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The business "SAILS" was started in a spare bedroom in 1978 by Graham Bantock. At first, production was limited to sails for free sailing and remote controlled yachts, and many of the latter were used in the kits made by fellow Burnham on Crouch resident and designer of the Squib, Oliver Lee. Within a few years a small range of fittings and masts had been added to the catalogue.

In 1986 Graham's wife, Lorna, joined the business as a partner and the name was changed to SAILSetc to reflect the fact that it sold many more items than just sails.

In 1987 the Bantocks moved home to the present site which had a derelict barn adjacent to the house. The barn restoration was completed by 1988 and it has since been extended several times. It is now the centre of all SAILSetc business activities. The larger work space has permitted expansion of SAILSetc to tackle more areas of the supply side of the sport, and separating work space from home has been of immense value in ensuring a thoroughly professional approach to the business. It has also contributed to maintaining a sense of balance in life as a whole and a degree of sanity that would otherwise have evaporated at an early stage.

During early 2002 the building work on an extension to the barn workshop was completed. All of that area is now used for office, mail order and the storage and assembly of fittings. It allows much needed extra space for the design department too and makes life a little more comfortable for our occasional visitors. This extra space has proved crucial to allowing SAILSetc to cope properly with the increased work load over recent years by taking on additional staff.

Until 1989 Lorna and Graham were the sole personnel in SAILSetc. Then SAILSetc took over the business of a fellow RC sailing enthusiast, Ian Cole, who continued to exercise his skills manufacturing boats until leaving in 2005. During his time with us Ian built all the boats used by Graham to win World and European championships. Ian died in 2013 after having been harbour master at his home town of Brightlingsea. Ian’s mark on the sport remains in the form of hundreds of well built boats, many of which are still in use today, and which will be sought after ‘vintage’ yachts for the generations to come. With SAILSetc on a part-time basis from 1992, and full-time from 1999, was Phillip Playle who left in 2007 to work as a subcontractor finishing our boats for a year before moving on. Denis Astbury from Brazil joined us in 2008 to carry out the completion of boats at SAILSetc. Sadly, for us, Denis returned to Brazil with his family in 2010 and we were joined by Agustin Moreno, from Argentina, in late 2010. Agustin was able to use his excellent knowledge of design and manufacturing processes including extensive experience with the pre-preg process in model as well as full size yachts. When he joined us we began to take more interest in the RG65 class which is already popular in the continent of South America and which is beginning to grow in Europe and elsewhere. Agustin won the 2012 Gold Cup for the RG65 class with ARGON which went into production alongside the other SAILSetc carbon pre-preg boats all now made by BOATSetc. During that time we also started a project which has been on the drawing board for a long time – a vintage style yacht.

The end of 2014 saw the end of boat building at SAILSetc. However we are pleased to say that the carbon pre-preg boats remain available from BOATSetc.eu (situated in Germany).

Continuity of high product quality and further refinement of construction has been maintained throughout the change in personnel at SAILSetc thanks to the tooling and methods employed. These have been improved over the years and have become the benchmarks for other builders. In fact many of the ideas developed first at SAILSetc are in use by other suppliers and builders now.

Responsibility for, and oversight of, the entire process of design and construction of an RC yacht, from plug making through to installation of the RC, has led to a greater interest in hydrodynamic, aerodynamic, and structural design of the various component parts. Even though SAILSetc is no longer making finished boats we are still very much involved with the design of boats in many classes, either available as plans for home construction, or as designs for production by other builders. Most modern design is assisted by computer and it is a tool in constant use at SAILSetc. The Maxsurf 3D modelling program is used for hull and foil design, a hydrostatics program for stability and trim calculations, the WinDesign VPP for evaluation/comparison of candidate designs, and a host of in-house programs for routine calculations solving numerous problems ranging from sail plan and sail shape design to comparisons of stretch in rigging. Independent experts are consulted as appropriate for assistance in their specialist fields. The 3D CAD program SolidWorks was added to the CAD tools used at SAILSetc in 2017 and amongst other uses permits in-house design of 3D printed parts.

Lorna trained and was then ordained as a minister of the United Reformed Church in early 2003. Since then she has shared her work time between a demanding role at church and routine SAILSetc duties.

Over the years we have had significant additional help from Maggie Fletcher, Christine Endersby, Athene Stapley, Paul Everett, David Gilbey, Roy Pearson, Jorge Hernandez, Paul Everett, Philip Vinton and numerous students on their work experience placements and vacation work. Most notable amongst the students was Sam McCall who spent three years with us up to 2009 before leaving to pursue his degree course.

On a part time basis Emma Frankish makes a valuable contribution to the fittings production of the SAILSetc team. David Marshall joined us in late 2010 and oversees fittings production, and in 2012 Lilian Bayona Pacheco joined us to cover more of the admin role formerly dealt with by Lorna.


The Profile of SAILSetc

SAILSetc is well known in RC sailing circles world-wide as a manufacturer and supplier of the best RC yachting equipment. Our product range is geared towards the international classes and this reflects our market which is truly world-wide within the countries associated with RC sailing. 

Yachts designed and built by SAILSetc have gained consistently good places in World Championships since the early 1980's, for example winning the Marblehead Class in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998, the One Metre Class in 1994 and 1999, the Ten Rater Class in 1999 and the A Class in 2005. Our designs have also won the 1995 Marblehead European championship and the 1998, 2004 and 2008 One Metre European Championships. Even though Graham Bantock was not present at the 2003 IOM World Championship, the winning boat, helmed by Trevor Binks, was equipped with SAILSetc rigs and sails. National championships too numerous to mention have been won in the UK and elsewhere by boats to our designs or using our equipment since the early 1980's. The 2009 IOM world championship and 2010 IOM European championships were won by SAILSetc designed boats built under licence and using our foils. The winning boat, and 5 of the top 7 boats, at the 2012 RG65 Gold Cup were built by SAILSetc.

High demand for SAILSetc designed boats has led to a good number of moulds being sold to builders outside Britain. In 2010 the then current SAILSetc IOM design was being moulded in ARG, AUS, BRA, CRO, ESP, FRA, GER, ITA, NED, NZL and USA. Boats to designs in other classes are also available on a more limited basis from builders in and outside the UK.

The success of SAILSetc sails, spars and other products goes far beyond this and they are the standards against which other products are compared.

Above all, SAILSetc is known for the quality of products AND its service, a reputation we work hard to keep.

2008 was the 30th year since the start of the business and it seemed a good time to look for a new owner for SAILSetc. We indicated our wish to sell the business and received expressions of interest some of which were followed up. These did not prove attractive enough overall so we are exploring other ways of easing the work load on Lorna, especially, and on Graham. SAILSetc has become SAILSetc Ltd with ownership shared between Graham and Lorna Bantock. This format allows greater flexibility for ownership of this unique and rewarding business to develop as and when suitable opportunities arise.

Personal World Championship placings for Graham Bantock

Class Year Place Design
Marblehead 1986 3rd No Secret
  1988 2nd Hush Hush
  1990 5th Enigma
  1992 1st Paradox
  1994 1st Paradox
  1996 1st Paradox
  1998 1st Rad
  2000 2nd Rok
  2002 2nd Prime Number
2012 2nd Prime Number
2014 2nd Quark
2016 3rd Quark
2018 6th Quark
One Metre 1994 1st Red Wine
  1997 9th Scream
  1999 1st Ikon
  2001 2nd Ikon
  2003 DNC  
  2005 2nd Topiko
  2007 10th Topiko
  2009 9th Pikanto
  2011 8th Pikanto
2013 6th Fraktal
2015 16th Fraktal 2
2017 18th Akziom
2019 13th Britpop (Astbury)
Ten Rater 1999 1st Prizm
  2016 2nd Diamond
  2018 4th Diamond
A Class  2005 1st Sword
© 2019 SAILSetc Ltd