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Hyde Sails 2017 Dinghy Show

Squibbers set for stunning 50th – plus your chance to win a new Squib!

by Mark Jardine 26 Mar 09:37 BST
(l-r) Tony Gibson, Marian Gibson & Paul Young on the Squib stand at the RYA Dinghy Show 2018 © Mark Jardine

During the RYA Dinghy Show 2018 I spoke to Paul Young, MD of Rondar Boats, who build Squibs, Marian Gibson, Hon. Secretary of the National Squib Class Association, and Tony Gibson, Class Captain of the Stone Sailing Club fleet, about the 50th Anniversary Celebrations the class are enjoying in 2018.

At the show a new Rondar boat was on display which Paul was rightly proud of, not just of the workmanship, but also getting to the show in the first place: "We managed to dig ourselves out of the drifting snow in Wiltshire and get to Alexandra Palace and the reaction to the boat from people here has been great."

The show is very important to many classes and the Squibs are no exception. The Squib on display was for Simon Vines at Weymouth Town SC, and was exhibited showing a set of concept sails, with a number of new features, as well as a colour change away from the traditional Mace.

Marian told us the reaction they've had at the show: "It's been amazing. It's been very busy, and we've had a lot of people coming up to look at the boat, the concept sails, lots of questions and they are not all Squibbers."

It's a milestone year for the Squib, but the class hasn't been static at all, displaying the new self-draining design, which is now fully RYA approved, as well as the concept sails as Tony explained: "There's an awful lot happening in the class, such as demonstrating these concept sails in white with a touch of mace for the traditionalists. It shows the class has the opportunity and will to move with the times. The new Rondar boats are magic and I've got one! It's a really special boat which has moved the Squib from a relatively high-maintenance fun boat, to one which is low-maintenance and more fun as I have more time to sail."

To mark the 50th year, Rondar Boats and the National Squib Class Association are conducting a boat giveaway during the 2018 season. Paul described how sailors can get involved: "To win the new Squib, all you have to do is sail a Squib. You have to belong to the Association and then you every time you sail in either club racing, open meetings or National Championship races and you get allocated tickets for each level of race that you take part in. At the end of the year all those tickets will go into a big pot and there will be a winner drawn. The nice thing from our perspective is that the person who wins the new Squib will be a Squib sailor."

The class are hosting their 50th Anniversary National Championship during Lendy Cowes Week and currently have 82 boats entered from 17 different clubs. Marian was very excited about the event: "There are rumours that quite a few more will be entering and we believe final entries could top a hundred boats. This is the year of the Squib! If you're interested in joining then contact us via the website and we can put you in touch with the relevant local people to get you out on the water. It's as simple as that."

The Squib class have also secured sponsorship from the Leeds based telecommunications company aql, who are providing free spinnakers for all Squibs who race at the Anniversary Nationals. What more incentive could you want to enter?

Tony reinforced the point about how accessible the class is: "Anybody pitching up at a club that has Squibs and says 'I'd like to go for a sail' will be welcomed and taken out for a sail, either crewing or helming. At Stone we hold a Try Sailing Day, as part of the RYA Push the Boat Out initiative, where you'll see youngsters from 7 or 8 through to adults all going out in the Squib and realising just how fun the boat is. It's a great way to attract new people into the fleet and the sport."

The Squib has active racing all around the country, with the bigger fleets at Burnham, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Weymouth, South Caernarvonshire YC at Abersoch, Lowestoft, as well as in Ireland at Kinsale, Dun Laoghaire and the royal Forth and the Royal Tay up in Scotland in Scotland. For a full list of clubs, activities and events for Squibs, please visit the website www.squibs.co.uk, or the class Facebook page.

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