An Australian in Our Midst….!!

Over some time, we’ve had an Australian in our midst – John Hassen…  I think I first met John at the Hayling Worlds in 2011.  John has family over here, and I have family ‘over there’ – so it has made sense to chat about life a lot.

John has long nurtured his dream of campaigning a Flying Fifteen “over here” as well as “over there”.  His is a proper Two Boat Programme !!  If you’re going to the France Worlds, you’ll likely see him there too!

I’ve got to know John pretty well, as many of us have.  You might like to read his travelogue of FF sailing in Europe that he has published on the FF Australia website.

Click here to see it.


FF Poetry Prize …!!

Now I know this item will strike you as unusual….  How about FF inspired poetry ??!!

The Western Australia fleet have just held their fleet championship in Esperance – where the Worlds were held a few years ago.   A lady participant, Victoria Brown, felt she should write a poem about the experience.

Download it, and as you read it in your head, do it with Pam Ayres speaking the poem – it works a treat !!

©Victoria Brown – download here

Aussie Nationals – Results !!

Matt Owen wins Australian Flying Fifteen Championships

aus nationals 2014 m owen sailing(photo ©LMYC Jan Cummings)

So dominant were Matt Owen and crew member Andrew Reed aboard AUS3684 “Defcon1” in the FF Australian Championships which sailed out of LMYC in Lake Macquarie over the last week that they did not need to start in the last race to win the title.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Canberra Yacht Club pair were right at home in the fresh 20-25 knot ENE breezes that prevailed throughout the regatta to record a perfect score of 6 from 6 scored races (they actually dropped a 2nd place). Their win was never in doubt!

(photo ©Paul van Rugge)

“Idswapthisforabundy” Adam Hawkins and Ben Jones from Melbourne sailed a very solid regatta to finish second with a score of 11 points whist “Lapse In reality” Peter Milne and Phillip Dubbin, also from Melbourne won third place from Western Australian David Yu’s “Tuffan Up” on a count back.

“Yes, No, Maybe!” Skipper Jenny Simms from Western Australia did particularly well in the fresh conditions to win the handicap honours whilst “FFlashpoint” skipper Peter Rooke also from WA won the Masters trophy.

It was surprising to note that a very high percentage of the fleet were eligible for the “masters” division but precious few contested the “rising star” trophy. These boats still have plenty to offer young sailors in terms of speed and boat handling challenges. They are very reasonably priced and backed by well-run associations.

LMYC again provided a great venue for a championship event and Lake Macquarie lived up to its reputation as one of Australia’s best sailing areas.

Russell Cummings
Sailing Manager
Lake Macquarie Yacht Club

The Rudder Thing….!!

As a follow up to the rudder article it seems that the rudder post sloping forward became fashion as a result of John Calvert-Jones’s visit from  Australia in 1973 when he won the UK championships in a boat called Flight 3.  At the time he sailed with Davey’s Bay Yacht Club  near Melbourne.  His success in winning the championships was to set the trend that lead to today’s configuration.

John Calvert-Jones though heavily involved in Australian sailing was in fact born in Aldershot, Hants in 1937 and is an accomplished sailor having won the Fastnet race. He married into the Murdoch family becoming Ruprt Murdochs brother in Law in 1962.

Attached is the extract from the Flying Fifteen Register

Paul Taylor

Fling fifteen rudder article register

The Trend to Carbon……!!

Interesting to see that a number of fifteen owners in the UK are now opting for full carbon hulls. Personally I’m not convinced its necessary, given the inherit hull stillness provided by the F15 hull shape and the extent on interal framing. However, it may result in a hull that has a longer competitive life. In Australia were the carbon hull has neen a common option for over a decade it has generally resulted in reduced turnover of boats, as owners have tended to hold onto them for longer.

Chris Hall

A Great Approach to Consoles from Australia….!!

Hi F15’ers,

Adding to the discussion on alternate centre console layouts is Vengeance AUS3010.  A heavy duty refit was completed in 2009.

Carbon wings on side tanks recently replaced steel ones, with 6 cam cleats.  Control lines are the jib tweaker, mast prebend fore & aft, pole height, cunningham & vang.

Stu paisley console 1

stu paisley concole 2


stu paisley concole 3

(Double click to enlarge photos…)

Under the mainsheet ratchet is the rig tension, and in front of mainsheet is pump up/down kite halyard.


Stu Paisley

Vengeance AUS3010

Australia Finals at Davey’s Bay, Melbourne….!!

Report by Sue Thompson….

The Melbourne weather forecast was for heat and no wind on Thursday and that is exactly what we had, so International Race Officer Alan Carlisle kept the fleet on the beach and racing was eventually postponed to the next day.

Flying Fifteen Nationals

Fridays forecast was for 40 degrees and a hot northerly that eventually came in and settled enough for the fleet to get away around 1230. There were plenty of shifts and a few pressure holes to challenge the fleet in the first race, which built to 18-22kts. The swell was the best we had seen all week and there were a few post-race stories about the exciting downwind rides and a few boats opting not to go down the face of some waves! Yet it was Lake Burley Griffin sailors Matt Owen and Andrew Reed who crossed the line first making them the 6th winner from 7 races and moving them into 3rd place overall.

Peter Milne and Phil Dubbin finished second ahead of Chris Paterson and Rupert Leslie in Storyteller, with the regatta leaders having to settle for 5th place behind Adam Hawkins and Ben Jones. Unfortunately the Rainey brothers had outhaul problems putting them back in the middle of the fleet and into 4th place on the point’s table.

In the Silver Fleet Queenslanders Larry Bardsley and Paul Webster sailing Turning Vehicle had their first win, and as the conditions took its toll several boats retired to the shore.

(Hawkins and Jones)

Flying Fifteen Nationals


The 8th and final race brought a few surprises and cheers as Rob Radnell and young crew Sam Danks rounded the top mark in first place and hanging on downhill to round the bottom mark in 4th and eventually finishing 16th. While Hawkins and Jones alongside Coutts and Maskiell moved into the lead, some of the fleet found themselves out to the left of the course and overlaid the top mark with a few of the leading boats finding that mid fleet fight hard to keep their positions.


The final 8th race enabled a second discard from the scoresheet, the top 6 from race 6 did not change, but their order did, with Hawkins/Jones winning overall from Smith and Kingston who had lead the regatta from race 1. 2012 Champion Matt Owen sailing with Andrew Reed moved into 3rd place with Rainey brothers 4th. A tie for 5th place between Thompson/Taylor and Milne/Dubbin started a countback, both had a first place but it was the result of race 7 that broke the tie with Milne/Dubbin having a second place beating Thompson/Taylors’ 3rd place for race 2, there was plenty of post regatta banter between the boat park neighbours!

(Smith and Kingston)

Flying Fifteen Nationals

It was Hawkins and Jones 3rd attempt at the Australian Championship and they dedicated their win to Adam’s father, thanking their families for their support. Flying 15 Australian President Peter Rooke thanked Daveys Bay Yacht Club for a great regatta and in particular the terrific club volunteers who helped the regatta run smoothly.


The 2013 Australian Championship will be held at Lake Macquarie in NSW.


Final Overall results:

1. Hawkins/Jones            Idsswapthisforabundy            14 pts

2. Smith/Kingston             Sake                            16 pts

3. Owen/Reed              The Wife’s Fault            21 pts

4. Rainey/Rainey            Where the bloody hell are you 24 pts

5. Milne/Dubbin            Lapse of Reality                      32 pts

6. Thompson/Taylor         Ark                                          32 pts


Full results at

First Full Day’s Racing at the Aussie Nationals…..!!

Report by Sue Thompson, at Davey’s Bay…..


If yesterday’s conditions were perfect then todays could be described as magic!

Racing started early at 11am with a 7-10kt SW breeze which fluctuated in pressure and direction enough to keep the fleet on their toes, or tearing their hair out depending where you were. But it was the wind pressure that made the difference as the fleet split, some heading straight for the shore, while others played the shifts out to sea.

In the first race it was local pair Mark Daly and Chris Schwarz who rounded first with Sue Thompson and Cameron Taylor in Ark close behind. With three windward returns to complete Mark and Chris crept back to mid fleet while WA combination Chris Paterson and Rupert Leslie in (aptly named) “Storyteller” quickly worked their magic downwind and lead for the rest of the race. However, when there was no victorious hooter for Storyteller, it was Sue and Cam who took out the race as the WA pair were OCS.

Gippsland Lake brothers Craig and Ian Rainy did battle with Queenslanders Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston in the final stretch to the finish to complete the top 3. Yesterdays clear winners, Adam Hawkins and Ben Jones, were not as comfortable in the lighter conditions but managed to work their way through to finish 5th just behind OK Dinghy Class stalwart Peter Milne and crew Phil Dubbin. There were plenty of stories of gaining 10 places just to lose them again, but it was Grand Master Bill Shand who made sure he moved up the fleet at the right time and finished 10th.

The second race started with a few more knots but it only lasted for the first lap. A gutsy port start for the Queensland pair of Smith and Kingston saw them at the first mark with Sue and Cam and the battle continued for the whole race. Dale Collings and Glenn Sheen in Aussie Falcon had a better race as did our international visitor David Tabb sailing with Davey’s Bay YC Commodore Scott Lidgett.

A couple of port and starboard incidents, touched marks and busy gate rounding’s kept the mid fleet amused while the Rainy brothers skilfully worked their way through the downwind pack to the finish narrowly beating Sue and Cam who had to settle for 3rd. Aussie Falcon hung on to 4th but it was current champion Matt Owen who looked the most relieved when he crossed in 5th place after being in double digits in the morning.

Full results are available on the Davey’s Bay Yacht Club website.

2 races are scheduled for New Years Day.

(Here are the results of the first full day’s racing at Davey’s Bay …..)

The Aussie Nationals – Melbourne…..!!

Regular readers of the FF Blog may remember that about this time last year, Steve Goacher was down in Perth busy beating the Aussies at the 50th Anniversary Nationals…

Well, the 51st Nationals have just started at Davey’s Bay near Melbourne.   Click here to read the day one race report.

Click here for the Results Page  (but as I type, nothing posted yet)

If you click here for the results of the invitation race to see who’s playing…

Fancy Flying Fifteen Racing in Australia….??!!

We were all following the 50th Anniversary Championships in Perth back in January – aided by those fabulous photos from Bernie Kaaks and Glenda Leslie.  (Won by Steve Goacher for Team GB!!! – a topical observation!!)

Did it give you taste for going down there to race??  Well, here’s your next chance….

Entries have just opened for the Australian Nationals next January in Davey’s Bay, Melbourne.  Australian and International Entries are invited !!  So empty out the piggy bank and get organising!!

Click here to see the poster

(I must add that as ‘nearby’ it gets in Australian terms, a little further around the Bay at Philip Island is a spot which you should add to your itinerary. There you can see the Penguins coming ashore each evening after a day’s fishing. It is one of the most extraordinary things you can ever be privileged to see.  Many of you reading will have visited Sydney, but if you haven’t tried Melbourne – take a look. Many prefer it for lots of reasons.)

It’s Official !!!…. FF 4000 is Here ….!!!


The 21st July 2012 marked a milestone for the Flying Fifteen International class and its several thousand members around the world with the launch of the 4000th boat constructed since the design came off the drawing board of legendary designer Uffa Fox in 1947.

“The coincidence of being able to allocate boat 4000 to Australia’s most prolific flying fifteen builder, 83 year old Bill Shand for what may well be his own last fifteen, was a very fitting opportunity and terrific thing for the class to be able to do,” said FFI Commodore Greg Wells.

“To have reached this milestone, and I think be the first of the ISAF recognised international keelboat classes to do so,  is something the class is extraordinarily proud to have achieved. Today is a great day in our history,” he added.

Bill Shand started building Flying Fifteens’ in Gipplsand, in South-East Australia in 1961, and has produced in excess 250 boats from his moulds through until 2010, owning and racing 25 of them which, other than the first one, were all called “Relience”.

He has been an active player in the development and refinement of the class, with many of his boats claiming international and national championships, and regional honours over that time.

His contribution to Flying Fifteen sailing in Australia and internationally have seen him awarded life membership of the FFI Australia, and the prestigious Uffa Fox Gold Medal from FFI.

Shand picks up the story, “I had a few bits and pieces lying around my workshop a year or two ago and thought I’d build a final boat for myself. Unfortunately falling through a boat hatch and breaking some ribs slowed that idea down. Late last year I learned there was a spare spot in one of the containers coming out from the UK for the Australian 50th Nationals in Perth earlier this year. I elected to get an Ovington hull from the UK manufacturer shipped out, and drive the 7000 km round trip across the Nullabor to collect it. So this boat already has a bit of history and to be allocated the 4000 number was both unexpected and a great honour from FFI.”

Over the past few months Bill has fitted a Shand keel and rudder, a Selden rig, Pinnell and Bax sails, and his usual range of fittings, systems and innovations to the boat.

On a cool winter afternoon on the 21st July 2012 on the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria, with not much breeze, long time friend and crew David Parish was on hand to help splash the ceremonial champagne, and for the launch and maiden voyage of Flying Fifteen 4000, appropriately named Relience 4K. A large group of well wishers and fellow “fifteeners” were on hand to witness the launch and celebrate the occasion with Bill.

“My 50 year journey in the Flying Fifteen Class has enabled me to meet and race against many wonderful people around the world, in a beautiful 2 man keelboat that is a delight to sail, and to have a lot of fun and enjoyment along the way” said Shand.

“Flying Fifteens are sailed on all 5 continents,  in 15 countries, and over 65 years the class has formed a strong international network of country and regional associations and its world governing body, FFI. ,” said Commodore Wells  “The class had 110 boats at the 2011 Worlds in the UK and continues to grow at the rate of 30 to 40 new boats each year. With next year’s World Championship in Hong Kong, we are keen to significantly increase our presence in South East Asia. Hopefully boat 5000 might be around for the 75th Anniversary of the class in a decade from now.”