National Racing Dinghy Archive

an area to discuss dinghy developments
davidh
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National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by davidh » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:02 pm

For a long time now I've been trying to get a project off the ground that will record the history of the racing dinghy in the UK.

Thanks to the support of Dave Chivers, things have moved on a bit now, with a National Yachting History project also being very much a topical subject of late. It now seems that the British National Yachting Archive will get launched, possibly as soon as early 2009. The best way for us to 'tailgate' on this is to ensure that we're already active in this field, so as of today, the 'National Dinghy Racing Archive' is a live project.

The aims, as stated on the website, are three fold.

Capture, document and store any material, be it in the form of plans, photo's, brochures, or books - to be placed in the care of the 'master' archive when a permanent location for this is agreed.

The above is great BUT..... it misses so many key points. So, it is my intention that the 'centrepiece' of the NRDA will be a collection of recorded histories (both video and oral) of the key influencers, the movers and shakers from the golden age of racing dinghy development. I've now got my first two acceptances, one of these from a muliple champion and olympic medal winner, who has agreed to 'talk to camera' about his memories and recollections, of boats, events and people.

My hope is that as more top sailors agree and are recorded, the word will get out, to the point that people start asking "why haven't you contacted me about my story yet".

The third intention is to then make as much of the material easily available to the public, probably on an 'on -line' basis.

So - there it is...and now it is YOUR chance to have a say.

If there is something that you think is worthy of donation to the archive, now you know that it will be stored and treated with sympathy (and not just stored in a 'black hole')

and if there is someone that you feel MUST be captured on film (eg, Roger Hancock) then likewise....say.

And is anyone has any ideas about potential sponsors, yes, say there too!

D

david.henshall@nrda.co.uk
http://www.nrda.co.uk
David H

Rupert
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by Rupert » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:37 pm

Could you interview Ian Proctor, Jack Holt and Uffa Fox, please?
Actually, they did a pretty good job of documenting what was going on at the time themselves, in magazines, Dinghy Yearbooks and the like. Is there any chance of getting this sort of stuff accessable to all in any form? - I'm pretty sure that even with bulging bookshelves it is only possible for most of us to find/have a small part of what has already been written about the sport from either a historical or contempory view point. I suppose a National Library of sailing where one could go and sit for hours on end, forgetting to eat/that one has a family waiting somewhere would be ideal, but that sort of thing would take massive funding. I believe Falmouth has an archive, but it has never been open when I've been there, and the kids really don't want to hang around for days, anyway...
Rupert

davidh
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by davidh » Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:35 pm

Rupert,

I wish.... planchette comes at a cost though!!

being serious now, where there is someone who is so important, my intention is to try to get someone close, who can speak knowingly of the life of the individual in question.

Take Bruce Banks as a prime example. Rosemary, Bruce's widow, was with him through the years when he was one of the countries most successful dinghy sailors. Although an interview with Rosemary is not 'primary source' she was party to many of this thoughts and shared in his triumphs - and failures. Likewise Marion Beale, widow of Martin. So, in the 1948 Olympics lecture, I was able to tell the story of 'what really happened' even though the three protagonists were all dead - and what a tale it was!

Uffa is a bit harder, as there is now little in the way of a direct link - though Ian Proctors family are still available - plus Cliif Norbury, Ian's close friend and business partner.

The problem is Rupert, as one starts to include people like this, the task just gets bigger and bigger............ like topsy!!

D

STOP PRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday's email has brought an amazing response already, with an offer of a database of dinghy details, that will surely form a major boost to getting the archive up and running!!

D
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by Ancient Geek » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:12 pm

Re Bruce Banks do not forget his Int 14 Crew Keith Shackleton who is still with us D Chivers and self are in touch with him though not on this subject!
Everyone should buy his - (Keiths.) - book of gentler days and crackerbarrel wisdom "Shakewell Afloat".
Simples.

davidh
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by davidh » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:26 pm

AG,

very much so. I seem to recall that Dave C has a photo that I covet, showing Austin, Peter Scott (?) and Keith, plus Bruce Banks.

That is just the sort of wonderful detail that will, I hope, be at the heart of the archive. Should anything happen to Dave C ( one hopes that nothing WILL happen to Dave, but let's face it, accidents do happen) one could imagine people looking at his estate and saying "anyone want a old picture of four men and a boat? No? ...Bin!"

So - one picture will help 'glue together' four stories.........................

Dave C.... I guess that is a hint that I want a scanned copy, I hope I wasn't that transparent!!!!!!!!!!!!

D
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DavidC
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by DavidC » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:01 pm

Yes Yes alright :D :D :D :D :D

And no doubt and great deal of other bits as well :lol: :lol:

Michael Brigg
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by Michael Brigg » Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:45 am

I like the idea of an archive that is easily accessible through the net. It will be an enormous job however to index it other than by a simple title of article although there will be all sorts of gems that might pop up.

A large enough membership of this kind of forum will also build up an enlarging "wisdom of crowds" effect as the reading membership might also be collectively able to answer more questions. I have recently discovered that my sailing club has in thier commitee room a significant collection of Yachting and motorboat annuals dating back to the early 1900's and a jolly good read they are two. Articles from a "Dr Curry" (in 1930) about the difficulties of persuading the military to let you use their towing tank for testing hull speed. (Could this be Charles Curry?) The note excessive fee of £70. 00s 00d and the fact that any test results the MOD found interesting would immediately become a military secret, thereby allowing the Americans to get ahead in their hull design. Ther are numerous simlar episodes showing how old habits and behaviours are still around today and nothing is original.

There is insight into the influence of the aviation industry on development of the planing hull. Far greater than the Navy, who perhaps didn't see it's benefit as their propulsion and ship size and armoured weight made such a concept unimportant. On the other hand the Sea plane needed to gain speed quickly and easily, so a planing float was a natural development. I suspect they also had a far better grounding in air flow and may even have been developing a knowledge of wind shift theory. What proportion of the better sailors were airmen rather than sea dogs?

I was most amused by anaccount of a boating party apprehended by the Woodbridge police after departing their hotel mooring without paying, and taking with them "58 tulip heads!" Up before the beak they were noted to plead in their defence a previous good character; that they were "members of a Church choir in Leeds!!" (I bet DavidH never used thatone! :lol: :lol: )

I was reading about the "New" Norfolk One design class built by Mr Herbert Woods. There is quite alot about how this has bought the price of a decent 14ft dinghy down to an affordable £65.00 and time has shown how they have lasted compared with a £160.00 boat from a builder like Uffa Fox that is obsolete within a year. Dare I raise the controversial SMOD flag again? (strictly of course in it's Historical context)

David C said:
If you think that a difference of 15kg in a 14foot hull is equal then fine, personally I don't so how that can be regarded as fair level sailing. Of course with no exact class rules and external control there is nothing you can do about it.
Jack Coote quotes something similar in a report on the Norfolk clubs AGM a year after ordering their first 20 or so hulls. Questions were raised with Mr Woods about why some of his hull differred in weight by as much as 29lbs!!

He replied (as the sole manufacturer) that it was because "he didn't grow the trees from which they were made." A clear reference to a higher authority! :twisted:
Michael Brigg

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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by Ancient Geek » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:07 am

The Dr Curry is I suspect Manfred Curry who wrote a number of truly excellent books on sailing hydro and aerodynamics a German he moved to America eventuly. Charles would have been a teenager in 1930.
Simples.

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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by davidh » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:17 am

Sush Michael,

You'll be struck off if you're not careful...... for you managed to hit all the right buttons, the east coast (Norfolk ODs, Woodbridge etc) and SMODS...... but you then redeem yourself by making the link with aviation.

Close to the top of my 'get to see sooner rather than later' people is Bill O'Brian, designer of the Daring and Challenger dinghies, along with the Rivercat and Jumpahead catamarans. I've heard (and would love to confirm this as it is quite a significant factoid) that Bill used the shape of a seaplane float for the hull form for the Jumpahead!

So how is that for a newsworthy item, 3 plus points in one go!

But then I go and spoil it all by veering off topic. Okay, I know that this is not strictly dinghy related but......... (ED..... you might like this one too)

Fairey's at Hamble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've a sneaky memory from father/grandfather that the Fairey's site at Hamble has a little bit of history attached. If my info is correct, then they were involved in a trial that saw a seaplane also fitted with wheels. The plane was launched into the river from the Fairey slipway, took off, then landed over in the strawberry fields that are up behind what is now Warsash Sailing Club! If correct, then this was the first ever flight of a true amphibian (spelling this morning - sorry!).

Of course, the development of many of the seaplane hulls was undertaken at Hamble, meanwhile over at Hythe, Scott Paines were developing high speed motor boat hulls. I'm sure that somewhere, if we keep looking, we shall find a common ancestry - something that has not been done before!!

But for you...don't give up the day job!

D
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davidh
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by davidh » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:19 am

AG,

spot on - all the more so as Dr Manfred Curry was involved in the new discipline of hydrodynamics!!!

D
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by davidh » Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:01 pm

wow....

already the list of those who are prepared to have their histories recorded is growing, with Championship winning sailors and Olympic medallists joining sailmakers and boatbuilders (not to mention Jim Saltonstall).

What I will try to do is to shorten these down in editing to a 'taster' that can be posted (for now) on You Tube.

And even more good news.......... there is an offer of an existing dinghy database being donated to the archive - so some of these fields may get populated sooner rather than later

'The more the merrier'

D
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by davidh » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:26 pm

Okay.....

two things, one fairly minor, the sort of 'everyday' comment that we find on here. Dr Manfred Currey cut his teeth in the INternational 12 - at the 1928 Olympics in the Netherlands!!

But now for the biggy.....

Read on............

There will be a Press Launch of the newly formed British National Yachting Archive during the London International Boat Show on Press Day, Friday 9th January to be held on the Classic Boat Magazine stand at 18:00 hours. Press packs will be available and the opportunity to hear from and speak with the organisers to gain insights that will enhance any show reporting you may be undertaking.

Full details will be available on the day, but the background is that concerns about the loss of historically significant information have prompted the formation of a National Yachting Archive, a charity whose principal aims are to:

To promote the preservation of sailing's heritage
To establish a knowledge base of yachting heritage and provide public access
To facilitate the presentation and display of yachting heritage at appropriate museums and other organisations
To provide grants, bursaries and scholarships for those who would advance knowledge and understanding of yachting heritage
This is a major initiative that has been established as a membership-based charity organisation, membership fees being used to further the work of the Archive and jointly fund grant-aided projects which offer less than 100% support, such as the first initiative to collect oral histories. We are therefore seeking members and support to provide resources for the work.

As something completely new, of national importance and outside the usual Boat Show news items, it is hoped that you will be able to attend to learn more about the aims and ambitions of the project, its mode of operation and help this initiative gain ground.

The terrible twosome (this puts a new light on the DD cateogory), aka Mr Chivers and myself will be there and both have speaking parts to play!

At long last...things are moving in the right direction!

D
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Nessa
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by Nessa » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:48 pm

That sounds fantastic David!

I wanted to mention in my 'milestones' thought that it would be good to have some record of the progress that women have made in dinghy racing eg Trine Elvstrom, Cathy Foster, Therese Zabel, Shirley Robertson et al at the Olympics.

Will the Archive include such information? I feel myself uncomfortably close to volunteering....
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davidh
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by davidh » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:07 pm

Nessa,

had not the problems at Dinghy Mag intervened, I've already got a nice piece on women in dinghy sailing all racked out and ready to go.

Several of the names you mentioned are on the list of potential subjects for the archive.... yet starngely, the one that I really want is one you missed. How about Caroline Sandy? She really did 'break the mould' when it came to trapeze crewing!

Another Caroline.... Caroline Martin, would also need to be in there. Then there is our own Lizz Potter (liz andrew as now is) - I've a great pic for the book of her leading at Stuer in '85.

So yes.... tis in hand

D
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Re: National Racing Dinghy Archive

Post by JimC » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:52 pm

Nessa wrote:I wanted to mention in my 'milestones' thought that it would be good to have some record of the progress that women have made in dinghy racing
1969 First Cherub female National Champion (helm) in the UK - one Merris Catton who I've quite failed to trace...
Also I assume that in 1969 Russ Bowler (now of Farr Yacht Design) was designing and building the foam sandwich Cherub he was to win the 1970 Worlds with. The first female World champion help was Amanda Wilmot in 1974, followed by Nicola Bethwaite in 1976 but both with male crews.

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