National 12 - find out more...


Some months ago I wrote to a number of people in the Class asking them how they saw the future of Twelves and how they thought we should develop. While requesting short replies I indicated that I would be prepared to print longer pieces, hence the two articles by Robert Peebles and John Sears at the end. Although only a few people took the trouble to put their thoughts to paper (and I am especially grateful to them) the answers are certainly controversial and reflect the many different attitudes people have to Twelve development. I would like to repeat this section in future Newsletters so if you want to agree or disagree with the comments here, or feel a need to air your own ideas, I would be pleased to print them. (Don't leave it till later, write now).

Brian Miatt

l. Throw away the double curvature rule which is an anachronism in these days of G.R.P. boats, is impractical from the measurer's angle and which we don't bother about anyway or why don't we check it daily at Burton Week ?
2. Round the sail area up to nine square metres and delete all present restrictions on battens and masts.
3. Throw away that section in the rules marked "Disposition of Buoyancy", so I could fill my bags with polyurethane foam and know that the boat thereafter would be safe without my spending, a fortune in replacements.
4. Remove all reference to weight in the rules because it would save so much bleating about not being able to get down to the minimum because weight does not mean strength, because boats are such rotten things to weigh and because nobody, repeat nobody, has an accurate weighing machine.

Robin Steavenson

We have recently had enough changes in construction rules and should now concentrate on expanding the Class which is best done by improving racing at club level. This attracts newcomers better than boat shows and advertisements. We cannot have regular Club racing if the best half or more of the, average club's small fleet of six is away at open meetings most weekends. I suggest therefore that for the next four years the weekend open meetings are halved by asking each club, in co-operation with its neighbours, to hold open meetings only in alternate years.

John Hoyle

1. We should not allow less than two planks per side.
2. We should not reduce weight below the present agreed limits.
3. We should encourage experiments with sail cut and plans within existing limits and possibly rewrite the rule to allow a genuine maximum measured area, e.g. measure the real rather than. the nominal area. far a 65 : 25 rig and then allow that area in any proportions. This would allow a bigger jib for those now using 60 : 30 rigs.

Barry Jones

My feeling is that we need a period of consolidation without too many major developments, but if we do contemplate changes we should:
1. Limit the maximum beam to about two metres and allow a small increase in sail area, say 2 sq, m, to give the heavier crews slightly more advantage over the lightweights.
2. Remove the hull construction limitations to allow any form of construction. This essentially means removal of the double curvature rule. How many more rules would need changing before a Firefly hull will measure ? This would certainly make a useful addition to many club fleets and with a National Twelve rig it could be surprisingly competitive.

Paul Trevan

To retain our prosperity we must expand our membership and accelerate the number of boats built. Barry has suggested 200 new boats a year by 1981 which I personally think optimistic. I prefer to consider a gradual growth of 10-20 extra a year for 7-10 years to be a more realistic target. This should be quite possible but would involve a rethink of our PR operation to produce a real "new image" impact on the general world. A really hard sell would involve attack through magazines, news sheets, teach-ins, local papers and the Newsletter and would obviously involve a vastly increased budget and a concerted programme with objectives and cost /efficiency targets built in. Points covered could include a serious attack on boat costs (which means labour charges which represent 40% of total cost), encouragement of junior programmes and possibly rule changes to make the boat more exciting and appealing to a wider range of people.

John Royce

Weight reduction, loose-footed mains, daggerboards, one plank boats--quite a lot for us dedicated Twelve circuit crowd to absorb, but what about the club sailor ? He forms the backbone of the Class as we can only have open meetings where there is an active home fleet. Sadly we have recently lost Cheddar and Snettisham Beach and my home club, Rutland, is struggling to establish a home fleet. It would be tragic if we last Rutland Open Meeting.
I do not wish the exciting developments to be unduly restricted and I think the one-planker is a most attractive and desirable boat; what a pity it did not appear a couple of years later when I feel the average club sailor would be more receptive to further change. Is it not time that we had a short period of stability to concentrate on boosting our racing and encouraging the club fleets ?

Clive Robinson

The Class still requires simplification of the rules while retaining the same appearance in its boats. I'm very much in favour of the cold-moulded varnished hull construction and believe the double curvature rule should be dropped. Hull design will follow the lead taken by Bouncer with more and more emphasis on downwind performance. The rise and fall of the daggerboard has started people thinking and in future, I think we will see conventional centreboards but far short of maximum permitted length, making the boat easier to hold up and giving a smaller platecase containing less. water. Finally, I believe the National Twelve can lead the dinghy world by taking the mast/mainsail combination out of the reaches of artistic license and into a precise science to develop the perfect shape for sails, not only for Twelves, but for all other classes as well.


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