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International 12 Foot Dinghy Friendship Regatta at Rutland

by Vincent Delany 30 Jul 2019 20:17 BST 26-28 July 2019
Waiting for the wind to arrive during the International 12 Foot Dinghy Friendship Regatta at Rutland © Vincent Delany

The International 12 Foot Dinghy is a most historic British designed Olympic dinghy, designed by George Cockshott, of Southport, Lancashire in 1913.

As it was the only International class of dinghy at the time, the International 12 Foot Dinghy was selected as Olympic equipment by The International Yacht Racing Union (now known as World Sailing) for use at both the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games (racing held in Ostend and in Amsterdam) and the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam.

A decision was made by the International 12 Foot Dinghy Association to hold a friendship event for the dinghies on Rutland Water in July 2019, to support and promote the British fleet. Entries for this significant Friendship event at Rutland Sailing Club came from three continents, from Uganda, Holland, Canada, England and Ireland. The Class permits a crew of either one of two for racing. There is no doubt that in heavy weather the second person aboard can be of great advantage is keeping the beautiful balanced lug rigged wooden dinghy moving through choppy water.

Initially the wind on Friday 26th July was less than two knots with blue dragonflies moving faster that the dinghies. Fish jumping in an attempt to catch the dragonflies provided entertainment for the competitors until after a short postponement a 6 knot breeze arose from the west. In this four-lap windward - leeward race Dutch champion Pieter Bleeker (NED) won from Colin Blewell (GBR), with Nicolette Aronidus (CAN) third. Doug Branson (GBR) had his best race in these lighter conditions. It might have been expected that the Dutch expertise would dominate, but in this race they certainly did not. This was followed by second race of the day race two in similar conditions, but this time the superior Dutch boat handling was a lesson to the other competitors. On Friday evening the competitors socialised over dinner with the assistance of some draft Pimms in the hospitable sailing club.

On Saturday the dinghies sailed near Manton village on the south west arm of the reservoir, the breeze had increased to 10 knots without big waves. The Dutch again showed the way again with Bleeker, Bos, and de Vrybuiter on the podium. It was now evident that a wind bend could be found by keeping close to the north shore of the reservoir. The wind was progressively building in strength with gusts strong enough to test some crews on the downwind legs of the windward-leeward course. In race two Vincent Delany, due to his light weight was unable to control his boat in the strengthening winds and was joined by Andrew Miller who skilfully crewed for the rest of the event. Dinghies were beached or moored on Saturday evening. On Saturday evening a formal International dinner was held with the benefit of an educational speech from the fleet Admiral.

The heavy rain overnight filled the moored boats of Mark Delany and George Miller and unfortunately they were unable to clear the water before the first gun in 14 knots of wind from the east. In these conditions Margaret Delany and Gerry Murray (in the 1928 built 'Cora' built for Seapoint Boat Club, Dublin) had their best race. In the final race Vincent Delany and Andrew Miller in the historic No.112 (which was famously sailed by Mr. Bokre when he was narrowly beaten into second place by 29 secs. by Captain Payne in a sail-off for the top place at the World Dinghy Championships of 1925) were growing in confidence and took a valuable third place.

At the prizegiving, Admiral Hamminga, thanked the competitors for travelling so far to the enjoyable regatta, and presented a newly built centreboard trophy to Piet Bleeker the event champion. He encouraged dinghy owners to attend Clinkerfest, the celebration of 250 years of yachting and sailing at Lough Ree Yacht Club, Athlone, Ireland on 30-31 May- 1 June 2020, and the Centenary celebrations of the 1920 Oostende Olympics on the weekend of July 11-12, 2020 in Ostend, Belgium.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1824Pieter Bleeker~VWDTP12111[3]28
2859Bert B. Bos.~KWS{4}12441113
3390Nicolette Aronidus~Soilspring S.C.3[7]5324421
4695Bert Hamminga~Kaazi Entebbe[12]44232823
5757Leen Willigan~de Vrybuiter[6]33556527
6IRL 112Vincent DelanyAndrew MillerRoyal St George Y.C.566[11]77334
7GBR 57Colin Blewell~Poole Y.C.2566[9]8938
8IRL 8Margaret DelanyGerry MurrayLough Ree Y.C.[12]89765641
9IRL 470Mark Delany~Lough Ree Y.C.8[11]7889747
10GBR 60Doug Branson~Bosham S.C.91010101010[12]59
11IRL 11George MillerAndrew MillerRoyal St George Y.C.79[12]911121260

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