Bags or Chute or This Skiff Thing?…….!!

For years, we have all trundled along with the bags versus chute debate.  It’s a close call and I guess the fleet might be split half and half….  well, split anyway.

Then along comes Chris Turner and Graham Vials and makes us think all over again.  Did you see their boat at the show a couple of years ago?  And then this year’s boat at the Dinghy Show, fitted by Bill Chard had the same setup.

If you’re not acquainted with it, then let me summarise:

  • It’s a chute design
  • The crew does the hoist and the drop
  • The cockpit sock no longer exists, the crew stuffs the stored sail up under the foredeck
  • Maybe the point is that either crew or helm can do the hoist and drop…. you get choices, which might depend a lot on what spinnaker pole system you use (At the show, Bill Chard had fitted the most automatic twin pole setup you can get)

Of our four fifteens we have had, the first had a chute and the last three have all been “bags boats”.  Mainly for us,  it’s about a different distribution of work between front and back of the boat.  Anyway, I am dead intrigued by all this….

I’ve got some photos for you to look at

Here you can see the cleat at the front of the cockpit so the bowman can control the release.  Note there is a turning block set further back… that’s where you draw the halyard on the hoist, and so I reckon maybe either helm or bowman can make the hoist.

Keen eyed Mk 10 owners will notice that Ovington have changed the moulding at the front of the cockpit floor to accommodate this… so I assume that the trap door is a bit shorter.

This is what it looked like on the traditional Mk 10 floor. Note that the trap door had to be bolted down as it becomes load bearing.

The halyard goes back to a turning block on the port side where the downhaul emerges and from there it travels forward to the downhaul patch of the sail.  Again, I’d suggest that maybe the helm has the choice of doing the hauling down back there.  I think Chris Turner just hauls the sail down pulling at the cockpit coaming itself…. then stuffs a few feet of sail from the floor up under the foredeck.

So simple enough an idea isn’t it?  For me it only gets complex thinking through who does what and when during the hoist and drop.

What else to say?  Two things :

First is that a lot goes on under the foredeck of a fifteen these days.  I’m a bit concerned as to the spinnaker staying snag free up there.  To be fair, I was chatting to buddies so much at the show I forgot to have a peep under the foredeck of Bill Chard’s boat.  I do though have photos of the  setup Chris Turner has which I must say is very, very neat indeed.  Chris has a curtain running up along the fore tank, so control and snagables sit one side, and the spinnaker sits the other.  Really impressed I am …

Very neat, eh? This second photo below is the camera view from the bow hole back towards the cockpit.

The second thing is that Mervyn Wright has automated the issue of tidying the sail away under the foredeck of 3904.  Mervyn has a shock cord (triple loaded I think under the foredeck) with an eye that sits on the downhaul line.  As you pull the patch back into the boat, when you let go the shock cord pulls the downhaul patch back up to the bow again, tidying the bulk of the sail as it goes.  Neat.  Difficult to photograph though!






Twin Spiro Fly Aways…..!

We have a team at our club experimenting with twin Spiro poles.  At the Show, Bill Chard had a very thoughtful set up which was attracting lots of attention.

This photo shows the guts of it, and the photo below shows you the very neat detailing at the mast gate controls.

At the back of the boom, of course, there’s a lot of elastic to fit in.



Great Day at The RYA Dinghy Show….!!

It was a great day up at the Dinghy Show today.  First time I can say I’ve ever noticed those trees in blossom!

The show on Saturday seemed really well attended and the Flying Fifteen stand was actually VERY busy – a great sign.

So good to meet old friends.  The FF on the stand was our latest addition to the Fleet – 4069… beautifully fitted out by Bill Chard.  Very very thoughtful piece of work that is.

I’ve a whole load of photos to publish shortly of the things on Bill’s boat that caught my eye.

More later.

Great view of the Shard from up there!








Waples Wines Northern Travellers -Tip Number 3 !!

Travellers tip #3 Rudder play:

“The next time you are in the dinghy park go around the other Flying Fifteens and see if you can move the bottom tip of their rudders. If you can there will be movement between the rudder bushes and the rudder stock. This is bad when sailing, as the rudder will vibrate and upset the flow of the water across the rudder causing drag and slowing you down.

The solution is to replace the nylon bushes which are found top and bottom of the rudder tube. I would recommend that you replace one at a time starting with the top bush and see if that solves the problem. To get the bushes out first try and tap them out with a long shafted screwdriver and if that doesn’t work you may have to use a junior hacksaw blade and wrap tape around one end to form a makeshift handle and cut saw drafts in the bush all around but be careful not to damage the rudder tube you will then be able to pull the bush out with a pair of long nose pliers.

You can then clean off the inside of the tube with fine sandpaper, apply a spot of epoxy glue and replace the old bush with a new one that you will be able to purchase from Pinnell and Bax. While you are attending to the rudder bushes you may also check that your rudder fits snugly to the hull. If there is a gap of over 6mm then you are again upsetting the flow of water across the rudder which slows you down. You can either push the rudder further up through the rudder tube or you may have to reshape the flange of the rudder. Either way make sure that the rudder then rotates freely without scrapping the hull”.

Helm, Bobby Salmond, ƒƒ202.

Dinghy Show Boat and Jib Tracks

Through injury I had to miss the Dinghy Show this year for the first time in…. well, I don’t know how long.    It was very snowy in the week and I’m told it might have been a little bit quieter than usual both in terms of visitors and of course, in boats exhibited. Given how horrid the weather had been, a huge ‘well done’ to anyone who got there!

The Flying Fifteen Class had the World Champion boat on display.

I would guess that with much of the fleet now switching over to the new headsail design, there will have been a lot of interest in the new positioning of the jib tracks.  



The taller aspect ratio sail gives a chance to try sheeting the jib closer to the centre line.  The first trial site was on the onboard face of the vertical side of the seat tank, at the top edge. The traveller cars were not designed for this angle of pressure though and do not run smoothly in this configuration. Thinking has moved on, and Steve has moved his tracks now to the bottom edge of the 45 degree slope as you can see in this picture. Relative to the old track site a couple of inches up the slope the sheet position is a few inches forward.

Tip : I have just had my tracks moved to the same position!  Future proofing, hopefully !!