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Floor and head boards

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When someone says to you 'boat floorboards' do you see a item that is fixed permanently or a item that is removable, maybe after undoing some mechanical fastenings?

When someone asks 'what is the headboard of a sail?' how would you describe to someone what to look for on that sail. This is mainsail specific.

There is a wee discussion going on around the definitions of the words 'headboard' and 'floorboards'. There is quite a range of opinions on both.

What is yours?

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1 hour ago, KM... said:

Can 'floorboards' be permanently fixed in place?

Would you consider a skin of fibreglass over foam as 'floorboards'?

can you stand on it without damaging the foam?if so yes.

wooden boards etc that can be removed need to fastened somehow in the event of a knockdown stay in place.

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there are a few modern boats around with foam core floorboards, just to save weight. Provided the foam is rated to a decent pressure, they are fine. I'd still be making anyone wearing stiletto's take them off though - but they'd likely damage wooden floor boards as well. Whatever they are made of, they should be on catches or screwed down...

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OK maybe I need to explain it a bit deeper.

The class rules state boats must have 'floorboards'. But one boat has poured foam in-between the ribs and stringers then sanded it flat to the top of the ribs/stringers and put a lay of fibreglass on top. The boat argues that the skin of fibreglass constitutes the boats 'floorboards' so they comply with the rules.

The majority of the fleet disagrees with that and say the boat does not have floorboards.

One other boat is about to remove it's entire cockpit floor and in doing so make the boat a lot more workable (a sh*t load more space to move in) not to mention save a shed load of weight. It argues if that boat above's inside layer of fibreglass is regarded as 'floorboards' then it's inside layer of glass also can be regarded as floorboards, even though that skin is over the boat hulls timber core.

Who do you think is the most right?


With the headboard there are a couple of boats with square top mains. The square tops project a meter or so +/-. All of the mains in question only have webbing loop sewn on to attach the halyard too. None have any solid panel like item made of any material on the top.

The rules state 'headboards must not exceed 300mm'.

All searching of the ISAF finds they have not used the word 'headboard for over 8 years, possibly a lot longer. There is no other definition of 'headboard' in anything yachting that can be used in any for of official call. Any search of the term headboard brings up basically what HT said above 'a flat board of some material'..... or on the odd site a few instructions how to handcuff your partner to one for a god night of 'passion' shall we say ;).

As none of the mains have any form of flat panel they argue they have no headboard so the 300mm does not apply, the sails are legal.

Some argue that while there is not hard flat panel the fact the mains do stick straight out that constitutes a headboard so the 300mm does apply, the sails are illegal. 

Which of the 2 parties do you think is right?


It's a interesting one which has been bubbling for a wee while but due to an impending significant event I suspect is about to go to full boil. If it does there will be no winners and that would be a huge bitch considering what's involved. So I'm just canvassing opinions outside of the class to see what people think.



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Some argue that while there is not hard flat panel the fact the mains do stick straight out that constitutes a headboard so the 300mm does apply, the sails are illegal

I would agree that the intention of the rule- 300mm was to stop getting extra area at the top of the  sail and the squaretops are in breach. The headboard on a pin head main gives area, but a "gaff batten" does the same, its a technicality that was not anticipated at the time but the question do you want to move with the times and allow squaretops but put a limit on it or prosecute and lose boats?

Floorboards suggest removable sections of the sole, fastened or not as the case may be, interesting as its broadly speaking its a very bad idea to put any load directly on the hull skin. I would argue that filling with foam and glassing is creating a homogeneous hull structure and  is not "floorboards" for a few reasons. In a Mullety it may be a good way to stiffen the boat but its a pretty weak argument to call it floorboards The cockpit removal guy is just getting on the bandwagon, time to stop the rot and say floorboards!




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