Please select your home edition
Edition
Typhoon 2021 - FOOTER
Product Feature
Allen A4589 - Maxi low profile car with 2 x 30mm blocks
Allen A4589 - Maxi low profile car with 2 x 30mm blocks

Poole Regatta - Steeped in racing history

by Chris Jones 22 Aug 10:34 BST
Poole Regatta and Poole flying boat history © Poole Flying Boat Celebration / www.pooleflyingboats.com

The International Paint Poole Regatta returns over the weekend of the 30th April 2022, but did you know picturesque Poole Harbour has a long and rich history of racing sailing, with something to discover whichever way you turn.

Recently regatta president Andrew Pearce came across an old photo showing yacht racing against the background of flying boats and seaplanes.

It turns out that Poole was a serious airport as well as harbour during the 1930s and 40s! It was also the birthplace of BOAC, a predecessor of modern-day British Airways. It all came about when flying boat operations were moved from Southampton Water at the start of the war due to the risk of air raids.

With seven runways spread around the harbour, flying boats and seaplanes headed from the UK across to the USA and out to the furthest corners of the British Empire. It is said that up to 24 passenger flying boats were based in Poole with BOAC employing 600 local people.

During the war, the passenger fleet was joined by aircraft operated from RAF Hamworthy with 461 squadron of the Royal Australian Airforce using Sunderland Flying Boats to attack German U-Boats in the channel and then later 210 squadron, who operated twelve American Catalina aircraft in a similar role.

The harbour was a hive of civil and military flight activity, but clearly opportunities for yacht racing still existed. The image shows XODs racing amongst the BOAC flying boats. The equivalent of motor racing around Heathrow airport. How times have changed!

The X One Design was the vision of Alfred Westmacott, the Managing Director of Woodnutts Boatyard at St Helens on the Isle of Wight. The yard built small day racing boats and designs included the Seaview Mermaid, Solent Sunbeam and Victory. XOD racing first took place in Southampton Water in 1911 under the organisation of the MYC (later to become the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Poole). By the outbreak of the First World War ten boats had been built, but building was suspended, resuming in 1923 and continuing until 1939, when the fleet stood at 81 yachts. It once again stopped during WW2 and resumed in 1946 with production then running through to current day.

At the start of WW2 XOD divisions had been established at Parkstone, Lymington, Itchenor and Hamble, so it is highly likely the yachts in the above image are from the Parkstone division. The 2018 International Paint Poole Regatta saw five XODs out racing in a similar location in the harbour to those seen in the image from 80 years ago. Six races were run, with X40 "Kyperini" and David Law on helm winning the class.

She was built in 1929 so could well have been sailing out of view of the camera as well. Sadly, none of the pictured yachts raced in 2018, but the XODs class will be back at the International Paint Poole. Of the XODs in the image, we understand hulls 9 and 14 are now part of the Lymington division and sadly 28 sank and was lost in 1977.

Poole Regatta 2022 provides another opportunity for these historic yachts to recreate a part of this image. Is it in your diary yet? To find out more about the history of flying boats in Poole visit www.pooleflyingboats.comand and for information about the 2022 regatta visit www.pooleregatta.co.uk

Related Articles

Sponsors committed to Poole Regatta 2022
A 'not to be missed' event can't happen without the sponsors' help On the 7th October the International Paint Poole Regatta Committee hosted a sponsors lunch at the prestigious Royal Motor Yacht Club in Sandbanks. Just two weeks later, all the potential sponsors present at the lunch have confirmed their commitment. Posted on 10 Nov
16 classes confirmed for Poole Regatta 2022
Set to compete for The Canford Cup The well-loved International Paint Poole Regatta is to return from 30th April to 2nd May 2022. Sixteen racing classes are currently committed to racing against the backdrop of the sailing paradise around Poole. Posted on 23 Sep
Pip Hare to be Poole Regatta 2022 Guest of Honour
Racing will take place in Poole Bay from 30th April to 2nd May The International Paint Poole Regatta team are delighted to announce that the fabulous and highly talented Pip Hare will be guest of honour at the 2022 regatta prize-giving, presenting the winners with their prizes. Posted on 9 Sep
Poole Regatta 2022 dates confirmed
Class Championship enquiries welcomed The unmissable International Paint Poole Regatta is to return from 30th April to 2nd May 2022 for a bank holiday weekend of serious racing out on the water and relaxed evening socials. Posted on 24 May
Poole Regatta Cancelled
Join the ongoing discussion to choose a new date In light of the coronavirus crisis facing the world, it has been decided that the International Paint Poole Regatta will unfortunately not be able to take place on the 23rd-25th May this year. Posted on 24 Mar 2020
An Update from Poole Regatta?
Regatta committee frequently reviewing the situation to determine the appropriate action The International Paint Poole Regatta is scheduled for the 23rd-25th May 2020. However, in light of the current Coronavirus outbreak, the regatta committee are frequently reviewing the situation to determine the appropriate action. Posted on 17 Mar 2020
Entries are open for Poole Regatta
Over 160 yachts are expected to compete for the Canford Cup Enter the International Paint Poole Regatta today at pooleregatta.co.uk. Competitive racing across 17 classes will be taking place from 23rd to 25th May 2020 in scenic Poole Bay and Harbour. Posted on 28 Jan 2020
Are you Doing the Double in May 2020?
International Paint Poole Regatta & Round the Island Race only days apart In 2020 only five days separate the much loved International Paint Poole Regatta and the world famous Round the Island Race. For yachts participating in both events, exclusive special benefits have been arranged in Poole to provide a seamless experience. Posted on 3 Jan 2020
Seventeen classes confirmed to compete
At the International Paint Poole Regatta 2020 Seventeen top racing classes have confirmed that the International Paint Poole Regatta 2020 will be part of their racing circuits next year. Posted on 1 Nov 2019
The International Paint Poole Regatta
Shaping up to be even bigger in 2020 The International Paint Poole Regatta 2020 is developing to be the biggest event yet, with the organisers pleased to announce that round two of the inaugural IC37 Championship will be hosted over the weekend. Posted on 5 Sep 2019