A look at the Sailboat Show
Many of the "traditional" classes were presenting new versions with improved cockpit layouts and rigs where their rules allowed.
There also seemed to be a resurgence of beautifully finished wooden hulls, the Scorpion, Solo, and Enterprise class showing some particularly finely finished hulls. It seems that in an increasingly epoxy dominated world there is still room for the craftsmanship and finishing skills of yore!
Snipe - On the stand was Sue Antonelli, first lady to win a Snipe Nationals race in the 50 year running of the event, and a definite fan of the 1931 design.
Although only raced in small numbers in the UK, the class is one of the all time top classes when it comes to world wide use. The UK also produces top class hulls, from Tim Tavinor at Devoti.
The nine times UK Champion, Peter Wolstenholme, is back in the class and winning again, so expect to see him and helms Iain Marshall and Neil Martin taking on the continentals at the Europeans in Belgium this year.
Hornet - An early Holt design that had a racy reputation, with its sliding seat, fully battened sail and self-draining layout.
Despite a change to trapeze and increases in the sail area over the years, the Hornet class struggled as a stream of lighter, faster boats came on the market.
At the show the class had the new Hornet moulding, first seen last year, which provides a very clean, self-draining layout and with a trapeze and retaining a conventional spinnaker provides a new high performance hull.
With five of the new boats now sailing and Speed Sails marketing, they are expecting a jump in enthusiasm and numbers at the Nationals being held at Thorpe Bay YC from 19 to 24th August.
Mega Byte - Quaintly referred to as the "Gentleman's Finn" there are now ten of these single-handers sailing in the UK, with around 150 in the States.
David Gates is expecting a group to be racing at Salcombe Club Week Regatta to provide some of the first class racing.
This very roomy, grown up Byte, comes with a two-piece carbon mast and very practical looking aluminium, dagger board style, plate and rudder.
So if you fancy a move up in "class" why not give Dave a call?
A boat is available for a demo sail at Datchet by contacting the Dinghy Store on 01753 681001.
Solo - Plenty of the very popular Solo class around at the show with both wooden and glass examples available.
Peter Northern Sails are building from the old Jack Holt mould, which was formally manufactured in glass. They now use epoxy and aim to produce a hull at minimum weight and with maximum correctors.
This boat can also be obtained with some very nice foils produced by James Jarvey of JJ Racing Foils.
They do a bare hull with bailers and shroud plates fitted for £2700. Contact them on 01482 669746.
2.4mtr - Another solo boat but very different.
Steve Bullimore, Coach to the class, explained that its status as the Paralympics single-hander, has to some degree worked against its general take-up in the UK.
Abroad, particularly in the Scandinavian countries, it is seen as a hot, tactical machine, sailed very much for its close racing characteristics, rather than its Paralympic status.
Looking at the helmsman's position, sailing very much at sea level and without being able to exert any weight balance, they do present a very different experience. The mini keelboat sector has several competing designs and is definitely a growth area of the sport.
Steve will be writing more on this subject for madforsailing.com in the near future.
Have you checked out the Class Shop? All the gear for some of Britain's most popular one designs sorted by class - check it out!