Thanks to Alan and the team, Roadford Lake in Devon hosted the CVRDA National Rally of 2015 alongside the Classic Finns and Lowrider Moths. The weather proved kind to the old boats and gave good competitive sailing for the eclectic collection of boats.
The CVRDA ‘Nationals’ is something of a regatta and rally combined with dinghies dating from 1946 to 1985. A group of Classic Finns and a group of low-rider Moths joined a range of other classes to make a fleet of twenty four. Five races over the weekend were the main activity, but on land much time was spent looking at some rare survivors of forgotten classes. It may have been the first time for several decades that three Hits were sailing together. Other lovely rarities included a Duckling and a Flying Moth, ( not a foiling moth but more of an earlier variant of the British Moth complete with its original cotton sail) both these two have been beautifully restored by Kevin Bond. Two other unfamiliar boats with sliding seats were the ToY (an Olympic hopeful by Tony Allen) and the Minisprint. Perhaps the weirdest boat was the Scow Moth with its very eccentric hull shape.
In a mixed fleet it is always more fun when you have one or two similar boats to compete against. This year there were three Albacores, three I14s, three Moths, three Hits, and three Finns. The fine Osprey of Ros and David Downs, Ed Bremner’s Firefly and Merlin 1066 completed the fleet.
The weather for racing could hardly have been better, though the wind for the first race was a little lighter and there were shifts to be used or confused by. Mostly the same pattern emerged in the five races with Ros and David’s Osprey, Ian Marshall’s moth and Sam Mason with Sally Smith crewing their Albacore, showing the way on the water and battling for the first three places after the handicaps had been applied. Closely behind was John Barnes’ Finn and two more moths sailed mostly, but not always, upright by Alan Watson and Lyndon Beasley.
In the centre of the fleet the three fourteens and the Albacore of Sandy Lavelle, crewed by Pat Jones were usually having a good tussle. In race two Nessa Weedon-Jones and her crew Nikki Evans had a slow start for their very first sail in Agamemnon, a Proctor designed I14 from 1965, but the extra speed meant that by lap 2 she had convincingly over taken the other 14s (one an Uffa Fox designed Fairey boat from 1957, the other a Holt design from 1946). Then an awkward gust hit and Agamemnon capsized. Without transom flaps and especially without a very large bucket it was race over and a tow home to shore was needed.
Gear failure is common in old boats but there were not many problems at all. The Osprey’s main halyard failed in race four and was seen sailing to shore to fix it before re-joining the race. They still managed to finish 12th out of 17 finishers! In Race two Sandy and Pat’s Albacore had a jib halyard failure which lost them some ground whilst re-rigging and they then spotted a capsized topper being blown well beyond the reach of the youngster floundering in the water. With skill they caught the topper, asked another passing topper to pick up the youngster and reunited the boat with the helm all before the lake’s safety boat arrived on the scene. They were awarded a bottle of wine for services rendered!
Sunday morning racing saw the fleet more eager to start with Nessa’s I14 over the start line, but a quick gyrate around the end mark lost them very little and they were soon pulling away from other boats to finish well up the fleet. Alan Williams in the Finn did not realise he was over the line until he was given OCS at the end. Meanwhile Tim Bury and Pat Kuenzler in Merlin Rocket 1066 were giving great entertainment with their spinnaker handling which included flying it (accidentally) inside the jib, wineglassing it and finally losing the spinnaker pole overboard.
The overall winners were: Ian Marshall, moth, 1st. Sam and Sally, Albacore 2nd. Ros and David’s Osprey 3rd. In the Finn fleet 1st place went to John Barnes. Alan Watson and Lyndon Beasley tied for second place in the Moths but on count back Alan was award second (Ian Marshall taking first). The Old wing was won by Sam and Sally’s Albacore 5866, The Classic Wing was won by Tim Bury and Pat Kuenzler in Merlin Rocket 1066 and the Vintage wing was won by Chris and Lois Barlow in I14 no 483 (a hollow victory since there were no other ribbed boats!). The Youngest Competitor award went to Toby Callen, (10) who crewed Ed Bremner’s Firefly.
At the Concourse: the ‘Best on Land’ was the International 14 of 1946, the ‘Best on the Water’ was the Osprey and the boat everyone ‘Wanted to Take Home’ was the Duckling.
Sunday afternoon, in a perfect breeze and sunshine ended with several people swapping and trying other boats, whilst other relaxed and watched those on the water or those packing up their boats for the journey home. Certainly a memorable and enjoyable weekend.
A view from the leading Albacore:
The trip from Lincoln is best glossed over. I wasn’t aware that the M5 is in fact a car park for about 30 miles of its length. When we did finally arrive it was nice to be greeted by friends from previous events and to look over the opposition. Studying the lake didn’t seem to help much but at least I thought I knew more or less where the marks were.
Race 1. Lightish breeze very shifty with a tendency to increase. Start line fairly short for the number of boats and not quite sure which the windward mark is so a conservative mid line start on the front rank seemed in order. Sailed off to the wrong mark to start with (with a lead boat!! How do you do that?) In the leading bunch at the leeward mark and then a beat that went near perfectly from our point of view and we took 2nd place to the Osprey on the water and apparently went on to win on time.
Race 2. More breeze Boat now planing most of the time down wind and the beat becoming a bit one sided. Safe start and stayed with the leading bunch all the way round. The Osprey disappeared over the horizon and it was near perfect Moth conditions. We had a superb tactical race with John Barnes in his Finn which just went in our favour. Great fun
Race 3 Still more breeze and we were beginning to feel it a bit now. Wind shift just before the start put us in the wrong place completely. Bear off a bit for speed then tack. Good plan if it works! It did and we crossed the whole fleet, excepting the Osprey, on port and rounded second so we had to wait for the Moths to come trooping past on the reaches. Another excellent race with J.B. and his Finn.
Enjoyed the boat judging, AGM and BBQ and particularly the beer and cider fuelled conversation afterwards . The end of a near perfect day.
Race 4 Rather surprisingly no real hangover Much lighter winds and a different course. I made a right bish of the start and found myself surrounded at the first mark while the leaders just sailed off however there was enough in the beats to give us a chance to pull through which we did to take line honours just piping J,B on the last beat after the Osprey had retired ( Sally had to sponge the crocodile tears out of the boat when we saw them go in.)
Race 5 Pretty much a rerun of race 4 but this time we nailed the start and had one hell of a tussle with Ian Mathews and Lyndon Beasley and their Moths until they took it in turns to fall in. The Osprey was made to do an extra lap and still won on time. Well done them.
All in all the best sailing weekend we have had for years. Good racing, Friendly people and no prima donnas plus a memorable fruit cake. Thanks Lyndon.
On the way home even the traffic moved!! The only question I have is why was my Albacore sailed off a different handicap to the other two?
A view from the Osprey
Osprey sail number 1114, Just Pogo, joined an interesting variety of other boats at the CVRDA National Rally at Roadford Lake on the edge of Dartmoor on the 18th and 19th July.
The fleet included three International 14s from the 40s, 50s and 60s, three Magnum design Moths, three Finns, three Albacores and three “Hit” dinghies of which only 33 were apparently ever built!
Along with a number of other classic dinghies, the Osprey was a bit quick for the rest and led from start to finish in every race, apart from Race 4 when the main halyard came undone and the sail fell down!
The Osprey Just Pogo (40 years old) thus won the fastest boat trophy on her debut in this event. After the CVRDA handicaps were applied the Osprey came 3rd overall beaten by a Moth and an Albacore.
At the Concours d’Elegance on Saturday night, Just Pogo picked up the trophy for best looking boat on the water.
It was a fun and relaxing weekend and perhaps we could get a few other old Ospreys to the event next year. Ospreys of course are built to last, and many boats like Just Pogo are still very competitive on the open meeting circuit.
Many older wooden boats will be among the contenders against modern FRP examples at the forthcoming Osprey Nationals at Highcliffe SC, starting this Thursday 23 July, and finishing 26 July.