Campaigning a Silver Category Boat

Andy Clark started sailing in big boats, racing in anything from one and 3/4 toners to contessa 32’s as a sail trimmer and helm. He wanted a boat of his own with ‘big boat’ mentality and dinghy performance hence the flying fifteen. Andy taught Nadia how to sail and she only started in late 2007.  Nadia has progressed amazingly…fearless and scarily competitive…

They started their Silver Boat Campaign in 2008 and the results were stunning…

1st Southerns 2008/2009

1st Inlands 2008

1st Northerns 2008/2009

1st Mid Winter Champs 2010 (7th overall)

1st Llanghorse Open 2009

1st silver in all series at Datchet 2009

Andy and Nadia both look about 27….

Andy Says:-

If you’ve clicked enough buttons to get this far, or accidentally find yourself on this page when all you really wanted to do was pay your gas bill, just hold on a minute…

I’m here to tell you a few things about sailing a silver flying fifteen at Datchet.  In fact, it has been suggested that I become some sort of ambassador/lord/high master emperor for the silver fleet so how could I refuse that!

So, silver flying fifteens…. For those of you who are new to flying fifteens or thinking of buying one, no that’s not the colour of the hull… It’s a rather good idea by the Association to split the fleet into sub-fleets taking the boat’s age into account.  This only applies to the boat and not the owners, … you don’t get bonus points for sailing a silver boat with silver hair!

So, “what is a silver boat and so what?” I hear you cry.   Well if you happen to own a flying fifteen with a sail number between 2700 and 3400 you have one already.  That is unless you want to race anywhere else in the world in which case it has to be between the numbers of 2700 and 3200. My boat is 3378 and so I have a silver boat in Britain but not in France, or Spain, or Australia, or anywhere else that has good weather! I think we’re still ok in the Isle of Wight though!!

I should point out that the reason for this article is to entice you to come and race silver flying fifteens at Datchet. So with that in mind, I shall now point out some very good reasons for you to do just that…

Firstly, purely for selfish reasons, we’d like some more silver boats to race against please.

Secondly, we have real trophies for silver boats in all series and competitions. Yes that’s right, REAL SILVERWARE,… not just a bottle of Bulgarian merlot and a book token.

Thirdly, you are guaranteed good close racing in one of the largest man made ponds in the Queens back garden.  She doesn’t mind, just watch your language when you pass close to ‘one’s castle!!

Fourth, the flying fifteen helms and crews at Datchet are some of the most friendly you will find in any club.  We have fathers, sons, husbands, wives, old and…not as old, and even a Russian (don’t worry she’s on my boat, just try not to overtake us please!)   We’re all keen on improving the fleet in our numbers and our technique, and help is always freely given on tuning and skills.

Lastly, there’s nothing quite like overtaking new boats in your older silver bullet. Brings a lump to the throat and tears to the eyes…of the new boat’s owner that is. And that my friends, is why I still have a silver flying fifteen.   If you don’t have buckets of cash and more duck houses than you can eat, then buy yourself an older boat and you can still compete.   Racing with boats of the same age keeps the costs down.   Believe me, you can still keep up and even overtake a new boat given the right conditions.   I should know, I’ve upset loads of flying fifteen royalty in my silver boat.

Taking all this a step further you can always take part in the excellent events all over the UK. We often travel with my boat to various open meetings and championships.  If you really want to improve, this is where to hone those skills.   If this takes your fancy, Datchet is perfectly placed to travel from.   Once out of the dinghy park, you’re on the M4 and praying the boat’s still on the back when you get to most of the UK within 5 hours.   Or 30 mins if you’re Adam Mangan!

During my travels I have noticed a lack of silver boats on the circuit.  It has occurred to me that maybe you silver boat owners are slightly put off racing against ‘hotshots’ in large fleets in a race you can’t win.   I believe it’s always worth taking part, as silver fleet prizes are also awarded at these events.  If enough of us take the plunge it could lead to some fantastic competitive fleet racing.   What we need is a base to build from and I propose Datchet as the perfect starting point. We have some Silver Boats in the Datchet FF Loan Program – it’s a great way to try them out! (see the “Trial Sail?” tab below the big photo)

To summarise, if you want good, competitive, social, cheaper fleet racing, with a chance of some real silverware to show off to your friends (even as an excuse to why you missed the family bbq)… then buy a silver boat and bring it to Datchet for some quality silver fleet racing.

If you don’t, I’ll set the Russian on you!

©DWSC Ltd, 2011

Andy and Nadia in a State of High Concentration