Trouble to windward

Hi have completed my first footy about two months ago and went down to hayling island today was reaching fine and downwind was a fair turn of speeed but had real trouble trying to tack this always left me in irons will try and post pictures of her any help would be appreciated could my sail area be to low or high i made her around the design of papaya 3 but modded a bit here and a bit there please help

Without knowing more details, it sounds like your rig is too far aft which gives you too much weather helm, driving the boat up into the wind.

If you have a conventional rig, you might try loosening the main and tightening the jib a little and if you have a McRig, you might try closing down the “Z” bend a little to ease the leech and tightening the halyard to bend the mast and pull the draft forward, opening the leech.

If you send more details, especially pictures, we can be of more help.

Hi thanks for the quick reply these are some pics i think your right about it being too far aft looking at pics of other footys my sail area seems small

Some more pics just out of interest what sort of speed do you get from yours in a 6 knot wind


In six knots of wind, my boats are near hull speed - a nice easy walk. They can lap the internet course in about a minute.

Just a quick look at your pictures seems that the sailplan is too far aft. The easy way to attack this is not to move the mast, but to make a bigger jib. My comventional rig had about a three inch bowsprit to get enough sail area up front. You can see pictures of it at the “photos” section of
under “Huntington Footys”.

For heavier wind, you could leave the jib and cut several inches off the foot of the main, but that would probably only work in winds over 20 kts or so. Moving the mast forward would be the last step and you would need a bowsprit anyway as your jib already fills the fore triangle.


I built the papaya 3, with a swing rig. I had to move the mast forward about an inch from where it was shown on the plans, it balances better now, but still doesn’t like to go to windward much. It just seems as if the hull doesn’t like to do it. A suggestion might be to go with a slightly larger rudder, and possibly a wider keel.

Just looking at the pictures you have attached, I would venture to say that your jib is probably virtually useless going to windward. That is an enormous main, the rudder seems rather small, and the keel probably lacks enough area to create much lift upwind. I can’t speak to the design’s sailing tendencies, as I have never seen a papaya 3’s design, much less seen one in person. One thing I have noticed is that balance is a good thing on Footy’s. If you think about sailing a fullsize dinghy like a 420, for all their obnoxious habits, they will sail to windward on rudderless. (They will also sail to windward backwards, but that is another matter entirely.) Conversely, a JY-15 (one of my least favorite boats of all time) is difficult to sail to windward with a rudder… don’t even bother trying without. Ideally, your boat could sail perfectly without rudder input on all points of sail. Obviously, this will never happen on a Footy, but getting the forces balanced is very important. Otherwise, as you have found, the boat will go downwind great – so will a paper bag. But upwind will be nearly impossible. You may want to increase keel area temporarily and see if you see any improvement. Also, changing that rig up might help – more effective jib, more controllable main. It sounds to me like the boat probably has some killer weather helm. Also, the boat may simply be losing too much forward momentum… try using smaller rudder inputs (I’m inclined to think that this is not the case, as the rudder looks very small to me.) If there is one thing I’ve learned about footy’s it is that, almost any hull will sail – it might not be fast, but it will sail. The key to making something sail is getting the rig right, and then combining the rig with an effective set of foils. But look at some of the full size boats being sailed today – an Optimist pram is nothing more than a box. Its foils are in essence flat sheets of plywood, the rig is about as simple as you can get, but all the parts are set up so that they more or less balance each other out. Same story with a Finn, with a BlueJay, etc. etc. the forces on the boat have to balance, the jib needs to at some level offset the main. (Or the main needs to be balanced as is the case in a Finn, Laser, Opti, catboat, etc.) Good looking Footy though! I love the color!

Another thought from a non-FOOTY owner/sailor…

The sails look like they are made of relatively heavy material. If you are trying to sail in light winds, the fabric may be so stiff that it won’t take on a nice foil shape for efficient and powerful “motor”.

Comment based strictly on the static photos provided. :wink:

PHill - Dick has made an astute observation. The sails look to be made out of actual cloth, sewn with fabric grommets.

For Footies this type of construction is out of scale so to speak. Sails are the power plant of the boat and the greatest hull in the world will be a dud with bad sails. Conversely, a crappy hull will be competitive with a good set.

As a rule of thumb for conventional rigs a ratio of 60% mainsail to 40% jib is probably the best to try next. Also you need to be creative to source some light weight material. Mylar or light plastics should be flexible and run no more than 2 mil. thick. Some guys use kite fabric held together with double sided tape. Check out “Hang 'em High Fabrics” for Tri-Spi 25 and double stick tape.

There some varieties of vapor barrier plastic (like Tyvek) available from home improvement centers but you need to be selective because some have puckers and are not flat. Paneled sails are usually made with this material to avoid the brand name that is usually printed on the material.

In the UK several good racers use plastic shopping bags as a material. The shopping bags of choice are the stronger types that come from department stores, not the kind that groceries are bagged in at the market. There are also some guys who have used cellophane, although I haven’t heard of this material being used lately.

Generally you should be using sails that are responsive and flexible. On Footy size boats a bit stretchy is okay and a desirable trait for non-paneled sails. The sails need to develop an airfoil shape when filled and to this end it is very important to avoid wrinkles in the sails when they are constructed. An inexpensive material will put less pressure on the sail maker because they can scrap any marginal efforts and refine his or her technique to turn out good sails more often.

A good thread to check out for sail making ideas is: “The equalibrium rig down under”. You can find a lot of info on this forum about sails and sail making but you may have to search around a bit.

PHill- 420’s comment isn’t quite accurate. R/C sailboats should sail upwind with no helm input, this is when a boat is in “balance”. On off wind points of sail there is no r/c boat class that doesn’t need rudder corrections to keep it on course. Longer boats dampen the effect to some degree but the skipper still needs to steer. Of course the dingies that he mentions are all designed to have weather helm and to sail any of them with little or no rudder input is more a question of adjusting the sailor’s position (their moving ballast).

Thank you for the correction Niel. You are right indeed. I was speaking more about the fact that if you plop a boat, whether a five-year-old’s tinfoil creation, a plastic bath toy, a Footy, or a big multihull, chances are, it will go downwind with minimal control input. (Believe me, I’ve sailed enough little remote control and free sailing boats in my pool over the years to prove this true time and time again.) To sail upwind however, it a different matter entirely – it requires the boat to be thought out, rigged well, balanced, etc. Anyhow, again, thank you for picking up on that point. I think we are saying the same thing, you worded it better!

:slight_smile: :graduate: