Flying Fifteen 2020 Series

Overview of the Season

Despite the Covid enforced late start, the season has seen hot competition for places down to the last race.

Highlights include:

  • up to 8 boats competing in 26 completed scoring races.
  • three new entrants to the series Freedom, Yellow and Baccarat.
  • six boats scored wins and seven scored seconds.
  • four Classics scored wins: Dolphin, Norma B, Yellow & Baccarat.
  • a total of 155 race entrants took part
  • Covid meant that over 75% of racers were singlehanded (119 of 155). Heavy weather gave crewed boats a clear advantage, much less the case in lighter airs.
  • the club boats need newer sails however the way boats are sailed has a big impact on position. Anthony proved this year that the club boats can compete with a win and a second! Improvements in the club boats are planned.
Although a close run thing right up to the last race, there is a winner by only one point! With 11 race wins, Adrian pips Sandy to the series with 32 points to Sandy’s 33.

Dolphin sailed a very consistent series and is in a clear third place, John also sailed more races than any at 23.

Norma B, Baccarat and Yellow fought hard for fourth pace.

Sail Mhor showed very good boat speed and would have been much further up the table but for six missed races.

Freedom was held back by tired sails in this Chris’s first season.




Series points



Series Position

























Norma B












Sail Mhor












Setting Portsmouth Yardstick (“PY”)

Research was carried out on a large sample of the national FF fleet clubs to determine the trend in PY numbers across the three classes, Open, Silver & Classic. Contact was made with the RYA technical department, the FF association, and individual fleet captains. Whilst the Open PY number is reviewed each year by the RYA, and currently sits at 1021, it is for individual clubs to set PYs for the slower classes of Silver & Classic.

Of importance is the relative increment between classes, and this tends to remain constant within clubs. Generally fleets compete within the range: Silver (+11 to +15 v Open); Classic (+25 to +30 v Open), with a few outliers and one club adopting individual PY’s. Individual PYs are not favoured as competition tends to drive improvement to both vessels and sailing ability. It may be appropriate to review this once relative performance begins to show a clearer pattern and once club boats in particular are brought up to date. In selecting PY numbers for this season, the Silver increment has been set at the lower but average end of the range, and for Classic at the upper end; this to slightly advantage the Classics. The PY numbers chosen for 2020 are thus:

               Open                    1021

Silver                    1032

Classic                  1051


Scoring Methodology

We have tried to follow standard RYA scoring.

  • Race times are adjusted by the PY to rank racers by corrected time
  • Points are awarded for ranking (1 for 1st, 2 for 2nd etc). i.e. lowest total scores win the series
  • Every boat is awarded points for each race whether or not it races
  • Not starting a race earns the total number of racers in the series plus one. We had 8 racers so 9 points are awarded for each ‘no show’
  • Starting a race but not completing is awarded the number of finishers of that race plus one point
  • The total number of races in 2020 was 26 but as is normal, racers are allowed to discard a number of races
  • This season we have elected to allow a relatively high number of races to be discarded 30% of the 26 races rounded up to the next whole race i.e. 8.
  • The scoring automatically discards the races with the highest points first.


Tips from the Top from Dave Delenbaugh (US)

Steering Upwind

Steering a boat upwind has always been one of my favorite parts of sailing. One thing that’s important is to sit (or stand) in a good place. Position yourself as high off the water, as far forward, and as far outboard as possible. This will give you the best view of your sails, the waves in front of your boat, and the rest of the racecourse. Be sure you are comfortable, so you minimize distractions and maximize your attention span.

Once you’ve settled into a “batting stance,” you’re ready to start looking around and driving. To steer fast, you must assimilate information from a number of sources. Let’s discuss some of the guides you can use:

Jib telltales: This is where I look most often when steering upwind. Like a lot of helmsmen, I probably depend too much on this single source of information. But telltales are a very good indication of how close I am sailing to the wind. By watching the exact position of the windward telltales, I have a clear idea of whether I am slightly pinching, slightly footing, or sailing a normal upwind angle (see diagram). Remember that easing or trimming the jib will affect the telltales; also, if you’re watching only the lower telltales, you may be misled if they are breaking differently from those at the top part of the sail.

Angle of heel: A lot of good sailors steer by watching and feeling how much the boat heels. They find a heel angle that feels fast, then steer to maintain that angle (and the corresponding amount of weather helm). The easiest way to keep track of heel is by watching the angle that your forestay makes with the horizon. Using heel angle is actually another way to gauge how close you are sailing to the wind; the higher you head, the less you heel, and vice versa.

Instruments: If your boat has instruments, one of your priorities should be to post target speeds for each wind velocity within easy sight of the helmsperson or tactician. These are helpful for knowing whether you should steer the boat faster or slower or lower or higher) at any given time. Be sure to mount your boatspeed readout (and other important instruments) on the mast or in a location where it is easy to read while looking forward. That way you can simultaneously watch the instruments, telltales, waves and angle of heel without looking away.

Look outside the boat: It’s a good idea to make sure someone is always assigned to watch for puffs, lulls, waves and flat spots. Anticipating a change in conditions is key for steering. It lets you know whether you will have to head up for a puff or head off to punch through waves. On small boats, the lookout is usually the skipper; on larger boats it might be the tactician. Communication should include comments like, “There’s a puff coming in 20 seconds” or “Two steep waves in a boatlength.” Make sure these are loud enough for both the helmsperson and sail trimmers to hear. Other boats: Steering technique depends a good deal on how you’re moving relative to other boats. I like to have one crewmember (it could be the lookout) give me continuous readouts on our speed and height compared to our “neighbors.” This helps me know whether I should steer higher or lower. If we’re having a problem, I’ll ask for feedback on what the other boat is doing. Often a slight change in my steering technique will make a difference.

Practice and experience: Time in the boat is often the best way to learn how to steer fast. The first time we sailed Heart of America in Fremantle, for example, Buddy Melges tried to steer the waves as if we were in a Soling. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for a 12-Meter. It took us at least a month of sailing every day to figure out how to get through those seas quickly.

Steering Downwind

Steering downwind seems easy at first. After all, you just head for the mark and trim your sails. But it’s not so simple if you want to go fast. Finding a groove downwind is usually much harder than upwind. You don’t have the positive feel of weather helm, and it’s tough to settle in on a heading where the boat feels like it is effortlessly making its best VMG downwind. Fortunately, there are a few guides you can use.

Course to the mark: The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line, so you can often steer straight for the next mark, and trim your sails to match. This is especially true on a reach. I’ve used a point on shore, a compass heading, a light on shore, the stern light of a boat ahead, and even a star to help me steer a steady course. Just be careful not to get so fixed on one heading that you ignore changes in the wind and other variables.


Loch Broom Sailing Club.

Date of Issue 25th July 2020

LBSC will follow government Guidance, with enhanced advice from RYA and also take note of other Highland Sailing Clubs.  A covid-19 group has been set up to communicate advice on club facilities and activities.


1.       Follow FACTS, Face Coverings, Avoid Crowds, Clean Hands, Two meters social distance, Test if symptomatic.

2.       5 households can meet up to 15 people.

3.       The club has a sanitizer supplied by Visit Ullapool.

4.       Arrive in the gear required for outdoor activity.

5.       The Clubhouse is out of bounds, but preparations and cleaning instructions are being made to open up the toilet.

6.       The wee pier and surrounds are a public space, and tables are used by the public.

7.       Be sensitive to additional measures for people ‘shielding’.

Flying Fifteens

1.       Boats and their tenders are used by single households.

2.       Club boats are allocated, but can be used by others by arrangement and 72 hours spatial separation. 

3.       Co-ordination by What’s App Group (administered by David Maxwell)

Club Dinghies (Pico’s, Feva)

1.       These can be used, with boats numbered and allocated to households but can be used by others by arrangement and 72 hours temporal separation or disinfection.

2.       All users must make good any breakages and ensure boats are cleaned and stored properly after use.

3.       Dinghies can be used without a safety boat subject to

a.       Competence of sailor (Endorsed by committee confirmed by email)

b.      Suitable weather (< F5 gusts forecast).

c.       Restricted range – (within view of sailing club).

4.       Safety boat:

a.       Users to look at and follow videos guidance, includes Covid-19 compliant rescue techniques and operation by single person.

b.      Private safety boats can be used, (committee approval by email). 

c.       Club Rib can be used by approved by persons, single person crewing OK.

d.      Generally club rib to be kept ashore, if in regular use over a week can be kept on mooring for a maximum of 10 days.

5.       Dinghy and safety boat use to be co-ordinated by what’s App group (administered by Jason Leon).  Those sailing without safety boat should also post a note.



Coastal Rowing

1.       Scottish Coastal Rowing Association advises that rowing does not currently comply with government guidance.  Loki is therefore not to be used.


1.       Up to individual boat owners, but see RYA guidance.  Harbour is open for use and up to 3 households can cruise, while maintaining 2 meter spacing aboard!





Relevant Guidance

1.       Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: Scotland's route map update

2.       RYA Scotland Guidance.

3.       Channory

4.       Gairloch

5.       Scottish Coastal Rowing

6.       Scottish Canoe Association

7.       Ullapool Harbour


Safety Boat Guidance


1.       Single crewing of a safety boat.

2.       General  safety boat tips

Latest Committee Meeting Minutes 11th July


Minutes of Meeting 11nd July 2020 at 16:30 outside the clubhouse


1)      Present/Apologies

Donald Buchanan (Chair & Commodore: DB), Paul Copestake (PC), David Dawson (Secretary: DD), Sandy Osborne (SO), John Osborne (JO), Dave Maxwell (Treasurer: DM), Robert White (RW), Adrian Morgan (Vice Commodore: AM), Anthony O’Flaherty (AF), Nat Wilson (NW).


Apologies: Gilly Meighan (GM), Alison Osborne (AO), Bobby Osborne (BO), Gill Wilson (GW), John Mitchell (JM),


2)      Approval of Draft Minutes of Previous Meetings

There being a quorum, the minutes of the committee meeting of 30th May 2020 were approved unanimously.


3)      Matters Arising carried forward

Seasavers no longer want to erect marquee in dinghy park.


4)      LBSC Covid Response

Tourism is opening up as government restrictions ease. The slip, dinghy park is public space and the exterior of the club is also accessible by public. In response PC outlined the formation of a small group to advise members on the correct procedures for.

·        Club house – currently closed, but subject to rules, use of toilets.

·        Yachts and tenders, visiting yachts.

·        Flying Fifteens

·        Dinghies and Safety Boats.

·        Skiffs

·        Additional cleaning kit

PC was asked to lead this activity with DB, JL & GM on the group. Sources will include other sailing clubs.


5)      Clubhouse Roof

Structure: SO reported that a builder will visit 13th July to quote for the structural repairs and also look at the roof covering. DM reported that in the awareness of the condition of the roof had given the club a few years to complete the work.


The Covid response group will advise on use of the clubhouse and the club’s other facilities.


6)      Finance Report

DM outlined the current position having £10.8k in the bank after paying for insurance. The Club has received Rates relief of £0.5k. Very few membership fees are outstanding and over/under payments are also limited.


7)      Subscriptions

The various proposals were discussed and the following agreed

-          No reduction in annual subs but recognition of restricted activity perhaps at Christmas.

-          Club mooring fees confirmed.

-          No change to dinghy park charges.


8)      Junior Sailing Week Update

DM outlined the current Covid restrictions rendering the Junior Week impractical.


9)      AOB

AF asked about use of the Club Feva, informal discussions to be had.

Trolley for ffredom needs wheel/hub attention. NW and JO

SO proposed the purchase of new LBSC embroidered clothing – agreed.


The club FFs need at least one buoyancy bag and AM to coordinate ordering with other FF owners adding to the order as required.

Discussion of moving default racing days. Aim 2 per week possibly Wed & Sat – forum discussion to follow.



There being no other business, the meeting finished at 17:30