Expert Tips – Launching/Recovering, Coming on to the Jetty in a Blow….!!

At our Club, we just had a good discussion about the challenges of recovering Flying Fifteens from the Jetty in a bit of a blow – and how daunting that can be for FF beginners.

This tip from John Hanson  will not help the launch / getting off the pontoon, but is great for coming back ashore.  There is also a cracking good idea from John about hoisting the main away from the jetty in a breeze.   This is what John suggested:-

” We use  a Sea Anchor.  We have this rolled up and in the tank all year round.   When coming in to the pontoon we clip it on to the main sheet eye and throw it over the side.  It allows us to approach the pontoon slowly  minimising damage and there is no need for the crew to jump, she just steps off when alongside.  See the photos as a demo.

You can in case of an issue or when pulling up the main  clip this on the bow and it will keep the bow head to wind and reduce the speed the boat goes astern when you have new crew unsure what to do”

Ed : Very good idea






You Can Race a Fifteen for a Long Time….!!

I have a great picture from the Australian Nationals of 3 sailors all over 80 years old (Athol lidgett, Bill Shand and Nigel Peck) that I feels deserves a mention. It also shows how good the class is in keeping us all sailing.

My crew and I won the Grandmasters trophy (combined age over 110 years). Bill  Shand and his crew suggested a new trophy for combined age over 140 years. How amazing is that?.

peck shand and lidgett

All over 80. Someone told me Nigel is over 90 and going into space next year. Worth a Google.
Bill sailed the whole regatta while Nigel and Athol did at least one race.

David Tabb


Kit for New Members….

Tony Cumberbirch joined our fleet just in March 2011 – after many years away from sailing. I was pretty impressed when Tony paid his Club Subs on the spot pretty much. It was March so Winter Rules applied, and Tony, star that he is, immediately bought a new dry suit. What’s that ? £250 maybe. Presumably gloves and boots too. On my suggestion he bought M&S thermals not Mustos. Then on his first outing in Midnight C, he needed a buoyancy aid. Hmm – £50??

It’s quite a cost to get into sailing for the first time or a very long break then?? What should we do??  Maybe we should all post our disused/outgrown(!) kit on the website for sale ??  What does the Datchet Club do with lost property – do they ever sell it off after it lies unclaimed for a few months?? Does the Watersports School ever sell of its old inventory? I dont think the new chandler rents wetsuits like the old one used to…  It seems quite a barrier to entry to me for the newcomer – we should have a think about what we might do about it….

Flying Fifteen Hiking Aids – The Hobbles…

Hon. National FF Measurer Swallow is right on our case (see item named “Flying Fifteen Hiking”). Chris is keen to point out that some Hobbles are actually illegal in Flying Fifteens – particularly the long bonkers type they use in the Star Class (we have a Star at Datchet !!!) which look like they belong in the Abu Ghraib museum !!…..

What is FF legal says Chris, is Hobbles that do NOT extend beyond the sheerline AND have quick release mechanisms. (I think Grayson uses velcro for his kit).

You know I mentioned my Dragon buddies who had their pride and joy, GBR 683,  sink in a howler at Cannes. (The boys were a bit shaken but OK. ) What I forgot to mention was that two Dragons went under that day. On the second boat, there was genuine concern that they almost lost one of the team. He had jib sheet wrapped around his ankle and when you are in panic, releasing yourself is not as easy and quick as you might think.

So – I’d still prefer not to have them in my boat…..  🙂

Flying Fifteen Hiking….

I got pretty worried when Grayson showed me his hiking straps (called hobbles) in Tom’s boat.  If you haven’t seen hobbles, they are nasty looking ankle straps that let you hang right out of the boat and are attached to a wire in the cockpit. I suppose it is what they use in the Star Class and the like, to get the meat right over the side. I class them with Scolds Bridles and the 2 stone weight jacket I used to have to wear in the Flying Dutchman… As I have three buddies who had their Dragon submarine dive to the bottom of the bay in Cannes, I wouldn’t want any device that effectively tied me to a hull that has 300lbs of lead hanging out of the bottom…..

But did you see this in the Y&Y Dinghy Show edition?? The hiking bench…. It looks a neat piece of kit. When I was teenager, I raced an old Osprey with my Dad. To improve upwind performance I copied the old Elvstrom hiking picture in his book, and built a bench that was an exact cross section of an Osprey sidetank. Used to do 120 sit-ups a day on the thing. Couldn’t do three now!!

Looks nice kit though. We could have a whip round and buy one for Grayson….