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Classic Dinghy Rally at Frensham Pond Sailing Club

by Jim Morley on 19 Jul 2006 15-16 July 2006

Hot sun and good breezes made a perfect setting for the most colourful event of Frenham Pond Sailing Club’s summer season. A festival of vintage sailing dinghies took to the water for a four race series over the weekend 15th – 16th July.

The scene, almost a time-warp, brought back memories of how the water looked in the early days of the sailing club, when boats were wooden, as were their masts, with sails made of fine Egyptian cotton. The event run jointly by Frensham and the Classic and Vintage Dinghy Association attracted twenty three entries of whom twenty took to the water.

Owner enthusiasts travelled from many locations, the furthest being Paul Turner from Trent Valley SC with National Twelve 2487. The oldest boat, original Merlin Class No 6, built in 1946 is an early example of the type of craft from which the modern racing boat has evolved. Also taking part were vintage National Twelves; the class raced at Frensham for ten years from the club’s foundation in 1953. Among the visiting Twelves was Chris Dimmick and Petawawa No 2501 the 1971 winners of the Burton Trophy.

Racing took place in a relaxed manner with results computed around a handicap system based on the yardstick of the individual boat when it was built. This resulted in a clear series win for Rupert Whelan, sailing the smallest boat in the fleet, a plywood British Moth; a design familiar to Frensham in the 1950s. Other designs included a New Zealand Cherub class, as well as old favourites still raced such as the 1950s Enterprise.

Examples ashore, on show included an International Fourteen dinghy and most exotic of all a Ten Square Metre sailing canoe.

Frensham club commodore, Nick Royce, thanked all visitors who had travelled from near and far and paid special tribute to former commodore, Charles Smith who organised the event and did the complicated mathematics to arrive at the results. The Frensham event is now included on both the Merlin Rocket and National Twelve vintage circuit.

Overall Results: 1st: Rupert Whelan – British Moth 718 – Whitefriars SC
2nd: Nat 12 - 2487 – Paul Turner – Trent Valley SC
3rd, OK 1211 – Alan Price – Hayling Ferry SC
4th Merlin-Rocket 1066 – Tim Bury – Banbury SC
5th Merlin Rocket 6 – Chris Barlow – Shearwater SC

Concours, most elegant boat: Merlin-Rocket No 2121 – S. Lavelle – Shearwater SC

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