Frequently asked questions


1      Basics

2      General

3      Beginner

4      Boat

5      Design

6      Construction & Maintenance

7      Foils

8      Ballast

9      Rig

10    Mast

11    RC and Rigging

12    Sails

13    Sailmaking

14    Sail Trim

15    Buying

16    After Sales

17    Technical Help



1 Basics

SAILSetc works hard at maintaining its reputation for being in touch with the sport at all levels. So, it is no surprise people often turn to us for information even when it is freely available from other sources.
However, we would like to direct you to the proper channels for the definitive answers to your questions on the following subjects.

Q  Racing rules and race management
 If you have any questions regarding racing rules, or race management, please direct them in the first instance to the person responsible within your country. He can be contacted through your country's IRSA Member (the MYA in the UK).

Q  Class rules and measurement
A  If you have any questions regarding class rules and measurement please direct them in the first instance to the person responsible within your country. He can be contacted through your country's IRSA Member (the MYA in the UK).

The One Metre, Marblehead and Ten Rater classes are each served by interntional class associations (IOMICA, IMCA, ITCA). Each is the primary source of class rules, interpretations, Questions and Answers and other source material regarding those classes. Measurers, designers, builders and sailmakers will find these sources invaluable. Go to the relevant website for similar information relating to these classes.

The A Class is administered by the International Radio Sailing Association (IRSA) and is the primary source of class rules, interpretations, Questions and Answers and other source material regarding the class.

Q  Sailmaking
 We can supply some sailmaking notes as a downloadable document that will give you a good start and we can supply many, but not all, of the materials we use. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to give comprehensive and detailed information to individuals about making sails. However we can supply the Larry Robinson book 'Making Model Yacht Sails' - look under the Book section - which deals with this aspect of the sport at a high level. It is the best explanation of how to get the shaping right that we have seen. Please also see FAQ section 13.

Q  Yacht design
A  Here too we unfortunately are not able to answer individual queries about yacht design. We have a Book List, that covers the sources I have found most useful. Amongst them you will find books that deal with the practical aspects of setting out the lines as well as the theoretical aspects of design. Most are for full size yachts. The ones dealing with RC sailing are less useful but can show you what has happened in the past. Please also see FAQ section 5. For brief information about the designs made by Graham Bantock over the years please see 'Yacht Design Notes'.

Q  Lorna is not working with SAILSetc now that she is a minister of the church. Is it true?
A  Not exactly! Lorna completed her formal training for the ministry in 2002 and was ordained into the United Reformed Church in early 2003. It is a non-stipendary and part time ministry, currently with Witham URC, and she usually spends a few hours each day around the SAILSetc office.
The best time to catch Lorna on the phone is around 8.30-9 am and 5-6 pm UK time.

Q  Is it true that I can call and speak to someone in French or Spanish?
A  Yes. Lorna can take your calls in French and Spanish.  The best time to call is around 8.30-9 am and 5-6 pm UK time. She can also understand a little Portuguese and Italian but we appreciate it if you can use English for the technical terms. Lili Bayona is a native Spanish speaker and is normally in the office al day Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 9 am-1 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Q  I read/heard/saw it on the internet that XYZ broke/fell off/leaks/is slow/does not work on your boat in a recent race etc. Is it true?
A  Do you believe everything you read in the media? If you need clarification on any rumours please ask us directly.
Bear in mind that we have to test things in real competition from time to time. The only way to test whether a heavier ballast will work on a Marblehead in open competition, for example, is to race with it in light winds. It is fairly obvious that it will improve results in a breeze. There are variations on this theme that may well appear to indicate less than sparkling performance. But these are always wonderful opportunities to improve our tactics!

Q Is it true the business SAILSetc is for sale.
A During 2008 we offered the business SAILSetc for sale and received a number of enquiries some of which we followed up. However we came to no satisfactory outcome and we have looked for other ways to take the business forward. SAILSetc is now a limited company. This format should allow a more flexible approach to ownership in the future as and when the opportunity arises. In the meantime SAILSetc is being run entirely as normal with every effort being made to maintain our stock and extend our range of unique, top of the range, products.

Q  Is it true Graham’s treatment for leukaemia has finished?
A  Chemotherapy continued into the beginning of 2004 when more tests showed his health was back to normal. In fact his health has been very good since treatment started in May 2003. Blood tests are now a once a year affair to keep an eye on things. If you are a blood donor, many thanks!

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2 General

Q  Which XYZ fitting should I use for my MNO class boat?

ATo help you fiind products that are ideal for your application the website allows you to choose products by class as well as products by category. If you use the products by class route to find, for example, standing rigging, you will be shown only products that are suitable for the chosen class. On some product pages, for example, those for rigging wire and Dyneema lines you will find a link to the SAILSetc Rigging Guide. This guide lists all the major component rigging parts (excluding spars) and the suitable products for the common major classes. The Rigging Guide can also be found on the Downloadable Documents section of this website.

Q  I am looking for an ABC sized version of an XYZ – do you have one in stock?

 If you cannot find it on this website we almost certainly do not make or stock this item. However we keep a ‘wish list’ where we can add requests for oddball items and keep a track of who is interested in them. Tell us what you want and the least we can do is to log your wish. If we get enough enquiries after the same item we can go into production and then get in touch with all those who expressed interest.

Q  Can I get a repacement part for one of my SAILSetc fittings? 
 Almost certainly, yes. Commonly requested items are listed under the Spares section of this website. If you cannot find what you need there please ask.

Q  We mould RC boat hulls, and supply kits. Can we mould your designs under licence?
A  Yes. We have several licence agreements with builders around the world for a number of designs. Please tell us your requirements.
We also keep a list (un-used mould list) of moulds that are offered for sale. The moulds are those we no longer use for production of parts but may be excellent starting points for other builders who want to avoid the mould making process and step straight into production. 

Q  Can we visit the SAILSetc shop and look at some items?
A  SAILSetc is a workshop rather than a shop. However, if you would care to make an appointment (weekday, 8 am to 6 pm) and give us an idea of what you would like to discuss, we will try to show you what you want to see. Unfortunately we are not geared up well to deal with casual callers.

Q  We stock some model yachting equipment for retail in our model shop and want to increase the range. Do you supply traders?
A  Yes. We have a trade price list for bona fide model shop and model yachting businesses.

Q  At the race on Sunday I was involved in an incident. Can you explain why I was disqualified?
A  I could try, but it is better that you hear it from someone qualified to tell you. Contact your national racing rules secretary (or whoever is responsible for racing in your country). If he cannot explain then he will be able to refer you to experienced and qualified National Judges who will be in a position to consider your question and advise with authority. Hear it from the real experts.
If you do not possess a copy of the current Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), get a copy. For less than the price of a battery pack you will learn far more about getting good results by learning a few simple rules (or by learning them better than you knew them before).

It is worth remembering that you can usually appeal a decision by a jury. Tell them you want to appeal their decision and follow the procedure given in the RRS. Under the RRS appeals have to be made to the World Sailing National Authority for the country where the incident took place. Rc sailors in the UK can appeal directly to the RYA.  This appeal process also works when the jury decides it has found your protest invalid. 

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3 Beginner

Q  I want to start RC sailing and SAILSetc was recommended as a supplier of kits, plans and second-hand boats. What do you suggest?
A  If you are interested in RC sailing then our advice is the following. Establish which is your local club and ask which class(es) they race. Buy a second-hand boat (almost any one will do providing it sails). Get sailing as soon as you can. Plan to spend the first year learning about (a) the sport at all levels and (b) the boats used in competition. Plan to up-grade your boat after the first season to one that you have chosen carefully, based on what you have learnt.
We would not recommend that any newcomer to the sport should buy a kit or build from a plan. We would not suggest buying a brand new boat either.

Q  Where should I find a second-hand boat for sale?
 The secretary of the radio sailing club in your area may know of one of his club’s members who has one he may wish to sell. Look at the MYA’s Boat List on its web pages. Some clubs also keep a 2nd hand boat list. Look in the small ads in Model Boats magazine and Marine Modelling International magazine.

Q  Can you give any guidance to a beginner wanting to buy a boat?
A  Again, for your very first boat, availability and price will be the primary considerations, and the speed potential of the boat at this stage is not that important. Performance as well as price should guide the purchase of your next boat. Used boats are often excellent value. They will usually not be regarded as the fastest around but they may well be the ones that were regarded as the fastest until recently. As there is a significant fashion element in the sport it is sometimes possible to pick up very quick boats at quite modest prices. Second hand boats will usually be at quite attractive prices compared with buying new but, as ever, you tend to get what you pay for and the better boats will attract better prices. The pace of design development is not great and any boat that was truly competitive a few seasons ago will still be a potential winner if equipped and sailed well.
Assume the RC equipment will not be in tip top condition and expect to replace it, keeping the original as spares. On this basis it is not terribly important to have RC equipment with the boat. 
Do not buy any boat without having seen it first unless you trust the judgement of someone who has.

Q  Any guidance regarding choice of design for a beginner?
A  Probably for the first year it will be your lack of rules knowledge, tactical experience, and ability to control the boat that will slow you down rather than any fault of the boat. So, if you are planning to replace the boat after a year (as suggested), it is not terribly important which design you have.
Look at results in Yachts and Yachting, Marine Modelling International and Model Boats magazines and ask your local club members (several) which they rate as a good choice and which to avoid at any price.

Q  Which class should I go for?
A  Whatever is sailed at your local club. There is not much fun in sailing around without someone to race against.

Q  But I don't want to race, only to sail for fun. Are there any kits available in model shops which I should consider?
A  Sailing for fun may become fairly humdrum after a while and you may well end up looking for others to join in with, either informally or through a club.

Good competition is possible with model shop kits but you need to research carefully what does work and what does not. Check your local user groups before purchasing.

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4 Boat

Q  Can you tell me what fittings I need to complete my boat from your plan?

  We do not offer a list or ‘pack’ of fittings for the Nimbus 3, or any other design, for that matter. The plan was drawn some 20 years ago and the following have been changed in the meantime:

  • numerical references to fittings
  • function and appearance of fittings
  • fashion regarding the way boats are finished

On top of this there are the personal preferences of each builder who knows which items he can fabricate himself, already has, cannot justify expenditure on or wishes to source elsewhere. We have found that any list or ‘pack’ we produce is likely to contain many items which the buyer does not wish to have – whether we discover this at an early stage before purchase, or after delivery, the end results is that time and effort is required to make the adjustments to suit the customer.

This leads us to recommend that the customer works through the process himself and decides exactly what he requires using our website as the source. Our website is well organised to allow customers to find items ideally suited to the IOM class. The product pages give much information relevant to the function and use of the specific items. In the longer term we feel this will be produce a better result for the customer and ourselves.

Q  Is it true SAILSetc has stopped bulding boats?
 Yes. At the end of 2014 SAILSetc ceased to be a source of part completed or completed boats. The good news is that BOATSetc in Germany can supply carbon pre-preg hulls for the RG65 (ARGON), Marblehead (QUARK), Ten Rater (DIAMOND) and A Class (SWORD) and the component parts and general arrangement plans required to complete them.

Q  Where can I find information about rigs for SAILSetc boats?
A  Look at the relevant class section of this website by going to the class you are interested in and then SPARS/RIGGING/RIG KITS. Specifications for each class of RIG are available as downloadable Word documents.

Q  From which other builders can I obtain a boat designed by yourself?
A Click on the link at the end of this to see the current list of builders and designs. If the builders listed find the information is no longer correct we'd be pleased to hear from them. Link
One of the purposes of allowing more moulds of our boat to be used is to allow more customers to own a similar boat and benefit from the design work we have put into the prototype.  Obviously we would prefer it if the other builders used our original parts and designs to complete their boats in the same way that we do, but not all wish to do this. However, to be fair to their customers, they should be able to give a clear specification of the boat they are offering.

Q  What spares should I buy to complement a boat?
A  The following list contains the most likely items:

item description
order code
deck patch material, 0.5 m^2
spool Dyneema cord 0.5 mm Ø 35 kg BS 20 metres
spool Dyneema cord 0.6 mm Ø 55 kg BS 20 metres
fin bolt M4 x 40 mm socket head
stainless steel ring, 46B for use with 046-100
pot lid for screw top pot
bowsies, mixed pack
'O' rings 7 mm Ø for 10 mm Ø booms, pack of 10
tapered bung
counterbalance weight
bow bumper

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5 Design

Q  I have heard you are working on a new design to replace your current boat. Is it true?
A  We are always looking at ways of improving the performance of our boats. Few will go to the trouble of making a plug, new moulds, and building and testing a prototype unless it is ‘guaranteed’ to be an improvement. The investment in time, effort, and lost production associated with this sort of work is large and not the sort of thing to be undertaken lightly or simply to keep up with fashion. We will do it, however, when we think we can make a significant improvement and when a builder is seriously interested in investing in a new design.
Interestingly, the largest genuine gains (i.e. a gain in all conditions rather than in one specific condition) in performance from 1995 to 2015 have been about 5 to 10 times greater from better foil design than from better hull design. Although this does not mean we should ignore hull design, it does indicate that the most profitable area for research is in the foils. Happily these are also the easiest to replace.  Please see section 7 of these FAQs for more on fin design. Link

Q  Which VPP do you use?
A  I use WinDesign VPP which has been suitably adapted to work for small boats. The first use of this for us was in 1998 for the IKON design. Use of it for such small model yachts as RG65 and FOOTY as well as canting keel yachts uncovered some snags with the program and I am especially grateful to Clay Oliver and the Wolfson Unit for providing the necessary refinements to cope with both cases. The VPP remains a tool in constant use for evaluating the performance of new designs as well as establishing mast position.

Q  Is it true that you allowed copies of your IOM designs to be made under licence?
A  Yes. A number of boat builders wanted to start moulding our designs which they completed in their own style. 

Q  Is it true you have designed a canting keel yacht for the Formula 100 – Open One Metre (F100) class rules?
A  Yes. This project was commissioned by Doug Lord of Florida, USA so that he could add a canting ballast twin foil (CBTF) yacht to the range of yachts offered by microSAIL – see
The CBTF concept has been patented by DynaYacht with whom Doug had a commercial agreement allowing him to use the technology on RC yachts. In essence, in a CBTF yacht, the normal fixed fin and ballast is replaced by a canting strut and ballast. By canting the strut and ballast to one side or the other stability can be matched to the heeling moment and the hull can be sailed upright. The relatively large angle that the strut makes to the vertical means it is inefficient at generating side force to resist the side force of the rig. So the strut’s only task is to support the ballast with a very low drag. Ability to generate adequate side force and steerage is achieved by using twin rudders, one being placed ahead of the strut and one being aft. Each is larger than the normal single rudder. Steering is achieved by turning both rudders in opposite directions. Leeway control and helm balance is achieved by turning both rudders in the same direction. In fact leeway can be reduced to zero with the correct choice of rudder angles.
The Reichel/Pugh designed 60 footer Wild Oats was the earliest conspicuous example of the technology.
Doug had already come to grips with many of the technological problems with related concepts. All these have been One Designs rather than in the International RC classes. Although the CBTF yacht would be a One Design, it was also intended that it should meet the F100 class rules that, unlike all the International RC classes, permit movable ballast.
My brief was to optimise the overall design while taking into account the various constraints imposed. Doug's experience with similar projects meant he was able to provide realistic data regarding the achievable construction weights. The use of twin rudders, sail winch and strut/ballast winch, as well as a fifth channel for independent jib control, would make this a demanding boat to sail but this is nothing unusual for Doug. The RMG winches are recognised as the most powerful around but nevertheless limit the stability provided by the canting ballast. In a boat with no traditional fixed external ballast it is clear that this in turn provides the upper limit to performance. Rob Guyatt contributed his own valuable input as he had done previously with Doug's projects. As usual our VPP was employed to evaluate the relative performance of the candidate designs.
One important requirement was that the CBTF yacht should be able to beat a fixed keel yacht in the F100 class. After all, if a fixed keel yacht is faster, there is little point using unnecessarily complex technology. So, the first task was to identify the likely characteristics of an optimum F100. This was done. SAILSetc has no plans to publish lines for a F100 but we are confident that our International One Metre design PIKANTO, built and rigged in carbon, will be fully competitive in the F100 class as far as a fixed keel design can be.
Clearly, if the technical constraints can be resolved and the CBTF design is capable of beating an optimised fixed keel F100 design, then it will be the fastest radio controlled 1 metre monohull around.
The design work was finalised in 2003 and the concept appeared very promising. Contact Doug for details of the prototype and production boats.

Q  What other classes have you designed for?
A   One set of lines for a boat to the Italian 2 Metre class has been drawn. The fin was an interesting design problem as it had to be capable of taking a 8-9 kg ballast on a draught of 700 mm. In the end we provided a fin moulded out of our 2003 fin mould where the skin thickness was increased well above the normal level for a Marblehead. The boat seems to have been successful for its owner, Patrizio Rocchegiani.
A 2004 project was for a boat to the 1/12th America’s Cup Class to be used in USA. During 2006, and before the boat was built, the class rules were changed to the extent that existing designs will be un-competitive across the whole range of likely conditions. After getting confirmation of some of the new class rules the design process has been re-visited and the new design has now sailed.
In the meantime we have produced a fin mould that will enable us to make a suitable fin for this class. In fact it is the same mould used to make the fin for our A Class. The mould is 700 mm long, tapers from a 280 chord to 75 mm. Thus fins for A Class, 6 Metre, ACC/12 and probably ACC/10 can be made from it.
During early 2008 a thorough analysis of the performance of free sailing A Class designs was made culminating in a set of lines for the client. Progress by the client was slow during 2009 but the boat competed well in the 2011 to 2016 seasons and is judged to have delivered the performance required subject only to the ability of the owner/skipper to cope with the vagaries of the free sailing format. A replacement design was provided for the owner to be launched in 2017. Both boats gave good results to the owners Anthony Warren and Lester Gilbert before being sold to new owners. They placed 1st and 2nd in the 2019 championship. Sisterships are available from Martin Dovey.
Work was started on a design for the FOOTY class. Although the class may appear ideal for entry into the rc sailing world it quickly became apparent that seeking an optimum design is definitely a non-trivial task. It is clear that top quality engineering will give rewards out of proportion to what it gives in other classes – this means the ‘optimum’ design is likely to be highly dependent on the construction weight (read ‘skill level of builder’). The RG65 class seems to be attracting some attention and we have been asked for designs. During late 2008 work started on the design process. The resulting design ROGUE became available in early 2009.
Once we made a fin suitable for the RG65 and FOOTY classes, and its real stiffness was evaluated, it was possible to focus in on better designs in those classes. During 2011 we went through the full design process for a SAILSetc RG65 design. The resulting design, named ARGON, is made using pre-preg carbon and has been giving excellent results. Please see the licensed boat builder list for current builders.

Q  Do you have a plan for a Phigit Class boat?
A  No. But we could respond to the class by producing a plan for a Phigit at some stage in the future. In the meantime it seems that a Ten Rater with length scaled to give a waterline of around 1100 mm and beam scaled to give the 4.25 kgs total displacement would be a good starting point.

Q  Can you provide a lines plan for a custom design?
A  Yes. We have a schedule of charges dependent on the class. We would provide a lines plan developed without reference to VPP comparisons but based on our previous designs and judgement and incorporating your ideas as far as possible. The plan would show the estimated position of foils, ballast, RC equipment, and mast.
We spend time developing revised and new designs as time permits (the 6 Metre worked on up to 2009 has been released as a plan for home construction named ROMANZA , the 10 Rater for heavy airs has been released as a plan named GRAFFITO,  while a Phigit, a RG65 and a FOOTY remain under review). If you wish we can further develop these ideas especially for your intended application. The fee will reflect the amount of development and comparative work undertaken.
If you would prefer to have us evaluate the performance of several candidate designs and decide the 'best' for your chosen wind speed profile, then this work can be undertaken for an additional fee.
Boat builders wishing to mould a new SAILSetc design may prefer to pay a royalty on each hull moulded and we are always happy to discuss this.
We have also carried out other design work on a consultancy basis for major players in the model/toy market and are happy to advise on all aspects of the sport as required on a strictly commercial basis.
Please call us to discuss your requirements.

Q  I am seeking a subject for my university degree course final year project. Are there any areas of research that would benefit from further study?
A  Yes. We have worked with undergraduate aeronautics and naval architecture students and are happy to assist with expertise, rigs, and other equipment on the basis that knowledge gained will be shared. We keep a list of potential subjects, mostly relevant to all yacht design, that we think would be of interest.

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6 Construction and Maintenance

Q  I have an old hull that I’d like to repair and restore and use with RC. Can you carry out the work?
A  SAILSetc is not a vintage yacht restorer and our expertise is relatively limited. We suggest that, as a first step, you contact the Vintage Model Yacht Group which is concerned with the rescue, restoration and sailing of older styles of model yacht.
If you send your query with dimensions and weight of your boat and photos taken in its present state to the Chairman, Martin Bandey at he will do his best to assist.

We do, however, stock a small range of vintage style fittings that may be useful to replace those missing from your restoration project. And we publish and stock the range of books associated with this form of the sport under the Curved Air Press banner. SAILStc is the current owner of the Curved Air Press titles.

Q  Can SAILSetc complete a kit from another manufacturer?
A  Unfortunately this is not a service we can offer. We may be able to recommend to you people who will be willing to do such work. Please ask.

Q  Can SAILSetc complete a boat starting from a lines plan?
A  Unfortunately this is outside of our capacity. We may be able to refer you to someone who may undertake this work.

Q  Is it true that SAILSetc is selling some of its moulds?
A  Yes. We keep a list (un-used mould list) of moulds that are offered for sale. The moulds are those we no longer use for production of parts but may be excellent starting points for other builders who want to avoid the mould making process and step straight into production.

Q  Is it true that SAILSetc One Metres are available from other builders?
A  Yes. Please see the licensed boat builder list for up to date details. Please let us know if any links there no longer work.

Q  Is it true that the mould for RENAISSANCE has been sold?
A  Yes. Ian Cooke of the Bourneville club has the mould and has arranged for production to resume by Ray Baker. Please contact him directly for information.

Q  What is the best way to apply self adhesive deck patches to a boat?
A  Add some soft soap, the type than comes in handy dispensers for the washroom, to a little water. Add enough soap to the water to enable a film of water to remain without pulling back when it is applied to the deck flanges. Coat all the areas where the deck patch will stick and also the surrounding areas. Peel off the backing material and add the patch to the wetted area. The soapy water will allow you to move the patch around and stretch it out until it is where you want it. Drying time in the height of summer is less than an hour. Indoors in winter it may take several hours.
We use one of our screw top pots to keep the solution in so there is always some handy in the workshop.

Q  What is the best way to get the self adhesive deck patches off?
A  Carefully peel back a corner and pull the material firmly away from the deck keeping it close down to the deck. With care it should be possible to take the adhesive with the cloth. Sometimes this will not be possible and areas of adhesive will remain stuck to the boat. Generally it is best to avoid trying to use solvents to remove this adhesive as they will only spread the material more thinly over a larger area. They may damage the paint and boat too.
Instead use a small piece of deck patch material, perhaps some of the material you have pulled off, and stick its sticky side to the adhesive on the boat. Pull it off firmly. Keep doing this and you will find the adhesive is removed from the boat and transferred to the patch.

Q  My boat's hull now has a large dent in it. How has this happened?
A  Probably because it has been heated when there was a load acting on that part of the hull. See the question about the bent and twisted fin. Gradually raising the temperature of the whole hull, taking care to support it properly, will usually allow the hull to recover its original form. Again it is best to avoid this problem in the first place by protecting the hull from being overheated. Choosing light coloured hulls is a sensible precaution if you sail in hot and sunny conditions. If you would not leave your child or pet in the car because it is too hot, then it is too hot for your boat.

Q  What is the best way to repair damage to the gel coat on the hull?
A  For minor cracks in the gel coat where the hull structure behind is not seriously damaged
The area inside the hull surrounding the damage should be abraded with coarse abrasive paper. Depending on the position and seriousness of the damage, use a patch of reinforcement wetted out with the minimum of epoxy resin to patch the hull inside. Overlap the damage by 20 mm in all directions.
When cured, and if it is large enough, the crack in the gel coat should be filled with resin pigmented to the correct colour. When this has cured mask off the surrounding area and carefully rub down the new gel coat with 600, 800, 1000 and 1200 abrasive papers. Finally buff it with metal polish to restore the original finish.
For more serious damage where complete failure of the backing reinforcement has occurred
In these cases the material along the crack should be ground or filed out to allow the hull to return to its original shape at the earliest opportunity. This ensures the repair will not be so noticeable when it is made. The area inside the hull surrounding the damage should be abraded with coarse abrasive paper. Use self adhesive tape as necessary on the outside to hold the pieces of hull in their correct alignment.
Depending on the position and seriousness of the damage, use a patch of reinforcement wetted out with the minimum of epoxy resin to patch the hull inside. Overlap the damage by 20 mm in all directions. Avoid allowing resin to fill the crack.
When cured, fill the crack in the gel coat with resin pigmented to the correct colour. When this has cured mask off the surrounding area and carefully rub down the new gel coat with 600, 800, 1000 and 1200 abrasive papers. Finally buff it with metal polish to restore the original finish. The pigments formerly used/sold by SAILSetc are all with Martin Dovey.

Q  What is the best way to add a silicone bow bumper boat?
A  The only material we have found that will bond the bumper is silicone sealant as sold by plumbers’ merchants for sealing around work surfaces, pipes and tiles. The correct one to use is the one that smells strongly of acetic acid (vinegar). Choose the clear version. No other types will work.

The one we have in the workshop is a B&Q product labelled ‘translucent all purpose, waterproof, flexible, mould resistant’. The instructions/data printed on the package indicate it gives off acetic acid when curing. Buy the 310 ml size. Halfords also sell a small tube of silicone sealant that is perfect for this task. Several small tubes are usually better value than a single large tube as it avoids the sealant going off in the tube after a small amount has been used.

Clean the aft face of the bumper and the area of bow that you will apply the bumper to using acetone or alcohol. Add masking tape around the area of hull that will have the bumper bonded to it. Allow the solvent to dry and apply a 1 mm thick film of the sealant to the back of the bumper and a thinner film to the bow of the boat. Push the bumper onto the hull and carefully clean off the excess sealant. When the sealant has cured (leave for at least half a day) you will be able to peel off the masking tape.

Q  Do you have a bow bumper for a boat that was not made by SAILSetc?
A  With a few exceptions we don’t keep moulds for bumpers for other builders’ boats. If you cannot find the right bumper for your boat we do not recommend trying to adjust one of our bumpers to fit it . It is incredibly difficult to shape the material from which we cast bow bumpers and the result is tatty. But you can shape the foam block, item 330-FOAM,  that we stock for this purpose using coarse abrasive paper. It is much lighter than silicone moulded bumpers too. Otherwise you could make a master pattern in balsa wood, take your own mould off it with plaster of Paris or polyester filler, and send us the mould to use. If the mould is satisfactory to use we will charge for a standard bumper plus for any polishing of the mould etc if necessary.

Q  Water gets into the screw top pot that I bought from you. Should I put Vaseline on the thread to stop this?
A  No. Vaseline will almost certainly attract grit and dust and prevent the threads from engaging properly. There are several reasons why water gets into the pots we supply and not all of them relate to the pot itself.

Pot not installed properly.
If the pot is installed too low in the boat, if the hole into which it is installed is too small or not round, or if excess silicone sealant has cured around the thread, then the lid will be prevented from screwing down properly. In these cases the correct remedy is to correct the fault and perhaps install a new pot.

Lid not tightened properly
If an electrical cable is trapped under the rim when the lid is tightened then a good seal will not be made and your cable may be damaged. Avoid this situation by ensuring nothing is fouling the closing of the lid, tightening it properly, and marking the centre of the front of the pot lid with a marker pen to show where the lid should be when it is tightened properly.

Irregularities in the rim of the pot
It is possible that there are slight irregularities in the upper rim of the pot that permit water to pass through. These may be present from new and can be caused by damage from trapped cables, tools, foreign objects. Check the rim of the pot and use a block of flat timber covered with 400 grade wet and dry abrasive paper to smooth the edge. The use a small piece of 600 grade abrasive paper to round the upper edge in section. This will enhance the seal made by the rim of the pot on the wadding. If the wadding is damaged, turn it over or ask us for a replacement lid, item 54L.

Q  What spares should I buy to complement a boat?
A  Apart from spare rc units from your favourite supplier we suggest the following:

qty item description order code
1 deck patch material, 0.5 m^2 DP-MAT
1 spool Dyneema cord 0.5 mm Ø 35 kg BS 20 metres D35
1 spool Dyneema cord 0.6 mm Ø 55 kg BS 20 metres D55
1 fin bolt M4 x 40 mm socket head SP-FB
1 stainless steel ring, 46B for use with 046-100 046B
1 pot lid for screw top pot 054L
1 bowsies, mixed pack 057MIX
1 'O' rings 7 mm Ø for 10 mm Ø booms, pack of 10 082-010
2 tapered bung 086
1 counterbalance weight 102-XXX
1 bow bumper 330

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7 Foils

Q  Can you tell me what mast/fin/ballast/rudder position to use for the hull I am building?
A  If it is for one of our designs… the code for the product made by SAILSetc at the time is given on the plan. The foils we sell now are not made by SAILSetc, may have different product codes, but are broadly equivalent in design and construction. If it is for one of our current or past designs, please send a note and we will find the information you need.
If it is for one for our designs from another builder, then please ask the builder/supplier. For hulls from other designers/builders, we suggest you consult the designer or seller of the hull/kit and ask for a general arrangement plan.

Q  I want to complete a SAILSetc design using a different mast/fin/ballast/rudder instead of the intended version. Can you assist me?
A  The design and position of these items has been carefully chosen to maximise performance. Our best advice is to leave them as intended. However, one of the joys of RC sailing is the ability to experiment on your own.

Q  Why are SAILSetc foils so costly? 
A  There are several reasons - all closely related to the need to achieve symmetry and high stiffness:.
1   The sections are chosen for the speeds and lift requirements that are typical for RC sailing. Some have been continually modified for our purposes by the designer to whom we pay a modest royalty.
2   The foils are made in precision moulds that themselves are costly to manufacture by CNC machining. However, this ensures the integrity of the section, keeping it faithful to the original design and also symmetrical.
3   The carbon used for the skins is a mixture of thin woven cloth, uni-directional tape and bi-axial cloth, all of which may be of high modulus (extra stiff) carbon fibre. These materials are all more costly than 'standard' carbon. 
4   SAILSetc fins comprised a carbon/resin matrix compressed between the metal mould and a matching mould. Hydraulic jacks and a strong press were used to achieve pressures well in excess of that normally used in autoclaves to compress the matrix and exclude excess resin. The makers of our current foils use similar foils to create even better stiffness than we achieved.
5   In the middle of the fins there may be a corrugated carbon core. This is very light but holds the skins together very rigidly. The mould for the corrugated core was also very time consuming to make. 
6   Laminating the fin is time consuming and requires attention to detail to achieve success.
A stiff fin has a direct impact on the performance of the boat. A stiff fin deflects sideways only a little when the boat is heeled over. Therefore the loss of stability is minimal compared to one that bends more. Over time we have optimised the stiffness and weight of our fins to maximise the boat’s stability taking into account the drag of the fin too.
Making an ‘optimised’ fin is an important and necessary step in getting the best performance from any boat and it takes time, effort, and expense. We keep the stiffness of other manufacturers' fins under review and have not found any that exceed our own.

Q What about torsional stiffness?
A  Torsion stiffness is most efficiently added by using woven carbon placed at + and – 45 degrees, or bi-axial carbon cloth. This adds torsional stiffness but inevitably detracts from the lateral stiffness, therefore reducing stability and performance. So, torsional stiffness always comes at a cost to performance. We try to minimise the need for torsional stiffness in our boats by placing the lcg of the ballast appropriately with respect to the fin. This has two effects: A, the twist of the fin when the boat heels under the influence of the lcg of the ballast is minimised thus allowing the fin to work with minimum drag and, B, the likelihood of the fin wobbling at higher speeds or when sailing in large waves is reduced.
The fins we sell, if used in the same way that we use them, won’t give any problems with torsional stiffness. If, however, the lcg position of the ballast is more than 30 mm (less on full length fins) aft of the fin leading edge you may find problems with balance and wobble at high boat speeds.

Q  How has fin design changed over the years?
A  Before 1992 we used fins to a 9% thickness/chord ratio section by Helmut Quabeck that seemed ideal for low speeds. A big step forward was made in 1992 when we switched to a 7% t/c section by David Hollom. At the same time we adopted the construction method we used for over 20 years and which gives an amazingly high stiffness to weight ratio. The gains made by the 1992 fin fuelled big performance gains resulting in several major championship wins. In 2000 we experimented briefly with a 6% t/c version of the 1992 section. It had some advantages but had lower stiffness.
A new fin section design became available in early 2003. Another became available in early 2004. The basic difference was in the section shape. New software showed the 2003 section was a big improvement over the 7% t/c section we had been using since 1992 as well as the 6% t/c section. More work indicated a small improvement was possible in 2004 so we made yet another mould.
We found the new section to be superior to the older (1992) 7% and (2000) 6% foils at all speeds. The 2004 section offered a small improvement over the 2003 design. As usual we incorporated the new design in all the boats we built since then. During 2011 we made a revised fin mould and began to develop fins using pre-preg carbon. The section shape was slightly changed to give better performance in light airs. The advantage of having the fin skins made in pre-preg carbon was that they would be better able to resist elevated temperatures without distortion. The fin also had the finished section shape when it came out of the moulds and required no finishing to section shape. Pleasingly the stiffness of the fins was even higher than before – some 15% stiffer for the same weight and size. This project was abandoned when we stopped building boats at SAILSetc. In 2016 we began sourcing fins and rudders to SAILSetc designs from Craig Smith, Australia, who is able to supply these items directly.
Choose item 370-M for a Marblehead or Ten Rater class fin. Choose item 370-IOM for an IOM class fin. 
The new fins can be retrofitted to any existing boat that have the rectangular section SAILSetc fin box.  As many of our earlier boats remain in good order and have hulls that are themselves good designs, it is often well worth extending their competitive life by retro fitting an up to date fin.

Q  What do you do with your old fin moulds?
A   Call us if you want to discuss buying our older fin moulds. They may no longer be ‘optimum’ but they did produce foils that were exceptionally good and will still produce very good foils.

Q  Who designs the foil sections for you?
A  David Hollom has kept us supplied with up to date foil sections and other advice since 1992. In fact he rightly claims a significant share of the credit for the success of SAILSetc designed and built yachts. His professional interest in design stretches from rc planes and rc yachts to manned versions of the same. Contact him at The 2016 and later design fins and rudders are to section shapes from other designers.

Q  Why don't you mould the top of the fin to fit the fin box exactly?
A  A bit of history first. Going back to 1989 when we first sold boats we realised that the hulls needed a fin box and removable fin so that they could be delivered easily. The fin box was made by moulding over the complex shape at the top of the existing 1988 fin so that the fin fitted perfectly in the box. When we made the new CNC fin moulds in 1992 we copied the shape of the top of that fin so the new fin would fit existing boats. We used the same box up to about 1998 when we realised that it was a serious problem not to be able to adjust the position of the fin in a boat. It was a problem because a more accurate fin alignment jig showed us that the fin box could be about 0.5 degree off the centreline. It was also a problem because we started to make boats that were different to PARADOX and these needed a different fin position relative to the mast tube. When the fin fitted in only one position in the box we had no possibility to correct the angle of the fin or to get the balance right. So we made a fin box with a rectangular trunking shape.
Then we could fit the fin in a range of vertical positions, fore and aft positions, and at different rake angles. We could also compensate for any misalignment of the fin box with the boat centreline. This meant that we no longer needed to make the top of the fin with the complex shape of the 1988 fin and we could make it a simple extension of the lower fin shape. Designing, machining the moulds and making the fin was simplified and this offsets any additional work in fitting the fin to the box. In the end we get better built boats for the same work input.
We understand that there is some work required for people to fit one of our fins to one of our fin boxes. However we know that if we made these mouldings so that they were ready to use they would have one fixed relationship and the chances of this being right for any designs other than the ones we make would be close to zero - so our mouldings would not be very useful. It is also possible for people to use other fins in our fin box. Perhaps our fins can be used in other fin boxes too.

To make life easier when fitting a fin to either QUARK or DIAMOND we can supply a fin 'glove' that fits the fin trunking in the boat perfectly. The fin is shaped to fit the glove and is bonded into that, thus guaranteeing the fit to the hull. The possibility of inadvertently bonding the fin into the hull is avoided. See 370-GLOVE. The same solution can be provided for other builders/designs providing the fin trunking is reliably reproducible.

Q  How do I fit a SAILSetc fin in the fin box?
A  Make a cardboard or 3 mm plywood mock-up of the fin that fits the box as you want it and which is the required size and position. Transfer that profile shape to the fin moulding. Cut the fin to shape and fill the cut edges with filled epoxy resin. Adjust it to fit the box and hull as required. Drill a 1.6 mm hole through the fin just below the top. Drill two 1.6 mm holes through the fin, one near the leading edge, one near the trailing edge and both inside the box just above the hull bottom. Tap these three holes M2. Put M2 csk head x 10 mm long screws (or 8 mm for our newer IOM box) in the holes and adjust them so that the fin is in line with the hull in all senses. If you don’t have an M2 tap use a 1.8 mm drill and ‘self tap’ the screws into place. Wax the inside of the fin box and the hull all around the box. Abrade the fin each side for 10 mm above the bottom of the hull. Put the fin in the box and put filler into the gap using only enough to penetrate about 10 mm up the side of the fin. Leave the resin to cure thoroughly and remove the fin from the box. Put a spot of cyanoglue on the upper screw to lock it in place. For QUARK and DIAMOND, see the FAQ above.

Q Can I fit one of the new SAILSetc fins into my old ENIGMA/PARADOX/PUZZLE?
A  With some care, yes. Those boats were all built with the 1992 fin and a fin box that was tailored to fit the head of the fin perfectly. The new fin has a larger upper part but it can be cut down and shaped to fit the original fin box. Proceed as for the previous question/answer but adjust the shape of the top of the fin as appropriate until it is a snug fit.
The position of the fin with respect to the original is important. Aim to keep the centre of the leading edge of the new fin within a few millimetres of the centre of the leading edge of the old fin. The top of the fin can be moved forward or back if required to keep the fattest (and therefore stiffest) part of the fin in the fin box. The lcg of the ballast should be between 0 and 30 mm aft of the leading edge of the fin where it meets the ballast.
The change will be well worth the effort and the useful life of the boat will be extended. While doing this work you should make sure the original short/fat ballast (if it has not been changed already) is replaced with a long/thin one.

Q  My fin is bent and twisted. Why?
A  SAILSetc made foils were cured at a temperature only slightly above normal room temperature. They are black and when exposed to sunlight, or when left in a car on a hot day, they may reach temperatures in excess of 70 degrees C. At this temperature the resin will soften and, if there is any load acting on the keel, it will distort.
Often this happens when the boat is laid down on the ground between races. The boat is picked up and placed in the water. The bend or twist that has formed in the keel is then ‘frozen’ in place.
Avoid this happening by keeping the fin at a low temperature at all times. Help this by keeping it in the shade or by spraying it grey or white.

The fins supplied now are post-cured to temperatures high enough to protect them against heat damage experienced in normal use. They need no special treatment apart from the precaution of protecting against exposure from direct strong sun on windless days.

Q  What can I do about it now?
A  Allow the fin to be heated to a temperature slightly higher than previously. Leave it in the sun, place it on the dashboard of your car in the sun with the doors and windows closed, or use a low temperature oven to achieve this. If the fin has not been very over-heated you may find 50 degrees C is enough. Twist the fin back into line - you may need to twist more the other way to achieve this - and quickly cool the fin in water. If it does not work out you can go through the routine again.
If you cannot do this yourself we have a low temperature oven that will go up to 50 degrees C above ambient temperature. This is usually high enough to recover damaged fins. Send your fin back and we will do what we can to restore it.

Q  Which rudder moulding should I use?
A  Item 360-M-10R is a rudder suitable for Marblehead and Ten Rater and item 360-IOM is a rudder suitable for IOM. 365-BLADE is available in two sizes - the smaller for IOM and the larger for M, 10R, 6M and A Class.

Q  Which rudder should I use to replace my older existing rudder?
A  Rudder area is the primary factor. If the rudder you have gives adequate control of the boat, choose one from our range that has the same depth x max chord as your existing rudder.
If the rudder you have does not give adequate control of the boat there are two things you should check before changing it. Check that the servo can move the rudder freely to 50 degrees each side of centre. Check that the servo has sufficient power to achieve this under load. Only if these things are OK and you still have problems should you consider increasing the size of the rudder.

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8 Ballast

Q  In what formats can you supply ballast castings?
A  Ballast castings are offered as raw castings.

The RG65, IOM, M and 10R ballast bulbs have a brass rod running down their centreline which helps retain their shape. Antimony is used in the alloy to further asist with this. They are cast in metal moulds, generally have a good finish, and have a slot into which the fin may be cast.

IOM and 10R ballast bulbs can be supplied covered in carbon and epoxy resin if you need a very damage resistant finish.

6M and A Class ballasts are cast in sand using antimony in the alloy to enhance the stiffness.

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9 Rig

Q  The leech of my mainsail is tighter on one gybe than the other. How should this be cured?
A  One possibility is that the gooseneck is not in line with the mast.
The original concept with all SAILSetc goosenecks was to ensure the customer cannot fail to get them in line with the mast. So, if you are using one of our gooseneck units, this is an unlikely source of the problem. If the leech is asymmetrical, and assuming the rig has shrouds, then you should adjust the shrouds until the leech is equally tight/slack on each tack when the main boom is out fully. Then you should float the boat and check mast verticality. If the mast is not vertical then you need to adjust the fin laterally, or the mast laterally. Once that is done you should have the boat sailing the same on each tack both upwind and down.

Our self locking rigging screws help with this routine making it easier to adjust shroud tension fractionally without having to un-lock and re-lock the lock nuts.

If the rig does not have shrouds then the mast is probably bent sideways a little. Take the sail off the rig, check for symmetry and re-position the gooseneck and other fittings on the mast aligned to the true axis of symmetry.

Q  Should I choose swing rig or conventional rigs for my Marblehead?
A  Opinion seemed to be split on this in the early part of this century. More recently swing rigs for use in light winds have again become the dominant trend. Best results are obtained by a large variety of sailors for a wide variety of hulls with conventional rigs for their lower rigs i.e. 1900 mm mainsail luff and lower. Some sailors get very good results with swing rigs in these conditions but they appear to be in a minority.
In light airs the received wisdom has been that there is little doubt that a swing rig is best. It is as good, or nearly so, as a conventional rig to windward and far easier to sail well with on broad reaching and running courses. 
When the wind builds to 6-8 knots or more any benefits the swing rig has seem to disappear or become insignificant compared with the disadvantages i.e. relatively poor gust response and handling when over pressed. For example it was found that PARADOX could handle winds of 12+ knots quite well when used with a conventional style 10 Rater full area rig some 40% bigger than the largest Marblehead rig. In these conditions it would have been uncompetitive with a Marblehead sized swing rig.
The design of our Marbleheads, ROK and PRIME NUMBER, has an influence on choice of rig type. The foredeck of these designs (and ASTRA & MONARCH, the similar designs available as plans) is raised to help shed water when the bow is pressed down. The aft deck at the mast is lowered in the style of modern One Metres. This means that the conventional rigs stepped aft of the break in the deck are lowered whereas the swing rig, stepped forward of the break, is raised. This improves performance with conventional rigs in a breeze (by effectively raising effective stability) and also with swing rig in lights airs (by getting the rig up into stronger wind). The weak area is when using an A swing rig towards the top of its range. Then a conventional "A" rig will be a better choice.
Until 1986 I used swing rigs exclusively on Marbleheads. From then and until 2000 I used an "A" swing rig and conventional lower rigs. From then and until after the 2012 world championship I used a conventional "A" rig and continued to get very encouraging results. However, it was clear at that event that a return to a swing rig would be essential to remain competitive in light airs.

By the time we designed QUARK it was judged that use of a swing rig for light airs was essential for best performance, so we reluctantly reverted to a flat deck to accommodate the rig better.

Q  Can SAILSetc build rigs suitable for testing yacht models for sailing or wind tunnel testing?

A  Yes. We have delivered rigs suitable for trial sailing as well as sails for wind tunnel tests. The customers' specific requirements were accommodated successfully. We have also produced model rigs for use in the wind tunnel and many of our stock items would be suitable for rigging wind tunnel models. 

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10 Mast

Q  How do I choose a suitable mast for the boat I have?
A good question that is often asked. Mast spar stiffness depends on a number of factors - the boat's stability, the height of the rig, the type of rig (shrouds or no shrouds), mast stepping (cantilevered or stepped on deck) - but not, surprisingly, sail area. In most cases the best approach is to see what is successful in other similar applications i.e. see what everyone else is using and go for a mast spar with the same stiffness, weight and diameter characteristics. This system falls down when the boat in question has markedly different stability or rig characteristics to others.

The upper of the two following graphs shows a relationship between the factor D x d x H where:

  • -     D is the boat's displacement in kilograms,
  • -     d is the draught in metres and
  • -     H is the height of the forestay in metres


and the mast spar material stiffness that is required.

  • -    The middle line indicates the stiffness of an averagely stiff mast used without shrouds.
  • -    The lower line is the lower limit for mast spar stiffness where shrouds are used and care is required to achieve good rig trim.
  • -    The upper line represents a limit above which you would not need to go.


IOM class boats have mast spar stiffness close to the lower line. Marbleheads and Ten Raters use masts with a larger range of stiffness depending on the support system used (cantilevered, with shrouds, rotating with shrouds) and are generally closer to the middle line. Boats that have only one mast that is used in all conditions need to have mast spar stiffness close to the upper line.

 mast stiffness vs boat parameters

If you are unsure what mast material to use first determine the factor D x d x H for your boat and choose mast spar material with stiffness to match. Data concerning the stiffness of the various SAILSetc mast materials is added to the product pages.

The lower graph shows the data on which the first graph is based. Known cases were plotted to establish the relationship. The cluster of cases near the graph's origin are for RG65 class boats, the ones near D x d x H = 2 are for IOM class, the bulk of data points are for M and 10R and the right hand side data is for A Class.

plot of mast stiffness vs boat parameters

Q  Which mast diameter should I use for the No 2 and No 3 rig masts on my IOM?
A  Our 11.1 mm GROOVY or 11.0 mm round mast sections (with 0.5 mm to 0.6 mm wall thickness) are stiff enough providing the masts are supported well at the heel and deck. These sections are only just above the minimum diameter permitted so there is nothing to gain by using a tube with a thicker wall.  A thinner wall would improve stability but would have a negative impact on rig stiffness.
Both GROOVY and plain round tube at 11.1/11.0 mm diameter are stiff enough. I usually use 11.1 mm GROOVY for the usual reasons and because the shape of the mainsail can be controlled well via the mast shape. Recently I have experimented with eyelet luff mainsail on an 11.0 mm round mast and with slides luff on a 11.1 mm GROOVY mast. Both are entirely satisfactory – choose whatever your preference is for.
A larger diameter would probably be heavier and reduce stability and it will certainly increase the windage of the rig.

Q  Which mast diameter should I use for the No 1 mast on my IOM?
A  The choice is a little more difficult as the stiffness of our 11.1/11.0 mm mast sections is only just adequate if carefully rigged and tuned. 
12.7 mm diameter GROOVY and plain round tube will give stiff masts that will be easy to rig and tune. However the extra windage associated with anything above the smallest successful size is to be avoided if possible.
11.0 mm diameter plain round tube is stiff enough. 11.1 mm GROOVY is stiff enough if used with care.
I use 11.0 mm diameter plain round tube as it is a good compromise, being stiff enough and of low weight and windage.

Q  How does mast stiffness vary with diameter, wall thickness and weight?

A  Simple question, long answer. Some physics first..

The stiffness of any mast tube is a function of only two factors: A) the stiffness of the material, and B) the size and section of the mast tube itself. In fact the stiffness of the mast tube is equal to the Young's Modulus (or modulus, usually designated E) of the material multiplied by the moment of inertia of the section of the mast tube (usually designated by the capital letter I).

Increase either E or I by x% and the mast stiffness will be x% higher. Increase both E and I by x% and the mast stiffness will be 2x% higher. How do we do that?

E - Young's Modulus of the material - can we increase that?   

No. The aluminium alloys permitted for use in the IOM class all have an E value within a very few per cent of each other. So there is no way to achieve a stiffer mast by using a 'special' aluminium alloy. No one of them is significantly better than any other. The aluminium alloys permitted by the class rules all have very similar stiffness.

I - Moment of Interia of the mast section - can we increase that?

Yes. This is a simple property of the size and section shape for the mast tube. For a solid round rod the I value is p D 4/64 where  p is 3.142 and D is the diameter. For a hollow tube the I value is equal to the I value of a solid equal to the outer diameter LESS the I value of a solid equal to the inner diameter. Some thought will show you that for any given outer and inner diameter the I value is fixed. Some more thought will also show that for a tube with a small wall thickness compared to the diameter, doubling the wall thickness will double the I value. For a fixed outer diameter, doubling the wall thickness will also double the weight. In short, for a given outer diameter, the I value is directly proportional to the weight. As with many things in life, we get what we pay for.

However, increasing the outer diameter and the inner diameter by 1% will give a 4% increase in stiffness and only a 1% increase in weight. Bingo! That looks like a good return. In a sense it is but, if taken too far, not only does weight increase but also windage begins to take its toll.

The following graph shows how mast spar stiffness varies with the weight of the mast spar (per metre). The different lines represent different outside diameters. It is clear that doubling the weight of any of them doubles the stiffness. In contrast, increasing the diameter from 10.8 to 12.7 mm (for the same weight) adds about 50% to the stiffness.

Graph 1

The following graph shows how the weight per metre varies with mast spar stiffness for different diameters. A mast spar stiffness of 20 can be achieved with a 12.7 mm rube weighing 40 grams/metre or a 10.8 mm tube weighing 60 grams/metre.  

Graph 2

The following graph shows how mast spar stiffness varies with outside diameter. For any diameter the stiffness varies directly with the wall thickness. We can see that a stiffness of 20 can be achieved with a 12.7 mm tube with a 0.4 mm wall thickness, or with a 10.8 mm tube with a 0.7 mm wall thickness.

 Graph 3

The following graph shows how weight per metre varies with the outside diameter and for different wall thicknesses. Weight per metre varies directly with outside diameter and wall thickness.

Graph 4


Q  What is the effect does hardness have on mast tubes?

A  Please read the Q&A above regarding what makes a mast stiff and then read the following.


The object is to get the required degree of stiffness with a mast that is not too heavy. How do we do that?

Higher fore and aft tension in an IOM rig can be obtained using a mast that is pre-bent so that more forestay and backstay tension is required to pull the mast into the right shape to match the mainsail luff curve. The extra tension this pre-bend permits allows the rig to work at higher wind speeds without distorting and so maintains sail shape to a better degree than a mast without pre-bend.

As explained above, whereas the stiffness of aluminium alloys is the same for all permitted otions, it is the hardness that varies considerably. Aluminium alloy extrusions and drawn tubes are available in a range of hardnesses varying from soft through to hard. Much has been made of the apparent value of masts made of extra hard alloys.

It is important to understand the difference between hardness and stiffness. Hardness describes the ability of the item to resist loading without taking on a permanent deformation. Softness is the opposite of hardness in this context - lead is a soft metal and you can easily visualise how easily lead takes on a permanent bend when loaded only lightly. Stiffness describes the ability of the item to resist deformation for a given load. Flexibility is the opposite of stiffness in this context and it is easy to visualise how a flexible spring made of steel may not be very stiff even though the material from which it is made is very hard. Usually springs can be extended a huge amount and not suffer any permanent deformation - that is the general idea of a spring after all. But, extend one too far and it may just break.

So, for a given diameter and wall thickness, the stiffness of all aluminium tubes will be the same (within a very few %) and they will resist the bending loads of the rig in the same way.  However a mast that has had pre-bend added will be able to have higher rigging loads that will permit the rig to work better at higher wind speeds. There are limits to how much pre-bend, hence rig tension, should be sought. Too much and the rig will not flex off in a gust helping to keep the boat upright, balanced and driving.

So, where does hardness come in? The hardness of the aluminium alloy will affect how easy/difficult it is to apply the pre-bend but it will not affect the stiffness of the resultant mast which, because all the permitted aluminium alloys have the same E value, is determined only by the diameter and wall thickness. An alloy tube that has been hardened to the limit (usually by heat treatment) may break before it can have permanent bend added to it. Some arrow shafts are good examples of this. The tubes we use for IOM headsail booms are like this too – it is virtually impossible to introduce permanent bend to those tubes.

The process of extrusion requires alloys that are sufficiently ductile to be forced through the specially shaped tooling.They are of medium hardness so that adding pre-bend is a relatively straightforward task. Adjusting the pre-bend, even once the sails have been rigged, is also quite straightforward if done with care.

The 11.0 mm diameter round tubes we currently stock are drawn tubes, rather than extruded, and are incredibly hard. In fact the mast bending tool we supply is virtually essential for adding finely tuned bend to them. Interestingly the tubes from other suppliers that we have tested appear to be less hard.

Q  How do I add pre-bend to a mast?

A  If it is an extruded GROOVY mast, take hold of the mast with both hands. Have one hand at the end of the tube and space the hands about 600 mm apart. Rotate your wrists in opposite senses so that the tube flexes away from your body. Allow the tube to bend 50 mm or so in the middle. Check the straightness of the tube to see if any permanent band has been made.  If the mast has not yet bent repeat the exercise but allowing more bend. If it has bent a little move the tube through your hands by 300 mm and repeat until you have the desired curve along the mast. test the bend by placing the mast against a straight line through the lower section where the gooseneck will be added. The distance from the head of the mast to the straight line should be about 40-60 mm for No 1 rig,  20-40 mm for No 2 rig and 10-20 mm for No 3 rig.

If it is one of our 11.0 mm diameter round tubes you will need a mast bending tool if you want to have any degree of control over the amount of bend achieved. In 2020 we added a mast bending tool to our range of products. It comes as a kit of parts, is easy to assemble and use. See item ref. MBT.


Q  How do I join carbon tubes to make a mast?

A  Joins in round carbon tubes are made by making an overlap joint equal in length to four times the diameter of the smaller tube. For a successful join follow the steps below:

  • Check the tubes and ensure any bend will be aligned when bonded.
  • Wrap some masking tape around the lower end of the smaller mast tube leaving the required length of tube exposed. Abrade the tube on the outside.
  • Abrade the inside of the larger mast tube to a depth equal to the length of the join..
  • Smooth all sharp edges, check all gluing surfaces are abraded and clean with solvent. Use acetone if possible or cellulose thinners or alcohol if acetone is not available.
  • When the fit is good, bond the mast sections using epoxy resin. Paint epoxy resin onto the outside of the smaller tube and also onto the inside of the larger tube. It is important to wet both surfaces (in all cases of bonding) - many failures show only partial wetting of one or more surfaces has taken place. Apply more resin and push them together, then remove any excess resin. Check any bend in the tubes is aligned the same way. Leave to cure.
  • After an hour or so the resin will be partly cured and it will be possible to clean the join with solvent without disturbing the join. Check the alignment again before it is too late to correct any mis-alignment.
  • When the join is cured, test it by flexing the mast across the join.

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11 Radio Control Equipment and Rigging

Q  Is it true that you are now using an RMG280 for sail control in your One Metre?
A  Yes.  The reasons are purely pragmatic – I now use an RMG280, or its more modern equivalents, in my Marblehead, Ten Rater and 6 Metre and an RMG380 in the A Class. So, it makes sense to use the RMG280 in the IOM too.

Q  Which rigging wire should I be using for my XYZ class boat?
A  All the common applications and requirements are shown on the viewable and downloadable rigging guide notes or use this link rigging guide. For boats of Ten Rater size and below, if you are not yet using it, you should try replacing all round wires with our flat rigging wire, item WFLAT. This drops windage considerably and improves performance in all conditions – in fact the VPP indicates an average speed gain around the course of around 0.5%. This makes it one of the best ways of increasing boat speed per £ spent.

Q  What is the best way to form terminations in the flat wire, item WFLAT?
A  WFLAT, the 0.9 x 0.3 mm section stainless steel single strand wire can be used for rigging for IOM, M, 10R and similar sized boats. Its effect on drag gives an inexpensive but worthwhile contribution to performance. Care needs to be taken to form a secure termination at each end.

An illustration to show how a termination is made is given on the product page for WFLAT.

Form terminations as follows:

add a small crimp, item 070-012
form a small but well rounded loop about 30 mm from the free end of the wire
move the crimp over the free end to form a small eye in the wire
compress the crimp - use end cutters tomake several nips onto the crimp
fold the free end of the wire back over the crimp
cut the folded free end of the wire level with the outer end of the crimp
pass 15 mm of 3 mm heat shrink tube, item SF-16, over the crimp and sharp end of wire, and shrink in place

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12 Sails

Q  My new sails have wrinkles in the tapes on the luff, sail numbers and the reinforcement patches. How has this happened?
A  The luff reinforcements are applied using self adhesive tapes which, even when they are sewn, will tend to move relative to the body of the sail when the sails are rolled. The reinforcement patches are not sewn either and, when the sails are rolled, the reinforcement will move relative to the body of the sail. Almost all sails leaving here are rolled and placed in tubes for delivery. The longer they spend in a rolled condition, and the higher the temperatures reached in that condition, the more wrinkling of the tapes, sail identification and reinforcements will become apparent.
When sails arrive they should be un-rolled and hung up. This will give them the best opportunity to recover from stresses imposed during delivery. The sails will return to normal after several days. The light luff tension used during normal use will remove most of the wrinkles. Any others that remain are an unavoidable consequence of sending them rolled, sorry about that.

Q  How do I remove old sail numbers and letters?
A  Place the sail on a firm flat table top surface and use a solid block of plastic, timber or metal to hold the sail down firmly with one hand while you use your fingernail to peel up a corner or edge of a number. When you have enough to get hold of, pull the number in a direction away from the block, parallel to the table top and close to it. Move the block if necessary so that the pull is always directly away from the block. Pull slowly and there is a greater chance that the adhesive will come away cleanly with the fabric. When the numbers on one side are removed turn the sail over and repeat on the other side. Use alcohol, acetone, cellulose thinners, or methylated spirit to clean off the adhesive residue that remains.

Q  How do I use tell tails?
A  These help you trim your sails to achieve best performance and are well worth exploiting even if you can see them for only a % of the total sailing time.

By taping one end of a strip of thin highly coloured film (100 mm long x 8 mm wide, spinnaker cloth, recording tape, polythene etc) onto the headsail near the luff it is possible to ‘see’ how the flow over the sail is behaving. Place one on each side, at about mid height and 10% of the local chord width back from the leading edge. I place the starboard side high (as per sail marks) so it is easier to understand which are port and starboard.

Except when sailing downwind the best driving force is produced when the air flowing over the sail is attached to both the leeward (suction) and windward (+ve pressure) surfaces.

When this happens the tell tails will stream smoothly along the sail. When the sail is sheeted too close on any given course it will stall (flow over the leeward suction side of the sail separates near the leading edge creating chaotic flow over the leeward surface). The tell tail on that side will then lift off the sail surface and move around indicating the chaotic flow it is working in. This is the more common way a tell tail is useful. If you are sailing on a free leg of the course the proper response is to sheet the sails out until the tell tale starts streaming properly again. If you are sailing close hauled to windward when this happens just luff until the tell tale streams smoothly.

When a sail is sheeted too far out it is possible for chaotic flow to start on the windward side of the sail. Again the tell tale on that side will lift off the sail surface and move around indicating the chaotic flow it is working in. This is the less common way a tell tale is useful. Usually the headsail luff will lift first indicating you are sheeted too loosely. If you are sailing on a free leg of the course the proper response is to sheet the sails in until the tell tail starts streaming properly again. If you are sailing close hauled to windward when this happens just bear off until the tell tale streams smoothly.

In either of the above cases the correct response when sailing on a windward leg of the course is to steer away from the tell tail that is lifting until you are on a course where the tell tail streams smoothly again.

Q  I need sails for an accurate scale model yacht. Can you help?
A  Unfortunately not. Making sails appropriate for a good quality scale model yacht requires materials we do not use. We suggest you contact some of the better quality scale model makers.

Q  I need sails for a Micro Magic, Footy or RG65. Can you help?
A  Unfortunately not. Top quality sails for these and similar sized boats would require materials that are outside the range that we stock. Tempting as it is to rise to the considerable challenge that making sails for these classes would be, we have taken the decision not to go down that route.

Q  I need sails for a vintage model yacht. Can you help?
A   Again, unfortunately not. Making sails appropriate for a vintage model yacht requires materials we do not use. We suggest you contact the Vintage Model Yacht Group of the Model Yachting Association. You will find a link on our LINKS page.

Q  Can you make me sails for the XYZ class yacht I have?
A  Almost certainly if film lighter than 50 micron is not required. This rules out Micro Magic, RG65 class and similar size sails. If 50 micron or heavier film can be used please send us the class rules and/or dimensions you require and we will be able to quote you. Bear in mind that local and national classes often have poorly expressed class rules. If we make sails to those class rules, it is possible that we may interpret them in a different way from your local traditions.

The built-in sail shaping will be based on our in-house code that is based on previous successful generations of sails from a variety of classes. It copes with all aspect ratios and sizes within the normal range.

To assist you there is a downloable order form under the SAILS section of this website.

Q  Can you make me some sails like the ones you used at XYZ event?
A  Possibly, but only if you can tell us what they were like. We regularly test different methods of sailmaking and new materials. We do not keep detailed long-term records of test sails and or when they were used. The successful experiments are quickly incorporated into our standard procedures. The less successful ones are not.

Q  I plan to order some sails from you. Which sail cloths can you offer?
A  We use 50, 75 and 125 micon Mylar films for the majority of sails. If the sails will be exposed to rough handling, laminate cloths will survive with less damage and will give excellent and long lasting performance. We use laminates, scrims, or alternatives, in the 100 to 160 g/m2 range for sails that are to be used in stronger winds or that need to be especially durable e.g. mainsails for 6M and A Class (classes permitted only a single mast).

The films are:




50 micron (70 g/m2)      Lightweight sails IOM No 1
Lightweight sails for M, 10 Rater, EC12, 6 Metre
75 micron (110 g/m2) Panelled sails IOM No 2 & 3
Marblehead B & C1, C2, C3 & B2 rig sails
10R lower rig mainsails + headsails
6M No 1 sails
Lightweight sails: for A Class No 1 & for ACC/12 No 1
125 micron (180 g/m2) Panelled sails
A Class No 2 and lower sails with eyelet luff mainsail
ACC/12 No 2 and lower sails with eyelet luff mainsail
100-160 g/m2 Laminates or alternative Panelled sails
6M sails for use in stronger winds
A Class sails for use in stronger winds

Specification of materials - there are two choices:

We make the sails with the shaping and the material we consider best - all prices are based on this assumption

You choose and specify the shaping and/or materials - there is an additional charge for this.


Q  I want some sails made especially for light airs. What do you suggest?
A  Our normal lightweight sails made of 50 micron film are joined using double sided tape only and give very smooth seams. They work well in light airs and are robust enough to withstand distortion when the sail is loaded up in stronger winds. If you want sails that will tack through in light airs ask for ‘tapered seams’. Seams will be shaped so they are narrower in the middle of the sail chord and wider at leech and luff.

Q Will they be strong enough for a breeze?
A  When the sail section is loaded up in stronger winds it will not be as smooth as sails made from heavier cloth. Wrinkles and creasing may distort the sail shape and will cause performance to drop but the seams will not fail in normal use. If the sails’ seams are stressed when warm, perhaps in the back of your car or in storage at home, the sail section may alter slightly from the design shape. Leaving the sail rigged on the boat but un loaded will often enable the sail to recover its un-distorted shape.

Q  I want a special cut of sail with specified fullness and section shape at certain points. Can you make it for me?
A  Yes, for IOM sails. During 2007 the un-loaded shapes of a series of different sails were correlated with the shaping used to create them. This has enabled the shaping that will be used to create the sail to be chosen to target a given un-loaded sail shape.
Our standard sail shaping will be retained for production sails (termed F2 shaping) and the common variations from this (F1 – flatter; F3, and F4 – progressively fuller) are the common alternatives. F1 sails have approximately 17% less camber than F2. F3 sails have approximately 17% more camber than F2 and F4 have approximately 33% more camber than F2. Generally fuller sails, and fuller headsails, work better in waves whereas flatter sails work better on flat water.

Q  Can I buy One Metre sails from you that are already certified to be in accordance with class rules?
A  Not yet. In house certification of sails by the sailmaker is a process that is allowed for in the IOM class rules. To be able to do that we will need to have a licence issued by the Royal Yachting Association. Currently the accreditation process is too onerous to make this attractive. However, we can arrange for an Official Measurer to attend SAILSetc to carry out this process. 

Q  Can you make me some One Metre sails that are up to the maximum dimensions permitted by the class rules?
A  If we cut the sails using target dimensions equal to the maximum permitted by the class rules you, or the measurer, would find that about one third of the individual dimensions were at the maximum permitted. About one third would be below and one third would be over. As a fair number of dimensions are checked, it is likely that your sails would not measure and some of the dimensions would still be ‘too small’. To ensure that all dimensions were at the maximum we would have to target just above the maximum permitted. Then you would find that many dimensions were over the maximum. Trimming down may, or may not, be possible.
So, in principle, yes, we can make sails to the maximum sizes permitted but they will almost certainly not pass measurement until altered, and even then you would be at risk from the inevitable minor differences that can pop up should a sail be checked at an event.

Q  Can you put draft stripes on my sails when you make them?
A  It is better that you do it in case we do not do it the way you had hoped for or make a mess of it. It is also better to do it after sail marks have been applied.

Q  My new sails have wrinkles in the tapes on the luff. How has this happened?
A  The luff reinforcements are applied using self adhesive tapes which, even when they are sewn, will tend to move relative to the body of the sail when the sails are rolled. Almost all sails leaving here are rolled and placed in tubes for delivery. The longer they spend in a rolled condition, and the higher the temperatures reached in that condition, the more wrinkling of the tapes and reinforcements will become apparent.
When sails arrive they should be un-rolled and hung up. This will give them the best opportunity to recover from stresses imposed during delivery. The light luff tensioning used during normal use will remove most of the wrinkles. Any others that remain are an unavoidable consequence of sending them rolled, sorry about that.

Q  Is it possible to remove creases from a sail?
It is possible to reduce the impact of even quite severe creasing. Make a tool for this job by rounding off the end of a 100 mm piece of 3 mm diameter stainless steel rod to form a half sphere. Smooth the end with progressively finer abrasive papers and finally polish to a high finish. With the sail on a hard and flat surface, use one hand to lift up the edge of the sail near a crease (the crease should have its ‘point’ upwards) while you rub along the crease with the end of the tool using the other hand. Work on all the upward creases and then turn the sail over. With practice you can remove 90% of the effect of even quite severe creases. If the basic shape of the sail remains intact then performance will be un-affected even where the sail has a lot of creases.

Q  Can you put  the forestay wire in the headsail luff pocket when you make my sails?
A This is something we do not do unless you will call to collect the sails. When we roll up sails for posting we first lay them on a sheet of kraft paper so that each roll of the sail surface is separated by a layer of paper. This stops the hard points (battens, headboard, reinforced areas) from imprinting a mark on another part of the sail. Even so we have found that the hard line formed by a luff wire in a sail will print through onto the sail leaving a line parallel to the luff from head to clew. This is not appreciated by our customers. If the sails are sent back they usually have two lines imprinted in them.

The process of adding the luff wire to a small pocket on the luff of a sail is a simple one if the procedure is followed correctly. It is described in these FAQs below and also under the relevant products W045ST, W060ST, W045, W060 and W075.

Q  How do I get the luff wire down the headsail luff pocket?
Make sure you are using the SAILSetc seven strand wire or the SAILSetc straight single strand wire.

  • W045 (7 strand) or W045ST (single strand) - 0.45 mm diameter wire for mainsail luff jacklines/jackstays
  • W060 (7 strand) or W060ST (single strand) - 0.6 mm diameter for IOM, Marblehead, Ten Rater and 6 Metre sails
  • W075 (7 strand) - 0.75 mm diameter for A Class sails

Use these wires because they lay straight and will be easy to pass down the luff pocket. Ordinary single strand wire for this task will be very difficult and will cause the sail to tend to roll up when off the boat.
Place the sail on a firm flat surface and cut a length of wire about 100 mm longer than the sail luff. Check the end you will push into the pocket does not have a sharp point or chisel like edge. If it does it is best to make another cut or use a diamond file or piece of abrasive paper to remove the sharp edge. If you don't do this you run the risk of damaging the luff tape. Introduce the end into the luff pocket and, while holding the sail down with one hand, use the other hand to push the wire in 100 mm at a time until it emerges from the other end.

When using seven strand wire, if the wire becomes difficult to push down the pocket, make an exit in the pocket at the next sail seam and pull the wire through. Then push it into the pocket from there.

Q  When I buy a mainsail with a narrow pocket for a jackstay/jackline, why does it have no eyelets in the luff?
 If we put eyelets in the luff you will not be able to pass a wire down the luff pocket. If we make holes in the luff pocket, the wire will exit from the holes and be difficult to push into place. The correct procedure is to pass the 0.45 mm seven strand luff wire down the luff (see the FAQ above) and, when this has been achieved, use a soldering iron with a small tip or a hot wire to melt smal holes behind the wire. Alternatively use a needle to thread the line to be used for luff rings through the sail behind the wire.

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13 Sailmaking

Q  I am planning to build my own sails. What help can you give?
A  Our Sailmaking Notes, reference TI-20, are aimed at beginners to this field. This is a free downloadable document and it will tell you enough to get going and allow you to produce quite respectable shaped sails with a little patience and care. Of course it does not tell you all the proprietary secrets we make use of!
You should get a copy of ‘Making Model Yacht Sails’. We are stocking this masterclass in modern sailmaking for rc model yachts by Larry Robinson and which, at £12.50, represents the best investment you can make. It describes the use of moulds to add 3D shape to the sails, the design and construction of the moulds themselves, as well as adding the luff shaping to the sails.
See the sailmaking materials we can supply in the SAILS/MATERIALS section of this site.

Q  Can you sell me some of the film you use for sails?
A   Yes. We can supply 320 mm x 10 metre rolls of 35 micron film, 500 mm x 10 metre rolls of 50 micron film and 625 mm x 10 metre rolls of 75 micon film. The 35 micron film is suitable for sails for FOOTY, RG65 and MicroMagic sails.  The 50 micron film is suitable for IOM, Marblehead, Ten Rater, 6 Metre and some other sails intended for light winds. The 75 micron film is suitable for sails for lower rigs for IOM, Marblehead, 10 Rater and No 1 sails for 6 Metre and A Class. An alternative source is the film used for wrapping flowers and for wrapping gifts – try florists and shops that specialise in cards/gift wrapping paper.

We have a good number of ends of rolls of less than perfect film material in stock that may be suitable for beginner sailmakers. It is much reduced in price and is excellent for practicing with before buying perfect material. Please see the current Sailmaking Goodbuys list for details.

Q  Can you sell me some of the tapered battens you us?
A   Yes. We sell them in sets of 50. That is twenty each of 99 mm long and 74 mm long, and 10 of 60 mm long. Perfect for 10 x IOM suits. Choose from thin or medium. 

Q  Is it possible to remove creases from a sail?
It is possible to reduce the impact of even quite severe creasing. Make a tool for this job by rounding off the end of a 100 mm piece of 3 mm diameter stainless steel rod to form a half sphere. Smooth the end with progressively finer abrasive papers and finally polish to a high finish. With the sail on a hard and flat surface, use one hand to lift up the edge of the sail near a crease (the crease should have its ‘point’ upwards) while you rub along the crease with the end of the tool using the other hand. Work on all the upward creases and then turn the sail over. With practice you can remove 90% of the effect of even quite severe creases. If the basic shape of the sail remains intact then performance will be un-affected even where the sail has a lot of creases.

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14 Sail Trim

Q  Can you gave me guidance for basic rig settings for my SAILSetc boat?
A  The “Boat Notes” document we sent out with all the new boats that left SAILSetc has a section on rig trimming. This section has been extended recently to cover all the classes so it may be worth looking at again – find it under our Downloads section - link. It gives guide figures for mast rake, main and headsail sheeting angles, and sail camber. For the IOM class we have a handy, credit card sized, checklist – link. Having seen a lot of different sailors use many and varied sail trims with good success it seems optimistic to be more specific than to give guide figures for those items only. You should start from those targets and explore and adapt from there. Clearly different sailors are suited to different rig/sail configurations and those configurations will need to be adapted for different wind and wave conditions. The range of possible solutions is large but as a general rule you can use closer sheeting angles and flatter, less twisted sails on flat water and in steady, overcast conditions. Likewise use wider sheeting angles, more camber and twist, in un-steady, rough water and bright conditions.

Q  Can you tell me how to tune my rig for better results?
A  There is no simple answer to this question. Sail and rig tuning is a huge subject and has be learnt over a long period of time. The best I can suggest is to combine reading widely on the subject (look in books aimed at big boat sailing – see our Booklist MI 03 under the Downloads section - link) with practice at events where you can watch and learn from the best sailors. A fantastic resource for rc sailors is Lester Gilbert’s website – – in which he de-mystifies much of what we hear and read about.

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15 Buying

Q  Can payment for SAILSetc goods be made on-line?

A  Unfortunately not, sorry. This seems a big issue for some customers. We started to look at this possibility but there were two serious snags.

The first is that it would require a built in system to determine the cost of packaging and carriage. Simple if you are selling books, but where the order may comprise diverse items like sails, masts, fittings, a ballast, and other materials, not many of which can be packed together, this becomes a serious problem. Combine that with having to do the job for many possible destinations and the serious problem becomes a nightmare.

The second snag is the high cost of maintaining a secure on line payment system. Our banking costs would more than double and we feel we cannot justify inflicting the cost increase necessary to compensate for this onto the many happy customers we have had for a very long time and who are perfectly content with our current modus operandi. And there is always the danger that secure on-line payment systems are not as secure as they should be.

Where customers permit it, we use a non-computer system to store card numbers and expiry date. To place an order then only requires the customer to send his security code by e mail. Sending all your bank card details by e mail is also very secure if you take the precaution of dividing the information between two or more e mails. Alternatively calls us by phone to give us the data.

Q  Can you take payment by PayPal?
A  From July 2017, yes. Initially we added the extra cost of taking payment by PayPal to the orders of customers who preferred that method. When this became illegal we increased prices globally and offer a discount to customers who choose not to use PayPal.

Q  Can you bring some masts and other items to the big race you are going to next weekend?
A  Of course. Please remember it takes time to get everyone else’s orders together as well as yours and we might be leaving a day or two earlier than you think. A week’s notice is appreciated.

Q  I am planning to order fittings, foils, spars and sails for a boat. Are they in stock and how long will it take for me to get them?
A  We are the primary source of more than 95% of the goods that we sell. We either make them ourselves here in Kelvedon or we have them made to our own designs by subcontractors. Almost all fittings and spars are in stock. Moulded parts and sails are made to order although very occasionally we do have mouldings in stock.
Our usual practice is to supply fittings, rig kits, and spars as soon as possible after receiving your order (within a few days normally) and to supply sails and moulded parts made specially for you as soon as they are completed (1-5 weeks for sails; generally less for moulded parts).

Q  When will the sails that I have ordered be made?
A  Sails are made in batches and in an informal type of rotation something like: M swing rigs, M conventional rig sails, custom sails, standard One Metre sails, custom One Metre sails. If you have just missed placing your order before that batch was made you may have 3 weeks or more to wait. Sorry. Normally no sailmaking is done in August and orders placed in July may be delayed until September before being completed. Please note we do not, and never have, operated an A and B list system for making sails or any other SAILSetc products.

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16 After sales

Q  Where can I find the SAILSetc Terms and Conditions?
A  Please look under the Terms and Conditions - link.

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17 Technical Help

If you have been unable to find the information you need about any of our products please contact us here for technical help:

Send an e-mail to Customer Support at

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