Question 4

4.     Should the classic fleet have a classic rig?


Old photographs show yawls sailing with high cut clew on the jibs and straight cut leaches on the mains.  This provided competitive racing and a manageable rig.  It was less easy to be overpowered or capsize.


Should the classic fleet sail with restricted sail area measurements?  The differentiation between the two fleets would therefore be sail area not hull shape.  It would allow older sailors to continue sailing.  It would reduce the advantage that a red fleet hull may have.

Enter the debate.



Question 1:

Question 2:

Question 3:

Question 4:


Big Debate Question 4

12 thoughts on “Big Debate Question 4

  • 15/04/2017 at 5:34 pm

    Having read through the responses across all the questions..and following the further prompting in the Mag, the debate seems to have found a minority consensus, and one should assume that if a member hasn’t commented they may be happy as things are ?

    The Salcombe Yawl remains iconic, a fixture of the Salcombe tapestry, a boat that can be ‘dumbed down’…..outboard bracket,
    Smaller sails and less ‘string’…or tuned up with full sails, tailored to a bespoke rig and all the necessary control lines to tinker.

    Racing is a large part of the attraction, and as a consequence it can attract Olympic standard helms or a beginner….how amazing is that !

    Let’s not panic about the numbers, the feedback from some new entries last year was that we were cliquey and unfriendly….

    We need to be able to continue to attract all levels of sailors and we need to ensure everyone has a good time.

    I now feel that the skill and experience of the helm should determine which fleet they sail in.

    I like the idea of Richard Yates’s individual handicapping and feel this would be worth investigating.

    I feel we should suggets to SYC that the prizes are more spread and more fun…..
    Top Three yes,
    But an Over 70 helm prize
    A Mixed Crew Prize…( or even a Mixed Crew fleet !!??)
    Combined Age Over 110 ?
    And Under Combined 60 ?

    Introduce a Single Handed race at beginning and end of season when Harbour less busy.

    We should be happy about all the positives and I strongly feel the numbers are more about economics and the 2007 peak ….the fact we get 40 plus boats in Regatta week is still fantastic.

    Finally, if the cost is the real issue, then the UK is not the only place where wooden boats can be built…there could be lower labour costs for hand built wooden boats in places Turkey, South Africa and Asia.

  • 03/02/2017 at 5:01 pm

    The option to sail with reduced rig has always been available surely.
    The rules for sails state mainly maximum dimensions and therefore to sail with sails inside those dimensions must be legal. Clearly those reduced sails would still need to be measured and certified in accordance with the rules.
    This option exists for all fleets we do not need to make a special case for one fleet.

  • 15/12/2016 at 10:12 am

    Is there any one out there? I should have thought my observations controversial enough to at least start a conversation!!

    Take an active interest or this fleet is history.


  • 15/12/2016 at 10:10 am

    Is there any one out there? I should have thought my observations controversial enough to at least start a conversation!!

    Take an active interest or this fleet is history.


  • 12/12/2016 at 6:34 pm

    Keeping it simple does seem the best way forward. It is a shame that we are not a combined fleet (as it used to be) although everyone does seem to drink beer! I can’t see an immediate solution to the declining numbers as the current owners, by and large, are the same owners going back over the last 10 years and not surprisingly, continue to get older. It is not unreasonable to suppose in 15 years time (or less) these participants won’t want to be sailing. With the price of entry quite high and unlikely to change, fiddling around the edges probably won’t change much. A radical rethink will remove the very essence of what a Salcombe Yawl is. New people are currently not around.

    Its probably a sad fact that some Yawls will head for the barn and quite a few of the current participants will cease to sail.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as this will change the dynamics, participation and perhaps price as market forces are brought to bare.

    I am not convinced the death knell is sounding for the fleet and it would not surprise me, if in future years, albeit there may be a decline in the short term, it became more popular again.

    There is a risk that changing too much, as alluded to by quite a few contributors, will overly complicate matters.

    I wonder and these are mere ramblings I hasten to add, that because we can’t see who will come into the fleet does not necessarily mean it won’t happen.

    I think its a great idea to have a debate like this and I congratulate Sevy for doing so, albeit not too many people wish to put there comments to print!!

    Maybe it should be debated by asking one salient question at the AGM – certainly it would be a larger audience.



  • 30/11/2016 at 6:45 pm

    It is with interest I have read some valid comments made by fellow sailors from both fleets, however I would have to disagree that a smaller rig would make for a less exiting boat to sail, certainly in heavy weather it would be safer, and far more efficient, to prove my point take a look at the photo library of Yawls sailing in high winds, it’s not a pretty sight. The rigs are distorted and and seriously inefficient and down right dangerous. As long as enough boats adopted a smaller classic rig the the dubious speed differential would be irrelevant, Adopting a smaller rig has many advantages, it would would perhaps attract children, reluctant wife’s and some senior citizens to crew in higher winds,

    Why not allow single handed sailing in either fleet it would allow the more adventurous and competant enough and those without a crew to turn out more often. ( self tacking high foot jib perhaps) the smaller main would make this possible, this adds a whole new dimension to racing a Yawl I for one I would definitely be up for that. Regardless of my age!!! . It also overcomes the problem of finding a good crew on a weekly basis, which is a constant problem. We need boats on the water and not in a barn!

    If a classic boat boat doesn’t want to adopt the “classic rig” that’s fine, they would have to take thir chances in the red fleet and stop moaning about the advantage Morrison / Howlet boats perhaps have. Taking part and not trophy hunting is what this fleet should be about. If you want to win Buy a new boat if you think there is an advantage and you think you are good enough!

    I would also suggest that maybe the red fleet should consider trapezes, aysimetric, rigs etc, let’s move on or the fleet will die.

    Here endeth the the ramblings of an old Yawl sailor.


  • 03/11/2016 at 9:20 am

    I don’t understand the question. We cannot alter the rules to outlaw existing rigs for either fleet.

  • 31/10/2016 at 11:15 pm

    I can see the benefits, particularly in getting some post-141 boats out of barns in the hands of some of our senior members … however I suspect that the vested interests of “blue fleet” sailors will give this short thrift, why would they want to change back to slower less efficient rigs?

  • 31/10/2016 at 4:18 pm

    Why not?

  • 31/10/2016 at 3:29 pm

    Following on from my answer to Q3; I think simplicity is the key to making the Yawl attractive to new owners – having everyone sailing together and fleeted according to their ongoing performance would help to reduce the significance of the decision about whether to buy into the Red or Blue fleet, so the older Red boats would hopefully be easier to sell and everyone could enjoy close racing, regardless of their ability or age of boat.
    The idea of a classic rig could, if really desired by enough people, become an entry fleet for boats of any age, so that newcomers (or those that choose to) can sail a more manageable boat. However, I think it’s still important to err on the side of simplicity and not come up with too many variants; otherwise newcomers will be trying to decide between age related fleets, wood or GRP, full rig or reduced rig etc and the net result will be that they end up with head-spin and buy a modern one-design dinghy instead!

  • 28/10/2016 at 3:57 pm

    As we already race on handicap I can see any major problem with allowing classic rig entries [Devon yawl rig?]with an appropriate handicap
    There is of course nothing to stop people having a rig like this already. Chris S-C has been known to race 170 under reduced rig in Armageddon conditions.

  • 28/10/2016 at 11:22 am

    This could be a Regatta fleet as Green…
    And an introduction of new ‘cruising ‘ events…
    with focus on social not racing…
    Add an outboard bracket…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *