UK Dinghy Show – Full Report on the FF Stand !!

The UK Dinghy Show has moved as we exit the pandemic. We are only just exiting Covid restrictions, so it was pretty brave of the RYA and of the exhibitors to try and get it going again. It was held at Farnborough Airbase – actually a lot of advantages compared to Alexandra Palace.

Our Class Sec, Keith Jamieson, did a wonderful job of getting the FF stand together. It was in a brilliant position right near the show entrance, and the size was full-on double boat size. For once, we had not one controversial boat, but two!!

Ginger Boats New FF

First up we had the new FF from Ginger boats – lots to talk about here!!

It had a full length double floor, with self bailers set under the rear floor.(echoes of Superdocious!). Actually as you can see, a very sexy floor surface too.

The boat has an ultra slim console with the front face set at an angle, giving more crew space – yet lots of surface for controls.

This was a bags boat, and next much talked about feature was the spinnaker bag arrangement with integrated jib tracks.

So we saw rectangular bags mounted at their stern side on carbon spars sticking out of the side tanks. The cars have vertical and lateral athwartship adjustments. If you think the spars look upsupported at their inner ends – your eyes do not deceive you. They are apparently bonded to the hull side at the other end, but it would be interesting to see if the next generation of this thinking adds some kind of support to the inner end.

I cannot help thinking I have seen this arrangement before on some other class, but maybe it’s a way to go?? As I say, very keen to see version 2.

The following photo is from the Merlin Rocket, right behind our stand. See where they mount their jib track…. on the floor!! (So before we moan too much …. etc!!)

Anyway – very interesting. And that wasn’t all – there were some lovely details:-

Take a look at this spinnaker pole ramp! How lovely is that !!

(Above) – It is years since I saw a spinnaker crane, but this has got me thinking again. And look – !! A 2:1 jib halyard up top!!

Pretty clean side tanks as you can see here – but note this kicker arrangement.

The final takeoff is led forward under the boom, then down to the mast heel and back to the console.

The rear cockpit, had s spinnaker pump (as did the Ovi boat actually). I must say I tried this once about 15 years ago and gave up trying to make it work 101% of the time. I wonder if this has been cracked now. Perhaps I’m no longer strong enough to pull on the pump line !

Anyway – all credit to Ginger Boats. If this is a sign of their opening intent, it’s going to be very interesting to see what they can develop in the next couple of years!!

Now did I save the best till last? Before you all groan and think, “Oh it was just an Ovington…” let me tell you to hold your breath. The Ovington boat was amazing. I cannot explain if you didn’t see it, just how much thought had gone into it. Masses. I dont know where to start really… it was that challenging. I’ve had 48 hours to think about it, and it’s still mind boggling.

So – in your minds eye, think of a really technically advanced Ovington, with all the adjustment controls you could possibly expect – double poles, the lot. Then think how this boat could be the cleanest layout you have simply ever seen. Look at this….

Start at the console to understand how some of this is achieved. This custom super thin, sloping-front console is sealed as you can see. Now, almost everything in terms of controls is there…. look!! There are sealed side panels screwed on and within, I think there are three drum winches (think Superdocious again). One is for the kicker and … and two are oh, honestly I forget what. My head was spinning. A nice console footprint, by the way – very compact. So that’s the power house – so for example you can have a kicker vang that looks like this…

The mainsheet bridles were led down these holes and exit to the console

The spinnaker sheets were led inside the tanks, but not to their normal exit points, but they emerge at the customised jib turrets (black and white lines)

All the line tails are just led away by tidier systems – the boat is incredibly clean

It was rigged as a double pole, chute boat. There was huge innovation going on with the twinners which sat at modified custom shroud plates and led within the tanks.

(Note water bottle stored close to centre of gravity) Now lets take a look at the jib tracks – plenty of custom work here too

Note also completely reimagined jib cars, using the 470 idea that we have all seen… but rethought for the FF geometry.

Lovely custom faired ends too.

This adorable carbon custom tiller has a secret….

It is moulded as an inverted U shape, (sorry about the photo quality) so is hollow underneath – and is used to store the spare tiler extension within….

There were custom automatic bailer controls – naturally !

Also note bailer detailing and positioned slightly outboard of the normal site, I fancy – or is that an optical illusion?

Very nice custom compass housing with integrated cleats for the pole launchers.

And how do you fancy these carbon ramps to ease the passage of the spinnaker poles as they launch?

I take this to be a lovely rig rake marker system – terribly neat!

Have a look at these mainsheet block lashings at the boom

Back of the custom console so that you can see how slim it is…You can see the control line tidier from there too. running the tail ends away to the tunnel.

I am just reflecting how amazing in class of 75 years of age, we get bursts of innovation like this. Some of these ideas are going to make it through to standard production, don’t you think?

(Photos : ©Phil Tinsley and ©Richard Jones)

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