“The best parts of my true stories were the bits that didn’t happen to me..!”

After exchanginging emails last year with the Bosham Classic Dayboat division we were delighted to be invited to join BSC’s “Classic Revival” week-end, promising a warm welcome, entertainment, food, eye-candy boats, and some great racing over the week-end.

Peter Shaw and his team really delivered, and at the end of the weekend those of us who were able to get our boats on the water came away with full stomachs, aching limbs, deep sun tans and plenty of salty stuff to wash out of our hulls.

The best thing of all is that Bosham are already promising another helping next year.

From the outset we were entertained by a Jazz band as registration commenced on the Friday night. Those who listened hard could just about catch the sound of the rising wind, and more observant eyes caught the sight of mares’ tails waving in the sky as the sun set over the Bosham Reach.

In the words of Michael Green’s “Coarse Sailing” we were greeted in the morning with the sight of seagulls flying past the club going backwards! Jugs of coffee and bacon rolls helped to stiffen our sinews and all 6 CVRDA travellers took to the water.

The programme was for 3 races each day, 2 short and 1 long, with a short break for lunch. 25 boats were formed into fast medium and slow handicap fleets and as the wind filled in from the south to a good force5 gusting up to 29 knots we were thankfull for the sheltered waters of low tide, although this made for some entertaining mudlarking at the start, with a shallow shelving lee shore just a few boat lengths away from the start giving little room for those who preferred to reach up and down a tight startline. At times it seemed a Le Mans style start off the Cobnor shore might have provided an effective alternative to a black flag! The starts were made all the more challenging by a seaschool deciding to release a fleet of Feva’ish asymmetrics into the Fairway reach. And as the gusts rolled in the Fairway reach began to resemble some classic hybrid oil painting of Grace Darling rowing off Ramsgate Harbour, with plumes of spray, rescue RIB’s and dinghies flying before the wind in disarray

Only Rupert escaped a dunking , preferring instead to sail in a pond as he discovered the wave piercing properties of his Minisail. while Dick Pratt of Bosham in his very smart Sharpie deserves special mention for his efforts with a bailer bucket. He must surely be the fittest man in Sussex! Ed and I conducted a Ploughing contest in the forgiving soft mud until Ed’s pintle finally called a halt on things, and whilst caught between the mud and a soft lee shore I rolled not so gently into leeward. Pat and Sandy in their Albacore discovered what I have always known about Deep End Buoy, (it isn’t.) Chris Turner in Fireball K6 made the brave decision to sail in original 1962 spec, without a trapeze. Now that is true sacrifice in a force 5! Rewarded with a black eye and bloody brow from his boom while flapping sails at the start, the blood seems to have provoked a feeding frenzy as he was then T boned by a hungry CH18.

The CVRDA were represented by a planking Hornet, a Jollyboat, A Firefly, a Fireball, an Albacore and a Minisail, all demonstrating early versions of their various rigs, and much admired and reminisced over as masts and sails were put together, and later at the concourse event where Roger’s “Shoestring” caught the eye of judges Peter Willis, Deputy editor for Classic boat magazine, and traditional boat builder Peter Lacey, to win the Concourse d’Elegance prize against a strong field of immaculate Tideway and National 18 dinghies and many other beautifully maintained clinker rarities including an impressive Arun One design, a Lapwing, a Torbay Minnow, a Chichester 12 and a brace of Redwings.

 The evening entertainments were rounded off by “The Mustangs,” a very professional rhythm and blues band who with the aid of a good deal of Stowford Press Cider coaxed some dangerous dance moves from those of us mature enough to know how not to dance in front of children!

Sunday dawned dull and misty. The sound of fog horns rolled in from cloud banks lying off West Wittering and Hayling island, and the smell of Harbour mud and embrocation lay heavily in the air.

As the sun burned away the mist we drifted down tide to the start area and were joined by about 30 more club boats that had held back from the Saturday demolition derby. Those of us that are familiar with the Bayeux Tapestry will know that Bosham Church features, and will appreciate how King Harold’s housecarls must have felt rushing from one battle straight into another with fresh Norman opposition. Fortunately the wind held off long enough for all to reach the start, and appreciate that other famous Bosham monarch, King Canute, who also couldn’t stop the tide, not even neaps, and like seagulls in Saturday’s gale, many of us sailed bravely backwards over the startline, while waiting for zephyrs to carry us back over, and across to the shallow slack water.

The wind filled to a gentle force 1-2 westerly, and under clear blue skies we rested our weary limbs and had 3 tightly contested races, with the challenge of tidal gates, estimation of lay lines, and local tidal knowledge. Rupert’s Minisail revelled in the flat stuff and using an interesting kind of “double jointed” position of his boom sailing about 45’(!) beyond by-the-lee on starboard pushed the rest of the fleet into the tide to take line honours on the second race. That with his Homebase made tiller got him 2 guns on the Sunday, so who knows maybe a quieter Saturday would have seen a CVRDA winner.

Sailing off standard handicaps, the older rigs on the CVRDA dinghies struggled against the Bosham Classics and in the medium fleet the YW dayboats did especially well with sufficiently robust rigs to take the rough stuff and more boat speed than the shorter but lighter, theoretically faster, dinghies in the light stuff. Sailing against a tide, this give an extra premium as slower boats go backward or stand still. This all makes handicapping very hard to get right. The Bosham boats were mostly superbly prepared and with regular club racing, I think maximised their boat speed, and all thee events were deservedly won by Bosham club boats.

Sox , F3173 from Hamble went toe to toe with YWDB Yellow Peril for a deserved 2nd place and might have won had he got the course right in his second race. Sox has undergone Tony Thresher’s experimental repair technique with a 4mm veneer over a splitting floor, and looked a real racing snake. This is well worth looking up on the Firefly web site as a way to revive an otherwise worn out Fairey hull. In its trial period this year, pending approval from the Firefly rules committee it could well catch on in other classes less strictly controlled as a revival repair technique.

This was a really terrific week-end. No matter what happened in the racing, the hospitallity and genuine warmth of welcome from our hosts make this a MUST DO meeting for next year.

Michael Brigg.

Overall Results:

Fast handicap
1st – David Edmund-Jones & Andrew Young in Seafire – Chichester Harbour 18 (Bosham SC)
2nd – Brian Hoolahan & Tom Reid in Therorette – National 18 (Bosham SC)
3rd – Paul Dewing & Katie Prentice in Flight – Chichester Harbour 18 (Bosham SC)

Medium Handicap
1st – David and Fiona MacFarlane in Yellow Peril – Yachting World Dayboat (Bosham SC)
2nd – Alex Francis and Richard Foot in Sox – Firefly (Hamble River SC)
3rd – Ian Norman and Steve Robson in Sophie Boo – Yachting World Dayboat (Bosham SC)

Slow handicap
1st – John Fildes & Miss Greenwood in King Fisher – Aldeburgh Lapwing
2nd – Izzie Lee in Happy Bunny – Chichester Harbour Scow (Bosham SC)
3rd – Peter Shaw in Bar-Tailed Godwit – Tideway (Bosham SC)

The Concours D’Elegance for the most beautiful boat, judged by Peter Willis, deputy editor of Classic Boat magazine, and traditional boat builder Peter Lacey, was awarded to Shoestring, a Hornet sailed by Roger Devereux and his daughter from Shearwater SC in Somerset. Runner up was Bosham’s Gargany, a 12sqM Sharpie sailed by Dick Pratt.

The event was kindly sponsored by; Jackson-Stops & Staff, Top Yacht, Wiley Nautical & Pusser’s Rum.

Based on the success of this year’s inaugural event, plans are already in place to make it an annual fixture at Bosham Sailing Club.

Press Coverage:

Chichester Observer feature 30th June 2011-1

Chichester Observer feature 30th June 2011-2

Chichester Observer feature 30th June 2011-3