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 !!



UKFFA Members Vote….!!

If you have just received your 2015 members pack from FFA you will see that we have a members vote this year.

The vote is basically to do away with restrictions that prevent us buying more than one suit of sails per year, excepting for new boat purchase and Worlds….

This ought get your interest!!

– What do you think the impact would be on various parts of the fleet?

– What impact for Club sailors?

– What do you think it will do to the market for new and used sails?  Good or bad?

– What will be the effect on potential newcomers to the Class?

– Is it all good news for the sailmakers?

If you haven’t yet filled in your voting form, don’t forget to do so.  Scan your forms to the Association Secretary if you can’t get to a post box.  If you are not an Association member, this vote might be one worth joining for!!

Keep your eyes peeled for announcements at the Association website.

Leave replies to this blog to share your opinions. Just hit “Reply”…..




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

Parkstone Fleet AGM…!!

Parkstone has held its class AGM and a few points came up for discussion.

For next year Poole Week becomes a week again with added effort being put into family activities. It was discussed that the first weekend (a bank holiday usually) becomes an open event for the class.
The class voted to put funds towards promoting Poole week and it looks like we will have a stand at the Dinghy show to promote the event.
Another positive for visitors was the decision to increase buoy sizes. Definitely a good thing for Dave Tabb after this week’s first race.

Also up for discussion was the proposal being put to the class to change the rule regarding sail limitations. The discussion was thorough and in general the class was of the opinion that the present rules cannot and are not being policed and therefore are obsolete. Hence the class at Parkstone were in favour of the new proposals. This was discussed in any other business and while it has no relevance at this point the discussion was used to prompt the class too vote when one happens. The fact that we as a class are poor at voting nationally was highlighted.


David Tabb

FF Insight Zone – Sail Management….!!!

If you are new to Fifteens, or are thinking of buying one, then one of your larger running costs will be your sails.  Key to keeping the costs down is managing them as well ashore as you do afloat.  If you sail a fifteen for many years, as most of us do, you also tend to build quite a sail collection.

The FF Insight Zone has just released a video on Sail Management and Care.  You can find it in the Members area of the BIFFA website. Go to the website home page and click on UK Association/Members/FF Insight Zone.  You need to login with your members password first.

The “One Suit of Sails per Year” Rule……!!

My view is that this rule is counterproductive and I believe regularly broken. It is a big disincentive against buying sails from an unknown source. Buy a set of dud sails and you are stuck with them for a year, by which time you are so fed up you have probably switched to another class. It stops new sail makers coming in and stunts the development of the class. Playing with sails is after all what many of us like to do.

Take the case of the keen club sailor (at Parkstone) he can sail 3 times a week. By the time the championship comes his sails are tired out, yet a less active sailor can turn up with barely used sails. Is this fair to the keen stalwarts of the class.

Yes some sailors will buy more sails if the rule is changed (instead of 2 boats like me) but this actually helps the older boats or less well-off sailors as second hand kit will percolate its way down the fleets.

When it comes to an arms race surely more sails are a lot cheaper than more boats!!!!

I also believe that if we open up the sail rule more people will come into the class as it will be more vibrant.

David Tabb

In-House Sail Certification – FF’s Led the Way….!!

So we think that in house sail measuring is a new thing – well think again; whilst perusing the early records of the class (for an old ff owner) I came across the following in the earliest year book I have, 1955.  Hence the use of the word perusing, as I would think that when one looks at records from this era perusing is the only word that can rightfully be used.

Anyhow back to the rules, the chosen sail maker was asked to complete an “undertaking” upon which he was asked to complete the serial numbers of the sails and stamp the sails with the said serial number, and sign the declaration that  sails conformed to the rules of the flying fifteen class.

This form then had to be sent together with the certificate of registration to the Hon Sec of the class  Frances Snary Esq (then at  180 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, now a building called Cambridge House according to street view)  for the appropriate endorsement to be added to the registration certificate.

So new idea ISAF?!?!   Well think again – the boys at the FF association were doing this in 1955!

Keith Jamieson

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.