NFA proposed rule changes

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    Attached are proposed rules changes which have been agreed in principle by the RYA who must ratify any changes to NFA class rules.
    Put up here for discussion in the forum …..

    You must be logged in to view attached files.


    Hi, in the rule proposal for fixing the mainsheet on the centreline, there is mention of fixing the sheet on a bar. Clearly this makes sense on a Rondar MkIV but does it make sense for a wooden boat? The reason for my question is because I was looking at using a strop that would fix the mainsheet in the same position as a Rondar but without the bar. Doing this makes it easier to attach the fixed rudder+tiller that I have on one of my boats. Plus, it also allows a more modern profile to the transom.
    Is there room for change?


    Andy Weir

    I think a (split tail) bridle is the natural conclusion of this proposal – a couple of pounds for fittings – no moving parts – attach to a stronger part of the boat. Would increase how high a boat could point, but four screws and two eyes would be about all you needed to modify even the most antiquated Firefly.


    Richard White

    The use of a split end main sheet would be a good simple and cost effective way of solving the issue.
    How about freeing up the main sheet rules? To allow to be sheeted of the boom. This would make more space inside the boat. Particularly good when sailing in big wave downwind in a big sea it would allow the crew to use the space where the take off now is. But state in any new rule that HOOPs of any kind would be out side class rules.
    Being new to the class and quite often sailing in large waves ( Clevedon S.C. ) on the Bristol channel. A fly-away jib stick would be a real good idea. On runs in in the sea with large waves it is sometimes difficult to put the pole on and retrieve it when approaching the leeward mark. Leading to several problems. Broaching and once the loss of the pole.


    chris guy

    I am in favour of the rules changes except the first one (mainsheet jammer), what does everyone else think?

    1.added expense (I realise it is optional but some will go for it and the money could be better spent elsewhere
    2. promotes poor technique
    3. complicates capsize recovery if it stays cleated
    4. can cause a capsize if it stays cleated
    5. you can already reduce the load in the mainsheet by: extra mainsheet purchase; vang sheeting; decent rope/block/gloves

    I think to promote a cleated mainsheet on the basis that it allows less strong helms to sail in a force 4+ is a risky call! If you can’t keep it in without a cleat then you shouldn’t be out in a force 4 (see points 3&4)

    I think simplicity is a cornerstone of the class and on this one the positives do not outweigh the negatives

    interested in other views



    Will Mason

    My natural instinct is to resist any rule changes unless really needed to boost the class’s popularity.

    I agree with Chris about the mainsheet jammer. My main point is the simplicity of the firefly is one of its strengths and I do not see a need for it. As Chris says you can boost the purchase with the main sheet at the rear. It’s not like we are trying to hoist a spinnaker and therefore need some way of cleating the mainsheet.

    I am also reluctant about the rule change to allow the boom to be centre lined. For a while Rondar did both to the team racing boats, there was a slider and a u-bolt. Therefore suited both the team racing and if they wanted to be legal just change where the mainsheet was secured.

    I suspect a lot of boats if they started to secure the main sheet to the centre their slider or brass horse it might not be strong enough. As the load is currently spread across the slider during its use now it will be from one point. Allowing strops/twin ended mainsheet etc. will I think open another problem, as the advantage of a twin ended mainsheet is you can centreline without closing the leech. Then in effect this is another way of tuning the sail.

    If we are really honest, is the reason we do not see more institution boats at events is because the sailors are concerned their boats are not legal? I would be very happy if any institution boat wants to race at an open/nationals why not give them formal dispensation or just turn a blind eye like we do for sails. Maybe the caveat is they can’t win! If the NFA give them formal dispensation to race and someone decides to protest then I think a lot of people would have a quiet word at the bar with the protester.

    Basically against prosed rules changes 1+4 as I think is not needed. I do think it will not bring more people to the class in fact it might put some people off. Next year is the 70th anniversary and we hope we see lots of old fireflys being dusted off. If they have to now have to make any mods to remain competitive I think they might just be put off.

    As a side point all boats leaving Rondar should be class legal. As it is the NFA’s mould. The class gets a royalty fee for each Firefly made. If they are not legal fireflys are we still getting the fee? It was our biggest source of income.

    Happy to discuss this w/e over a pint at the bar at Restronguet. When I expect I will be knackered and wish we had mainsheet cleats.

    Will “Flat Earth Society” Mason



    The proposed rule changes as attached by our Chairman Stuart will be edited by the RYA and then submitted to the class 2015 AGM, held at the Nationals in Falmouth. Here discussions and possibly voting on the proposals will take place, but only if the quorum wish for that. If a proposed rule change is supported by the voting and the meeting has a quorum of members present, then the proposal is accepted but still subject to a final approval by the RYA Dinghy committee who have dinghy sailing / racing and the National Classes best endeavours always in mind. Often debating rule changes is lively at the AGM, so do come or express your views via this site and ask for them to be shared at the AGM. Though attending and voting is the best way to be heard. Quite often too subjects get aired and a decision is taken to seek further comment from the class after the AGM, especially if the class at the AGM seem polarised in their views – we do not want to negatively effect the active class sailors by any contentious decision. These proposed rule changes will each be considered individually and not as a package. So see you at the Champs and the AGM after a great day’s racing! Guy, Tec Sec NFA



    On 4, the centreline sheeting point. the class has been here before, fireflies used to be sailed like this, maybe it just was not enforced rather than a rule change, but only since early mid 90’s did it start being enforced again.
    I think we should allow it.
    Split mainsheet, solves wooden boat issues and is a better solution or if you boat has a track, then either tie it in the middle or add screws to hold it there.
    It’s what’s expected on a race boat, let’s go with it.
    Also, why are we not voting to adopt flying jib poles? It’s a great idea!

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