s.”

The pros/cons of the high rig are undetermined, so far. Some argument has been made that it might actually improve lift downwind…but I’m not ready to to stake any claims. I did it to clear the box…no other reason.

One of the brilliant things about the box rule is that there’s no free lunch. To increase LWL, you give up fin depth and raise the rig which reduces righting moment…classic tradeoffs. When Roger proposed the box dimensions, I think he got it just right…enough room to play, but ya gotta pay.


dont get me wrong Bill i think its an awesome design and your reasoning behind it makes all sense now that you explained, thanks for that as soon as im home i`ll build one of these too :slight_smile:

Oh and i think too that sheer is pretty, the sloping transom also looks great!
i`ll have to see if i can make a 55% one too, with the servos out on top it should work :slight_smile:


I didn’t take offense, Phillip…Footys aren’t that graceful, but they sure are cute.

It would be fun to see you get a 55% fleet going on that pool…is that a creative way to attract women…like walking a cute dog?

All the best…Bill

Yes Bill, another of my dreaded rambling comments!

So it seems that you’ve finally gone diagonal and angled in the Ranger design. The rig solution is pretty ungainly and a shorter fin is another of the tradeoffs (although there may be a drag advantage to a shorter fin), and the rudder has to be mounted farther forward (again undesirable because it cuts the distance between the two foils and reduces tracking). As you know I use a raised cutwater to bring the deck up to the rim of the box and shield the mast tubes from flying free and vulnerable.

You may not like the look but it does allow for a narrower bow and bow overhang. The overhang puts more boat (read buoyancy) forward of the waterline end and combined with the peaked and angled deck keeps the boat controllable when it dives by keeping water from loading up on the deck and holding the nose down. I have sailed downwind on just the nose without the big bow wave and with no apparent loss of speed. BTW, I sail upstate in winds and waves that I wouldn’t sail any of my other boats in. A watertight Footy in whitecaps is a whole lot of fun!

Bill, I have a suggestion which you may or may not like. I know that you are designing these Footies with an eye to easy construction, and that is to be commended. I like your move to try to streamline an awkward set of parameters but the bulbous bow and the huge bow wave it throws up seem to me to be big negatives. The suggestion I have is to use Roger Stollery’s bow design to gain the added bouyancy. The Ranger already has a wide deck, all that it would take would be another partial panel on each side (perhaps only extending a third or half way aft and incorporated into that graceful sheerline) to make the flair. Then you would gain a narrower entry for most conditions and have the reserve for the tough going. It works on all of Roger’s designs but it hasn’t seen action on a narrow boat yet. It could be interesting and wouldn’t be that much more difficult for novice builders to construct either.

Thanks Niel, I actually appreciate your contributions a lot…but can’t resist ribbing you a bit now and then :wink:

Of course I’m aware of your approach, and I know it works well. We all have our own pet ideas, of course, and I never felt that the extra LWL offset all the other tradeoffs on 3D designs…I’m still skeptical.

Though your cutwater works, my other boats like the Razor3 and 4 sail straight and remain controllable when they go bow under, without the complexity of a raised foredeck. Whether or not there might be a speed advantage with your approach could be a factor, but I don’t care for the complexity.

Speaking of complexity, I have nothing against your suggestion to use Roger’s idea like AWK. I built a Rogered Ranger 2 days ago. I didn’t add another panel, though…I took advantage of the 1/64 ply to bend the upper hull panel as needed. It’s a much trickier build than the original Ranger, though…which I guess is why Roger uses a jig to build AWK. I remain steadfast in my preference to provide people with boats that are easy to build and yet can be competitive, so I’ll look for a different solution.

All the best…Bill

Bill, to each his own! But you have to admit the ultra long mast tube is not a very elegant solution.

I believe that Roger uses a jig for three reasons mainly. The first is that his build medium is corrugated plastic sheet which doesn’t bend all that readily and can’t be encouraged to be more flexible by soaking in Formula 409 like the balsa panels for your Razor design. The second is that his designs are broad, heavy weights (in comparison to the trend you and Angus abetted) and it is my observation that wider hulls are harder to keep true so a jig comes in handy to control the panels while putting them under tension. The third reason is repeatability. Most of the folks that build your “simple-to-construct” designs only build one or two at most. Roger builds a whole fleet of each of his designs to get them into lots of hands as a test bed so having a jig helps simplify production.

Anyway, I think the Ranger looks good. I imagine I’ll get a chance to go up against her with Scott at the helm later this Spring at Eisenhower. I’ve got to finish my new designs first though. There just is never enough time these days!


Thanks for the measurement… i dont know what legal paper is ?? so i cheated and printed 100% unscaled on A3.
. I attach photos of my build so far, just closed up the deck.
Will seal the hull with WBPU and tissue tommorrow.
You will notice i put 2 mast tubes in, mainly coz i wanted to try my Razor 3 rigs, which seem to carry their CE nearer the mast, then the rig you propose. Anyway, its only 1g extra :slight_smile:

Well, i may soon offer you some competition evidence of the Ranger, as i intend to take it to wicksteed park this comming weekend for its first sail…


Sorry Scott…I didn’t see that you are from the UK. Incompatiblity of paper-size standards is a problem. I’ll try to figure out how to make the PDF print successfully on both legal and A3, and see if I can at least give scaling advise that’s more useful.

Your Ranger looks good…good luck and keep us posted!

One potential problem…If they measure your boat in the box, I don’t think your rig will clear the top of the box. I used an extension made from brass tube to solve the problem on mine, and it’s why the rig dimensions I gave have such a long extension going into the mast tube.


Hi Bill,

I managed to get it to print to scale, by selecting original as ‘legal’ and then printing it using the scale @ 100% button onto A3,
A little wastefull, as lots of free bits round the edge.

Thanks :slight_smile: i’ve just given it the first coat of WBPU and tissue, especially on the seams helps to stop the UHU por releasing in strong weather.

I am aware of the height requirement, i unfortunately don’t have a box of my own. However, i had already forseen that, and have carbon spacers, cut over lengthv (i will trim them to the min when i get to the event on saturday- probably over lunch, as i’ll be racing my Razor 3 in the event) Hopefully that way i can get some input from he other footy sailors there as to how its performing. (maybe even a quick unscheduled race)

Can i just ask for a couple of specs from you?
What was your ballast weight (total of 300gm displacement quoted, and i’d like to know how good a ballast ratio you ended up with)
Also given the fin shape, it looks like the bulb glues on striaht underneath (bottom of fin is concave, to match bulb shape?)
How carefull do i need to be with bulb length? as that will obviously move it up in the box, unless the bulb is trimmed nose down

Many thanks

Hey Scott,

The keel bulb on a Footy is usually canted nose up a several degrees to compensate for the slightly bow down attitude that Footies assume when under way. I have been going with about 2 but I’ve seen boats with more cant. I don’t think that there is a magic number so maybe Bill can give you an idea of the Ranger’s normal sailing bow depression. I get the feeling from the photos that Bill has posted that the Ranger has less bow depression than his Razor series which have sharper entries and wider bodies.

Scott, the boat ready-to-sail without rig came to 312g (missed my target by a bit.) Servos/receiver/batteries were 62g. My rigs are about 25g. I think the bulb was 210g.

I suggest canting the bulb up 2-3 degrees as Niel does…don’t cant it nose down, as that will create more drag.

As you surmise, using a longer bulb means the boat will sit too high in the box unless you shorten the fin…borrow a box from someone if you have to, in order to figure out the proper length.


Bill, Neil
thanks for the advice.
Unfortunately i do not have a box of my own, but used the one at the race yesterday to see how well it fits.
Looks like i glued the bulb on too low (canted correctly though), (and my foam bow block was a little to big, as it was over the top of the box )

So i took measurements to correct it, and have done that this morning, so it should now fit in the box happily.

Thanks for the weights, that is about where i am at too. though i managed to scrape mine in at just under 295g without rig (again 20-25ish grams) with 200g ballast.

I came 4th in the event yesterday (sailing a razor 3), behind a Stollery ICE, IAMBUS, and a design i am unsure of, but with a very wide bow…
So i am happy. i could have gone a bit better if i’d had a rig in between the 2 i have, but thats always the way (isn’t it?)
and if my rig, had been setting better (i had a couple of creaes, and too much twist, as my lower main was stalling)

Did manage to get the ranger out at lunch (after a bit of sanding of the bow block (now nearer to the one you designed…) with the not ideal rigs from the razor 3. I had a bit of a sail against IAMBUS, and was showing good turn of speed for a first sail.
It was tracking hands off, but wouldn’t get it to point very well (blaming the rig, coz my razor seemed the same)

Anyway, got a couple of photos on the water, note its not moving much, coz i hadn’t sheeted in…


Nice job, Scott…get your rigs tuned up, and both boats will point really well…so you can beat that ICE :wink:

Glad you are enjoying Footy racing.


Hi Bill,

I’ve been competing with my razor 3 in 2 races here in Florida. Astonisshing first one I finished 6/12 and the second one 5/10 (i think it was out of 10 … lol) Anyway, the next saturday I went to my Daytona Beac MYC club and one of the fellows came with the AMYA magazine, screaming outlaoud: this is the one, this is the boat for you!! Anyway, just thought it was funny how I was handed the Ranger plans. Well, needless to say, my dasd in law and I are building two at the same time. Next race is March 26th at Vero Beach, fl and we intend to “kick some H2O” over there! One of my concerns is the shape of the sail winch arm, is there any specifics on shape and dimentions? Also, I’ve been trying to look around the tackle shops around here for a 8oz trolling sinker with no luck, so I kind of made our own weeights but they are a bit too long I think. Do you have the length measurement for your bulb?
Right now we are at a stage that we are almost ready to close the deck, glue the bulb and make the sails. We also have to water proof it overall. I was thinking of using the testors enamel spray paint directly onto the wood, but some trials in scrap balsa wood showed too much poruosity. Any suggestions in this matter?
As always, thanks for your unvaluable help!


Hi Enrico,

You guys sure got into building boats!

Try Cabellas for the bulb, if you aren’t happy with yours. My bulb is 4" long. If you use a longer one, you’ll have to shorten the fin so the boat still fits in the box. You should test fit in the box, anyway, since you are serious about competition.

I typically use Krylon paints, but have used Testor’s, too. The porosity isn’t typically a problem…2 coats should make it watertight. If you don’t like the look of the grain showing, then you’ll have to start with sandable primer, perhaps using Spackle first to fill the grain. I don’t bother, because it adds weight…and you can’t see the grain when it’s on the water anyway :wink:

Having 2 Razors and 2 Rangers will give you a good chance to do some comparative sailing. I think you may find that Ranger has the edge going downwind, but let us know what you discover. Also remember that rig tuning is critical to max performance…if you don’t have them, put telltales on your sails and make small adjustments until you find the sweet spot.