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Optimist Racing by Steve Irish & Phil Slater
Optimist Racing by Steve Irish & Phil Slater

Minisails at the CVRDA Nationals at Whitefriars Sailing Club

by Rupert Whelan 4 Sep 2011 14:59 BST 27-29 August 2011
Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association national championships © Karen Collyer

Designed in 1959, the “sailing surfboard” Minisail dinghy was one of the iconic dinghies of the 1960’s and 70’s. However, production stopped around 30 years ago, and the boat fell off the radar in spectacular fashion, despite her baby sister, the Topper, going from strength to strength.

However, there was just the hint of a come back at the recent Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association meeting at Whitefriars SC this August Bank Holiday.

Four Minisail sailors and six Minisails met up to race for the first time in many a year. Fortunes over the weekend were mixed, with some owners finding their boats were no longer up to the fairly strong winds after years unused, and some boats finding their owners similarly afflicted!

David Argles brought along a GRP Minisprint variant of the design, with self draining cockpit and Sliding seat. Tom Moore brought his composite Sprint, also with seat, but after the aft decking gave way, completed the meeting in a Monaco variant with a cockpit and no seat.

Peter Matthews brought 2 boats, a Monaco with a cockpit, and also a very early Minisail, a Monaco MK1, which is flush decked, which he had bought on the way to the meeting!

Local Rupert Whelan was sailing a varnished Sprite version of the boat, which instead of a shallow V on the scow bow, is completely flat bottomed. Both this boat and Peter’s Monaco had beautiful new striped sails made by R&J sails of Clevedon.

While there were more Minisail sailors together than for some time, it was decided to hold a meeting to look into re-forming the Class Association, to try and bring more sailors of these wonderful little boats together and make them a common sight at clubs around the country once more.

More information about the class can be found here, and also on the CVRDA forum.

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