The XOD class celebrates 75 years of racing at Itchenor Sailing Club 11/5/07

The first time the starting gun for the XOD class was fired from the Itchenor Sailing Club race platform was on Saturday, the 7 May 1932 at 1700, at a time suitable to allow the crews to rig their boats after working in the morning. Since then the class has been continually represented at the club and on Sunday, 6 May 2007 the class held an afternoon of celebration in honour of the 75th Anniversary.

At 1510 in a brisk south-westerly breeze the latest gun started a fleet of 28 boats beating down the reach towards East Head. Amongst the crews sailing were representatives from the other XOD Divisions. Particularly welcome was Mark Hall, the XOD Class Captain from the Yarmouth Division. Many of the crews had entered into the spirit of the day and were sailing in clothing representative of the 1930s, not always the most convenient garb with 20 kts over the deck and a sharp chop coming over the bow.

With the ebb tide running opinions were divided on the best course but slowly the experience of James Froy and his crew Elizabeth Pattison and her brother Alistair Shaw saw them establish a small lead at the turning mark. They extended this during the long run back to the club finishing line. Behind the leaders the rest of the fleet chased hard. The minor prizes went to XOD newcomer Richard Jordan crewed by Jeremy Field and Andrew Shaw, Alistair’s son, and in third place was Alan Perry with guest crewmen Guy Partington and Nick Cornish from the Parkstone Division.

Following the race the fleet gathered at the entrance to the Itchenor Reach and led by the Division Captain Bill Barnes on board X39, the second oldest boat participating, the fleet sailed past the club pontoon where an informal salute from the crews was accepted by the Vice Commodore Nigel Pattison and many supporters of the class. James Froy, the winning skipper, brought up the rear and celebrated his win with a display of fireworks from his aft deck.

At the prizegiving reception every crew received a commemorative scroll. Amongst the special prizes were two for three generations in a boat, one for the Taylor family and one for the Moate family. The Ladies Prize went to XOD Class Secretary Tina Scott crewed by Clare Blevins and Liz Powell. The main prize of the evening was the specially commissioned crystal ’75th Anniversary Bowl’, which was presented to the winning crew by Elizabeth Roose.

At the Anniversary Reception, the 100 guests were delighted that the oldest member of the Itchenor Division, 92-year-old Barbara Payne, was able to join them for the evening. The continuity of the class was never more clearly defined than by her presence.