CVRDA National Rally at Hunts SC, August Bank Holiday weekend.
It isn’t often that a sailing event surpasses expectations in so many ways, but the weekend of sailing, eating and socializing put on by Hunts Sailing Club in Cambridgeshire was one which will stay in the memory for ever more.
The cvrda National Rally has a serious racing side, and everyone on the water tries their hardest, if not to win, then to catch and defeat their nearest rivals. But the stars of the show aren’t the sailors – their exploits are celebrated quietly – but the boats. To qualify, your class of boat has to have been designed before 1965 and you actual boat built before 1985. Within that, everything qualifies, whether an old GRP Minisail or a beautifully restored 18 foot Jollyboat.
Everyone will have had their favourite boat of the Rally, but I get to write this report, so I get to say which of the 40 or so boats out there really caught my eye. The first, and most obvious in a way, was Gently, Merlin no 16. This was Jack Holt’s own boat back in the late 40’s and early 50’s, and she has been beautifully restored by Mervyn Allen and Chris Barlow. Not only did she look wonderful on land and on the water, but went very nicely too, her cotton sails standing out against a sea of Dacron.
Another boat to catch the eye wasn’t at all shiny – some might have called her a little tatty, even, but the Shelly design International Moth of Ian Marshall was a true pocket Rocket, her white hull, varnished decks and tall fully battened rig well ahead of all but the fastest of the bigger boats.
With a 56 year old Enterprise looking like she was fresh out of the packaging, a whole posse of Merlins and Merlin Rockets cutting their way through the water, a Purple painted ToY, complete with sliding seat, looking angular and purposeful, and a plethora of other boats looking great, the camera boats didn’t know which way to turn when.
Andy the race officer and his band of mostly young helpers put on some great racing for the fleet, and of course there were proud winners. The “old” wing, for boat built after 1965, was won by the Shelly International Moth. The Classic wing, for boats built before 1965, by Peter Vinton’s Fairey Finn 197, looking stunning in red, which was also the fastest boat of the weekend before handicapping, showing how well she was sailed. The Vintage wing, for boats built in the traditional style, was won by Gently.
Thank you to Nessa, Nikky and their team. The food was superb, the safety crews friendly and efficient, the race team spot on with what they did.
However, the final word has to be a small warning… do not do the following at home…
The wing-nut award for gross under-achievement on or off the water this year went to Tom Moore. He was up early on Sunday morning, trying to plug the many leaks he had discovered in his Minisail the day before. However, his tube of sealant (the sort of tube that works like squirty cream) had a blocked nozzle. Our intrepid hero was not to be put off that easily, but decided to drill the blockage out. However, the sealant in the tube was under pressure… following the explosion, Tom was found with sealant pretty much everywhere but on the boat he was trying to mend!