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.

Flying Fifteen Articles Galore…

It’s more than three months that Datchetman has been based on the new website. A lot of articles were left behind on the old website, but even so we have a large number on here now.

Writing them is all very well, but finding them is becoming a challenge. To help in that there are a number of tools down the right hand side of the page. We’ve added some new ones too. First there is the search bar at the top of the column. Use it like you would Google. Try keying “Mylar” in there and see what happens…

Second is the list of the most recent 20 posts – very useful. There is the Archive of previous months as well…

All the documents that we have together produced are sorted into “categories”. You can access these by  clicking on “Categories” and selecting one of the items in the drop-down list that appears there.

Lastly, you will also see there a new tool labelled “Most Popular”. You will see the categories listed there, The relative text size of each category  indicates how many items are in each section. Currently the label for “crewing”  is the smallest and for “Racing” is largest – reflecting the current numbers in the files.  Pretty smart stuff….

The Emotional Flying Fifteen…

One more thing about the chat with Alan Atterbury….

You know how it is in the FF Rigging area. Occasionally complete strangers wander up and start chatting boats with you.  If you ask Mike Firth what potential newcomers have said to him in the FF rigging area over 30 years or so, he’ll tell you they mention three things more than anything else.

They just about always mention first the “beautiful boats”.  Then next they likely mention or ask about the “good racing”.  Inevitably at some point they talk about the people taking part.  That’s how we got the logo to the website from Mike – “Beautiful Boats, Great Racing and Friendly People”

Ever sharp and eternal Salesman, Alan, suddenly spotted that these three things are all emotionally based – and that the best sales propositions always have a strong emotional bias. If you are on a winner, they are so difficult for a competitor to follow….

Flying Fifteens – A Ticket to the Dance??…

A couple of days ago, Alan Atterbury called by at the Office for an hour or two. Of course, we talked boats for 99% of the time – and for the life of me I don’t recall what the business purpose of the meeting was!!

Since stopping his Fifteen sailing, Alan has been off in Cherubs and 12 foot skiffs. A bit lonely, I would have thought!!… He has to travel a bit though. I’m wondering if he can be tempted back sometime…

Anyway, conversation fell to the boat market as it so often does. Much talk about Topper, Laser, RS and how to get fleet racing going etc etc. When discussing the K6, the Elite, the SB3 and so on, we wondered how these guys see competing in the market. Alan’s simple analysis was (i) choose a boat segment (ii) build a product in there priced £5,000 below the incumbent (iii) market the heck out of it  (iv) five years later, start all over again. Remember the Breeze?? From who was it?? RS??

So is that the way to attack the two man keelboat market – the Flying Fifteens??  We  concluded not. When people fork out £18,000 or more for a new boat (or £5,000 for a second hand boat), what are they buying??….  We concluded we don’t in fact buy a “Flying Fifteen”.  We don’t actually buy a boat at all…We buy “Flying Fifteen Racing”…  we buy the lovely boat, the fleet racing, and the friendships. You cant buy that in a box from Laser, RS or anyone else. That’s why they fail.

I assume it’s the same in Merlins. If you are one of the 500 or so people that have enjoyed Salcombe week in recent years, you have to own a Merlin to join in.

No – the way to compete in the two man keelboat market, is to build a better Fifteen. So we reckon it’s  three cheers for Composite Craft and Charles Apthorp for having a go….

An RS Flying Fifteen – now there’s an interesting idea…

Flying Fifteen Mast Sections…

Back on March 5th, we made a blog post on FF Mast Sections – and David Hume’s attempt to push back against the ubiquitous Selden Epsilon section.  Here is a link that will show you all of Selden’s mast and boom sections:-

Selden Mast Sections

You may remember I noted before that the Fireball World Champion has moved to an Alto Section, and my notes say that this section is 8% stiffer but very slightly heavier than an Epsilon.  Interesting for heavy teams??….

Race Report – Sunday 13th Cup !!… (March)

We had eleven boats turn out today … and rain… and windless conditions. It’s always the same – – we drink tea, then look anxious wondering who buckles first – and then we start packing off home…. then the breeze kicks in!! And so it was today….

Five teams opted for a return to the duvet, but the slower tea drinkers (or were served the hottest!) launched and had a smashing pair of races – no rain and around 6-8kn of breeze. Race one started with a strong committee boat bias, but in we dived with a fair amount of close intimacy to the PRO… it was the sylph like Mike Firth, with the VC to weigh down the bows, who slipped gracefully off into the lead. It’s not that they were unthreatened – in fact they heard the bow wave of Howard and Richard more than once. Suddenly, at the end of leg 7 they relinquished the lead momentarily to Howard and Richard during the spinnaker chug to the North shore, but grabbed the overlap at the wing mark and held the lead then till the finish. Very noticable today was the performance of Mervyn and James. Super lightweights they are not (!), but they are getting into the light airs swing in 3536 and were seriously threatening off wind today. So Race One to the Admiral and the VC…

The start line was squared off for race two and I must say it got a bit busy at the pin end – with Brett and Ian scratching across Howard/Richard on port with inches to spare. Mervyn and James were less lucky with the port end strategy and had to weave hard between a couple of boats. Somehow the Admiral found the lift again and slipped away to a very nice lead. Wasn’t to last though…. their lead looked well established until suddenly Brett/Ian were right on their heels. The fleet split in the fickle breeze on leg seven, but it was the sound of 3934’s bow wave again that heralded the surprise visit. They swung around the wing mark more or less together. Howard and Richard, Brett and Ian decided to drop for the last leg, but the VC to his credit decided he would cope. Very suprisingly three sailing gave them the edge and they pulled ahead once again from Howard/Richard, to a famous victory. It’s not what it says in the results, but I thought it was Brett and Ian in third and Mervyn and James in fourth. (We’ll see…) In fifth was John Basford in the loan boat, and Tony Cumberbirch in his first FF race in xxx years, came 6th with Midnight Rog.

So with two straight wins, The Admiral and VC were worthy winners of the Sunday 13th Trophy, the Castle Cup. Until the next time…. (When is it??)

(New Member update – Tony Cumberbirch joined us last week, and this week we had another potential new member, Michael Vogt came today for a look around. We hope to get Michael and his wife out in a loan boat next week. Richard Hughes has kindly offered 3295 to the Loan Boat Program, so now we have four FFs in the program, three of them very race worthy and fully equipped.)

Flying Fifteen Hiking….

I got pretty worried when Grayson showed me his hiking straps (called hobbles) in Tom’s boat.  If you haven’t seen hobbles, they are nasty looking ankle straps that let you hang right out of the boat and are attached to a wire in the cockpit. I suppose it is what they use in the Star Class and the like, to get the meat right over the side. I class them with Scolds Bridles and the 2 stone weight jacket I used to have to wear in the Flying Dutchman… As I have three buddies who had their Dragon submarine dive to the bottom of the bay in Cannes, I wouldn’t want any device that effectively tied me to a hull that has 300lbs of lead hanging out of the bottom…..

But did you see this in the Y&Y Dinghy Show edition?? The hiking bench…. It looks a neat piece of kit. When I was teenager, I raced an old Osprey with my Dad. To improve upwind performance I copied the old Elvstrom hiking picture in his book, and built a bench that was an exact cross section of an Osprey sidetank. Used to do 120 sit-ups a day on the thing. Couldn’t do three now!!

Looks nice kit though. We could have a whip round and buy one for Grayson….

Lets Try Flying Fifteen Team Racing….

Has anyone ever pushed team racing in FFs?  No idea if you’ve ever team raced but it is GREAT fun and I think a boat like a FF would be well suited to it.  A few things occur to me:-

– it could be a magnet for recent graduates who have enjoyed it at university and want to carry on – introducing them to a FF in a familiar/ fun environment
– boat speed doesn’t matter as long as teams are matched. I think we have 2 club boats (?). If these were evenly matched, they could be used by newcomers who could exhibit their competitive nature without forking out a lot of money initially – but in the process, they would see the other fine models racing and hopefully get hooked
– it could provide a way of linking between clubs
– it could create a Saturday option (or Sunday pm) which would increase sailing time – if not all current pairings were able to commit, it might allow new crew/ helm to mix with experienced helm/ crew
– it would improve most people’s tactical and manoeuvring skills
– we would obviously have to make sure boats didn’t get broken and I would certainly use old sails as I don’t want to flog a new jib to death!

Needs further thought but I’d be happy to help develop the idea if others were interested



Portsmouth Yardstick for Classics and Silvers….

You may have seen that the PY for Flying Fifteens has been reduced slightly by the RYA.  i.e. we are going a bit faster. Or everyone else is going slower – it’s all relative….

It doesn’t impact the FF racing at our Club as we fleet race, but it was always the case that Classic and Silver FFs had their own Yardstick – 1051 and 1039 respectively.  I assume that these remain unchanged… Can anyone out there in one of the Clubs specialising in Classics let us know?  Either leave a comment, or email datchetman@flyingfifteen.com??

Flying Fifteens – New for Old…. (Keith Jamieson’s boat!!!)

Hi, does anyone know where Keith Jamieson had 3521 refettled? Apart from the
fittings it looked practically new at the Dinghy Exhibition, certainly a lot
smarter than when I last raced against it.

Given the performance, durability and now strong demand for Ovi Mk9
Smoothies, it would seem sensible to expend a reasonable sum in order to
obliterate the ravages of time should you have such a boat.

David Hume

(please reply via datchetman@flyingfifteen.com)

Race Report – Sunday March 6th…A Sparkling Day !

Arriving at Datchet this morning we initially had grey skies, but a great F3-4 Easterly – which had a bit of a nip in it, I admit. However, the sun gods won out and it turned into a really blue skies, bright light kind of day – and the breeze held !!

Great turnout too.  Ten boats rigged – probably eight raced. What a stunning sight they were too,  lined up in the rigging area under the sun! John Basford was meant to be racing 3316 but the main halyard had disappeared… so by the time he had fixed that all he could do was day sail. But he’ll try again next week… and the other bit of great news is that Tony Cumberbirch did a trial sail with Midnight Rog today. Tony has bought a dry suit, paid his subs, the lot. So he’s “in” !!  We also had two visitors referred from the Dinghy Show – another father and son team, I think. Fingers crossed for them coming to see more…

Now to the racing. Well it was near perfect conditions for FFs – sparkling sailing, with marginal planing and a fair bit to do upwind. Am shattered tonight, actually!! For the first race the PRO was again very prompt and half the fleet were still in transit to the start area. I appreciate the need for punctuality, but when the launch area is congested and running late I really don’t see the point of booting off when half of us were being polite to women, children and wayfarer sailors on the slip….  So race one was something of a procession (viewed from the back!) and little point for the later launchers. In the distance it looked like The Stensons were really getting the hang of things. Mark and Tony won, but until the results are available online, the rest is a mystery to me!

Race two though was a different kettle of fish !!  The line had a strong committee boat bias, so things got a little busy. Mark and Tony popped away from the middle of the line in clear air and opened up a teeny weeny little lead. The fleet was generally pretty bunched up, and on the first reach it looked a bit tight at first- – –  but up went those spinnakers and off we all burst… all pretty close stuff and there was a fair bit of luffing and overtaking going on in the first triangle. Then the trick on the second beat was to go right. To be fair in previous beats there had been a good breeze curve to ride on the left, but in that Datchety way, it always pays to check out the right hand side – there was heaps going on over there and at the second visit to the windward mark, The Russians and Richard/Howard paid Mark and Tony a surprise visit.  These three took off and left the rest of the fleet for a private battle. At the end, The Russians got it by a whisker (with much un-British whooping – why cant Estonians just say “Hurrah” like we do??!!!) from Mark/Tony with Richard/Howard third. Then a big, big gap… but fourth and fifth were separated by just one second. The right old battle between The Humes and John/Helen was resolved in The Humes favour. Great stuff though !!…

Much talk in the bar of the FF Stand at the Dinghy Show…  Some interesting ideas on the new Ovi, and lots of praise for how new Keith Jamieson’s 15 year Mk IX old actually looked!   The Admiral was reportedly running a sweep to see if anyone could guess its age…..

Feedback from the National Fleet Captain’s Meeting….

The Vice Cap’n was at the the Fleet Captain’s Meeting today, and these are the highlights he noted:-

– Easyjet doing the prizes at the Worlds

– Considering putting Photos of Boat Layouts on the BIFFA website

– Talk of Gold and Silver Tuning Guides (very good idea)

– want  to promote more Buddying and Coaching Days

– an issue is arising that Boats are not sticking to Class Rules. We shall try to understand examples…

– both Worlds and Nationals will have a Jury, but the Worlds will have Umpires as well

– there was a strong reminder that the entry list for the Worlds “closes” at the end of this month

– there is reluctance to have MidWinters at Datchet every year, but every 2nd year would be considered.  (So does that mean that we have it for 2012 I wonder?)