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Flying Fifteens at the RYA Dinghy Show

by Jeremy Arnold / UK Flying Fifteen Association 27 Feb 10:18 GMT Stand C65, 2-3 March 2019
Flying Fifteens set for the RYA Dinghy Show 2019 © David Harding / UKFFA

The UK Flying Fifteen Association will be exhibiting this weekend at the 2019 RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show ahead of what will be a very busy year for the class both at 'grass roots' level and at the more glamorous end of activities.

Flying Fifteen World Championships are held biannually, and also alternate between Northern and Southern hemispheres, meaning that the event takes place in Europe only once in every four years but 2019 is such a year, and with the Dublin Bay venue being only a ferry ride away you can be sure that British Flying Fifteeners will be there in force. The event takes place in September but the boosting effect within the UK fleet has already been felt for some time, with excellent attendances at qualifying events throughout last year and with Ovington Boats reporting that they've built a very healthy 15 new boats in the last few months, with more likely still to come.

One of this latest batch of boats is GBR 4069, which will be on the UKFFA stand this weekend. Owner Bill Chard from Chew Valley Lake SC first started sailing Flying Fifteens back in 2011 and is now a well-known figure on the circuit. Frequently crewed by his daughter, GBR 4069 is Bill's third Flying Fifteen to date and has been fitted-out by Bill himself from a P&B-supplied bare hull & keel. The boat features the twin self-launching spinnaker pole arrangement which is becoming increasing-popular in the class and which, together with the recently-adopted and more-easily handled high-aspect genoa, is helping to broaden the appeal of the Flying Fifteen amongst mixed-crews especially.

At a domestic level the class has all the usual Area Championships events taking place, plus the UK National Championships at Parkstone YC. This year too though there will also be an increasing focus on supporting Flying Fifteen sailing at local club level, both aimed at existing 'Fifteen owners and at sailors from other classes who may be considering moving-up from whatever dinghy they currently sail.

Handicap sailing, or one-design sailing in small club fleets, is the bedrock of almost every class, yet class associations often only focus on the big National events which most members will never attend. To counter this UKFFA have a new support programme planned for the clubs and sailors involved in the various regional Flying Fifteen traveler series that have always existed, and is also instigating a club-level publicity campaign and trial-sail events to help promote the considerable-but-often-unappreciated merits of the Flying Fifteen to the as-yet unconverted.

It all kicks-off at Alexandra Palace this weekend, so come and see us on stand C65!

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