Please select your home edition
Edition
OLAS 728x90

Flying Fifteens celebrate 4000th boat constructed

by Rupert Leslie on 24 Jul 2012 21 July 2012
Bill Shand is allocated Flying Fifteen sail number 4000 © David Meldrum

The 21st July 2012 marked a milestone for the Flying Fifteen International class and its several thousand members around the world with the launch of the 4000th boat constructed since the design came off the drawing board of legendary designer Uffa Fox in 1947.

"The coincidence of being able to allocate boat 4000 to Australia's most prolific flying fifteen builder, 83 year old Bill Shand for what may well be his own last fifteen, was a very fitting opportunity and terrific thing for the class to be able to do," said FFI Commodore Greg Wells. "To have reached this milestone, and I think be the first of the ISAF recognised international keelboat classes to do so, is something the class is extraordinarily proud to have achieved. Today is a great day in our history," he added.

Bill Shand started building Flying Fifteens' in Gipplsand, in South-East Australia in 1961, and has produced in excess 250 boats from his moulds through until 2010, owning and racing 25 of them which, other than the first one, were all called "Relience".

He has been an active player in the development and refinement of the class, with many of his boats claiming international and national championships, and regional honours over that time. His contribution to Flying Fifteen sailing in Australia and internationally have seen him awarded life membership of the FFI Australia, and the prestigious Uffa Fox Gold Medal from FFI.

Shand picks up the story, "I had a few bits and pieces lying around my workshop a year or two ago and thought I'd build a final boat for myself. Unfortunately falling through a boat hatch and breaking some ribs slowed that idea down. Late last year I learned there was a spare spot in one of the containers coming out from the UK for the Australian 50th Nationals in Perth earlier this year. I elected to get an Ovington hull from the UK manufacturer shipped out, and drive the 7000 km round trip across the Nullabor to collect it. So this boat already has a bit of history and to be allocated the 4000 number was both unexpected and a great honour from FFI."

Over the past few months Bill has fitted a Shand keel and rudder, a Selden rig, Pinnell and Bax sails, and his usual range of fittings, systems and innovations to the boat.

On a cool winter afternoon on the 21st July 2012 on the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria, with not much breeze, long time friend and crew David Parish was on hand to help splash the ceremonial champagne, and for the launch and maiden voyage of Flying Fifteen 4000, appropriately named Relience 4K. A large group of well wishers and fellow "fifteeners" were on hand to witness the launch and celebrate the occasion with Bill.

"My 50 year journey in the Flying Fifteen Class has enabled me to meet and race against many wonderful people around the world, in a beautiful 2 man keelboat that is a delight to sail, and to have a lot of fun and enjoyment along the way" said Shand.

"Flying Fifteens are sailed on all 5 continents, in 15 countries, and over 65 years the class has formed a strong international network of country and regional associations and its world governing body, FFI.," said Commodore Wells "The class had 110 boats at the 2011 Worlds in the UK and continues to grow at the rate of 30 to 40 new boats each year. With next year's World Championship in Hong Kong, we are keen to significantly increase our presence in South East Asia. Hopefully boat 5000 might be around for the 75th Anniversary of the class in a decade from now."

Related Articles

Title sponsors return for 2018 Poole Regatta
Shaping up to be one of the UK's key yacht racing events Poole Regatta 2018 is now less than a year away and is shaping up to be one of the UK's key yacht racing events once again. International Paint has confirmed that they will retain their title sponsorship for the 8th regatta in a row. Posted today at 9:00 am
Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week day 3
Tight racing for vintage classes The Victory class sailed across the Solent today from their very own Portsmouth-based Victory Class Sailing Club which was established in 1934, the same year that the first yachts were built, to make a first ever one-day guest appearance. Posted on 19 Jul
Island SC Tuesday Evening Series Race 14
Cowes Classics Week reduces turnout Race 14 of the Evening Race Series took place on Tuesday and with a number of boats entered into Cowes Classics Week the turnout was down. Posted on 19 Jul
Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week day 2
Black flags versus clean starts on Henri Lloyd Race Day Perfect conditions provided a recipe for spectacular racing. 12 to 14 knots of breeze blowing steadily from the east were the ingredients for the starts of today's Henri Lloyd Race Day, on the four committee boat courses in the mid-Solent. Posted on 18 Jul
Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week day 1
Mixed fortunes on the opening day The opening Winkworth Race Day of the 10th Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week witnessed a huge mixture of fortunes in today's (Monday) light airs which saw winds constantly shifting, presenting a mixture of fortunes across the competing fleets. Posted on 17 Jul
Flying Fifteen Southerns at Cowes
Lovering & Alvarado dominant 38 boats came to the line to compete in the 2017 Flying Fifteen Southern Area Championship hosted by the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club. Posted on 17 Jul
Flying Fifteen Balearic Championships
Speedy Gonzales wins in Pollensa Bay, Mallorca The Flying Fifteen Balearic Championship was held over three days in Pollensa Bay in the north-east corner of the Mediterranean Island of Mallorca. Courses had been defined to include triangles as well as up and down. Posted on 13 Jul
Waples Wines Northern Traveller Series
Update after four events out of six The Waples Wines sponsored series for Flying Fifteens has now reached the 2/3rd stage after completion of round 4 of this 6 round series over the weekend of the 8th and 9th July. Posted on 12 Jul
Flying Fifteens and Lasers at Bassenthwaite
An adequate supply of shifty wind on both days Due to National Park restrictions, Open Meetings on Bassenthwaite Lake often need to be combined - albeit with separate fleet starts and with individual Notices of Race to suit a specific class. Posted on 9 Jul
Flying Fifteen Northerns at Ullswater
Clean sweep for Draycote duo Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett of Draycote Water Sailing Club won the Flying Fifteen Northern Championship at Ullswater Yacht Club on June 24 and 25 with a clean sweep of five firsts. Posted on 26 Jun