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Newest boat joins oldest club on Grand National day

by Duncan Mackay on 13 Apr 2011 9 April 2011
Commodore's wife Judy Saunders officially names newest National 12 'Treebore' at Henley Sailing Club © Duncan Mackay

Henley Sailing Club saw the launch of the latest boat in the National 12 fleet on the same day of the Grand National at Aintree. Commodore’s wife Judy Saunders officiated at the naming and launching ceremony at the club HQ off Willow Lane, Wargrave with a bottle of Chateau Lafitte and a crowd of admiring guests and sailors. National 12 number 3536 ‘Treebore’ is twelve foot of shiny carbon-fibre composite and high technology sailing controls including a flanged rudder to facilitate lifting the transom and reducing drag in the water.

‘Treebore’ is owned by Stephen Gent from Twyford who designs and builds green oak constructions for the Chilterns based Ridgeway Oak company. Stephen said,

“It’s a proud moment for me to have the newest National 12 in the country and I’m really keen to see what she can do in the testing wind conditions we get here on the Thames. National 12’s are ideal river dinghies for racing as they are quick to respond to the slightest of breezes and plane spectacularly well in strong winds. It will take a while for my crew Viv Roberts and I to adjust from our old vintage wooden boat to this sleek sprinter. It’s somewhat ironic that I spend my time boring holes in green oak beams, jointing and pegging them to create oak barns, hence the name ‘Treebore’, but this boat doesn’t contain a single piece of wood and I certainly wouldn’t want to bore holes in it.”

HSC Commodore Tim Saunders said, “Henley Sailing Club is one of the oldest recreational sailing clubs in the world having been founded in 1896 and has always been at the forefront of boat technology. Former member and legendary sailor Uffa Fox developed the original National 12 class from his understanding of the needs for a specifically river based sailing boat in 1936. The class has developed spectacularly since the original wooden planked boats of the 1930s and we are pleased to host its very latest example here at Henley. ‘Treebore’ is certainly a grand boat.”