August Bank Holiday weekend saw a fantastic turnout of 41 Classic and Vintage boats for the 7th Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association National Championship Rally. Boats from as far apart as Tynemouth, Helford river and Clywedog descended upon Roadford Lake in Devon for the biggest event in the CVRDA calendar.
The dinghies all started at the same time, and an overall winner is found, but the fleet is also split into “Vintage” (mainly riveted frame construction), “Classic” (designed and built before 1965), “Old” (designed before 1965 and built more than 25 years ago) and Catamarans. The Cats start 5 minutes early to allow for the somewhat different startline tactics in these giant boats.
Saturday saw a treasure hunt and cruising, and a vote for the best looking boats at the event. Kevin Boyd’s Tideway, Greg Paton-Kerr’s red sailed Pegasus and surprise entry, the Model Yacht of the Hayes family, were all winners. Saturday also gives a chance for everyone to chat about boats and the uses of Pond Sealer on decks without any racing to get in the way, so keeping the CVRDA as a relaxed organization with racing being taken only as seriously as any individual wants.
2 vintage Merlins (6 and 36), 3 Tideways, Plymouth Dolphin no 6, a Yachting World Dayboat and a 1926 designed gaff cutter took to the water in the category with the most beautiful boats. In the racing, Chris and Lois Barlow in Merlin 6 were dominant, winning all 5 races over the 2 days, and even notching up an overall win in one of the races.
Traditionally the fleet with the largest number of entries, the overall winner of the event has always come from the Classic fleet, but this year it was closer than ever before. Race winners in the classic fleet were the National 12 of Howard Elcock, Pegasus 194, sailed by David Rollinson, Albacore 1458, belonging to Jon Rawson, and Albacore 1907 (Neil and Alex Harper). With the most consistent results being gained by Pegasus 194 in the tricky conditions, they were able to win the Classic fleet for a record 3rd time.
A beautiful Carbon rigged Merlin belonging to Justin and Jamie Eddy won the old fleet, but only by ½ a point from Hornet 2108, sailed by Liam and Will McGrath. Both boats were sailing their 1st event, having reached the grand old age of 25 only the month before. Philip and Alison Philpot came third in their 1960’s clinker national 12, having won 2 of the races, but couldn’t compete with the speed of the leading boats in the lighter conditions on the Monday.
2 1960’s Cats, both Rod MacAlpine-Downie designs, entered in the Catamaran division. Alan Williams in his 20 foot Shark, with Phil Howlin as crew, dominated the races. The 18 foot Thai mark4, sailed by Jonathan and Lesley Copeland, struggled for pace, and were unlucky to have their mast come down on them in race 2. Amazingly, they were out again for race 3, but were unable to match the speed of the Shark.
Classic fleet winner Pegasus 194 and Old fleet winner the carbon rigged Merlin were tied on points at the top, despite neither of them having won a race overall. Count back gave the win to the Peggie. 3rd, and only ½ a point behind, was Hornet 2108, with 2 overall race wins. Vintage fleet winner Merlin 6 was 4th, just a few points back. Top all GRP boat, and winner of the plastic duck, was Keith Rollinson’s confusingly painted Pegasus.
Report by Rupert Whelan