Rig Nomenclature

I’ve noticed that our lack of a standard way of describing our differently-sized rigs is confusing some people.

Since the rules allow for one rig of unlimited size, and another limited to a height of 12" above the box, it seems reasonable to denote the large rig as “A” and the small rig as “B.”

The complication comes when we have built multiple rigs larger than “B” to choose from for a regatta. I’ve been calling mine A,B,C,D by descending size, but people are sometimes then confused as to how I can have 4 rigs when only 2 are legal.

So I seem to be headed toward calling my rigs A1, A2, A3, and B. That seems to better describe that we have an A and B only, but can choose which A we want to use for a given regatta.

Other thoughts?

Bill H

I am doing the same Bill. When I make an in-betweeny rig though I have to go… A2.1 or A2a etc… at least I know what I mean.


Would it be easier to call them A,B,C,etc. and Storm. With Storm referring to the 12" rules-restricted rig?

Using that convention we could come up with some basic rules of thumb for the various letters and their associated rig size (maybe in square inches?)

Are we just storing up problems for ourselves with trying to introduce a numbering system where, in reality , one isn’t required.

The advantage of the Footy sytem should be in its simplicity, in that, for racing, you can only use 2 sails Rule C3 (b) - and only the small one has any limitations as defined by Rule C3 ©. It is implied in the Open Class Rule system that for anything other than racing you can do whatever you like.

Classes such as the IOM or Laser lend themselves to a rigid number or letter system as they both have closely defined sail sizes and numbers and everybody involved with the class will know what the A, B or C represent.

I think the confusion with the Footy comes from the Open Class Rule system itself. Because no actual sail sizes, shapes or numbers are specified, people will confuse what is allowed for social sailing with what is allowed for racing.

As soon as you try to introduce a system it will have to be incorporated into the rules and everybody will be constrained to use that system. I think it would be better to just clarify the existing rules by making it quite clear that, within the constraints of Rules C3 (b) & ©, you can own as many sails as you like. You can then call them whatever suits ( no pun intended ) yourself - A, B, C, A1.2b, Storm, 150 sq inch etc. as long as you only present 2 of them to the officials on race day and the smaller one complies with Rule C3 ©



I promise not to make a rant out of this - but as a NON-FOOTY sailor, you guys have me completley confused as to what it is you are trying to accomplish with the rig rules. Excuse me for not understanding but here is an example …

  1. Given and understood - you can only have 2 rigs for a given regatta/race. I can understand the quantity of “two”.

  2. Not understood…
    …Rig # 1 (Small) limited in height to 305mm above box (approx. 12 inches)
    … Rig # 2 (Large) unlimited

So if Rig # 2 is “unlimited” - it can be anywhere from 6 inches to 24 inches (exageration) in height.

Is it suggested that sailing rules or race director will “dictate” the use of the smaller rig? I don’t think so, and therefore, wouldn’t it be the decision of the owner as to which rig to use and what to call it?

Sorry if I’m dense here - but I cannot grasp how a sail that is the “small sail” can have a limited height? Is anything shorter than 305mm just automatically a "short sail? If I have a sail set with a rig greater than 305mm above the box and I remove a jib to sail as a uni-rig, I can call it my “Storm” sail. I can also have a 305 mm rig with a uni rig and call it my “Storm” sail - but in light wind simply add a jib. So with one "Unlimited sail rig - what does a “Maximum” “minimum” rig provide?

Enlightment of the dense (me) please - I’m mising something.

I tend to call restricted rigs (<305mm) the “B rigs”. My unrestricted rigs are given vaguely descriptive names; Tall, Normal, Short, and Wide. Normal is based on Brett’s BobAbout rig size. Graham’s Kittiwake sails also fit this rig nicely. Lately all my rigs are McRigs.

I haven’t yet built a B rig. If I ever encounter conditions that require it, I’ll chop another rig at the event.

It’s an interesting point Dick that at a very windy regatta a skipper can present 2 rigs to the measurer both of which might be ‘B sized’ rigs but one would then be called an ‘A’ rig to allow the use of both rigs during the event.

I think it is in reality quite straight forward to present two rigs for measuring, one of which falls into the current description of a Footy ‘B’ rig. I also think that a simpler ‘2 rig’ rule would free up the whole process. Measuring would no longer be needed and on a day where the wind varies from medium to low and back skippers could change up. It’s hard to explain (as I had to this last weekend) why we should be drifting on medium size rigs while our big rigs are sat in the car.

Yes I know… dangerous waters… but it’s just my opinion.


Thanks Graham -

As Tech Editor for the AMYA magazine, I get all sorts of questions. Most I answer if I can, others I have to forward to Class Secretaries for a response. As I noted, in this case, I was trying to comprehend the “reason” behind the rule - not the rule itself. Not sure what it accomplishes, so what a better way to educate myself, than to ask.

I greatly appreciate your response and those from others willing to “turn on the light” for me. :wink:

Your welcome Dick. But as to the “reason” behind the rule, I have no idea. I have been told that there was a reason but that’s as far as I know.

As a beginner I am not in a position to answer this from experience, but since only the B rig is measured that allows you to do anything you want for the A rig.

I love the idea. You can gamble on light airs and use a huge rig, but if you made a mistake you are forced to use your B rig which may not be able to keep up with skippers who were more cautious.

The rule has two benefits. One is for the risk takers vs. the careful and experienced skippers, the other and probably more important one is to see (over time) what size rig is best for normal days in various areas.

This is a development class and this is how the best size for the A rig will eventually be chosen. (Except for the occasional guy who outguesses the fleet)


I think First Footy has the right idea about “A” and the “B” (12 inches above the rim of the box) rig. As to the rational behind the original idea, I think that it presents a challenge to the idea of “anything goes”. It prevents unlimited “extreme-ism” from taking over this world. i.e. you can gamble on light winds, but you pay a penalty if you’re wrong.
This class is intended to be an entry level for young and new sailors, where they (and us!) can be given free rein to try our own ideas, rather than just those of the experienced designers and builders.

Two things; One, in response to Rod, I don’t recall you being one of the original three rule writers so the original “intent” of this class to be an entry level one is not in your purview, only your impression of this so-called intent. Even if this was the intent of the class, which it was not, that horse has long since left the barn. Obviously, we all try to encourage newcomers with the back and forth on this forum but these boats are a pursuit unto themselves and much of the specifics involved here is not transferable to the larger classes of r/c sailboats.

Two, the 12 inch height restriction was added to the rule to keep the unrestricted rig in a reasonable relationship to the restricted storm rig (now more or less referred to as the “B” rig). This part of the rule was added by the British author of the rule (along with the whole box concept). However, what is reasonable in Britain is not always reasonable elsewhere (let history be the judge). For example, it is considerably more windy (and rainy) in England than it is on the east coast of the US. I can think of many other places that I have sailed in this country that have even less wind than is the norm in NYC. I haven’t built a “storm” rig because I haven’t needed one. I would find having the choice of several rigs of different heights and areas more useful for the conditions that I sail in. And here is the crux of the problem in an INTERNATIONAL rule. What nation, with it’s specific conditions driving it’s priorities, determines the way the rest of us should rig our boats?

My response is that if a specific regulation is imposed on the INTERNATIONAL body, but it doesn’t meet the practical needs of some participating nations it should be altered to address those needs. To maintain the regulation regardless puts those nations at a disadvantage in an international competition. Since the whole basic premise of the class as we now know it was determined by three individuals several years ago then all aspects of the Footy rules should be open for debate and revision.

With the 305 mm storm rig being fairly under-utilized here in the states, what are the thoughts about an out-of-the box sail shape for our storm rigs? Something short and long?

I did say “I think that it presents a challenge…”.
The very fact that this discussion is taking place indicates this is a very real challenge. In addition, as ‘racers’ are allowed as many rigs as they like but must choose an ‘A’ rig for any given racing day(s), this is hardly an unfair restriction in a class which is to be raced all around the world, even in England.
I would also point out that the “B” rig is not limited in sail area, bowsprits and bumpkins are allowed, and many suggest that lower rigs may be one solution to the nose-diving problem.

Referring to http://footy.rcsailing.net/mmi-Oct05.php it seems that at least the MYA here in the U.K. , and in particular Roger Stollery, had beginners very much on their minds when creating the rules. See paragraphs 1 & 2 of this link.

My understanding of the original intentions of the rules was, in part, to limit cost by restricting the number of sails, using standard servos and AA batteries. The servo limitation has already been removed and the battery question has been extensively discussed in this forum, even though both of these go against at least the spirit of the original rules.

The sail question is, I feel, slightly different in that the cost of something like a McC rig is trivial. In the exteme they can comprise nothing more than a plastic bag, some wood dowel and a length of piano wire. Therefore, if it can be agreed that the present size rules favour one country more than another then perhaps the rules monitors should consider removing the size limitation on the smaller sail. This would still leave the decision with respect to which two sails to use, but without such a catastrophic result if you get it wrong.



This would be a wonderful change.

Even if you go whole-hog top-of-the-line, with TriSpi and Carbon Tube, a McRig still costs in the neighborhood of $7-10, certainly not earth shattering. I pay that for lunch at a sandwich shop!

Good discussion - for my question, I believe Pete has hit as close to a logical explanation as anyone.

My original question about a limit in size on a “B” rig was more - “Why have a limit on what is considered a storm sail?” If there is one sail option available that is basically “unlimited” in height, we concur that the mast could be 6", 12" or 24" (for sake of discussion). It seems that if I have one tall rig, greater than 305mm - no second rig can also be taller than 305mm. Not sure if I’m correct in that interpretation, but that is the best way I can describe what I “think” I am asking. Again for sake of clarity, would a rule reading as follows be a better way of describing what is wanted?

example only - Only two (2) rigs will be allowed to be interchanged during a regatta. At least one of those rigs shall not exceed 305mm in height. There is no limit to sail area on either of the rigs.

Is this correct thinking?

Precisely, in four years of footy racing in the USA all of the events and club races I have been involved in have been ‘one rig’ choices due to the conditions. If ‘A’ rigs were built to be in a close relationship to the ‘B’ rig here in my part of the USA then the boats would quite frankly be tedious. So we take our chances and chose a big rig anyway. Yes it works but having a ‘2-rig’ choice would be so much more fun.

Remember, this route doesn’t outlaw anything, if a sub 12" rig is the rig needed on the day then fit it and sail.

What is “TriSpi?”


I don’t think that is quite fair, Brett, but it sure is provacative. Standing in for Angus? :wink:

While I have said that narrow and long may be a consequence of the current rig rule (and we see that in other classes like M and USOM where sail area is restricted) I don’t agree that it necessarily means that narrow and long is the best light-air boat. Beamy with a really big sail does rather well, too. You are exploring one aspect of the rule, they are exploring another.

My personal opinion (with no official implications whatsoever) is that I like a rule that encourages the maximum variety of competitive design approaches. So far, we’ve seen that with Footys. If they all start to look alike, and if it seems that is the consequence of some aspect of the rule, then I’d like to see a change.