Mike Lennon wins Frozen Sheets regatta at Thorpe Bay
Lennon is yet to decide where he will focus his attention this season, but is likely to settle on a Melges 24 or Mumm 30 campaign. Hyde Sails has just opened its new south coast loft in Port Hamble, where Kevin Sproul heads up the sales team and Mark Rushall, newly recruited from Proctor Masts, joins as loft manager. The focus of the loft will be very much on the big boat scene, and with the build-up to the Admiral’s Cup and the world championships in the Solent this summer, the Farr 40 fleet is likely to take up a lot of the loft’s time and energy. Sproul himself has been sailing with the Oswald brother’s Farr 40, which won the Europeans in the autumn.
Back in Essex, the dinghy team has been deciding on its own focus for the season. Rob Larke is to move out of the dinghy scene to concentrate on a Melges 24 campaign with Mike Budd, following the team’s win at the nationals and fifth place at the worlds in 2000. Former B14 world champion Richard Lovering will be supporting the RS classes this year, according to Lennon, while Colin Goodman will sail the International 14 and also the new Musto Skiff.
The original concept for the Musto Skiff had been for a one-design hull with open selection on mast and sail, like the Finn or Europe for example. But Finn Olympic silver medallist, Luca Devoti, who helped develop the boat, has since decided to make it a complete one-design. Proctor subsequently won the contract to build the carbon mast and boom, whilst Hyde have just been awarded the sail contract.
This leaves Hyde with the prospect of supporting both the Musto Skiff and the new RS700, both radical trapeze single-handers with a gennaker. These two boats are clearly pitched at the same market, and promoted by Ovington Boats and LDC Racing Sailboats respectively, two fiercely competitive brands which have risen over the last few years to pose a real threat to the established Laser brand in Banbury.