Seeing your Footy

I’ve just been having a fascinating dinner party with an academic psychologist specialising in perception.

In our cups we discussed the problems of seeing what a model yacht (particularly a very small one like a Footy) was actually doing. He suggested that paint schemes should incorporate the following.
Plain colour of topsides
Differently colourd bottom with accurate waterline
One horizontal (not prettiest but he reckons much more effective) go faster stripe to act as max angle of heel indicator
Transom different colour
Deck different colour with central go-faster stripe
Lots of horizontal camber stripes on sails (even if camber is not adjustable)
Try to avoid ‘fancy’ conrtasting colour patches for corner reinforcements of sails

This all sounds sensible to me.

Anyone have any comments?

Anyone have any comments?

Different color sail material for your jib? It sure helps me when the boat is at a distance.

It’s extraordinary what the academic mind can miss!

Choice of colour is important too. Recently I was watching a Soling 1M with a black hull and black sails. I found it nearly impossible to ‘read’ the boat as the black absorbes all the light. Everything just looked flat. I could not see the sails luffing nor could I read angle of heel.

Another incident showed the importance of a light colour for the fin. I was sailing in tidal water with seaweed floating about. Sailing the boat by the dock between races allowed the skippers to check for trailing weeds.

Third item is not to have an easily identified hull/jib colouring. It makes it too easy for the R/C to pick on you for ‘over early’. . .better to merge into the crowd.:zbeer:

Oh yes, on starting lines be a white yacht with a black mast (or whatever the fashion is) and sails ditto. Deny everything!

Before the Great Crash of '07 there appeared a post somewhere from Tallastro complaining about problems of getting his Footy back across the pond in poor lighting conditions. Some of the earlier posts on this thread might be helpful.

One truly “hot” multihull and DN Class sailor back in Michigan ordered and received his factory sponsored Formula 18 NACRA catamaran with starboard side of both hulls bright WHITE, and port sides a bright YELLOW ! Actually paid for factory upgrade gel-coat, since he - as Number 1 sailor was constantly being covered at the line and many sought him out and tried to cover him after the start. The differences in paint allowed him to blend or stand-out. I understand the idea drove other skippers - and race officers - crazy!

If boat hasn’t been sold, I will try to get a photo next time back to visit.

:smiley: “The yellow boat was over early” -

“Naw - it was the white one!” :stuck_out_tongue:

Drove me nuts too - as I drove up to my dealer friend’s place, it was sitting next to barn and from the road the yellow was most appealing. Once next to the storage barn - the boat blended in with all the other white ones parked in the yard - and the dealer really had a laugh at my expense when I asked him where the yellow boat was. (I am fond of yellow on the water) until he pointed it out to me and told me the story behind the boat.

my dad had a friend who did that with a 505, yellow on oneside, white on the other, he called it “complex chemicals kill”… the goal was of course to confuse the competition, but according to my dad it never really worked…! but someone who didn’t mind all the greif he would get could paint the topsides red and green, then he would have no issue with which way the old girl was going!:rolleyes:

Slightly off thread, but Keele University used to have a Firefly called Hairy Prune with ‘Help’ painted on the bottom.

I was thinking of this thread when marking my sails. I’m going to keep the jib clean or a fully contrasting design to aid in long distance viewing. It did help that the Footy insignia and numbers were all on the main.

The wind at one spot was problematic, it kept switching direction on me. That’s what took a bit to overcome at long range. The worst visibility was when I had to look directly into the sun’s reflection on the water. Luckily the wind was steadier here and I just let the boat sail itself safely back into view. I felt a bit like mission control losing communication during reentry.:scared:

Do any skippers paint their boats for right of way reminders? I think it could help the right/left impaired to know when to give way.

that was what i meant about painting oneside red, and oneside green… only issue is of course what people say about it…:lol:


If they really bother you, just switch the paint and watch them try to guess which way you’ll go. :stuck_out_tongue: Seriously, full sized boats are required to have red/green lights aren’t they? I know powerboats are. My family was in the Power Squadron when I was growing up. What would someone say?

Having been sailing MoonShadow, this thread badly needs revisiting.

She really is very beautiful - light blue hull with mist overspray from white decks, clear deck patches, 3 mm and 1 mm spars, cllear mylar sails …

What she is not is easy to see. Any serious thoughts on the opening posting to this thread? How do we get somethng that appears to my taste for Scandinavian minimalism but makes it possible to see which way the boat is going?

Maybe go back about 30 years?

I had to give up using clear florist film because I couldn’t judge the sail position. I see that Brett puts stripes across his for visibility.

I think I read somewhere that red and yellow are the colors that our eyes pick up most easily, so perhaps giving up the pretty colors in favor of those more visible?

Let us know how any experiments go, Angus.

Bill H

Again off topic, but the Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte, who was a keen yachtsman on the Seine and designed several boats for himself, had one that was painted on one side to resemble a brick wall and on the other something else, I think a wooden fence, but I can’t put my hand on the reference immediately.


Found it. Not in ‘Le mystere Caillebotte’, but in ‘Un Siecle e Voiliers de Serie’. Both books are my Daniel Charles and are excellent. The boat was Condor and she was a brick one side and stone the other. See scan from the book attached.


Or not attached in this case. Try again


Angus, perhaps a temporary solution would be to place bright colored tape squares down the port (left) side of the boat on the deck. As a modeler turning into a sailor I found that if the boom or booms are over the port side I am on starboard tack with the added benefit of high visibility. Remove after racing. Clyde

All those lines would probably give me a headache after a while.

I found that if the boom or booms are over the port side I am on starboard tack
That’s when going upwind. On downwind legs the side the boom is on determines the tack.