The Cornish Shrimper was designed by Roger Dongray, with the first boat being launched in 1979. The first 10 boats were of wooden construction, but from 1980 onwards, the boat has been of GRP construction. Initially Shrimpers were available only with outboard engines, but in 1986 Roger Dongray redrew the lines at the stern to permit the introduction of inboard engine models. The only other significant change to the boat was in 1996, when the builders, Cornish Crabbers Ltd., produced a Mk 2 version with slightly higher cabin roof, self-draining cockpit and minor embellishments. At the present time sail numbers have reached 1200 and the boat is still in production.
With its gaff rig and pretty retro design, the Shrimper has attracted quite a following, both in the UK and abroad. Inevitably one or two owners decided that, although not designed with racing in mind, it would be fun to chase around the cans. In 1981 the Shrimper Owners Association was formed and drew up a set of Shrimper Class Rules for racing, which are still current today. The concept was and remains, an aim to keep all Shrimpers equally competitive, requiring no extra expense beyond the purchase of a standard Shrimper. However freedom to tune the rig and carry out personal alterations to the interior or to deck/cockpit fittings for comfort, ease of handling and optimum performance is permitted. “Fast but fair” is the SOA motto.
The Shrimper is not strictly a ‘One Design’ class in sail racing terms. It is fully recognised that few if any of the fine building constraints required by true one-design class racing boats are incorporated in the Shrimper. However there are large fleets of Shrimpers today racing at Falmouth, Rock, East Coast and here at Poole. Shrimpers of any vintage, inboard and outboard, Mk1s and Mk 2s, all race together and enjoy some close racing.
There is no longer a Portsmouth Yardstick figure for the Shrimper, but the RYA NHC base figure is 0.830 and the OGA handicap is 0.821- 0.827, the latter being used for the annual Round the Island Race, which always attracts a good Shrimper entry.
There are currently 12 “Classic” Flying Fifteen owners at the RMYC. We regularly enjoy racing on a Thursday evening from late April until the end of August and on Sunday mornings from late April until mid-October, Thursday evening racing is open to non-members.
When the fleet was formed in 1991, the “founding fathers” decreed that all boats must be under sail number 3000. This was (1) to prevent cheque book sailing, (2) to preserve and encourage the life expectancy of old boats and (3) to provide “a level playing field” as much as possible for the young, the middle aged and the not-so-young interested in sailing a high performance keel boat. Competitive boats are often available to purchase for between £1000 and £2000. Most of the boats are from the Windebank IV mould and the racing is close, competitive, yet friendly and nearly always won by the boat making the least mistakes.
The launching and retrieving of the boats by rope and “chain gang” provides good camaraderie and team spirit, and the paramount objective at all times is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Owners and crews are encouraged, as a group, to enjoy the delights of the Club catering and bar facilities and sample them when racing is over.
For interested parties, considering joining our classic Flying Fifteen class, it is often possible to arrange a crewing position on a member’s boat, as a taster, and for those wishing to take the plunge; members are more than happy to offer advice of sourcing suitable boats. Why don’t you come and join us?
The Class Captain is Nick Cornish and the Honorary Secretary is Maggie Haxell, Contact via Club Office Tel 01202 707227
‘X’ Class One Design
The ‘XOD’ is a small day racing sail keelboat with a crew of 2 or 3, designed in 1909 by Alfred Westmacott for members of the Royal Motor Yacht Club, then based at Hamble, Hampshire. The first race by XODs took place in June 1911 and apart from the war years, the class has raced continuously to this day. The hull shape and dimensions remain today in accordance with the original design, although changes in timber specification and surface treatments have been permitted, in order to better preserve the timbers and to ease maintenance. The rig is Bermudan with jib and spinnaker.
A total of 202 XODs have been built in the last 100 years, with about 190 still in regular use. The latest boat to have been built was launched in 2007. There are fleets located at Cowes, Hamble, Itchenor, Yarmouth, Lymington and of course Poole Harbour, where the fleet is moored at Parkstone Y.C. During the summer XODs race under the burgee of Parkstone YC, but the RMYC hosts an Autumn series for the class in October.
There is a very active and well organised ‘XOD’ class association.
Cruising yachts and, in some cases out and out racing yachts, have been competing in races held under the burgee of the Royal Motor Yacht Club for many years. The old saying, ‘horses for courses’ does indeed run true today in relation to yacht racing, but with the application of modern handicap systems, there is no reason why some good, competitive short course racing cannot be enjoyed in a family cruising yacht equally as well as in a high performance, state of the art, carbon fibre sailboat, with a team of heavies to pull the string.
Cruiser racing takes place at the RMYC on Thursday evenings from April until the end of August. Races are conducted from the club gun deck with courses usually in Poole Bay, unless on occasion tide or wind constraints require a harbour course. There are two classes of cruiser racer hosted by the RMYC. Class 1 which employs an international rating system, and Class 2 which uses a local rating system.
Open to yachts having a current IRC Handicap Rating of 0.941 or greater. IRC is a system of handicapping for racing yachts and is managed by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. It is a rating system recognised worldwide. To prevent yacht designers from building racing boats ‘around the rules’, the rating rule is not published. Owners wishing to obtain an IRC handicap should therefore apply to the RORC Rating Office. Further information may be obtained from the IRC website: http://www.ircrating.org/
Open to yachts having a current VPRS Rating up to and including 0.940 and with a minimum hull length of 20 ft. VPRS (Velocity Prediction Rating System) was originally designed for boats racing in Poole Harbour. It was trialled by Poole Yacht Racing Association (PYRA) in 2010 and adopted for all its races the following year and to date. Modern and Classic yachts can be rated, as well as dayboats and sportsboats. Ratings are more easily calculated under VPRS which is perhaps less expensive than other systems. Further information may be obtained from the VPRS website: http://www.vprs.org/index.html
The J/24 is a one design keelboat class of racing yacht. The boat originated in Connecticut, USA where the first yacht was designed and built in 1975. At 24ft in length it fits neatly into the racer/cruiser category. The boat performs well on the race course, but is comfortable and simple enough for a family to daysail or cruise. Her flared topsides mean that she is quite dry on deck. In order to keep down weight, J/24s carry a lightweight outboard for auxiliary power.
There are now around 5,500 J/24s sailing worldwide. The boats are normally sailed with a crew of 5, although national class rules may allow variations. The J/24 is no longer considered the most modern sailboat in its class, but it is still very popular among keen keelboat yacht racers. One reason for its enduring popularity is that it is fairly easy and inexpensive to acquire a used boat and gear, owing to the huge number of boats produced. Yet older J/24s remain equally as competitive as later models. It is therefore an excellent yacht for both beginners and experienced sailors.