Seeing your Footy

Stolen from Sailing Anarchy (I know, I know) there is a Corby Yacht that looks to have silver, reflective vinyl on it’s sides above the waterline. In the photo you can see reflections from parked cars. Neato !

Hey guys - Angus, if you like Moonshadow’s basic color all you need do is employ a “racing stripe” (around 10 centimeters thick) of a contrasting color or black running fore and aft parallel to the deck line and perhaps a few centimeters below. Highlighting the sheerline in this way will help you see not only which direction she’s headed but her angle of heel as well. The contrast between the carbon hull and kevlar deck on my Bantams is very easy to see, even in low light and inclement conditions.

Before you paint this racing stripe on your boat try using tape to create the stripe to see how it reads. Electrical tape is relatively cheap, black, but probably a little thick. Thin tapes can also be had at hobby stores that feature r/c cars. If the effect works for you I would eventually paint the stripe on, because all tapes eventually break down when exposed to UV.

I put horizontal stripes on both jib and main, as well as telltales on the jib. The stripes help a great deal in seeing what the sails are doing (which tack they are on at distance or if they are luffing or the main is being backwinded). The tell tales indicate port or starboard at a distance and also indicate how the air flows over the jib. This latter function helps in tuning the boat, though it is not very useful once the boat is too far away.

If you are looking for white tape, you could use white vinyl sheet instead. You can buy sheets of it ( in other colors too) at a sign shop. cut it to whatever size you need.


From my extensive footy racing experience of exactly no races but some sailing I found that my uniformly red (or according to Angus tomato colour) Razor was difficult to judge when running side-on to me. The sails are different colours and showed up well, but I have now painted the Stbd side of the hull White to increase the visual clues.

I was going to paint the transom yellow, too but have no yellow paint

Angus, I have a pic of moonshadow heeling to the stiff breeze that illustrates the challenge

3 years ago while sailing in an IOM regatta in Florida, the course was set away from the shore line. The first mark was sort of at a 45 degree angle away. As all the boats (18) convened at the first mark, it became quite apparant that 17 of them had white or very close to white decks. One boat was solid yellow and stood out like a sore thumb.
I now own an all black ISIS IOM and I have painted my Fairwind Flat Black with a fluorescent orange chevron(2" wide) on the bow. It is very easy to see my boats out on the water. A problem does exist however if your club sails near Sunset during the week as we do…

the down side to having a boat that looks quite different from everyone else…its easier to get called fouls on…:slight_smile:

One thing to bear in mind is that red-yellow is focused at a different lens setting than green-blue. I found this at a distant upwind buoy that was coloured blue when my Soling was red. I turned short of the buoy three times in a row, even though I was certain that I had passed it. I have read somewhere that white is the most accurately focussed colour. It might be that two-colour paint jobs may be easiest to see at a distance.

My ec 12 is navy blue and I had the same thing happen at a far mark. three races in a row went into the mark 3rd missed it and ended up dead last as the fleet marched by

If the water is calm enough to give some reflection, you can use that to judge mark roundings. Just get the boat’s waterline above the mark’s waterline.

Or if the sun is shining from the right direction, I look for the shadow of my sails on the buoy, but that doesn’t really affect the problem of boat and sail colour. I have the top six inches of the mainsail of my Soling dyed red, after I totally lost it in the middle of a gaggle of starters.

My deck is bright yellow, and my hull is navy blue, and I find the contrast helps me tell when the boat leaned to or away from me. I might just implement some of these other suggestions.