Aldeburgh Open !!! Fabulous Photos !!


6TH– 7THJuly 2019

Part of the Southern Travellers Series


For the first time since 2004 the F15 fleet at Aldeburgh Yacht Club hosted an open weekend on the tidal River Alde. Appropriately fifteen 15s took part.  Seven locals were delighted to be joined by eight visiting boats from Broxbourne, Bewl, Datchet, Grafham, Draycote and Ipswich (RORC).


On the Saturday afternoon, Race Officer Robert Mulcahy took advantage of the high tide to run 2 excellent windward/ leeward races upriver on the tidal flats at Blackheath.  Light and shifty conditions led to close and interesting racing.  In the first race Pip Hudson and Steve Stewart (3889) from Broxbourne mastered the conditions to win comfortably from local boat True Luff (3844) – Duncan Matthew and John Chalker – with a special mention to Jerry and Charlie Young who sailed their Silver Fleet boat Ffully Focussed (3139) into 4thplace on the water.


In the second race, following a delay to reposition marks as the wind shifted to the right, Grafham sailors Tim O’Brien and Colin Ferra in Ffoxy Lady (4042) put behind them their 13thplace from Race 1 to win, ahead of Datchet’s John Hanson and Helen Selden (3954), with the first two boats from race 1 coming third and fourth respectively.  The steady drizzle and dying wind put paid to any chances of a third race and the fleet followed the tide back downriver to the AYC clubhouse – for plentiful drinks and an informal dinner.


The following morning, with racing set to take place at low tide and in a north easterly wind, Robert took the start boat downriver to Blackstakes where the bend in the river allowed a decent windward/leeward course to be set for two further races.  A short start line dictated by the narrowness of the river led to general recalls in both races, whilst the change from an ebb to flood tide saw differing conditions in each race.  Pip Hudson and Steve Stewart showed the way again in the third race but were convincingly pipped into second place in the fourth race by John Hanson and Helen Seldon.


However, Pip and Steve had done enough to win the Ratcliff Trophy from John and Helen, with top local boat True Luff in third.


In the silver/classics section, the Flamingo Tankard was won by locals Jerry and Charlie Young in Ffully Focussed (3139) ahead of Broxbourne’s Brian Turner and Jackie Burns in Windcheetah (3031).


Thanks again to Race Officer Robert Mulcahy, ably assisted by Caroline Donsworth for the whole weekend, and a big shout out for the youngest sailor in the fleet,16-year-old Freddie Fulford, who said he “mostly enjoyed” sailing with his Dad.


For the full set of results see:


Next photo ©Robert Mulcahy

FF open meeting

FF open meeting

Dovestone Open…!!

Dovestone Sailing Club nestling in the beautiful Pennine hills to the east of Manchester hosted round 2 of the Waples Wines Flying Fifteen Traveller Series over the weekend of the 29thand 30thJune. Conditions were perfect with a full reservoir and temperatures topping 30 degrees.  The fleet of 17 boats included visitors who had travelled from as far away as Bassenthwaite and Datchet adding to the strong home fleet.

On Saturday two races were sailed, andwith shifting light breezes the positions were not certain until the finish of both, with plenty of passing lanes available. David McKee and Mal Hartland managed to breakaway in the first race but otherwise it was close. The overnight leaders were John Hanson and Helen Selden. Unfortunately, an incident with a flyaway pole required the assistance of the NHS for one visitor, fortunately all was well, and he was able to sail on Sunday. Look out for the mark of Harry Potter at future events.

An excellent BBQ and social evening took place at the club on Saturday evening.

Sunday dawned a little cooler, the wind had switched round to the south east and it gradually increased during the day. By the last race the conditions were quite testing with gusts of up to force 5. The racing throughout the fleet was very competitive. The Local boats of McKee/Hartland and McKee/Jones made the most of conditions, both scoring 5 points from 3 races. Andy McKee and Rich Jones managed the other sail away win of the event in the last race and David McKee and Mal Hartland managed to claw their way up to 2ndafter a poor start to take the win by a point. John and Helen had a battle with the strongly finishing Mike Preston/Chris Robinson but managed to hold on for 3rdplace. In 4thand sailing with a bad back Mike Moore/Kayla Sheard sailed well, their results including a 3rdplace during one of the windy races.

The support of series sponsor Justin of Waples Wines was appreciated as also were the contributions of the many members who worked hard to make the weekend the success it was.

Click here to download full results


1st                                    4065                                    David McKee/Mal Hartland                                    Dovestone SC                  6 pts

2nd                                    4005                                    Andy McKee/Rich Jones                                                      Dovestone SC                  7 pts

3rd                                    3954                                    John Hanson/Helen Selden                                    Datchet SC                  12 pts

1stSilver                  3391                                    Colin Pierce/Mandy Thackray                                    Dovestone SC

Classic under 2000                  496                  Rod Rowlands/Andy Robinson                                    Dovestone SC

Classic 2001-2700                  2584                  Howard Wolstencroft,/John Hesten                  Dovestone SC

Why Not Enter Poole Week, 18-23 August This Year….?!!

Why not enter Poole Week, 18 – 23 August this year?
Poole Week typically attracts a Flying Fifteen entry of 25 – 30 boats. It offers a six day regatta, with two races a day and a vibrant social programme. Boats entering the Nationals at the end of July may be left free of charge at Parkstone Yacht Club for Poole Week three weeks later.
The attractive early entry fee of £73.50 expires on Monday 13 May.

Bags or Chute or This Skiff Thing?…….!!

For years, we have all trundled along with the bags versus chute debate.  It’s a close call and I guess the fleet might be split half and half….  well, split anyway.

Then along comes Chris Turner and Graham Vials and makes us think all over again.  Did you see their boat at the show a couple of years ago?  And then this year’s boat at the Dinghy Show, fitted by Bill Chard had the same setup.

If you’re not acquainted with it, then let me summarise:

  • It’s a chute design
  • The crew does the hoist and the drop
  • The cockpit sock no longer exists, the crew stuffs the stored sail up under the foredeck
  • Maybe the point is that either crew or helm can do the hoist and drop…. you get choices, which might depend a lot on what spinnaker pole system you use (At the show, Bill Chard had fitted the most automatic twin pole setup you can get)

Of our four fifteens we have had, the first had a chute and the last three have all been “bags boats”.  Mainly for us,  it’s about a different distribution of work between front and back of the boat.  Anyway, I am dead intrigued by all this….

I’ve got some photos for you to look at

Here you can see the cleat at the front of the cockpit so the bowman can control the release.  Note there is a turning block set further back… that’s where you draw the halyard on the hoist, and so I reckon maybe either helm or bowman can make the hoist.

Keen eyed Mk 10 owners will notice that Ovington have changed the moulding at the front of the cockpit floor to accommodate this… so I assume that the trap door is a bit shorter.

This is what it looked like on the traditional Mk 10 floor. Note that the trap door had to be bolted down as it becomes load bearing.

The halyard goes back to a turning block on the port side where the downhaul emerges and from there it travels forward to the downhaul patch of the sail.  Again, I’d suggest that maybe the helm has the choice of doing the hauling down back there.  I think Chris Turner just hauls the sail down pulling at the cockpit coaming itself…. then stuffs a few feet of sail from the floor up under the foredeck.

So simple enough an idea isn’t it?  For me it only gets complex thinking through who does what and when during the hoist and drop.

What else to say?  Two things :

First is that a lot goes on under the foredeck of a fifteen these days.  I’m a bit concerned as to the spinnaker staying snag free up there.  To be fair, I was chatting to buddies so much at the show I forgot to have a peep under the foredeck of Bill Chard’s boat.  I do though have photos of the  setup Chris Turner has which I must say is very, very neat indeed.  Chris has a curtain running up along the fore tank, so control and snagables sit one side, and the spinnaker sits the other.  Really impressed I am …

Very neat, eh? This second photo below is the camera view from the bow hole back towards the cockpit.

The second thing is that Mervyn Wright has automated the issue of tidying the sail away under the foredeck of 3904.  Mervyn has a shock cord (triple loaded I think under the foredeck) with an eye that sits on the downhaul line.  As you pull the patch back into the boat, when you let go the shock cord pulls the downhaul patch back up to the bow again, tidying the bulk of the sail as it goes.  Neat.  Difficult to photograph though!