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Allen Brothers

CVDRA Rally at Blithfield Sailing Club - Overall

by Dougal@davidhenshallmedia 1 Jul 2013 21:14 BST 29-30 June 2013

If the Saturday had been a tad breezy for some of the older classic dinghies, Sunday gave every indication of being even more a test for 50 year old plus joints (those made with cascamite, not of the hip and knee variety, though some of these were put to the test too).

As the wind had freshened it had swung further around to the West and was now brisk enough to blow away the cobwebs from the well spiced chilli and Fursty Ferret consumption (a lethal combination) the night before. The Race Team now set a course that would repay the ability to maintain speed on the reaches and with the exception of some controversy about the rounding of the bottom mark, the at times hot sunshine meant that a brilliant day afloat was almost guaranteed.

Sadly, the eagerly awaited showdown between the top two boats from the day before would fail to materialise, as Peter Vinton, who in his elderly Fairey Finn had proved so fast on the Saturday, already had a pressing engagement and had departed early. Runner up to Peter on day 1 had been a singlehander that was almost the complete opposite of the Finn, with Ian Marshall with his very quick and lightweight Shelly 1 International Moth (this hailing from an era when Moths looks liked boats!). Ian already had excellent breezy weather credentials, having won the medium group at last year's Bosham Classic Revival, a result that was in part built on his ability to survive the wild conditions on the Sunday.

In the end the shallow nature of the course and Ian's mastery of what is still a quirky, tricky boat to sail (in the prevailing conditions getting the fore and aft trim right on the Shelly was essential!) saw him romp home the winner from Sandy Lavell and Pat Jones in their Albacore. Mention has to be made of Chris Barker, sailing his Uffa Fox International 14 single handed. With his main reefed down, he still completed all the races and showed the pedigree of this 1938 boat, (a true classic if ever there was one), as a boat to be raced hard rather than just admired ashore. At the other end of the age spectrum were some more modern Merlin Rockets that luckily just sneaked in under the classic 'bar', for they added their own grace and purpose to the activities afloat.

This was the first time Blithfield had hosted a classic event and the untroubled ease at which the superb Race Team afloat and the friendly on shore support handled the event suggest that this is an event that is sure to grow. Next week the Classic Dinghy scene moves south, to the picturesque location of Bosham, but the success of the Revival meeting there must surely be making the organisers at Blithfield think about how quickly their own event could develop.

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