The Footy rating rule.

I have been watching the discussion with much interest.:darth:
I would like to express my pleasure at the most execellent standard of debate, the consideration and good manners displayed during what I feel is a wonderful example of a special interest forum doing what it is designed for,the propegation of contributors ideas and thoughts.:idea_125: Well done everyone.

From Bill
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.

From Brett
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

also from Brett
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.

The box rule is an interesting concept from the point of view of a designer.
It seems to work quite well in the case of the R36 class still popular in England.
One of the challenges of the box rule for the FOOTY class is the ratio of length : depth : width, being so close perhaps allowing orientation not previously envisioned.:spin:
My own position is now this.
[COLOR=Red]Keep the Box rule as it is currently.

Having said that I would like to expand my argument further.
I am not happy with the thought of a BIGFOOT design of 13in LWL.
However given the narrow beam forced as a consequence of the length decision I think that the sail carrying ability may be lessened making the design less of a threat in competition?

I initally considered recommending a clause be inserted making it manditory to measure the hull in a straight and level orientation within the box.
I have since moved away from that position to allow things to develop as they may. We will all watch with interest. :magnify:
As someone says here…Build em and race em.
The time for talking is over, let`s DO IT.


Yes Ian,The “long” boats have to be fairly narrow, and also have a shorter fin.
This may negate any benefit??
"BigFoots’ LWL is 12.5inches,she has 1/2 inch overhang forward.
The problem with mearsuring anything in a staright line is that there is no way of determing these straight lines unless the boat is floated in a tank.
Same with the rudder being rotated or not,how can anyone tell if the rudder is rotated or not? simpler to just put the yacht in the box…if it fits your in if it doesn’t your out.
So simple to mearsure.But for the designer…so hard to design with all these varibles…

Ice is almost gone already and the Footy still needs servos, a deck, and a rig. I better got off the computer and get cracking. My rig is going to be more of a traditioinal looking gaff rig. I have a way to make Gaff sails set well on all points.

Stay tuned for pics. I’ve god CAD plans for this and others too.


Well, since I’ve been sited for wanting to open up the rules review “can o’ worms, first let me preface my comments with an explanation of why I have can opener in hand.
Before the box rule was adopted by three people for all of us to conform to I built a foot long boat that was legal under the old rules. I wanted to test the idea that a short waterline hull, with the inherent drawbacks of longitudinal and directional stability, could have some of the negative effects of the LWL counteracted by broadening the hull. My Bantam design measures 7-5/8ths inches at the deck. There are some photos of Bantam on the Footy website.
Surely wide beam falls within the spirit of a developmental class’ rule. The original rule set an overall length requirement, no restriction on beam. The “convenience” of the box rule made my design line illegal so we will never know if this was a valid direction to explore to improve Footy performance.
By the way, the Footy rule is no longer a development class. The R in 36R, the British 36” long class that uses a box rule for measurement, stands for restricted. As in “restricted” by the box.
There are other disadvantages to the box rule that are not readily apparent. A lot of these restrictions are not written out for all to see and discuss, thats why I consider it a stealth rule.
An example from my Bantam; I designed my boat with a stern mounted spade (balanced) rudder. I use cable steering, which uses a pulley disk mounted on the rudder shaft and a similar disk mounted on my rudder servo. I don’t want to get onto the long explanation for why, so the short one is that I have fully proportional steering with this set up. While my rudder would fit through the slot in the box (if my boat fit in the box) my rudder linkage would not. And neither would yours unless it was raised to the level of the tip of your bow. Or you tipped your boat bow down in the box to bring the rudder linkage up to the “V” shape at the top of the slot. This won’t matter much for those folks that mount their rudders under the stern of their boats, but then their boats won’t point as high as boats that lengthen the lateral plane with a stern mounted rudder. Thus the rule accommodates stern mounted rudders but stealthily discourages people from using them.
Staying with the rudder for the moment, there several other experimental classes where nose diving (and sailing bow down downwind) is a major problem. The universal solution, although not universally successful, is a “T” form rudder. This rudder uses horizontal planes to counteract nose down attitude much like ailerons on an airplane. They are a bit of a challenge to get right so they don’t add much drag until the boat dives. They also can’t be deployed on a stern mounted rudder (won’t fit with the slot shape) where they would have the most effect. It was legal under the old rule. No rule against it outright, just no accommodation for it either.
Same thing with beam. Performance potential be damned, newbies won’t know the difference. Conceptual experimentation just doesn’t fit the “cute” aesthetic that is deemed desirable by the rule makers.
Don’t get me wrong, the Footy seems to have attracted quite a few first time builders which is great (not all from r/c sailing which is even better). I am sure that as the experience level and confidence of Footy builders grows and more of you are inspired to design a boat of your own some of what we’ve lost with this box rule will come to matter to you as much as it does to me.

Does somebody have records of the older rules? It would be interesting to see how things started & developed, and would help understand what people were thinking. Clear up some misunderstandings too.

I’ve debated this stuff with Niel so much I’m tired out, but I’m glad he posted his concerns here so all can participate. In spite of what Niel seems to think is a conspiracy to force you all to conform, I think we’ve demonstrated our willingness to listen and change if it seems needed based on our collective view of the class.

So I just want to make a couple of quick points.

The original rules were written by one person (Brett.) The new rule development was driven by 3 people, but over a dozen participated. Niel has personal issues with one of the three primary rules developers that may color his view of the result.

Since we grandfathered Niel’s Bantam, we will, in fact, get to see if wide beam is a good way to go. If Bantam beats all comers, I’m sure there will be a lot of Footy skippers wanting to change the rule.

All development classes have restrictions.

I agree with Niel’s concern about the V maybe not allowing as much flexibility for stern-rudder linkage as we thought it would. I’d like to hear more from builders who have tried to work this out.

I think a T rudder could be developed that would fit the rule, even when stern mounted. (edit…I was thinking about getting creative with the T being under the box extension, but Brett reminded me that the written rule restricts the rudder width, so Niel is correct that a T would not be legal.)

The cute factor was not a consideration in developing the rules.


Richard Webb wrote a rule before mine,I considered his original version not so good so rewrote it for my own use.I asked for comments on my website for several years and received little feedback.
Bill and I were working on another updated set.
Then MYA decided to promote the class,Roger contacted me.I contacted Bill and the 3 of us nutted out the rule with help from others who were interested.
It is clear to me if we hadn’t all got together to come up with a rule then the MYA would have a different set of rules to the rest of us.This I don’t think would be a good thing long term.
There are not to many classes with rules as open as this class.

:darth: I tend to want to sit on the fence here.:bag:

I can see the points that Niel brings up and have some sympathy for them.
I am one of those that love to see classes which have the least restrictions possible.
I know from experience that designers will push the parameters to the limit and sometimes beyond the limit.
Defining that limit is the hardest job for any class guardianship.
I must say that I have the greatest admiration for the job done by Brett, Bill and Roger.
I am sure that the FOOTY rule is a living thing that will be nurtured and cared for by those involved now and in the future.
It can be modified to help retain the spirit of the class, but any modification must be done with much thought and consideration as to the consequences of those changes.
I am happy with the present guardians and their integrity.:idea_125:

In response to Brett’s posting, perhaps he didn’t get verbal or written feedback to the rule set on his website but the popularity of his Bob-About plans and the demand for his “Pip Squeak” kit certainly count as a ringing endorsement of the Footy as he had outlined it. The rule as he evidently revised it was clear, simple and due to the popularity and dissemination of Brett’s output truly international in representation. This new box rule on the other hand tosses out the widely accepted rule for no other reason apparently, as Brett states, than to appease the British and bring them on board. The British intentions for the Footy class are as an entry level boat, “… as a focus for a school’s technical project.” The quote is from a findings paper entitled “MYA Objectives for Footy Boats”.
In addition the box rule allows a Footy to be more than a foot long with diagonal placement in the box. The additional half inch of waterline length doesn’t sound like much but transposed to an M class boat the waterline would be 2" longer.
For those of you that race the overall length of the boat that Brett built for diagonal placement in the box should be of concern. The 4 boat length circle for this new hull, compared to say a Pip Squeak, increases by 4 inches. Having participated in more protest hearings than I care to count I can’t say that I would look forward to settling a protest where conflicting, but legitimate claims based on hull length of close dimension come into play.
I have been corresponding with the three arbiters of the box rule since it was announced last fall. I anticipated that diagonal placement in the box was feasible. The solution that I proposed was to lower the long sides of the box to six inches high to eliminate the corners of the box. No corners, no way to place the boat in diagonally. Intuitively then the boat would be placed in the modified box with the centerline lined up with the bowsprit and rudder slots. This idea was summarily rejected, and it was at this point I realized that the box was more important than keeping the boats a foot long.
Finally, in response Bill’s comment about personal issues, I would thank him not to characterize my opinions in such a dismissive manner. That is out of line. I have the utmost respect for the three author’s of the box rule personally. I just don’t think that the product of their deliberations is in the best interest of the long term vitality of the class.


Too me it simple, a FOOTY is 12" long not 13.5". The box rule is simply and work. If we go with the 13.5 FOOTY and they bet the 12" FOOTY then why build so many boats at 12 inches.

I would be working on getting he rules for the FOOTY class set so it can become law and a class in it own.


Fine - so we can get an LOA of 13.5 inches. But there are trade-offs. Increasing the length means trimming away the corners of the stern - which may or may not be a bad thing - and (to do it on a really grand scale) reducing beam and hence stability. It’s not all a bowl of cherries.

Surely the whole point of a Footy is that it IS a development class. It rewards ingenuity, not straight line thinking. If you can get away with something within the rule, why not? The diagonal boat is hardly obscure: my 15 year old nephew sussed it in about 5 minutes flat. Boat is on the stocks.