The UK’s competitive Flying Fifteen fleet was in full force at Rutland Sailing Club, hosting the Inland Championships this weekend, with top sailors including national and world champions on the circuit.
This two day event comprised three races each day, so six races in all, best five to count. The sparkling and wonderfully scenic sailing conditions on Rutland’s huge expanse of water were nicely varied, from light to moderate on Saturday with tricky gusting conditions and wind shifts, to moderate to fresh on Sunday, more constant and gusting up to 22 knots from the south-west, making for a good work-out upwind and some marginal planing conditions downwind. And mostly sunshine with relief from the rays by some welcome cumulus and cirrus cloud cover.
The twenty four Flying Fifteens on the start line made for exciting starts, with the usual cut and thrust for a pole position at full speed. The Race Officer decided to opt for straight windward-leeward courses, with three beats per race of about 50 to 60 minutes each, the Race Committee and their rescue and shore support did a fabulous job and we are all indebted to them for making the weekend a huge success and an enjoyable one too.
The fleet was delighted to have Ovington Boats aboard, with Graham Vials and Chris Turner essentially dominating Day One and the first race of Day Two. However a push from other top sailors forced a nice mix of top results from Jeremy Davy/Martin Huet of Draycote and Clan McKee of Dovestone with their respective partners-in-crime Richard Jones and Mal Hartland pushing through to score highly, whilst World Champion Steve Goacher with Tim Harper warmed up to a final race victory on Sunday’s race three. This warm-up, however, was not quite fast enough to put Steve and Tim into the top four, c’mon chaps, pull the finger out!
Social events at Rutland were enjoyed by all the competitors, including the K1 fleet open meeting fleet who were welcomed to the party, comprising Pimms and Pizza after the racing and a three course dinner in Rutland’s clubhouse, not to mention Full English breakfasts, lunches, teas and real filter coffees galore, with everyone’s thanks to the club’s catering team. At the dinner it was noted jovially that the crew combinations ranged from mere spring chickens to a combined age of over 140 years! No names mentioned.
Crew weights and genders also ranged widely, proving overall that Uffa Fox’s MASTERPIECE, the world’s first planing keelboat is not only alive and well but an exciting boat for EVERYONE to sail! Here’s to the late and great Mr Uffa Fox, designer of many famous dinghies and keelboats, whose brief for the Flying Fifteen back in 1947 was for a fast, planing keelboat of about twenty feet, fit for the rough and tumble waters of The Solent. And Boy, did he design a good’un.
Happily there were no dings, nor any protests, and everyone departed fit to fight another day.
Report by Richard Drabble GBR 4046 Fram Freyr, Rutland SC
FULL RESULTS HERE