Time to check your Spinnaker Pole ends…..??!!

At a very crucial moment (!) in the second race last weekend, our spinnaker pole end decided to shear off.  That’s not happened to us before.  We have Selden ends.

When I inspected the remaining end I realised that a fair bit of wear can set in.  I’ve replaced both ends now, but you might want to check yours too.


What’s a Photo of a 505 Doing Here….??!!


Well, the main point about this boat, is that it is the 505 belonging to our very own FF Champion, Richard Lovering.  At least now you know how technical he can get!!

I always lusted after a 505 as a teenager, and only managed to get one season racing one as crew at Queen Mary many years ago.  They just excite me to look at.


You can see here that Richard has made provision to pull his jib sheet inboard of the tank and this is what prompted our conversation about the same issue for the new FF jib – but Richard thinks it wont be necessary in our Class – phew!

The next photo shows the adjustable clew outhaul in two dimensions.  I noticed the Osprey stand had a boat from Hartley’s with a similar arrangement.







Dinghy Show Boat ….!!

Went to the Dinghy Show yesterday.  A great day actually!!

On the stand we had Coweslip, looking… well… Royal…!!  It was obviously very different back then – no toe straps for the helmsman, and one strap for the crew!

Of more technical interest was the new boat – 4047 fitted out by P&B.  In fact, I think it was Alan’s most recent boat and may be on the market if you want it!!

As such, it was in reasonably standard P&B trim but did have some interesting kit in a couple of places.


We first saw adjustable bridles of this kind a couple of years ago on Graham and Chris’ boat.  It certainly caused a lot of discussion on the stand.  Many people seemed to wonder how often you’d use it, but I must say when I asked Graham the same thing he said “most outings”.  Interesting.

I like the cutaway in the jib turning block carrier too.


Perhaps of more interest was that the boat was rigged with the new jib.  At first, lots of people didn’t even notice (!).  Alan though has moved to a twin track jib car system as we commonly used to have some years ago.

The emphasis here might be to have a track right on the inboard edge so as to have the ability to sheet it closer to the centre line.  Apparently Geoff Bayliss’ new boat has something similar (I’ve not seen it though), with both cars in place.  I must admit when we used to have two parallel plunger type tracks we used them a lot.   I had the opportunity to ask Richard Lovering of Hyde Sails what He thought of sheeting the new jib closer to the centre line, Richard said that the new sail caused a lot of that effect anyway – as the centre of fullness is much further forward now it might anyway set a couple of inches further inboard.  I think Richard said he might have to think about redesigning the main to match.

There was more than one conversation on the stand that maybe the old jib would be quicker in the light. If so, it’ll be hard to tell anyway!!

Phil Evans was telling me that he has come up with a smart little “two length” jib halyard idea, so that owners can easily interchange between the two sails.  That’s the way to go for me, I suspect.


This photo was mainly to illustrate two points:-

(i) the boat wasn’t rigged fully for its spinnaker.  It had a chute cover, but no sock in the cockpit. Interesting.  No bags either.  Perhaps they stuff the sail back under the foredeck as per “FooF”.

(ii) The protest flag.  Now most dinghies have been relieved of the obligation to carry a protest flag, but at 20 feet, if I recall correctly we are obliged to carry one.  But how many of us do??   Followers of the World Championship reports will know that it was eventually decided in the protest room and that the two main protagonists both flew their Code B, little red flags.

I wonder what happened to mine?  I’d better order up another from P&B…!!





Carbon Tillers Really Can Bend…..

Justin spotted this photo on Y&Y….. and he’s right!!  There is a bit of a tiller curve there!

At Datchet in recent weeks, we’ve had nothing but huge breezes – and we’ll have had some of these moments ourselves.  I realise I’m never looking at the tiller when it happens!!

Click here to see it

Where to put your lead corrector weights……




The Phil Evans finished boat at the show, built for Justin Waples, was carrying about 18.5kgs of lead.  It had been fitted as 2x7kgs, and a 4.5kgs section.  It looked as if there was room above the two 7kg weights to tuck the 4.5kg section away on the top.  Phil though had decided to keep the weight as low as possible in the boat and closer to the centre of gravity by using longer bolts to build the weight out horizontally.  Nice touch !

Little details – Chute Smoothing….!!

I just love it the way that one keeps seeing tiny little improvements on our RYA Dinghy Show stand each year.

For interest, I stuffed my camera down the spinnaker chute of each boat on the stand this year, just to take a look under there.  The photos come out a bit blurry (too close for the autofocus) , but you’ll quickly get the idea.

The first boat looked like this.

4033 chute

You can see what we all expect to see – the securing bolts for the jib tack fitting and the bow eye loop.

Now the same test on the second boat, and you see this….

P and B Nosecone

Nothing !!  What you can just make out is a piece of sticky back sail cloth has been placed over the area, making the chute completely smooth and snag free from the bolt ends.

Nice !!

Thanks to Dave Hemmingway for pointing this out to me!


Seen at the Show – Does Your Mainsheet Ever Catch on the Transom…..??!!

You’ve got to love simple solutions, haven’t you?  If you’ve ever had your mainsheet hook over the rear quarter, you might like the look of this.

This is the standard stern.


This was the stern of the P&B fitted boat at the show.

Very neat, huh?  I wonder if it works ??!!!


Outboard Brackets…..!!

( Ed : To be honest, I never thought at the outset of writing the FF Blog that we would have anything much on the subject of FF Outboard motor brackets….. but here we go…..!!!!   Hard line sailors – bite your tongues !!! ….)

photo 4My friends in Canada, Jeff and Barbara Tarris, have kindly sent the following pictures (which you are welcome to publish) of an outboard motor bracket that they have fitted to their Copland. They have also supplied the following comments.photo 2

photo 3.





This unit fastens to the aft of the deck by being bolted through the outer edges which support the gunwhales. The point should be made that the horsepower should be limited to 2 to 3 HP. Also, to reinforce the point of attachment, the void in that area under the gunwhale could be filled in with epoxy. Finally, a lanyard from the motor to the rudder post, just below the tiller is a must in case things go awry with the bracket.

Photo 1Adrian Simpson

Calibrated Your Kicker …???

I think I started sailing, in a GP14 then an Enterprise, in 1964, perhaps 1965.  As the sixties rolled by, I got into the racing idea and loved it.  Mainly we just pointed in roughly the right direction and went out and enjoyed it.

Then in the second half of the sixties, as a teenager, I needed heroes – John Oakley and David Hunt came along with their Flying Dutchman, Shadow, and swept all before them. That was really the first time that it occurred to me that calibration in the boat was important.  They calibrated everything.

In contemporary times, of course we all calibrate everything – repeatability of settings is vital.  Our boats are covered with felt pen marks and bits of sticky backed measuring tape.  I’ve never seen a good way to calibrate the kicker though – until now.  On David Williamson’s FF they have a very neat solution.  I’m hoping that David can send more photos but how simple, lightweight and neat is this??

Fwd Cockpit O'Head

Look very carefully at this photo (double click to enlarge will help!).

David writes:-

In the forward Cockpit pic you may notice a ball under the boom- one shock cord end tied off to the mainsheet block bridle, the other (spectra side) runs to and through the vang point and down to the vang cascade double block.
As the vang is adjusted- the ball moves along under the blue graduation marks. A very quick visual reference (rather than looking for a mark on a sheet) of just how much vang is on.
Between the rear and central marks-when reaching, Between the central and front-both skipper & crew hiking upwind in fresh conditions.
Forward of the front mark-upwind and extremely windy.

I notice too that it’s not a new idea!!  See this photo…

kicker calibration

Neat Mainsheet on Ronstans…..!!

Ronstan Mainsheet Blocks

Here is a pic of my mainsheet system using Ronstan block’s.
I’m a past employee of Ronstan and these days, both a supplier too and customer of Ronstan for components for stainless wire balustrading.
So this boat other than some Allen micro flip flop blocks in the tunnel and the below deck furler, is a complete Ronstan fit out.
These mainsheet/ Orbit blocks have a unique attachment method that with spectra loops (which extra long loops can be either made or be separately purchased) allow ideally the mainsheet to run through them without any friction or need to hang the block through a saddle or thimble.

David Williamson


Free Floating Genoa Barbers….!!

Back in my Dragon days, the massive genoa aboard was controlled via a floating jib fairlead and not via a track.  I’ve often wondered how this might work on a fifteen.  Here are some notes from David Williamson, on how he has gone about it….

Jib Sheeting DetailIn the Jib Sheeting detail pic.
Jib Sheet MarkingsSpectra slip-loop to attach tapered jib sheet.
Graduation reference marks on splash board as a visual jib sheeting reference.
Shroud adjuster (cut down as I saw in a pic of Vials/Turner boat in Hong Kong)
-Couldn’t help myself, these are also bolted on permanently and are part of the hull weight.


FF Insight Zone – Easy Launching and Recovery……

If you are new to Fifteens, or thinking of buying one,  we find that most people are slightly wary about launching and recovery – especially if they are moving up from Dinghies.

The good news is that it’s all a piece of cake.  The majority of clubs use jetty launching – and the whole routine is surprisingly easy and DRY !!   You just need to know a few tips on setting up your trailer, and the new video on the FF Insight Zone will show you the basic ideas you need to get going.

You’ll find the video in the Members area of the BIFFA website.  Go to the website home page and click UK Association/Members/FF Insight Zone.  You’ll need your members password to log in first.

Chris Turner on his Spinnaker Handling Fit-Out….!!

A few days ago we published an item on our World Champions’ fit-out for spinnaker handling…. This is what Chris has to say about it:-

I have the kite cleat forward (same on Sake) so I can control the drop. Free’s Graham to have his head out of the boat. I pull the kite down, no need for a sock through the cockpit as you simply stuff the kite forward. After the first couple of pulls you are pulling on the sail itself anyway. Merlins, Scorpions and a lot of traditional UK Classes have this set up, it is nothing new.
Lead is where it is as there was no where else to put it! Handly you can put your toe under it on a windy reach too!
Got a few new ideas that will come for the Nationals…