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1964 Notes

Jollyboat

J325 sailing on Chichester Harbour

No single hull dinghy has ever exceeded the timed speed of the Jollyboat over a measured distance. Sailed by Charles Currey in 1954 off Cowes in a Force 5 wind, the Jollyboat covered five cables at a speed of 13.4 knots. The sea was one in which the heights of waves were between 4ft and 5ft, and it was not surprising that Ralph Vines later in the same year put up an average over three runs of 17.8 knots in the smoother waters of Edgbaston Reservoir.

Timed trials over a distance have now gone out of fashion and it is certain that more recent and improved versions of the Jollyboat have gone faster since 1954.

This restricted class in not large by modern standards but its members are amongst the keenest in the world. There is a constant study of detail modifications within the rules to extract the best speed from each boat. Central mainsheet horses are featured in all the faster boats, keels and bilge rails are faired off to the allowable limits and many owners save valuable weight by substituting alloy for phosphor-bronze fittings. In 1964 a modification of the rudder-blade, designed by Arthur Monk and very successfully used by him, became optional and has widely been adopted.

The average rake of the mast is very slight, between 2in and 3in and standing rigging is set up firm but not bar-taut. Some considerable strains are put on the mast by the trapeze and a firm anchoring by the standard rigging is necessary.

The Jollyboat races with a minimum crew of two and tends to be less used as a very fast cruising dinghy than is warranted by the seaworthiness and roomy characteristics. Against this use of the boat is the fact that to sail it well entails much activity by the crew, and one owner comments: “When you’ve been out you know you’ve had a sail”.

Trim is important: in sailing to windward helmsman and crew are bunched either side of the shrouds, moving slightly aft of this position when off the wind, when it is usual for the kicking strap and mainsail luff tensions to be slightly eased. Carried out with resolution, gybing presents less difficultly than the large mainsail area might seem to impose. The speed of the boat is such that the boom comes over with little fuss.

The spinnaker is a most important sail in the Jollyboat and needs some skill in handling because of its size. It is best set in the lee of the mainsail and then hauled round to fill by the spinnaker-guy. The sail can be carried with effect on a beam reach but any point closer to windward than this can involve excessive leeway and it is always better to get it down early rather than late. A practical method of stowage is to arrange the sail under a rectangle of terylene sailcloth fastened at each corner by shock-cord and covering the whole width of the foredeck. After use the sail is stuffed under the covering and can be used again without any loss of time. Some additional windage must be created by this method of stowage but the time saved in setting more than offsets any loss.

It is ironical to reflect that Uffa Fox designed the Jollyboat as a dinghy which would give him more room and time in which to move over the boat when tacking, advancing years being his reason. It is typical of the man that the dinghy then turns out to be the fastest which he ever designed.

Early in 1964 it was agreed that the Jollyboat could be built in glass fibre, the first of the Fairey dinghies to receive this concession.

Page 46-48 of Inshore Dinghy Sailing by Group Capt. F.H.L.Searl