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To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Blackwater Sailing Club’s own classic racing fleet, the Sprites, a “World” Championship was sailed at the club from 17th-22rd August 2009.
The Sprite is a 14ft clinkerbuilt, half decked dinghy designed by Robert N. Stone in 1934 and has been sailed on The River Blackwater ever since. There are currently 30 boats still sailing at the Blackwater Sailing Club and 19 of those took their place on the start line for the “World” Champs.
The appeal of these classic boats attracted helms and crews from 8-85 years of age with some crews coming from as far as Cornwall to take part.
The racing began on the Monday in ideal conditions and was every bit as contested as any skiff fleet you will see. Eventually after much changing of places Graham and Tricia Parker sailing Thaleia No. 28 emerged in first place.
In the afternoon of the first day there was a singlehanded race which was won by Martin Scarth sailing Nida II No.23
With varied weather for the rest of the week the sailing was then dominated by Steve Jarred and Leafy Ashton in Jack O’Lantern No. 33. They went on to win all of the remaining races including the Crews race but Graham and Tricia Parker along with Hilary, Lucas and Ina Gallo in Pan No. 7 were always in contention.
The extremely gusty weather in the middle of the week with a 20 minute squall of force 7 was a true test of these robust classic boats, all returned to shore with little or no damage.
After the final race there was a parade sail of all 19 boats to much applause from the gallery gathered on the shore.
1st Steve Jarred & Leafy Ashton – Jack O’ Lantern
2nd Graham & Tricia Parker – Thaleia
3rd Hilary, Lucas & Ina Gallo – Pan
Prizes and trophies were presented to the winners by class captain Chris Nicholls with everyone receiving a commemorative plaque to remember the week.
The Club would like to thank the many people who made this event a great success but especially to Chris Nicholls who works tirelessly throughout the year to keep the class thriving.