The response to the 2006 design competition was very encouraging indeed with eight entries ranging from a pure fun concept to a variety of completed designs. Interest in design is alive and kicking! It would appear that the small size of the Footy class does encourage would-be designers to have a go and builders to transform their ideas into working boats.
At the 2006 MYA AGM all the design entries were displayed on an A0 size foamboard together with completed boats to the top two and other designs. A photograph of this is included here. This display created a good deal of interest and several members went away with plans to make their own Footy boats.
The judges found that deciding the winner was not easy, as the scores for the two top entries were very close. Both used construction for the hull that was innovative as far as this competition was concerned: sticky brown paper and vacuum formed plastic. Both scored highly, as the detailed design was clearly 100% worked out. Both boats had been sailing and their performance tested.
The 'Swift' design was all more creditable because it was the first attempt by a young designer and builder, 14 year old Phillip Wiles. The brown paper 'Shazam' on the other hand was the 4th in a series of Footy boats, each revision improving on the previous one until designer/builder John Birnie was happy with the construction, handling, seaworthiness and performance. It is fitting therefore that the judges decided to present the Chris Dicks Award to John Birnie, because Chris Dicks' forte as a designer was to see the potential/failings in a design and develop it into a new and improved model.
Next was one of three designs by Angus Richardson, a great Footy enthusiast and knowledgeable sailor, who has recently volunteered to be the UK Footy Registrar and UK Footy Class secretary. 'Fennec' is another design for vacuum forming, an ideal method of construction for groups or builders at schools etc. 'Fennec' shares its above water profile and 'Myth of Malham' style sheerline with the five plank chine 'Red Fox' and female moulded 'Dingo'. All of these shared comprehensive multi-page specification and construction notes as well as a 'Freedom style' rig with twin mast/wishbone boom mainsails rotating in ball bearings. Perhaps the most simple construction of the three for DIY moulding in fibre reinforced plastic is a very welcome effort to boost the range of designs available. The plug of 'Dingo' was also displayed at the AGM.
Ian Dunmore's pretty little 'Farthing' was designed only for free sailing without radio and as such will be a very good performer without one-third of the displacement that is the normally necessary to support the radio gear. This would make a very good school project where the material cost must be kept as low as possible. Unfortunately it is not versatile enough to be radio controlled, but there is always Ian's 2005 Chris Dicks Award run up design, 'Friday' of similar shape and construction that can be used with either radio or free sailing.
Finally the element of pure fun, 'Phin', by Alex Austin takes the idea of simplicity to the ultimate, as there is no keel or rather the hull is the keel in a beautifully simple circular arc shape. Like the deep vee Tonnage Rule straight runners of the 1880's 'Phin' is very narrow, only about 50 mm wide at the deck! It is to be hoped that the fun of this design can soon be enjoyed on water. One other design submitted was not for a boat, but for a very simple and easily made radio installation (a flat plate, 4 bolts, Velcro and bent wire). This entry was disqualified for obvious reasons, as it was a design by one of the judges. The drawing forms one of a set of nine now available as the MYA DIY Footy design, 'BUG 3'.
With interest in Footy boats growing like mad, events are being organised for the class including the Footy Championship at Gosport on 29th July and a Euro Grand Prix at Bournville on 14-15 July. We look forward to these and even more new designs from young or old, novice or expert designers for the 2007 Chris Dicks Design Competition.
Report by Roger Stollery