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Osprey Class at the 2022 RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show

by David Downs 2 Mar 17:06 GMT 26-27 February 2022
The 2021 Champions, Matt Burge & Vyv Townend, leading the fleet during 2021 National Championship hosted by Tenby Sailing Club © Alistair Mackay

The Osprey Class Association attended the 2022 RYA Dinghy and Watersports show at the Farnborough International Conference Centre over the weekend of 26th and 27th February.

The new venue was a big success with the whole of the show in one large airy hall and easy access with car parking right outside the entrance to the venue. The only limitation was a lack of headroom for boats with tall masts. The Osprey had a very close encounter with a light fitting and had to be heeled over on its trailer to pass by some cable trays before finding a space where the mast could be lifted in and out!

The Osprey Class builder and Copyright holder Hartley Boats had a large stand in a prominent position (and close to the bar) and the Osprey Class Association shared part of that stand. The centre piece of the stand was Richard and Mark Hartley's stunning prototype epoxy Mark VI Osprey. While visually very similar to the Mark V that preceded it, the Mark VI has incorporated several internal changes to address experiences with the Mark V. Richard and Mark have campaigned this boat through the 2021 season, winning the End of Season Championships at Carsington and finishing twelfth in the very competitive fleet at the 2021 National Championships held at Tenby. The layout of the boat has been developed and refined by Richard and Mark and Hartley Boats are now going into production with these boats fitted out to a similar specification or as a bare hull for owners to incorporate their own ideas. At the show Hartley Boats were offering a very attractive £5,000 discount and that offer may still be valid for a short period of time.

The Mark VI Osprey is a very attractive looking boat combining the timeless beauty of Ian Proctor's hull shape with an all new and modern deck and internal layout. It attracted a great deal of interest both from those who have sailed Ospreys in the past and from newer and younger sailors.

Also on the stand was a scale model of Osprey No 1, the boat that was built for the 1952 Olympic Trials and won the 1953 Coronation Round the Isle of Wight dinghy race from a fleet of over 200 starters. The Osprey Class Association have subsequently raced around the Isle of Wight on three further occasions, and it is planned to hold a Round the Island race in 2023 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first race. This is an exciting development that has attracted a great deal of interest.

While not yet completely finished the Osprey No 1 model had consumed many hours to build its nine plank a side clinker hull completed with steamed timber ribs and copper nails clenched with roves in traditional fashion. All varnished it looked stunning and attracted a good deal of attention.

At the show it was agreed that Craft Insure would become the Osprey Class Association insurer of choice and the Class would get substantial financial sponsorship which will be used to contribute to what is expected to be a fantastic 2022 National Championship hosted by Porthpean Sailing Club in Cornwall from the 3rd to the 6th September.

There were fifty entries for the 2021 National Championship at Tenby (albeit three boats were unable to make it to the start line) and it is hoped to match this at Porthpean. Entry forms are available on the Osprey Class Website and early entry is encouraged to take advantage of the early entry discount and to secure a boat park allocation close to the slipway. The team all wore sweatshirts with the Porthpean SC National Championship publicised, which attracted comment from an Olympic Gold medallist!

The Class Association have a boat that can be made available to attend open meetings and championships and/or just to try out. This boat 1360 "Blood and Thunder" had a busy year in 2021 finishing third at the National Championships, third at the Inland Championships and third at the End of Season Championships all in different hands. It has been present at some of the Sailjuice Winter events and acquitted itself well. Booking forms for the boat are available on the Osprey Class website and it is already looking like 2022 will be a busy year for the boat.

Despite cancellations through weather and Covid, the Ospreys had a good overall showing at the Sailjuice series with team Blake (Roger and Jamie) doing the class proud by picking up second place in the Masters category and third place in the Family trophy. They received their prizes at the show and congratulations to them.

The Fernhurst Books stand featured a caption competition using an old black & white photograph of an Osprey with a surprising crew member! Did you see it?

The Osprey Class stand was a busy place throughout the show, both as a place to meet up with friends old and new but also to attract new people and new events to the class. Several teams were encouraged to buy, beg or borrow boats to take part in the Championships and the Round the Isle of Wight Race. Some potential new people were given contact details to try out the Class boat and the possibility of a European event was discussed with some overseas visitors.

All told the show was a great forum to demonstrate all the exciting things that are happening in the Osprey fleet.

The Osprey Class website,, has lots of information on the class.

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