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The Yorkshire Ouse 1938 Race

by Ian Purkis 4 Jun 2013 07:23 BST 4 June 2013

Celebrating 75 years of the Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club

1st June 2013 was almost exactly 75 years since the first race was organised by the then newly formed Yorkshire Ouse SC.

To mark the anniversary the Club held a special 75 minute pursuit race, "The 1938 Race" with a fleet of classic and modern racing dinghies invited from clubs and classes associated with YOSC. The race was timed to start at 18.23 and finish at, yes, 19.38!

The fleet was led away by Dan Phillips, age 10, the youngest helm in the family Mirror. Over the following 17 minutes and in a pleasant breeze, the whole fleet gave chase with a myriad of National 12s of all ages, Enterprises, GP14s, various single-handers and one of a pair of brand new RS Visions, straight out of the box, a grant aided purchase by the Club RYA Training Centre and helmed by the Training Principal, Steve Axford.

After 20 minutes the oldest boat in the fleet, an Uffa King National, built in 1937, the year before the YOSC was founded and helmed by Brian Herring who admitted himself to "being built" a couple of years before that, took up the lead. For many minutes the lead switched between him and a Proctor Mk 9 National sailed by Ed Willett who'd trekked from central Scotland to sail at this historic Club. It was then that Philip David, in his well known China Doll design National "Little Meg", took up the lead which he never lost.

Closing on the leading National 12 trio at the finish was the leading Enterprise, sailed by Simon Moss and his son Thomas at age 7, the youngest crew in the race.

Once off the water, the Club members and guests enjoyed a wonderful social comprising a celebration barbecue, slide and film show of sailing at YOSC in decades past and a special prize giving.

Given the significance, the Club Social Secretary had decided the prizes should be significant cash sums. In 1938 the annual subscription was five shillings and a year's sub seemed a good choice, so half to the helm and half to the crew, 2/6 each! Second and third crews got appropriate £sd prizes and every competitor under 18 getting a "lucky sixpence" as a reward for participating.

With the bar priced in both 1938 £ pounds, shillings and pence and 2013 £'s decimal, the most telling comment came from one very senior member, age 92, when faced with beer at £1/0/0 per pint, "a pint and a whisky only cost me eleven pence h'penny in 1938. At these 1938 prices this Club bar wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes!"

Concluding, the Club Commodore Fiona Phillips proposed the toast, "To the next 75 years of the Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club".

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