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






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 !!



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…!!





Rig Tension – Maintaining Your Loos….!!

Long time readers of the FF Blog may remember that we had a session to compare six of the old type of rig tension gauge – you know the old type where you pull two bits of metal apart.

The variation in readings on the same rig was simply enormous.  Hilarious and the whole thing was an obvious farce!! I immediately threw my gauge away and ordered a Loos gauge – I had heard the accuracy was true reading plus or minus one notch. I know they seem pricey, but you ought to see how much the electric ones cost… That was all probably five years ago.

Two years ago I had a moment to compare my Loos gauge and that belonging to Steve Goacher.  When Steve’s read 28.5 mine read 29.5….. bit disappointed but, hey, it was within the claimed range and I’ve been happy as pie since.

I happened to be at Phil Evans’ workshop the other day. He ran a rig up to 29 on his (new gauge) …. and mine read 27.5.  Now I would assume that despite his gauge being new, his spring was softer…. have I got that logic right??

So back at the Club Fleet, 27.5 on my gauge reads 27.5 on Chris McLaughlin’s gauge, 28.5 on Phil Tinsley’s gauge…..and all this is 29 on Phil Evans’ Champion gauge…  Oh dear – what can be going on here.  Obviously I need to complete the circle and compare to Steve Goacher’s gauge again, but can there be something else going on??

Well, what about the cams wearing?? Have you considered the effect of that?? They are soft nylon – do you, or anyone who has ever borrowed your gauge ever slide it along the shroud wire??? (“tut, tut”, I hear you exclaim…!!.)…. OK – so I might do that slightly…..

Look at the photo here – see the black spot on the upper cam??  (double click photo to enlarge). That could be an issue right there…..



OK – so what to do??  You can rotate the cams, that’s what….  First take a rig reading. Then mark the cams as shown here, so you can see the surface that you have used. Ease the holding nuts and rotate the cams a bit so they show a new surface.  Now put a new black mark so in future you know this face of the cam has been used as well. Now TAKE ANOTHER READING…. Any difference?? Well, you may have had worn cams….

Neat Mast Ram…..!

Have you ever cursed and sworn, even gently, as you try to tie the knot in the mast ram string in exactly the right place???  Or bumped your head doing it?!?!

Well how about this very neat arrangement….??  (Double click photo to enlarge)   The line has to be tapered and a soft loop spliced in the end.  Then you just need a button on the mast ram arm to slip the loop over.  First time right, every time.  This idea was seen on a boat finished by Phil Evans.

Very neat!!

Will your Gooseneck Melt in the Sun…..??

I was very surprised at the FF Midwinters that we had to get the rivet gun out to fix Mark Firth. (his boat)

We’d had a bit of a breeze, a fair honker actually,  the week before and Mark and Tony had managed to explode their Selden gooseneck.  I have the same fitting on my mast – it’s the common recent fitting from Selden – a kind of black nylon fitting on the mast face, then stainless steel swivelling bits.

Then at the Dinghy Show, I noticed this on Chris Waples new boat.  A replacement fitting made entirely of stainless. So I guess, Mark Firth’s was not a one off….  Then Phil Evans told me he recommends to all his clients that the standard fitting is replaced with the full on stainless job – and to heck with the weight.

Interesting – I’d better inspect the gooseneck on our mast….

Carbon Lords…….

I happened to be at Lords for the Test Match on Friday and by amazing coincidence, there sitting but five feet away in the Stand, was Chris Waples.  You may recall me waxing lyrical about his fabulous new carbon FF at the Dinghy Show.

Well, anyway, chat about cricket and Strauss’ century, was suspended for a moment and Flying Fifteens took over. As they do.  Chris sounds delighted with the new Ovington boat from Phil Evans ….”very quick” – and he says that he notices the extra stiffness most,  upwind in a chop.  The Bulwark this year was a breezy outing (day two cancelled after the Ferries wussed out) and Chris and Tom sailed very quickly.  Relative to his previous 6 year old boat, he says the carbon gifted stiffness was very noticeable on the beats that day….


Race Report on the Northern Championship is Published …!!

The full race report on the Northerns has just been published on the RWYC website – hopefully Y&Y Website to follow !!!!

They had a really super turnout – it’ll quite possibly be the biggest regional turnout this year!  A clean sweep of the podium too, by RWYC teams.  Steve Goacher and Phil Evans took the title in pretty challenging conditions – the word “naturally” springs to mind !!!  A big “well done!” there!!

To see the full report and results, click here

Hopefully, BIFFA HQ will publish the Qualifier League Table in a few days and we’ll see how Hong Kong is shaping up.

The Flat FF Console – Michael Thompson Experience…..

For interest, I have sailed one of Phil Evans boats with a “flat” console for 5 years and have found it very easy to use. Adjustments are easy to make, even in a blow. It is possible to sit on the console but that doesn’t usually happen. If you happen to land on it by mistake it isn’t so uncomfortable as a bunch of cleats. We have not found it necessary to make any changes.

The Flat FF Console…..

Whenever Geoff Bayliss brings a new Fifteen to Datchet to race, it’s brim full of interesting ideas…. This year was no exception –  he brought his new carbon Ovington, and that’s what is in the photo here….

We had the chance to get reacquainted with a very alternative design for the centre console that Phil Evans can do.  In fact, I had Phil show me this three years ago as an option on a boat in RWYC and I was very intrigued – well, tempted I suppose.

What you get is Phil Evans normal 5 console controls hidden below a flat surface. Hiding things away can be good and bad, I guess, but lets face it, this looks great at least. Plus, as Geoff says, you get an extra seat! The controls are rig tension (thicker black flecked line) and cunningham at the front, furler in the middle, prebend and boom outhaul at the back I think. For the back two slots, the cleats are at the back of the slots, and for the other three the cleats are at the front.

Under Deck Furlers…..

You may recall that at the 2011 Dinghy Show, we saw an under deck genoa furler on a Fifteen there. “About time too”, did I hear you all say? After all, the FD’s that I raced in the seventies all had these.

Didn’t catch on though, did it? We don’t have one at our Club yet – but having said that I think that 3948, of which the new lucky owner is Chris McLaughlin, is about to arrive with one fitted.

I asked Phil Evans about it at Alexandra Palace. Usually an innovator, he’s not keen in this case.  First off, it complicates life below deck if you ever want to have a chuted spinnaker. Second, he says it is a devil to fit and maintain. Thirdly, a very good point actually, you can’t take advantage by attaching the tack at deck level as the rules don’t allow it. Our genoa tack has to be 100mm above deck.

So – we’ll wait and see what history does for this idea…..  I’d just like a foolproof way that the spinnaker sheets don’t get wrapped or jammed around the furler kit. We have simple bits of weeny elastic to act as preventers – it works pretty well actually.

Shroud Derakers….

To a lot of club racers, “Derakers” will mean nothing. In fact, Alan Bax has been advocating different rakes of rig in different wind strengths for a long time. Indeed, Alan fitted those old screw type stay masters to my very first fifteen, 3537.

We had a fleet conference at the top of the slip one recent windless day in February, to find that about 5 of us had derakers fitted…. but none of us ever used them – ha ha ha!!  The difference between Alan Bax and ourselves, obviously!!

Steve Goacher and Phil Evans were always of a mind to advise their customers not to bother raking the rig for different conditions – just slack off the genoa halyard if you feel the need. So I was very surprised to see that Phil had fitted derakers to the shrouds of the Show boat at the Dinghy Show. It seems that they are starting to occasionally use them now….hmmm….

Oh!!!  A couple of days back I wrote about the new style fairlead for twinning lines – the polo-mint type fairlead. Here is a much better picture of the same fitting…..



Lightweight Tiller Hoods…..

Have you seen the new lightweight carbon tiller hoods – John Hanson used one as part of his weight reduction program.  Do you know the thing that I mean?

If you haven’t seen one, click here

Well, I noticed in one of the photos from the Australia Chamionships in Perth, that to my surprise Steve Goacher’s new boat there, 3988, wasn’t using one.  Then, at the Dinghy Show, the new Phil Evans boat was using the ‘normal’ tiller head assembly.

I asked Phil about this.  He said he has both types in stock but so far is a little unconvinced that the strength of the new unit will be sufficient.

Hmmm – I am sure the carbon fibre fans out there in the fleet will have something to say to that….. But for now, my pennies will stay in the piggy bank…..