Roadford Lake Sailing Club hosted the Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association for their 10th anniversary National Rally on August Bank Holiday weekend, sponsored by www.sail-sport.com, the Southwest’s premier chandler.
32 boats entered the racing, with several more down to cruise, and join in with the shore side activities. Saturday was spent fixing boats back together, cruising, fun racing (won by Finn 424) and posing for the cameras in a sail past. Sunday and Monday were spent racing for most; others were happy to blast about on the huge expanse of lake Roadford has to offer.
The competitors all race together, but are split into 3 categories. The Vintage wing is for traditionally built dinghies designed and built around the time of the 2nd world war. The Classic wing is for those designed and built before 1965, and the Old wing for those designed before 1965 and built before 1985. Handicapping is based on 1965 Portsmouth Numbers, altered where necessary to take a boat’s originality and age into account.
As we had eight Finns racing a class prize was given for them, with ‘Old’ No 470 winning narrowly from ‘Classic’ 197. The Merlins had a class prize too, presented for the 1st time this year, covering boats from all 3 wings. Classic Merlin 1066 came out on top.
Strong winds put off some entries for the Vintage wing; these boats are very delicate, with wooden masts, cotton sails and original fittings. In the end it became a match race series between 2 Merlins, Iska, Merlin 6, and Secret Water, Merlin 111, her near sister ship, down from Scotland for the event. 5 very close races in blustery conditions saw Iska come out on top.
Watching 2 1940’s Merlins racing together as they would have done 60 years ago was a fantastic sight.
Racing was tight in the Classic wing. The Jollyboat suffered from gear breakages and swims, but when powered up was fantastically fast. Hornet 191,with sliding seat, 1956 sails and wooden mast looked great, but perhaps strugged a little in the strong conditions. On the water battles, occasionally between boats with widely differing handicaps, made for exciting and enjoyable racing all through the fleet. On handicap, the battle was a 3 way one between Finn 197, GP14 2629 and Firefly 2324. The GP14 and the Firefly, sailing on the same handicap, were able to push each other hard enough to relegate the Finn to 3rd, with the Firefly squeaking a victory in the final race.
The racing for the slightly more “modern” boats was dominated by an early 1970’s China Doll National 12, 2558, who sailed a near perfect series. 2 Solos battled to keep the Finns at bay on handicap, for the next few placings. The sight of Flying Dutchman Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (the 4th of the name originally built for Rodney Pattisson) flying round the course on the Sunday, is the one that will be remembered!
Thanks must go the RLSC for putting on a great event in pretty poor weather. Neil Witt, the CVRDA event organizer, Ross Davies, the man in charge locally and David Rollinson (for setting good long unbiased beats) must be singled out for special mention, as must be the creators of the cream tea at the prize giving.