- How old are you?
- What is your job? What is your commercial activity in the world of radiosailing, if any?
Sailmaker and designer for SAILSetc. I have been runnning SAILSetc since 1978 and with Lorna’s full time assistance since 1985. We provide component parts and finished boats for all the RSD international classes and others.
- How and when did you begin to sail in general? and sail in RC?
As a child I built models of all sorts of things and the boat related ones were generally the more successful and pleasing. A friend of the family gave me some ancient books on model yachts from which I learnt about A Class, Ten Rater and Marblehead class yachts. Suddenly the world for me changed and I started planning my own free sailing yachts. In 1968 I joined a model yacht club and started to get involved in competitions (some time before the advent of popular rc sailing in the GBR). This sparked the idea of studying naval architecture at university which led to work as a naval architect for 3 years and the sure knowledge that I did not want to commute 3 hours/day to get to work. That led directly to starting SAILSetc and soon after that I started to sail rc yachts.
- Where do you usually sail? What is the frequency?
Local races as well as national and open events around GBR, and outside GBR whenever it is possible and attractive! Most years I race about 35-40 days.
- What model is your current boat? What is the marks of your current sails?
IOM PIKANTO, Marblehead ROK, Ten Rater DIAMOND, A Class SWORD, 6 Metre RENAISSANCE. SAILSetc
- What international awards have you achieved?
- Besides RC, do you usually sail in other classes?
- What exercises or hobbies do you practices to improve your skill in radiosailing?
None that I can think of unless you count remaining a National Judge…. Professional life is very demanding and rc sailing is something I enjoy doing. But most of my working time is spent trying to figure out how to make my boat go faster. Outside of work I enjoy gardening, cooking, DIY and being involved in several areas of church fellowship activities.
- What do you consider the most important action to increase the number of participants in radiosailing?
The activity ‘rc sailing’ is now well understood in the wider world of sailing. In fact the profile of rc sailing in the sailing world has never been higher. So why does the sport not grow significantly? I think there is a single background problem that is all too common. Sailing has an exceedingly well developed rules structure; one which is very necessary to regulate the deceptively complex game of sailing which appeals to a diverse, inventive and active bunch of people with a wide range of abilities. Rc sailing has benefitted enormously by taking on board much of what is freely available in terms of rules expertise from the sailing world. It can continue to do that. Indeed, from time to time, the IOM class rules themselves still need attention to keep pace with the builders’ and owners’ ability to exploit them in areas previously unforeseen and which are now unwelcome. Having adopted the ISAF standard class rules format and Equipment Rule of Sailing terminology at an early stage that process has continued reasonably unhindered except for the odd hiccup. The administration of radio sailing can choose to remain part of the wider world of sailing and continue to benefit from the wealth of knowledge and ability contained therein. High standards of professionalism in the administration of our sector of the sport will be needed for it to remain attractive to those coming from a sailing background who are discovering it for the fist time. In my view the biggest prospect for growth in the number of participants in our sport lies in marketing it to existing sailors who, for various reasons, might prefer rc sailing to whatever they did previously. These people are sailors and not builder/modelmakers, so kits and 6 month waiting lists are not for them. They need off the shelf, professional quality boats almost ready to use. In the long term, if rc sailing remains a stable and well administered sector of SAILING, professional quality builders will find it attractive to get involved. The combination of top quality builders and a large pre-existing potential customer base will inevitably bring large numbers of people into rc sailing. Likewise, properly run races, whether at club, open event, national or international level will keep them in the sport. Sloppy admin will get them off to the golf course..
10.-You can add any other comments you would like
Most people in rc sailing know that Lorna and I would like to sell the business SAILSetc and maybe this is an opportunity to say why. We have enjoyed running SAILSetc for a long time and almost everything that goes with that. Over the last few years we have been especially busy and we don’t want to work ourselves into the ground. There are other challenges in life too and, in particular, we would like Lorna to be able to spend more time on her ministerial duties (she is an ordained minister in the United Reformed Church and shares the pastorate of a local church (congregation 200+) with a full time minister). For my part, I remain interested in the design of rc yachts and hope to contribute to SAILSetc under a new ownership so that I can continue to enjoy the design side of the business. We’d like to find people with the right combination of technical and administrative skills to replace myself and Lorna so that SAILSetc can continue to supply the best equipment to the rc yachitng world for the foreseeable future.
Thanks a lot
2008 was the 30th year since the start of the business and it seemed a good time to look for a new owner for SAILSetc. We indicated our wish to sell the business and received expressions of interest some of which have been followed up although with no firm outcome to date (end of 2009). The prospect of a return to something closer to normality in trade and commerce generally may provide the key to finding a new owner for what has been, and remains, a unique and rewarding business.