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Back in the Day: 1994 Ultra 30 Grand Prix Southampton

by Mark Jardine 14 Dec 2017 08:00 GMT
1994 Ultra 30 Grand Prix in Southampton Water © BBC

In the first of a new series, we're searching out old videos on YouTube which show sailing footage from yesteryear.

First up is the 1994 Ultra 30 Grand Prix held in Southampton, with Lawrie Smith dominating the racing against skippers Russell Peters, Pete Newlands, Glyn Charles, Roger Yeoman and Ossie Stewart.

The Ultra 30s developed from the Ultimate 30 class in the USA, which was raced in the late '80s up until 1990, when the circuit fell apart (as did many of the boats).

In the UK, the Grand Prix circuit had a prime-time slot on the BBC for a few years, really putting sailing into the limelight, and added trapezes in the late '90s, before the UK circuit went the same was as the Ultimate 30s did in the USA.

Of this skippers in this video, Lawrie Smith is now at the top end of the Dragon fleet, Pete Newlands can be found sailing his Shadow catamaran from Gurnard Sailing Club, both Russell Peters and Ossie Stewart regularly sail RS Elites, Roger Yeoman sails XODs and is a top Race Officer at Itchenor Sailing Club and Glyn Charles was tragically lost in the 1998 Sydney Hobart Race.

Every so often someone decides to buy an Ultra 30, do it up and race it, as with the 'Zombie' team below racing in the Solent in 2007, but mostly they can be found derelict in boatyards.

This is a series where we welcome your input! Please email your suggestions for 'Back in the Day' to with a brief explanation as to why you've chosen the video, which event the footage is from and of course which year.

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