The Footy rating rule.

Rather than tag a discussion of the rating rule on the end of some other thread I thought that it would be more constructive to have this thread devoted to the Rating Rule only.
Quotation of the post which prompts this discussion…
Ok,here is an update on the design that prompted this question.
The hull is 13 inches long and is in the BobAbout style.
it has a waterline length of 12.5 inches with a small “V” cutout at the stern where a overhanging rudder is installed.
The bow is higher than the normal BobAbout and has 1/2inch overhang.
The keel is the same depth as before,approx 6 inches.
This boat fits across the box on the diagonal with the stern lowered at an angle.The rig is able to fit into the box as well.(main and jib boom)
This boat is not of radical design,it is a fairly normal looking hull …just a lengthened BobAbout.I was easily able to accomadate the design changes,ie the extra length,high bow and overhanging rudder without going to any extremes or compromises
Is this good for the class? If there was a Footy race tommorrow this is the boat I would like to sail,I havn’t sailed it yet but the basic design has been proved before(BobAbout) I am confident my changes make it a better boat.
Do our rules have a problem? or are we happy that this "may " become the norm?
Brett I understand you are trying to provoke discussion and boy will you do that.:scared:
Brett, your new 13.5 inch waterline Footy gives me grave concern.

As we all know waterline length governs maximum speed. Longer = faster.
With all racing yachts full size or model the design object is to make your own faster than others.
Class rating rules are established to restrict and guide the design development within certain parameters which are the essence of that class.
Classes may be catagorised as One Design, Restriced or Development.

A Footy is a foot long model yacht development class. The develop part means that apart from the overall length being limited to 12inches or 305mm the rest is pretty much open slather.

The most recent version of the Rating Rule brought the use of the measurement box into the qualification of a boat as a Footy.
Great, good idea, no problem, makes it easy. Yeah Right!:devil1:

Brett has shown with his new “BigFoot” design a possible flaw in the Box rule.
That is if you feel like me that a 13.5 inch Footy is not desirable.
My contention is that a Footy should be no longer than 12 inches on the waterline.:splat:
Let`s hear your thoughts on this forum which seems to have become the unofficial Footy Forum for which we owe Chad a vote of thanks.:king:

We did give serious consideration to “diagonal” hulls when writing this rule.
However I/we may have failed to look at the possibilities of the “double diagonal” hull.The generous depth of the box makes this possible.
You are not alone in your thinking Ian.
I am firmly on the fence on this one,tricky situation…

With due respect for other opinions, we did foresee that Footys could be longer than 12 inches with the box rule…even did some experimentation along those lines. Any rule has its complexities as well as its difficulties with interpretation at the margins. The box solves some things nicely, others not as well. That will be true of any rule.

I personally don’t see it as a problem, unless one insists on the need to take the name Footy literally…the foot at the end of my leg doesn’t happen to measure 305 mm but I still call it a foot.

I suggest that rather than debate the point philosophically, let’s have Brett make the 13 1/2 incher and sail it against a 12 incher of the same basic design. Then he can tell us how much of a performance difference it really makes. I have, for example, seen a 36/600 beat a USOM, because there’s more than just LWL to good hull design, and a lot more to racing than just the boat. If the difference is really significant, then we can all choose to make long Footys, or we could reopen discussion of the rules.

Brett, given your special place in the history of Footys, you’re the one of all people that I want to see solidly behind the rules. If you are testing the limits of the rule and trying to get a feel for other’s interpretations, fine. But if you are having second thoughts, then maybe we need to consider changing the rules again. Niel, for one, would love to reopen that can of worms.


I am testing the limits of the rule in my mind on a daily basis!!
I am bringing these issues to everyones attention because most ppl won’t or can’t see what could be the future for this class.
The real fact of the matter is that we have absolutely no idea what type of hull/rig etc is best for this class or how the boats will end up looking under these rules.No formal racing of significant calibre has taken place
The rules as they stand are fine by me…but I am only one guy.
If the boats are slightly longer than 12 inches then thats ok by me.
I have many conflicts of interest here…I helped create this rule.
I produce boats in this class for sale…As a boat builder should I produce this 13 inch boat? will it be accepted by the general populace?
All I know is that I have advanced the method by which I design and build boats to a fairly high degree so that any new design now would be a major undertaking to bring a product to market.Thats a bit scary when I need to push the rules to the limit to ensure the boat produced will be competitive with what ever you one off guys will produce for yourselves for a few years to come.
As a boat builder/designer I “need” the rules locked in solid.
I am happy to design under any rule.I am happy to design under the rules as they stand…but be prepared cos some of the solutions to the limitations in the rules could make these boats harder and more expensive to build.
For example…the triangle cut out at the end of the box for the overhanging rudder restricts the steering gear and or the free board at the bow.I have found a way around it but it won’t be easy to make this rudder linkage work through the 6mm slot in the box so I can keep a high bow.
I would like to see the rules “locked in” for a significant period of time as builder /designer.
As a guy who has been dreaming of and activly buiding smaller yachts for a long time I am a little concerned for the future…mainly because I can’t see it clearly and I don’t want the class to fail.
This last part worries me a lot.But I guess all classes live and die in this way.I am just so close to it all.

As I see it, the way we solve this issue will probably propagate itself to the smaller ‘Peanuts’ and anything smaller than it, since IMO what I have seen so far is fairly similar to the footy.

OTOH, in most other classes, the hull length is simply measured parallel with the water line, which eliminates the diagonal orientation of the long Footy. But since you’ve elected to use the box, I’ll go with that. Kind of refreshing change from the usual way. And so far there have been only a few ways to ‘fit’ the thing in there.

To honest, when I first read the topic title, I thought it was going to be oriented about measuring girth stations and using formulas (but that includes the sail area, which, IMO, is unrelated here). Like the 12 meter rule.

So, you guys are leagues above me in design and it would be hard for me to comment either way. I certainly think a foot, is foot, but agree with Bill and call my foot that is not a foot a foot:evil: . But I have a question. What kind of ruling is there in regards to doing a multi-masted rig? Is it possible within these scopes? Would it be allowed?
I remember many years ago when I used to sail on Mission Bay in San Diego there was this guy that had an open dighny that was schooner rigged. This boat was no bigger than my Snipe and it was just coolest little boat!

Thanks Brett, for clarifying your worries. I understand. I also think you’ve done a good job of identifying some of the design tradeoffs under the rule. I guess it is a good thing to make sure everyone understands…I hadn’t thought about it in that way. The fact that it’s unclear which areas to exploit for maximum performance is what I think makes this rule really kind of interesting. It might take a while before all Footys look alike!

Tom, your example of “simply” measuring parallel to the water line is exactly the kind of thing we were trying to avoid with the box concept. To measure a boat parallel to the waterline requires a float tank and more sophisticated measuring gear. So it’s not so simple after all. The process of certifying a 10 Rater is a good example of what we wanted to avoid. We didn’t want builders to have to make a float tank, or race directors to bring one to a race location. The box is easy to make by anyone with the skills to build a boat, at minimal expense, and easy to transport to the race. No other measuring gear is required.

Bob, the way I interpret the rule, the number of rigs you can bring to a race is restricted to two, but the number of masts per rig is unrestricted. Other interesting things like kite sails and rigid sails are there to explore as well.


That’s exactly what I’m talking about!! You wouldn’t need a float tank, just some marks on the hull showing line, if that. I like to show the water line on my designs. A tape measure is as sophisticated a measuring device as you’d need. What were you referring to, Bill? Or just along the deck. That’s how we do it on the 1Ms. My boat’s waterline goes along with the deck, or just put it in the lake. I don’t know about yours or anybody elses tho. Things are getting too complicated here. Have a nice day.

Go for it. You’ll have your hands full with sheets & lines & such (like 2 sail servos?), but your idea sounds interesting. Could you work out the idea and maybe tell us about it?

Hi All,
Looking at the rules I find the following:

B.1 With the exceptions listed below in B.2, B.3 and B.4, the boat in racing trim shall be capable of fitting into an open-topped rectangular measurement box of internal dimensions 305mm long, 305mm deep, 153mm wide, with 6.3mm wide slots for projecting spars and rudder, as shown in the diagram.

Now looking at the diagram, it looks to me like the boat is positioned straight in the box. It would make things much easyer if this is the way they are measures. Or we could go really crazy and say your boat can be as long as your foot ( this would give me an advantage size 14’s).

Now as to using two sail servos the rules state:
C.1 Control is restricted to 2 channel radio control gear.

All two channel gear I have seen only have two servos, when I first inquired about Footys I was told two servos only, maybe this needs to be spelled out in the rules for the nit-pickers.
(PS one bobabout under construction two more to go)

I never quite got the advantage to the box rule versus the simple deck lenght rule. Might be intelectual lazyness on my part, but I like rules that any kid can understand, and that are very short and to the point. anything not expressly prohibited is permitted. The nice thing about rules, is that you can do a hell of a lot creatively within them. If its absolutley nothing but deck length, and it hassed to be a monohull, you’ve instantly levelled the playing field so long as everyone knows the rules before they make or purchase their boats. Fair is fair. Let the chips fall where they may.

Now that I think of it though, like with any class, there are going to be some with more ability to make fast boats than others and it will become a one design class. There arn’t any classes left where the abverage guy can make a competitive boat from scratch, (There are some) and if there were to be one, I would think the footy would be it. I’d like it to be required that alll footys be made of a bottom plank and two side planks of wood. thats my vote, but

My dream footy rules (which aren’t gong to happen)-
12 inch deck length
bottom and side planks
no propellors
nothing prohibited that isn’t expressly prohibited.


if we change the rules, lets do it by a vote of all registered footy skippers which appears to be a rapidly growing group.


I don’t want to hijack this thread away from footy rules, but it would not be necessary to have more than one servo for the sails in a multi-masted rig. All sails would be trimed the same, unless you would get into top sails or, maybe a brigatine. Actually, my thoughts have been wandering over to things like sharpies, hard chined, flat bottom, center board.

My view is that this question shows a flaw in the rule as presently written vs the intent of the class originator.

The rule A1 says that the boat be approximately 1 foot. So a 13 inch boat is approximatley 1 foot.

Tha actual measurement requirement is section B that states that the boat shall (mandatory) fit in the box. The rule does not require that the boat be square and level. So as long as the boat complies with B, in any way, it is legal.

The appertures for overhanging rudder and spar are optional. The only thing I see is that you cannot have the best of both worlds…ie a diagonal fit in the box and then also claim the overhangs.

I think the spirit of the rule is that the boat be 1 foot, not 13 inches, so lets see a change to the rule to produce the intended effect.


The rules seem to have been ‘grandfathered’ once already, so there’s no reason we can’t redo the rules and grandfather the current hulls.

There are many ways this dscussion could go.

A few notes from the discussion so far,

Mearsuring the length parallel to the waterline will require a float tank.
If you don’t use a float tank you are guessing.

My 13 inch long Footy has a 4 inch beam,It couldn’t be any wider and fit in the box.
Is 4 inches wide enough…or will I be under pressure from wider short boats in a blow?? We don’t know.

Radio control…2 channels is different to saying 2 servos.
I would think you can have whatever you want hooked up to those 2 channels.

Simple rules sound great…but simple rules ussually produce non simple boats
complex rules however can produce very level and fair racing.
For example,there are many who think the IOM rule is complex and differcult to understand/read etc,but there is no denying the fact that this is one of the most popular classes in the world and produces some of the best and most equal racing.

The Box rule is pretty good…it fits or it doesn’t,as long as you guys are prepared to live with what the rule may end up producing.
As classes go on you will see the boats start to look more and more alike…this is the natrual evolution of any class rule as the designers start to discover what works best within that particular rule framework.
The great thing about the rules we have is that we have so many unanswered questions on what type of hull and appendages will work best that we have years of development ahead of us and there is great scope for everyone reading this to acheive the “breakthrough” design that will eventually become the standard for the class

Good summary, Brett. And you pointed out an important thing. We need to be careful about jumping to the conclusion that all future Footys will be 13 1/2" LOA and 4" beam. While it’s true that LWL = speed, there’s so many other factors that go into design that make it much more complex than that. As we’ve talked about, the tradeoff of LWL vs. righting moment available to wider boats has yet to be determined. Most current class rules restrict all boats to the same sail area, or force tradeoffs between LWL and SA. Our rule doesn’t do that. Niel’s 8" wide Bantam (built to the old rules) shows promising performance, appearing from photos to be able to carry more sail than a Bobabout. My gut feel (not worth much) says that the lessons we’ve learned from our one meter and longer boats built to other class rules may not directly translate to Footys, so we really don’t know what the future has in store for us. But the box rule gives us a good amount of leeway to find out. Neat, huh?

Hiljoball, I don’t think we could say that the rule violates the intent of the originator of the class. It’s just stretching his imagination, which I think is a good thing. Brett is the originator of the class, he was a key person in the development of the rules from the beginning, he knew full-well the rule would allow boats longer than 12 inches, but he’s helping us all to look ahead and understand the implications of the rules.

As another participant in the rule development, I’d like to point out the opportunities the rules present also…just so we don’t get the impression that because it’s not perfect in everyone’s opinion that it must be poorly thought out. Although any individual builder might be unhappy with some aspect of the rule, another builder may see that same aspect as a great opportunity. And don’t forget that things that sound simple, like just saying 12 inches LOA, often turn out to be more complex than they appear. So the rule is a compromise. It’s both good and not so good, like any other set of class rules. Which way you see it depends much on your personal preferences, experience, and vision of the future. I think there’s a great deal of lattitude in the box rule for a wide variety of possible Footys, and I feel it’s important to look beyond our individual likes and dislikes and try to see whether the rules as a whole support what we collectively think is a positive future for the class. Sorry for getting preachy.

John, I agree with the vote concept for future changes. Although three of us were the primary rule developers, we consulted with several others who had Footy experience, and invited discussion from all others here on the forum. We did our best to balance points of view ranging from keeping Footys as a cute entry-level class for kids all the way to tailoring the rules to appeal to only skilled designer/builder/racers. Though we heard a lot from a couple of people, it’s interesting that we got little feedback here until Brett raised attention to 13 inch Footys. Given what’s come up so far, I remain pretty happy with the result…which kind of surprises me because I was probably the most reluctant of the three of us to go with the box idea until I made one and started playing with it. It does inspire the imagination.

BTW John, since you like simple rules…consider this…it either fits in the box or it doesn’t. I don’t think it gets much simpler than that. All of this discussion thread has not been about whether Brett’s new boat is legal…it clearly is legal because it fits in the box. All of this discussion is about whether our collective intent is reflected in the rule and making sure we are comfortable with its implications.


Just to clarify…The boat I have built is 13inches overall length,not 13.5 which has been stated here a couple of times.
Also it has a 1/2inch rake at the bow made possible by the room left in the box by the hull sloping down.
So the effective waterline length of this model is 12.5 inches

The advantage of what I have done as I see it is.
A …1/2 inch longer waterline
B…able to have a higher bow and have an overhanging rudder,
C…This design is able to have a higher B rig than yachts whos deck line is near the top of the box.

The cons,
A …restricted beam to around 4 inches
B…limits the depth of the keel to around 6inches

Who knows…lets build Footies and race them,thats the only way we can find out.!!!

Bills right when he says about the feedback.We have asked for feedback on the class rules and input from everyone here for a long time.
I have been asking for feedback on proposed Footy rules on my own website since 2002.
I had very little.
After finalising and publishing the rule we got little feedback…
But now That I raise the possibilities of various designs under these rules the opinions start to flow.
The reason I have bought to light the possibilties as I see them under these rules is to give a leg up to possible Footy designers and also to prepare the general populace to what the Footy may become and finally to show how much room for development there is with these simple Box rules.

Hey Brett…ya got me! I hadn’t thought about the possibility of a B rig higher above deck than 305 mm because of the way the boat fits in the box. As much as we tried to anticipate creative solutions, there’s always another idea. Good on ya!

All things considered, this stuff excites me more than concerns me. Your B rig might be taller than mine, but I might have a longer fin for greater righting moment so my B rig SA might be greater than yours. Lots of opportunity here, which is what I really think we wanted to achieve, while keeping compliance measurement simple at the same time.


The more I read about it I like the Box rule which is pretty simple. I commend anyone who takes it apon themselves to organise a set of rules for a class of Model Yacht, and I think you all did a great job. Needless to say we will all have our little ideas and preferences which happens in any class. At some point does the rules debate end and the building and creating continue?

(My footy is coming along. I’m looking foward to launching it in a couple of weeks)


Hoping iceout comes early this year, John??

Building continues! This kind of rules debate has been going on for years in the Soling 1m class…especially in the winter. Until we seem to have consesus on some change, go with the box rule as written. Most of what I’ve heard so far seems more of a need to understand than to change.

I have 4 or 5 boats in various stages of completion. Hope I can finish at least one by spring! Need somebody who loves to make sails to get busy for me!

Send us pics of your launch…Bill

Does the thread starter have anything more to add? how are you feeling about this now Ian?