An unusual collection of 14 dinghies arrived early Sunday morning at Whitefriars SC in the Cotswolds for the 1st CVRDA open meeting of the year. The lost classes ranged in size from a 7 foot Puffin to a 17 foot Skua. Between them in size were the Hit 14 and Tonic, 12 foot long. The Classic fleet saw 3 Merlins spanning approximately 30 years of development, 2 Mirrors, 2 Finns, an OK, a Fairey Albacore and a fascinating 1971 tunnel hulled International Moth.
Once the fleet were screwed back together and rigged, the 1st race got under way, in a gusty and shifty force 2-3. Merlin Rocket 3025, a Smoker’s Satisfaction design, was going well at the front of the fleet, in with a shout of handicap honours, when they suddenly took their mainsail down. The rest of the fleet, not laughing at all, of course, wondered what had happened.
Crew Jon 711 takes up the story: “Lining up for the start, 10 seconds to go, good position, about where we wanted to be. I suddenly heard from behind me “****”. I looked back to see David, holding the back end of the centreboard case in his hand, not a major problem you may think, but, this just happened to be the piece of the case that the mainsheet turning block was screwed to!! However consummate professional that he is, said “Doesn’t matter, I will sail it skiff style straight off the boom!!” I think we both realised that spinnaker hoists would be interesting with no main sheet cleat…
Third lap, first boat on the water, and it was my turn to speak an expletive, although a less emphatic one! “****”, as the turning block for the jib sheets pulled the track off the boat. We finished that beat with less pointing, but still first boat on the water. On the downwind leg David flew the kite, while I tried to figure out how to sheet the jib on the next windward leg. The shroud adjuster racks were in about the right position, and had a nice big hole in them. just suitable for a jib sheet, but would create a bit more friction, I’ll reeve it through there, thought I. Rounded the leeward mark, still first boat, pulled the jib in, and pulled the shroud adjuster off! I can not even **** the expletives then said! We then both realised that it was game over!”
The race for the handicap win then looked to be between the OK and the Albacore, but on working out the positions, Mirror 67667, a local boat sailed by Colin from Shirehampton, came out as the surprise winner. A long lunch break gave some the opportunity to join in with the club pursuit race, while others tried out different boats, put their own boats back together or simply sat at caught up with a Winter’s worth of gossip. The 2nd race started with more drama. Several boats attempted a port tack flyer, but the Albacore was caught port and starboard by the Tonic. In attempting to put a quick tack in, Roger and George managed to capsize on the start line, engulfing the OK in their rig. The Tonic, meanwhile, used the confusion to put some distance between him and his handicap rivals.
On the water, Finns and Merlins had a great battle, with the Albacore rapidly making up lost ground and scything her way through the fleet. 2 of the slower boats in the fleet, the Tonic and the Moth, shared a handicap of 101, and, it seemed, were joined by a piece of elastic all round the course. The Tonic managed to stay ahead, just, but the extra effort the battle brought ensured a 1, 2 handicap finishing position for the 2 small boats. The winning Mirror from the 1st race, this time with owner Charlie aboard as crew, struggled to find the same form, which may have had a little to do with them getting lost…
Race officer Nigel Watson and his team put on great racing on what turned out, despite the forecast, to be a dry, Spring like day. Fruitcake, cups of tea and the prize giving finished off a very enjoyable day, especially once Alan had found his campervan keys and Rupert had pumped up his flat front tyre, and everyone could go home!
1st Lost Class Rupert Whelan Tonic Whitefriars
1st Classic Roger Devereux/George Davidson Albacore CVRDA
1st Old Alan Price OK Hayling Ferry
1st Rupert Whelan Tonic Whitefriars
2nd Alan Price OK Hayling Ferry
3rd Julian Gardner Int Moth Haversham
4th David Harkner Finn Roadford Lake
5th Roger Devereux/George Davidson Albacore CVRDA
6th Colin Trumper/Charlie Whelan Mirror Shirehampton
7th Nick Price/Christopher Edwards Merlin Ranelagh
8th Sandy Lavelle/Pat Jones Merlin Rocket Shearwater
9th Alan Williams Finn Roadford Lake
10th John Andrews/Jane Andrews Skua Whitefriars
11th Nigel Vanse Hit 14 Shirehampton
12th Tom Andrews/Meg Andrews Mirror Whitefriars
13th Kathryn Whelan/Pippa Whelan Puffin Whitefriars
14th David Henshall/Jon Thompson Merlin Rocket Netley