Twin Jib Tracks Make a Return – 4073 at The Dinghy Show

I think my second FF, 3644, had a twin track arrangement for the jib cars… but I might not have had them since!

Well, they could be making a comeback!!  Did you watch the video two blog-posts below this?  Very interesting and beautifully done custom made.  Note the main tracks are on custom made “pods” and even further inboard than those on the Ovington boat.  The idea here is to sheet closer to the centre line and then “barber” outward via the second track when you’re offwind….

Photos kindly supplied by Phil Tinsley






Latest from Justin on the New Jib….!!

After a bit of rooting around today I’ve had some really positive
feedback from both Greg (as attached) and Charles.

Greg will have a video from ‘Riggy’ shortly too.

Charles’s reply (below) to my question of ‘what’s the new jib like?’ after
his trials was amazingly straight forward and honest with someone of the
known technical knowledge and ability that comes with 40 years of sailing
ffs at the front of the fleet.

…..New jib is brilliant, you can see where you are going, easier to pull
in and boat goes really well with it. An absolute must and I wish we had
more notification to get people on board because I think most people thought
the issue was going away. It will also last longer .. Not around the mast
so much .

As I keep telling the children…..’it’s good to talk’!

The New Jib….

FF new job 2

There was interesting background chatter at the Datchet Club on Sunday about the Rules Ballot.  Relative to when we first discussed weight reduction about five years ago, there was quiet acceptance that this seems the right thing to do.  There were plenty of questions of the practicalkl issues – what would the regular club owner actually do to take weight out?  Does it need a measurer on site to reweigh everyone?  Is our fleet measurer empowered to do this?  Can I just take my lead out and saw 5Kg off it?  How do you cut lead? “Where is my lead?”, was a recurring favourite on the older boats.

Then we came to the jib.  I would say there was quiet acceptance that it would be good to have another additional option for lighter crews.  However, I would say the general belief was that the proposed design was the one we all tested five years ago….  But Justin was very quick to point out that the new proposal is NOT at all that design we all saw.  Comments I gathered on the jib in our last two race sessions were:

  • that doesn’t look as modern as the one we tested (do they mean it doesn’t look “skiffy”?)
  •  the clew looks too high
  •  “will it change the genoa car and track requirements in my boat?”
  • it makes the boat look less distinctive than it is now
  • our class is famous for its good looks, this takes some of the distinctiveness away and makes it look ordinary.  The genoa on a flying dutchman (btw, our commodore has one in addition to two FFs!), and on a Dragon for that matter, defines what they are.  Is it the same in the Flying Fifteen?
  • why haven’t FFI communicated more?

What do you think?

The Ballot !!!!!! Photos of New Jib. Get VOTING !!!!

As you maybe know, we have a FF Ballot happening on New Class Rules?? Have you caught up with it yet?

Apparently there have been a tiny number of responses so far.  SO GET VOTING!!  You can return the voting form electronically – modify the word document and email a copy of it to

If you haven’t looked at it yet, there are a whole number of rule changes but the central two are

  • 5kg weight reduction
  •  new jib/genoa design.

Now last time I even mentioned weight reduction in our Club bar I was almost lynched – so you cannot be without opinion!!

On the new jib design, I attach a few photos of it below.  I used it in trials a few years ago and quite liked it…. and have voted for it….  but now I’ve seen the photos of it I’m slightly less sure I confess.  Arrrggghhhh!!    Some bar conversations would help, but the closing date of the ballot is not far away.  So HURRY!!

Here is what our Hon Sec has to say about the ballot:-

“Votes are starting to come in on the ballot items as proposed by FFI but the response has been slow so far. This is what membership of the association is all about, there is no point in protesting by not voting and this is definitely not the time to think that this doesn’t affect you because it does. The two key proposals are regarding head sails and weight in the boat so please take time to vote; the only way to affect change or indeed prevent it if it is your wish to do so is to vote. A letter from your president will follow; Please go here for pictures information on the changes and ballot forms



ff new jib 1

FF new jib 3

ff new jib 4

FF new jib 5

FF new job 2

Laminate Sails….!!

A group from the Parkstone F15’s was invited by our resident North Sails supremo, Richard Whitworth, to a tour of their impressive sail loft in Fareham. The attention to detail throughout the build process was evident as was the obvious care taken by each of the team as they assembled the sails.

A lively and exceptionally clear sighted chat with North’s designer Ruairidh (Rory) Scott opened our eyes to some opportunities to improve the class measuring rules and how the current limitation on sail cloth is preventing us from potential longevity and controllability benefits that the more recent laminate materials could afford.

The class made the break away from cotton sails at some point in the past, we’ve utilised carbon in our hulls, spinnaker poles and tillers; is it time for us to move forward and adopt newer materials in our sails (for the main at least) and benefit from longer lasting performance, leeches that won’t curl and power up in windier weather and (joy of all joys) 100% visibility through the mainsail??

Patrick Keats

Keith – on the Sailcloth

In this note below from Keith he is keen to point out that it represents a personal view and not one on the behalf of the Association…

Very interesting dialogue on the Scorpion Class link that you provided; I also find it interesting that North are getting in on the discussion.  I have to say I’m mildly sceptical of large corporate bodies who are offering “to help”; the have one interest only that is to sell as many sails as possible to as many classes as possible.

It would be only natural for them to target a class with no specific rule, there is less effort required in breaking into the class etc etc.  I noticed that North’s didn’t and don’t make a huge effort with FFs as a) we still use Dacron and b) it would take a rule change to use their technology.   I’m sure their efforts would change should our rules change!  North’s in particular invested a huge amount in 3DL moulded technology sails so it is only natural that they want to sell as many as possible into as many classes as possible. They have after all an huge production facility they need to keep busy.  It is also true they have moved on to 3Di sails for big boats all the more need to sell the old 3DL down to dinghys etc, broaden the market.

I also noted that in the Scorpion conversation there were the usual wildly inaccurate statements by the less knowledgeable or those who want the new technology; suggestions like Dacron only lasts 6 months.  Now we all know that’s rubbish.  The best info we have is that the sails have very similar curves of decay, with the panelled sails lasting longer and 3DL moulded sails lasting slightly longer again. However it is these lengths of time that really matter and I suspect and have seen that those who can will buy a suit per year, but most a suit every 2-3 years regardless of cloth type.

I think that as a class we are in quite a good position in that we have two possibly three sail makers in the class.  This will help market forces keep sail costs lower and whilst there are sail makers interested in sailing in the class that will also keep the competition between them going.  The more sail makers who can provide competitive sails the better.   However if we let one sail maker dominate with a proprietary technology such as 3DL (very good point … Ed.) and our owners begin to perceive that 3DL is better, and perception is everything, then we slowly loose sail makers and competition.  Then the one sail maker left can charge what they like, and the quality can be allowed to slip….do we want that?

Even if we do change in the future it would need to be handled in such a way as to allow our diverse group of sail makers to continue and that would be to keep sails made in panels (radial cut’s, directional panels et al),  but I think moulded would be a step too far and loose us the support of some pretty committed sail makers trying to earn a living.  I’m not just thinking of Steve & Alan but Dick, Saturn, Owen, Gale and Rimmington etc etc.

More to chew on!


Sailcloth Debate – David Tabb Speaks….!!

A few days ago, David McKee wrote a piece about liberating the type of sailcloth that our rules permit….This is what David Tabb had to say:-

The class has to review what it wants to achieve. I have seen the new rig in Australia and would leave the class if it was adopted.  I have heard the arguments about getting new members but obsoleting existing rigs is the wrong way.   If you want more members then go to championship venues where the class sails.  Bigger turnouts at championships  encourage new members.
2 items in think are important.  New modern sailcloth enhances the image while probably  increasing sail life
Secondly get rid  of the one suit of sails a year.  This would increase good second hand sails to go further down the fleet reducing the costs of staying competitive at club level and with older boats.  The current rule is unfair and disadvantages the keener club racers. I would welcome an open discussion on this point. I can sure many reasons why this would encourage new members.

David McKee replies:-

In response to David Tabb’s comments, I am not suggesting adopting the new sail plan. I have observed a number of one design classes adopting the new sail materials as an option without changing their sail plans. At first they are sceptical but after a season or so almost unanimously they adopt the new cloth. Their boats look up to date. If it works for them could it work for us?

Sail Cloth – David McKee Speaks….!!

Whilst we have made little progress on the new sail plan and new material issues for years many other classes are moving on. Many have simply allowed new materials as an option without any changes to sail plan. My son sails a scorpion and when they did this a few years ago there was anxiety however now the new materials are the norm and I suspect few “old material” mains are now being made. The Scorpion is not the only class to have done this and now the Lark’s are following suit.

Should the FF’s do the same and allow modern materials as an option?


Buzz from the Association AGM….!

By all accounts, this year’s AGM was a pretty quiet affair.  There is still a school of thought that we should be pushing the “New Rig” proposals, but word from FFI is that the Australians are not at all keen.

Amongst that were two associated proposals – one that we might reduce the minimum weight a little and secondly that Mylar is allowed as a sailcloth.  On both these subjects when tested with Opinion Polls on the FF Blog in 2012 we got overwhelmingly “No” reactions.  So if they did get to a member vote, I feel most likely they would be rejected.

Flying Fifteen and Enterprise Similarity …??

At Datchet, we’ve not heard much about the New Rig for ages… have you?

Well,  Phil Tinsley is always keen to discuss rules development and he’s come up with this bit of chit chat on the Solo site….

Not so long ago laminate sails were seen an expensive gimmick. Now they are
not much more expensive than Dacron sails (mine was about £600), laminate
sails outnumber Dacron sails at our club. I guess 3DL sails will eventually
reduce in price too and then they will become popular. 

I used to sail an Enterprise like Martin Bradley and totally agree with his
comments. The experience of the Enterprise fleet may offer a lesson as to
what can happen if class development is stifled. 

While a 1970’s Ent can compete successfully at the Nationals, the class has
lost much of its former popularity. The number of new Ents built fell to an
alarmingly low level a few years ago. Yet traditionalists continued to argue
against epoxy FRP hulls (as opposed to the rather fragile polyester FRP
hulls) on the ground that they might render wood hulls obsolete. Ent sail
design and materials are also much the same as they were in the 1970’s. They
have to be made from a blue Dacron type material. 

Recently Rondar started building epoxy FRP hulls. By then, about 10 Solos
were built for each new Ent. I hope the Ent fleet will regain popularity,
They could do a lot worse than adopt the approach of the Solo class.
Allowing gradual development over time helps maintain the vitality of the

Small Jib for Lighter Teams….

I was chatting with Jeremy Davy recently, and we got to talking about the lack of progress with FFI on the new rig.  The basic discussion was around how much easier the boat was to handle with the new jib especially.

The Dragons recently approved an additional smaller jib to help lighter teams compete in a blow.  Jeremy pointed out that even if we don’t get the new rig, why not make the measurements on the existing genoa “maximum” measurements … then sailmakers could experiment with smaller sails to some extent within the existing measurements.

Interesting idea…..