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Ovington Boats 2014

VX One Champion, 37 years on from Prince of Wales Cup win

by Mark Jardine 6 Jul 2017 13:00 BST 6 July 2017
VX One Nationals at Sunderland © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

David Chandler recently won the VX One National Championship at Sunderland Yacht Club, 37 years after winning the Prince of Wales Cup, the one-race nationals for the International 14 class. We spoke to him about how he's 're-living his youth' in the VX One.

Mark Jardine: You had a windy event in Sunderland, did you find the VX One easy to handle?

David Chandler: The VX One is a very easy boat to drive and get going, it's when you stall or stop that things get difficult.

Mark: You have a few people at Ullswater who've decided to join the VX One fleet. What is the appeal of the class?

David: I'd had a couple of operations done on my knee and was sailing a Wayfarer that I was hobbling around in. I met up with Howard Steavenson, a fellow VX One sailor who'd had to have his ankle fused, and he suggested I come out with him for a sail in his VX One. I went out and just loved it. He told me I should get one, so I asked my wife, telling her that I could actually sail the boat with my dodgy knees. She's very forgiving and told me to go for it!

Mark: So the VX One was better for your knees than the Wayfarer?

David: Correct! It's not an easier boat to sail, but with the interior being so uncluttered, if you know what you're doing, it's a fantastic boat.

Mark: Both you and Howard are ex-International 14 sailors. Do you think the VX One could attract more high performance sailors who are looking for something a bit less aggressive?

David: Yes, I think it should. Unlike some keelboats it's a little bit wetter, but it makes it feel like you are in a dinghy and you haven't gone over to the 'dark side' of a keelboat!

Mark: So it's a way of extending your high-performance sailing life-span?

David: I think so. Also Charlie, my son - who crewed for me, has won in the D-Ones and is an International Canoe sailor - thinks it's a marvellous boat to sail, so the appeal is certainly there.

Mark: Back in 1980, when you were sailing International 14s, you won the single-race Prince of Cup race during PoW Week. Could you tell me a bit about that?

David: I'd been sailing International 14s since 1975 on the river at Tewkesbury, and we had a great team of 14ers who travelled to events all around the South West, and when I got into my working life I decided to have a go at the Open circuit. I met some marvellous people, who I still know today, and sailed the PoW that year in the beautiful Tor Bay, hosted by the Royal Torbay Yacht Club. It was a great race, we started on port, crossed the fleet and led from start to finish!

Mark: Did you think you had another National Championship win in you?

David: When my children were growing up we went through Graduates, then Cadets where I was taking them around the open meetings. Charlie and I also sailed a Leader in 1990 as a few of my friends had got them and won the Nationals in that, so I've kept my hand in. When you have a family you have to commit your time to them and I can safely say I've got a son who is now a far better sailor than me and certainly a lot fitter than I was at that age!

Mark: And Charlie has gone on to win the D-One National Championships I believe?

David: He has, and he's now getting himself ready for the International Canoe World Championships in Pwllheli.

Mark: It sounds like the VX One is an ideal boat for a father-son combination to sail in.

David: Very much so. For me it means I have all the strength up at the front of the boat and all I have to do is push it in the right direction - which he tells me is the wrong direction, obviously!

Mark: What would you say to high performance sailors, whatever class they're in, who are finding that class a bit too hard going, about the VX One?

David: I would say it's a very friendly, welcoming class with good, competitive sailing. Everyone has a very good attitude.

Mark: What's next up for you?

David: The Worlds at Lake Garda! We're expecting some American, Swiss, Belgian, German and Australian sailors to join us for that so it should be a really good event, and good to see the setup that is being used by different teams around the world. I know in Australia they sail the boat with a much tighter slot than we do over here and I think it'll be great for the class.

Mark: Best of luck at Lake Garda and many thanks for your time.

David: No problem at all Mark. I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Find out more about the VX One at www.ovingtonboats.com/shop/vxone.html