7 classic beauties met for the first time in 2011 at Bristol Avon Sailing Club, at Saltford, near Bath on Sunday 10th April. As befitted such a meeting, the sun shone brightly, and crowds thronged the banks, possibly (or possibly not!) to watch the excitement. Sadly, the excitement was of the slow moving variety, as the wind lived up to the forecast of 2mph gusting 3mph, but with suncream on, we took to the water.
It soon became apparent that the race was to be for 2nd place. The immaculately turned out British Moth 790, her bright yellow hull showing up from the other end of the course, was unstoppable in condition ideal for the boat. Mercury 88, resplendent in red, with recently acquired sails with a bold No7 on, did her best to keep up, as did Minisail 3446, which was let down by a very old, baggy and really quite poor red and white striped sail. The other British Moth, 715, a local boat still very much as she was built 30 or more years ago, with a spreaderless mast and narrow leeched short top battened sail, struggled to keep up with her sister, but was well up with the rest of the fleet.
Surprise package of the first race was Mirror 40959, looking very smart indeed with varnished spars and bright red sail. Her jib reading the shifts beautifully, she was a very close 3rd. Sadly, as the wind dropped further, her small sail plan put her at too much of a disadvantage over the taller masted boats.
The oldest boat in the fleet, Merlin number 6, was also struggling for power, her somewhat shrunken 1951 cotton sails unable to take full advantage of the extra tall mast early pre amalgamation Merlins were allowed to sport. The long weighted centreboard getting stuck in the mud on one occasion didn’t help matters too much, either!
Bright white Graduate 2651 rounded out the fleet, but despite a very quick “tie the top batten back in” manoeuvre in the count down to the 2nd race, they struggled a little with the conditions and were unable to avoid the reedy banks on a couple of occasions. Mind, they weren’t the only ones, with the Minisail also running ashore right on the start of the 2nd race. A welcome cameo appearance from a pretty varnish Firefly with wooden topmast and old style Ratsey sails over lunch time was fun to watch, but she could not be persuaded to join in with the racing.
The 3 races run, it was time to retire to the balcony for a well earned piece of cake and cup of tea/pint, followed by a prize giving where the prizes were rather nice jars of sweets, with the CVRDA flag and year painted on. Many thanks to the race officers, Mervin and Louise for getting the races run in tricky conditions, and to all those BASC members who made the visiting boats feel very welcome, and fed and watered us all so well.
1) British Moth 790 Roger Witts Frampton upon Severn SC
2) Minisail 3446 Rupert Whelan Whitefriars SC
3) Mercury 88 Bob Corfield/Chris Higham Bristol Avon SC
4) British Moth 715 Angus Claydon Bristol Avon SC
5) Mirror 40959 Simon Woolen Bristol Avon SC
6) Merlin 6 Chris & Lois Barlow Shearwater SC
7) Graduate 2651 Mark & Caroline Howard Bristol Avon SC