Question 3

3.     If no new boats are built or if there is a general decline


Should we look at making a yawl more accessible and affordable by looking at a fibreglass yawl to keep costs down?  Research has been carried out and it would be possible to take a mould off an existing yawl or create a mould off an existing design and build fibreglass yawls in a way that would ensure they performed in the same way as a timber yawl.  The stiffness would be the same, the weight distribution would be the same, the weight would be the same and the shape would be the same.  


They could be left on a mooring, they would have significantly less maintenance, they would be cheaper, there would be no racing advantage, they could have timber decks and even timber top planks and transoms if the owner decided.


Being less precious, it would promote loaning, hiring, borrowing, etc. which would encourage more participation.  There are a number of classes that have successfully gone down this route and the class has flourished.

Enter the debate.





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Big Debate Question 3

6 thoughts on “Big Debate Question 3

  • 31/10/2016 at 3:02 pm

    I’m not sure another GRP version of the yawl would solve the classes current problems and it could lead to even greater confusion for those that might be interested in joining the fleet. We already have the Devon/Salcombe Yawl and the Blue/Red fleet distinctions, so any more complication could really muddy the waters for a newcomer. Too many choices in a situation like this will invariably lead to potential buyers walking away. We should be simplifying the fleet system and boat choices, rather than increasing the range of options (I think we should all sail together, regardless of boat age, and split the fleet into performance related flights).
    Admittedly it might reduce purchase and maintenance costs, but it could equally dilute the historic importance and significance of the yawl.
    If there was a massive demand for new boats and excessive cost was being discussed regularly in that context, it might be a more relevant consideration. However, as things stand it doesn’t appear to be the solution –
    I doubt if a 30 or 40% saving on the cost of a new yawl would result in an immediate glut of orders…

  • 31/10/2016 at 11:31 am

    This seems to defeat the development of the class, if you take a mould from an excising boat, they will all be the same.
    Personally I like the tradition of the class and its history, my feeling is if people want a Fiberglas boat they should change class. Interesting idea mentioned restricting the class to a fixed amount of boats. After all Salcombe dose not have much more room for any more boats.

  • 30/10/2016 at 3:30 pm

    Perhaps we should allow Devon Yawls to race with Salcombe Yawls. The are afteral fiberglass versions of Salcombe Yawls, and I have been told that according to their handicap the Devon Yawl is faster than a blue fleet boat!

  • 28/10/2016 at 3:51 pm

    I wouldn’t be against grp yawls if it was that a lack of supply was holding the fleet back . It seems to me though that the real problem is that not enough of those with boats want to go sailing in them and not enough people who haven’t got yawls want to buy the ones that are out there.
    If more of those with yawls sailed them then maybe those without would want to join the fun

  • 28/10/2016 at 11:17 am


    Buy a Devon Yawl…

  • 28/10/2016 at 8:53 am

    Hi – I am a relatively recent Yawlie ( 4th year in!) – a couple of suggestions are noted below……

    The Problem

    It seems that this can be outlined by a) a large portion of the red fleet wanting to sell their boats so that they can then buy a newer, faster boat, and b) the blue fleet who are generally happy with their lot but want more people to race against.

    1) There are no new boats being built. This is obviously down to the expense foremost but is possibly also to do with a large portion of the red fleet having the desire of a new boat, but not until they can offload their current boat. It’s simply a case of an illiquid market with plenty of stock but no demand as most blue fleet sailors seem happy where they are and most new yawl sailors would be intimidated by starting their yawl career in the red fleet (as was the case with me).
    2) The red fleet undoubtedly has an image problem. There were two occasions during regatta week ( on successive days) that we in Y69 were beating to the windward mark on starboard and met the red fleet running down the channel on port. On both occasions there was absolutely no effort to give way and on both occasions we in the priority boat had to take avoiding action. Not even an apology! Just some blank expressions that suggested that we shouldn’t have been there! This does not help the cause!
    3) The blue fleet had a disappointing number of boats out during SYC regatta. I know that a couple of boats were missing due to illness. We lost one quite capable boat to the Gold fleet (which they won by a comfortable margin), and there were a few gear issues, but it was a shame to only see 8 – 10 boats racing regularly – especially when there were around 15 entered. We should be looking for a minimum of 15 boats to race against in the regatta.

    Possible Solution

    1) We make the fleet a restricted classic fleet. We restrict the sail numbers of the yawls. i.e. there are no more new boats built after, say Y200 or year 2025. This will give existing yawls a value. If people want to come into the fleet, they will have to source and buy an existing yawl. If someone wants to commission a brand new ground breaking design boat – they have an opportunity to do so. It may unearth some of those boats that are no doubt sitting dormant in barns or garages which is a shame. This would obviously seem to be bad news in the long term for the boat builders but the reality is that the way things stand currently, there are no new boats being built, nor are there likely to be in the foreseeable future. There is not a boat builder out there who is relying on an income from building new yawls. But – as the fleet gets older, the boats require more maintenance. Decking, planking, ribs, paint & varnish will all keep the yards busy. This would hopefully solve the stagnating problem of the glut of second hand red boats on the market and rejuvenate the existing fleet – red or blue.
    2) We race together as one fleet under handicap. During regatta week we should aim to have a total of around 30 – 35 boats racing in the afternoon. If numbers are greater on the start line than the 20 allowed, we flight into fleets. This would also help the existing red fleet embrace the spirit of the blue fleet as we would be racing as equals (at least on the water).
    3) Any boat that wins the gold fleet has to move up the following year. The gold fleet serves a purpose but any boat that is easily capable of racing in the afternoon should do so.
    4) In order to possibly stimulate the building of a few new yawls in the next 10 years, the suggestion put forward by John Smithers about a red fleet boat being able to race in the blue fleet (or in this case have a blue fleet handicap advantage) for NEW yawl owners is introduced.

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