Like a Clean Cockpit Layout…??!!

Like many of us, I’m always very interested to see what can be done to improve the working layout of the Flying Fifteen.  To be honest, I just adored Graham Vials and Chris Turner’s  Champion boat at the Dinghy Show.

Keen followers of the blog will know that it was built as one of a pair and the other twin landed up in Australia with David Williamson.  David worked with Peter Milne to fit the boat up.  Some very interesting ideas are aboard too !!

David has written in with this:-

Fwd Cockpit O'HeadWe are fans of the keep it simple philosophy with our fit outs, where importantly friction is the enemy & loose ropes which tend to be crew/bear traps are to be avoided at all cost’s, and functionality without complication is our aim.
With the benefit of things often seen for the first time on Datchet Man we have forged ahead with these things in mind and a few of our own.

Keeping the boat clean & uncluttered is paramount, as it would seem with the Evan’s fit outs.
The cockpit pic’s show a few things but more so also a lack of things.
Jib Sheeting DetailNo Jib sheet tracks and adjustment paraphernalia, no shock cord holding up toe straps or adjustment cleats.
Atop the console running left to right,
Centre: Blue –Jib Furling, Yellow-Topping Lift, White-Jib Barber Hauler, Blue-Rig Tension(Jib Halyard)
Top: Orange-Outhaul, Green- Mast Ram Aft, Bottom: Yellow-Cunningham Eye, Red-Mast Puller-Forward.
Aft console-Spinnaker Halyard, this has a take up of the tail which is not reliant on any shock cord or drum mechanism.
Vang is an endless system aft of the jib plinth’s.
All control line tales lead to a perimeter shock cord around the top of the console.
The crew toe strap is adjustable via a spectra finger trap line at the front of the toe strap and while the aft end is tied off to the rear of the console, any slack is taken up at the front of the console with a small amount of shock cord through the front eye.
The same for the skipper toe strap, spectra adjustment to the bottom front edge of the console (slack taken up by front of console shock cord) and aft end direct onto rear bulkhead.
While these rear bulkhead fasteners may seam a bit of an overkill, they are also the attachment points for the crane sling and therefore are suitably strong and well fastened.
My boat carries 18.4 kg’s of correctors so their weight is not an issue to me over and above their strength.
I also do not need any attachment points aft through the rear gunwales or bridle attachment points which are both hard to reach and cumbersome looking to connect the lifting slings which we 95% of the time use when launching our boats.
(see Clear Aft Deck pic.)
I have added also a close up pic of the leg rope plug manner in which we attach our rear bridle. This size plug (32mm od)is used only on large Malibu type surfboard’s which has a 3/16thstainless pin.
Beyond this you can also see how we attach a shock cord style line to prevent the mainsheet getting under the rear of the tiller.
Speaking of under the rear or the tiller, Brass is way too heavy, how about an alloy block!(1/3 the weight)
Peter and I have both found that rarely during a race, rather than in-between races or immediately prior to (based on wind strength), have we ever felt the need to adjust toe straps.
A simple re-alignment of how we are currently hiking is simple to do and still effective and comfortable without the need to distract your self and pull ropes which can still at some point slip or fail.

CockpitThe console ferrules are of course after seeing Chris Bowens console experiment’s.
I believe also that I first saw the jib turning blocks fitted above and aft of the plinth was on one of Charles Apthorp’s fit out’s.
In this instance I fitted a Ronstan auto ratchet with on/off facility.
Which brings me to jib tracks. Why?
They’re expensive, heavy, mounted high on the boat, require adjustment systems and above all are bloody uncomfortable for the crew and add alot of visual clutter to the boat.
We and others have used these simple barber hauler’s in lieu of tracks for years, and I’m not aware of any of us ever claiming/suffering height issues sailing up wind.

Dinghy Show Video Tour of the FFs….!!

For those of you who may have been unable to attend the FF stand at the Dinghy Show this year, we have put together a short video tour of the two Flying Fifteens on the Stand.

There were some great ideas on the World Champion boat to chew over, but some super innovations on Justin Waples new FF too.

To view it, go to the Members’ Area of the UK Flying Fifteen Association website and click on “FF Insight Zone”.  You have to be logged in with your member sign on to enter the Insight Zone or even see the tab.  If you haven’t already got your login code, then contact the Association secretary to get one.

You can get straight to the FF Insight Zone by clicking here.

Graham and Chris’ Thoughtful Boat…..!!

Isn’t it great that after decades of sailing, teams are still finding ways to push the boundaries of the boat.  As this is being written, it’s the weekend of the Datchet Open and at the end of day one, Ian Cadwallader’s boat is in the lead.  This was the P&B finished boat from the 2013 Dinghy Show.

At the 2014 show, we had a Phil Evans boat built for Justin Waples.  This well engineered layout from Phil has been with us for many years – I love it and have had three !!  Interesting for me then to see the Ovington factory finished boat  that won the Hong Kong Worlds in knockout style in the hands of Graham Vials and Chris Turner.  The thing that probably impressed me most was the rethink of who does what in their boat, and the resulting control layout.  That then coupled to a very detailed attention to detail and the fact that the cockpit looked a very clean place to race.

We’ve previously written about the jib ratchets, the mast gate and the toestrap adjusters. Then there is the innovation with the alto section rig – much has been written on that, and I suspect there will be even more this year as other top teams give it a try.    Hopefully, we’re going to put a video on the BIFFA Members area to show you more detail.  In the mean time, let me show you a few more things that caught my eye….IMG_2703

Very noticeable on this boat (and its predecessor) is the adjustable mainsheet bridle. The bridle goes down through a hole in the stern tank, along a a tube and emerges at the side tank like this.


If you have sailed other boats with a traveller, you’ll know the trick in light winds of pulling the traveller to windward to centre the boom without hardening the leach too much.  It used to make a heck of a difference on my Dragon, for example.  Well, with this setup, you can achieve the same thing.


I’m sorry for the rubbish focus in the above photo – it’ll be better in the BIFFA video, I expect.  You will be able to make out the key point though – Ovington have figured out which length of the shroud adjuster will never be used – and ground it off to reduce weight.

IMG_2705Interestingly by contrast, it looks like half of the jib track is never used – but it survived intact!!  (Inside the minimum weight of course!)


This idea of cutting a hole in the jib platform improves access to the bolts.  Note too that the hole at the bottom is used to tidy away one end of a control line, thus keeping the cockpit tidier.

IMG_2715Much talked about on their previous boat was the under deck furling system.  If I recall correctly the Mk 1 version had a wire strop above deck (though am not sure about that) and you can see here that this has become a solid bar.  More amazingly is the under deck part which I was entirely unable to photograph – it fits flush and smooth under the deck and makes no intrusion into the spinnaker chute at all !

IMG_2719IMG_2717Here’s a much better focussed photo of the shroud plate, but what I wanted to show you was the extremely neat end to the twinning line.  Very, very neat – I’m never a real fan of putting a bullet block there.    Also note that they have even tapered the twinning line itself (see photo to the left).


They used the same approach to securing the rear block at the centre of the main boom too.

IMG_2736The boat has a spinnaker chute and not bags.  Up at the bow, their chute cover has two exposed blocks, and Chris has made this terribly simple approach using sticky backed sailcloth to cover up both pulleys – to keep everything smooth and snag free.  So good!!

IMG_2710The bailers are interesting for a number of reasons. One is that they are smaller sized (like everything on this boat, there must be a reason!!), but can you see they are glassed in??  Normally the sole-plate of the bailer sits above the hull, thus making it impossible for the last bit of water to leave.  Not the case here!!

The last thing to note, is that the bailer has controls (pink line) to enable the bailers to be opened or closed while hanging out the other side of the boat.  See the video of how this works by clicking here. 


You can see the pink lines protruding from the console here that control the bailers.  The console itself looks pretty straight forward, but note the location of the 5kgs of lead on each side. I am very intrigued as I had previously accepted the logic of “lower the better” applying to corrector weight location.  Interesting!!!


To keep the side tanks clear of control lines, Chris and Graham have gone for one of those fancy double cleated swivels. So a bit less string, I would guess….


I’ve always been bit messy with my own markings for the mast ram, but it looks so clean and easy here. The mast collar maybe wraps around the mast less than on my epsilon.  Plus, I admit to being very intrigued at the neutral line (assuming the mast was in neutral at the show) being the bold line… and that the extra calibrations are pushing the mast towards inversion….. Hmmm …, Fine calibration intervals too.  What you can’t see so well, is that to looks like they have ground back the sides of the gate and there is about 2-3mm of sideways play.  Perhaps to improve the sideways bend characteristic above deck level – reading too much into it possibly?  By the way, tests at the Goacher Sails loft on the alto suggest that it might even be slightly stiffer fore and aft than the epsilon, and maybe 5% more flexible sideways – that showing mostly above the hounds at the tapered top.  Charles Apthorp told us that he is concluding of his new alto that it is not especially a mast for lightweights after all.


Typical of the detail thinking would be the forward toestraps.  Note the way that they have sewn in two eyes to take the retainer shock cord that lifts them up for easy access.


Now lets talk about the distribution of work in the boat.  On the forward coaming they have a stopwatch in the top left of the photo, the compass, and three control lines – furler, pole (there is also a pole control aft on the console) and chute cover.


The boat is rigged with a spinnaker chute, and the flow back into the boat is extremely clean.  This photo was taken by putting the camera down the hole at the bow and photographing backwards into the cockpit.  Note the vertical curtain running down the centre line.  Here’s another photo, this time from the cockpit end……


Now very controversially, the boat has no spinnaker sock in the cockpit.  Very interesting, and I’m hoping we can hear from Chris via the blog as top how they deal with all that sailcloth when the sail is down.  I thought perhaps they might have a shock cord retriever that pulls the excess cloth back up the chute, but there was no sign of one.

You know when you have a spinnaker sock in the cockpit the way you lead the line along the cockpit wall back to the helms position?  Well, they didn’t have that either. This implies to me that the bowman in this boat also drops the spinnaker down the chute. Unless I missed something!!

The pole by the way, is normal double ended and didn’t, from memory anyway, look like a fly away pole.

So – get the feeling that things are happening differently in this boat??  Well take a look at this….


IMG_2732The spinnaker halyard does not go down the tunnel, but across the top of the tunnel. It is automatically cleated at the forward end, so it is Chris at the bow who un-cleates the spinnaker for the drop….  Interesting!!

Now the addition of a turning block a couple of feet aft of the cleat suggests to me that on a reach for example, either the crew or the helm can hoist the sail – and if the pole is pre-mounted they can do that while hanging out!!…. Very interesting.  All this means too that the hatch over the tunnel in the floor has to be bolted down – not elasticated as normal.  You can clearly see the bolts in the photo.

So that’s a quick tour of the major things that struck me on our World Champions boat.

Another Competing Product Comes to Market….!!

With constant praise of Ovington boats, are class members not aware this company is producing a Sportsboat  called the VX One which will be marketed against the 15 and stands a good chance of succeeding where the K6 failed.

No doubt Ovingtons will actually do some marketing of this class, all the signs are there !

Ivan Coryn

Cheers From The Crews Union……!!

You had to look carefully at the Show to see the whole number of clever ideas.  Ian Cadwallader had gone with the new standard Ovington decks – smooth front and back. Easier to repair (much) and holds no water! ….Well, that would cause a riot on our boat – quite a short riot as our man slides gracefully straight over the side!!


Steve Goacher had gone the other way.  We all probably know that Ovington will offer a non slip centre panel on the foredeck as an option.  Steve Goacher though added a special feature – some texturing back on the stern tank.  They wont have altered the mould so this must have somehow been cleverly done afterwards.  You might have to look twice at the photo to actually see it!!

The New Mast Gate……!!

As we all know, Ovington have remade the deck mould to the Mk X and that until you look carefully it looks very similar to the old one – a reduction in non-slip areas, a slightly altered rear bulkhead.

What else ?  Well I didn’t spot the fact that the mast gate looks a bit longer. The position of the back of the gate is defined by the rules, so they have made the gate a little longer by extending the front further forward a shade.  So we get more mast control in a stiff breeze – but quite possibly the mast lever needs a little alteration to accommodate the increased mast travel.

4000 Flying Fifteens – Hurrah …..!!!

I’ve just heard from HQ that FF’s numbered 4001 and 4002 have been entered for the Nationals ….  so we’re there !!!  Blimey – it puts your SB3 Fleet into context, don’t you think??

So where did FF 4000 get allocated?  It has gone to Class Legend, Bill Shand,  in Australia – very fitting for a Worldwide Class I feel….!!!

We also heard just yesterday that Ovington is trying to put together the next production run already.  (Chris may be able to comment)  I think the preference is to build a handful of boats at a time – so we’ll be at 4010 in the blink of an eye.  I admit… the duty datchetman has succumbed…

Phil Evans Console Layout….

The Stand at the Dinghy Show was graced by the new carbon boat that Phil Evans has put together for Chris Waples.

Phil is still fitting his superby engineered console which gives you 360 degree coverage of key controls from around the cockpit. We’ve had it on our last two fifteens and it works superbly.

You will see in the photo (click to enlarge) that Phil now has an extra line coming up the front of the console. It uses the same self cleating principle. It’s the cunningham control. Previously sited on the forward port cleat, this location is now taken by a single line which controls both jib cars. (Yellow line) Very neat….

More on Carbon Fibre Fifteens… from Charles….

The Ovi carbon boat is carbon on the inside and iI dont think it is vacuumed on. The problem has been the hulls have come out only 9kg underweight. Therefore to wet the carbon out they had put 11kg more resin in the inside laminate. The new boats may be better.
As a comparison the boat Gavin built for me was 20.9kg under weight – it has carbon both sides of the hull and the underside of the deck. He charged me £500 for all three layers of carbon pre-preg.
The carbon layer inside will make the boat retain its stiffness a lot longer, so it is a good investment.
Carbon cloth is fiddle to fit and a lot more difficult to wet out, that is why it is easier to use pre-preg, which fits dry into the mould than manually do a manual wet out – that it why Ovi has to charge more.


FF 2012 – The New Smooth Ovi Deck Mould….

I heard a few days back that P&B had a keen interest to see the decks on the 2012 Mk X go smooth. It seems that P&B prefer it….. as it improves repairability….

I know my bowman is not going to be keen (!!). Perhaps we can get just the centre panel with a textured surface. However, when you stop and think about sailing years ago – we all clambered round smoothly varnished decks without trouble – so perhaps we are being over-sensitive about it !!

More on The Ovington “2012 Flying Fifteen”….!!

Ovington posted this on our Facebook page

Ovington – high performance sail boats wrote: “Hi Datchet Man, the changes are subtle. The foredeck join has changed as has the aft face of the foredeck in profile. The rear bulkhead has changed shape slightly. We are only putting the matted non slip area on to the hiking area and as an option on the foredeck centre panel only. That is about it other than a general tidy around the edges…The Carbon hull option has now been around for a while also…”