175 boats turn out for Seaview One-Design 75th anniversary event 29/8/06

The recent Seaview One-Design 75th Anniversary event attracted 175 boats. And with this amount of boats on the startline it was a relieved race officer, James Mitchell, who managed to get the fleet off with out a general recall.

Chatting about the start Mitchell said: “It was like Air traffic control at Heathrow! It was quite challenging to get everyone out onto the water on time and we were only 15 minutes late! It was quite a shifty breeze today which made it quite difficult to get the first mark in the right place.

“We had 175 boats started and 170 finished which is good, a couple of capsizes which is always good entertainment, and they probably did a 4-5 mile race this morning. The first boat finished in about 40 minutes and last boat in about one hour.”

The man who knows exactly how to win – and is a regular at the front of the fleet – Raymond Simmonds, led the other 174 boats home across the finish line. For Simmonds, this is an important achievement – this was the big race to win, but what is his secret? “Go out and get a good start and just keep your nose clean. I’m also pretty wedded to numbers – I look at my compass, and I look at the weather and I try to forecast what the wind is going to do on the water – Sometimes it works.”

Trying out a Seaview One-Design for the first time was singlehanded offshore racer Nick Bubb. Commenting on his experience Bubb said: “It was good, very tweaky, lots of little things to learn, a bit wetter than I expected, it took a while to find the self-bailer – it was amazing to race with 180-odd boats! The boats are just a tiny bit slower than what I’m used to which is my excuse for a bad start, as I ended up stuck in the middle of the line when I was trying to get down to the other end. It is really nice thought to have a slightly more tactical sailing which I haven’t done for a few years.”

The race was followed by a Sail Past the Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight and the family of the class founders. In 1931 there were six dinghies in existence! In 1981 on the 50th anniversary there were 100 dinghies. Most of these were built by Bunny Warren with some early boats built by Feltham of Portsmouth and in later years 10 were built by Norman Newell.