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Messages - benb

Thanks Stu - Im based at Harlow (blackwater) SC nearish Maldon. There's a rumour another foolish has arrived there and one other member thinking of 12s. Exciting. 
Sorry for taking this Off Topic Ed
Stu W - Are you essex based or is that my imagination?
Excellent news - better join then :-)
P.s. John your boat looks really lovely!
I've been reading this and the 'other' thread over the last few weeks and there's some really interesting discussion going on.  My views on what should or shouldnt be done to save the class seem to change on weekly basis at the moment.  Certainly a few weeks back I was probably thinking baning foiling rudders was the way forward. But on reflection I am really not sure an outright ban would be the right thing to do. 
Equally I'm not convinced that any significant rule changes are the answer either.  All of us could make a list of things that would make a fast Twelve and the list would probably vary from reducing weight to making the sails bigger or even adding a kite. There's probably countless tweaks in between those extremes that could all outclass what exists today. 
I remember a simplification of the rules being discussed a while back possibly at the 1999 nationals but the problem was that most of the rules serve to make a Twelve a Twelve.  All the subtle things like Rise of Floor and the height /angle the jib luff make the boat what it is.  It does appear (my perception) that the class has focused its attention more on Burton Week(end) and to an extent forgotten grass roots sailing. From the relative outside, I can't see how foiling rudders would really work at somewhere like Earlswood or Twickenham.  
So here's my collection of thoughts. Some I wouldn't do even though I'd still like to try a Twelve with them. 
Sail Plan
In the other thread, STU W said that I was advocating changing sail plans about 10 years ago (thanks for the reminder STU i think it was actually 13 years :) ).  To an extent I do still think that would be an interesting development but it would change the boat over time and not necessarily make it more fun, simpler or any better at carrying weight.  I think at the time I thought that it would be better to measure 'real' sail area rather than how its done currently. That, combined with a tweak to the jib height rule, might mean that a bigger jib could be used than is standard now.  My memory of this could be wrong but I suspect I've read in High Performance sailing this would potentially make the rig more powerful /efficient / go faster.  I think at the time there was also a bit of discussion about over rotating masts too but i'm not going there tonight. 
Do all the double bottom boats that are for sale at the moment need someone to suggest moving the mast back by 10-15cm and playing with sail plan.. Probably not?
Increasing sail size 
Yes that would make the boats faster I'm not convinced more sail is the way to make heavier crews more competitive. My own experience of sailing a Big Issue (it had a heart on the sail) with 12.5m battened sails (3.5ish metre jib) was that the boat would become MUCH more lively off wind especially close reaching. With enough righting moment i.e. a trapeze, yes you can certainly plane upwind... Brilliant fun but probably not at Ely and definately not with a 10 year old in the front.  The problem with (crew) weight in any 12 foot boat is that physics is too difficult to avoid and even when you increase sail area, you still have a point where heavy people loose out to light people. When it's blowing, light people might struggle against the power of the heavier crews, or they might just go the same speed because of the Twelves amazingly controllable rigs.  Bigger rigs would probably create that binary performance problem that other 12 foot classes have. But the N12s have always been LOVELY in no wind - maybe its just me.   
Battened Sails
I am a fan they are fantastic.  They last ages, they set beautifully but when they are as big as we have on a Twelve they don't give you much thinking time. They keep driving when you don't want and then there's those 5 battens to pop rather than just the 1 when it's light.  That said those tricky little soslows don't seem to struggle with that issue so maybe its just me.  I'm not sure that a battened main would be much fun for parents sailing with their offspring for those reasons. 

Square Tops 
How very trendy. I've not got anywhere near enough experience to comment but im sure they have advantages. Are there any square tops without lots of full battens underneath? My current fear with this sort of development is that its a bit like sticking a assymetric on a wayfarer. It just looks daft (sorry Wayfarers). 
I've never understood why we banned them and actually they are something that could be easily retrofitted to any existing boat even Gypsy if we were being really reckless.  Allowing huge wings on the rudder but banning daggerboards because they might hit the bottom in restricted water seems a bit strange in my eyes. But that door does now seem locked and I think someone chucked away the key in 2002.. 
Mast Weight 
Correct me if I'm wrong on this but I thought the mast weight allowed for an average carbon mast and that a weight limit existed for the reasons Tom W said on the last page. i.e. to stop super expensive high mod carbon rigs having an advantage?  I'd probably vote to keep some sort of limit just because anything to keep costs in control seems sensible. 
Hull Weight /All up weight 
We've been building high tech hulls and filling them with lead for years. Certainly the fear that light boats would fall apart seems to be a myth (as we all knew it was at the time). I don't know what the ratio of light boats to those that a closer to the limit is, but it could be worth a discussion. It would make boats faster but it would make it even more difficult for the home wood workers.  That said Im pretty certain that the weight of a 12 is not something that puts people off? There's an argument that says that you need a heavy trolley to stop your boat blowing over too. The net effect is only good for the physio's out there. 
I think there's probably a discussion to be had (at least publically) about the size of the foils. I know my old mate Smilie favours the Darwinian approach but it could be a way of reeling the DCBs back in a bit if the class as a whole felt that was desirable? 
My overall conclusion. 
I've sailed boats that have made major rule changes with the aim of making the boat appeal more to the 'growing' UK market. It has made that class more popular but it is a completely different sailing experience now to the one that many of us enjoyed. There is a danger in development classes that we tend to look at rule changes as a the cure to all ills. But with the benefit of a few more grey hairs, I think what makes classes work well, is a great Association and sailors that are passionate and enthused.  The boat isn't the only issue.  You only have to look at boats like the Streaker (no offence) to realise that. And make no mistake the NTOA was/is a truely great association.. 
As I see it at the moment the Twelves are in a bit of a (deep) lull but - there's an opportunity to celebrate the fact that you can buy a seriously good boat for a couple of grand that will be great fun to sail alongside the Classics, Four Plankers, etc etc.  But we think carefully about alienating those people by doing anything radical... 
A don't to do something radical message coming from someone that put 15.5m of white sail, twin wires and a big bin bag on a Big Issue may seem a little strange but hey... Had to grow up at some point I guess. 
N3252 (Silently sitting in my garage waiting for some attention).
Good stuff Dan 

I'll be checking out your blog on a regular basis.
General National 12 chat / Floors
21 Feb 2013, 08:58
Inspired a by Paul Turner's ‘ask the audience’ question here about which of his boats to renovate first I thought I’d carry out a little survey of my own in relation to 3252 Silent Running. 

I’ve already decided no matter what I do during the restoration process SR, will end up with a fancy winged rudder (or at least an attempt at a winged rudder).

Other modification are a little less clear in my mind and this is where I need your help and your views. 

I have most/all of the materials to fit a foam double bottom â€" but should I bother? 


The pros

I wont sail about with 5 litres of water slopping around in the bottom

The boat will feel more modern

There will be less varnishing involved

No need for bags

It means I can beef up the transom and hide most of it.


The cons

It probably wont be that pretty

It will add time to the refurb

It might not be as comfy

It will certainly add weight (but probably not 5 litres worth)

Not original to the boat….


So what do you think?   It will be interesting to see if anyone votes
Boats / Re: N3252 Silent Running
07 Feb 2013, 07:16
Some pictures...
Boats / Re: N3252 Silent Running
07 Feb 2013, 07:11
it is true, Silent running has become an Essex girl and now resides a few miles from where her original builder now sails.  

As Owen's said she's seen better days after a fight with Hayling Bar but I hope that she will be repaired and brought back to life soon(ish). 

I'll post a few pictures here from time to time but if people are interested i'm going to write of blog on the rebuild process. 

Link here 
Hi Fleaberto, sadly I dont own a 12 at the moment but Im working on that one! Many moons ago I sailed my first 12 at MPSC and before the 12, topper / Mirrors.  I've always thought it would be a great venue for 12s and they should do really well. At the time I didnt really have the best design for the water or the experience to get it to go quickly.  Any way good luck with it, the boat looks great from the photos.
Boats / Re: N1724 The Red Dwarf
10 Mar 2011, 05:07
Spotted at Maylandsea Bay sailing club, Essex. Appears to have been without a cover for some time and would now be a major restoration project.  Looked like it would have been a very pretty boat in her day.
Im sure there are people more qualified than me able to comment, but I'd suggest that if you were going to cut away much of your transom, then I'd be tempted to put in some temporary support while you work. For example a piece of wood secured to both sides of the decks as close as practical to the transom. The problem with using a strap or something in tension is that you could actually pull the decks closer together at the back... A strap would stop it splaying but it might end up a bit narrower too! All could be preventable with a bit of wood and couple of clamps.
I'd be tempted not to change the size of the transom flaps. As Fat Lad suggests you could be sitting too far back. In your post you suggest that they leak when you look at them...  dont look at them - it will save you loads of time  
Very well done indeed. The question is, did you want to do it again as soon as you finished (not right away but another year)? I think finsishing is one of the best feelings I have experienced and one I will never forget.

I did it 4:24:24 if you are interested 2008 just need to do it or another one some day soon.  
Boats / Re: N1851 Yer Tiz
11 Mar 2010, 08:36
I had this photo sent to me by Mark, a previous owner it was taken in 1963 at Ranelagh. Mark also sent me some other photos from a few years back just after he had repainted and revarnished YT. 

Thanks Mark
Boats / Re: N1886 Spuddle
22 Feb 2010, 06:13
On ebay currently at £20.. But needs work.
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