Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association National Rally 2011

Whitefriars Sailing Club provided an idyllic Cotswold backdrop to the 2011 cvrda Nationals over the August Bank Holiday. Competitors started arriving on the Friday, to set up camp, screw vital pieces to their boats, and retire to a nearby pub for supper and a pint.

Saturday dawned bright, sunny and windy, perfect for a day of blasting up and down the lake, taking part in an on the water treasure hunt and posing for the camera in an hour-long sail past. The 30 boats had a wonderful time planing down towards Karen Collyer and her camera. One the beer fuelled AGM was over, it was time for a Barbecue.

On Sunday we started the almost serious business of racing. With the day’s racing also being part of the Vintage Merlin Rocket traveller series, they were the best represented class, with 6 boats, including a pre-amalgamation Rocket. Minisails were next, with 4 helms using 6 boats between them as the weekend went on! Perhaps the most unusual boat, allowed to sail by special dispensation, was a modern version of a 19th century design; a gaff rigged Cornish Cove Boat.

On the water in the strong, gusty wind, the Merlins and an Albacore had a titanic battle for line honours, with MR1066 coming out on top more than once, but they were unable to escape the attentions of International Moth 2883, British Moth 790 and Minisail 3446, who vied each race for the handicap win.

Much Pizza was consumed that evening to help with the recovery process.

Monday morning’s races, held in lighter winds, saw the “slow” boats mixing it up with the fast end of the fleet as the wind shifted seemingly at random. The same 3 boats were again top of the heap on handicap. In the afternoon, with the 6 race Nationals series finished, a grand 90 minute Pursuit was held. Mirror 67667 held the lead for half the race before British Moth 790 rocketed past, but was in 2nd place until almost the finish, when several boat blasted past in freshening wind. The Skua took a well deserved 2nd place.

Unusually for the cvrda, where grey beards are not an uncommon sight, there was a strong junior presence. 2 Mirrors, an OK, an International Moth and a Puffin were all sailed by under 18’s, with several junior crews, too. The youngest competitor was 9 years old, while the youngest pairing competing as helm and crew were 12 and 11, sailing Mirror 67667. They finished in the top 3rd of the fleet, too – a fantastic achievement in windy conditions.

The prize giving (with scones, jam and cream, of course) was a rowdy affair, with the most popular award being the “Wing Nut” for incompetence or ineptitude. This year’s competition was fierce, but the people’s choice was for the Skua, sailed by John and Jane Andrews, who capsized. Nothing unusual in that, except that the Skua has a large keel on the bottom of it, and was thought to be self righting! John is reported to have sat on the deck saying “She’ll come up in a minute, She’ll come up in a minute” as she was blown flat. She didn’t…


Results for the cvrda are split into Vintage (boats built using traditional methods) Classic (boats designed and built before 1965) and Old (designed before 1965 and built before 1985. All boats race together.


1st Minisail 3446                          Rupert Whelan

2nd British Moth 790                     Roger Witts

3rd International Moth 2883         Ian Marshall


1st Merlin 1066                             Tim & Pat Bury

2nd Merlin 507                               Chris & Lois Barlow

3rd Wayfarer 1079                        Giles & Kate Penfold


1st Rocket 252                              Garry Rucklidge & Tom Andrews


1st Albacore 5198                         Sandy Lavelle & Pat Jones


1st Mirror 67667                           Will Hopes & Charlie Whelan

Youngest competitor          Pippa Whelan

1st Merlin – 1066
Cotton sails – MR 507
Special award for looking like a classic while not – Cornish Cove boat
Wing Nut – Skua, John & Jane Andrews
Pursuit – 1st BM 790, Roger Witts, 2nd Skua, 3rd 1066
Best on water – MR1066
Best on land – Wayfarer 1079
Take home – MR507

Results for 2011 Nationals at Whitefriars S.C.

The Wing-Nut award

The wing nut award is given for acts of gross ineptitude or underachievement, and is one of the most coveted prizes the cvrda gives out…

This year, there were enough acts of serious dumbness to warrant some of them being mentioned at the prize giving. As  my notes of the goings on weren’t copious, I hope what I write here doesn’t differ too much from what I said then, or, less importantly, what really happened…

Garry Rucklidge, sailing with Tom Andrews, for ramming the immovable object… in this case the large keelboat known as the Skua. Presumably he was attempting to skewer it… Actually, what happened was that the bows of his beautiful 1950’s Rocket, Gannet, all ribs and copper rivets, went ping, ping, ping, ping, ping, and large quantities of whitefriars lake were able to make their way inside. Thank goodness for duck tape! The icing on this particular cake for the crowd at the prize giving was that the Skua is owned and sailed by the parents of Garry’s crew.

Charlie Whelan, for continuing a family tradition. He and Will hopes were really keen to get started at this Nationals, as keen as only 11 and 12 year olds can be. So keen, in fact, that Charlie, in his haste to sit out, threw himself overboard! The Mirror broached, capsized and turtled. However, they did manage to right her before the rescue boat got there, and while that race was over for them, they did continue to complete all the other races of the weekend.

Now, when I said family tradition, I was thinking of me at one of the original classics meets at Bristol Avon, where I ended up trying to steer with my head under water. However, the next mishap concerns Kathryn Whelan, so it really does seem to run in the family. Having owned Saskia for well over 15 years, you’d think Kathryn knew how to step into her… maybe not. Foot straight onto the thwart, boat rolls to windward, Kathryn falls in backwards, nice big splash as she enters the water…

Just to show that anything one Kathryn can do, another can do equally badly, Kate Penfold decided that sailing a Wayfarer is enough like sailing a yacht that you can simply step ashore, rather than doing all that scrabbling around the rest of us do. However, Kate discovered that it is well worth checking the shore is really there before taking that vital step… another nice big splash!

Moving on to a slightly more complex and long term series of under achievements, we come to the case of Tom Moore and his Minisail. This really starts on Tuesday, when Tom discovered a hole in the stern end of his self draining cockpit. A quick patch, all will be well. Having tied the boat down very well, he discovers on arrival that the one bit that wasn’t tied (“It goes in so tight it never moves”) has fallen out on the motorway. However, ingenious use of polystyrene and gash wood not only got him on the water but bagged him the false teeth award for using materials in ways never intended. But, the problems of Tuesday came back to haunt Tom when he put his knee straight through the rotten aft deck he had so carefully patched before. End of sailing for the weekend, one would have thought? No. Undaunted Tom borrowed another Minisail hull and carried on sailing. Unfortunately, in recovering from a capsize, he snapped the centreboard. At that point, it really was time to call it a day…

Another multi-boat under achiever is Andrew Parker Mobray. He decided to bring his 1976 Solo with him on the basis that he’d not sailed the 1971 boat at all, so it would be more reliable. Hmmm… Half way through Sunday, the rigging started to go rather slack, and water started pouring into the boat from under the mast foot. Time for a look to see what had gone wrong. Basically, the boat had rotted away under the mast step, and the mast was in the process of pushing its way through the bottom of the boat. Undeterred, he drove home, and came back next day with the 1971 boat. A short while later, he was back on the shore, and when asked why, said he had heard a bang, but couldn’t spot where it had come from, till he looked at the shrouds. One of them had broken all but 2 of the wires – 10 seconds more on that tack, and the mast would have come tumbling down. Cue very careful sail to the shore… and plenty of boat repairs to keep Andrew busy this winter!

Our final nomination is far more simple. As simple as a capsize. However, when the capsize is by John and Jane Andrews, in a boat with a large keel on the bottom, thought to be uncapsizable, the situation becomes a little more interesting. When you hear that John, as the boat is going over, is sitting on the deck of the Skua, not really trying too hard, saying “She’ll come up in a minute, she’ll come up in a minute” the case for under achievement becomes overwhelming, and the assembled masses decided that such a simply elegant cock-up deserved the 2011 Wing-nut award.