UK. Bartercard Twelve Foot Skiffs compete on Draycote Water

Friday, 17 November 2006

Last weekend saw the 12' skiffs make the trip to their first inland venue...Draycote Water, near Rugby, Warwickshire.  With 12' fixed bowsprits and unlimited sail area these boats certainly need a decent piece of water and Draycote did not disappoint...serving up sunshine, plenty breeze on the Saturday and plenty of onlookers keen to find out about the ultimate "on the edge" development skiff.

Resident 12 ' Skiff sailors and current National Champions Iain Christie and Tom Vian sailed the Nash 4 design "Havoc" on the Saturday and opted to use number 3 of the possible 4 rigs (the third largest).  There was no racing as such, the intention of the weekend was to raise the profile of the class and show that the boats are ideally suited to racing and spectating on larger inland waters...and as the boats rigged, a small crowd of people turned up, eager to see these very simple but very powerful skiffs close up.  Even with flat water and a F4 breeze, the boats were able to get some spectacular airtime, daggerboards clearly visible as the boats powered downwind. However as if to prove sailing these boats is not easy, Iain & Tom had a very long cold swim thanks to a fluffed kite drop so they eventually returned to the shore with Havoc intact but their own pride slightly dented.  But the autumnal chills were soon forgotten by all sailors with the aid of several beers and a most excellent curry in nearby Dunchurch.

Sunday started off pretty windless so all the sailors opted for the huge number 1 rigs and 60sqm spinnakers.  However as the boats launched the breeze had really freshened and some spectacular downwind rides were enjoyed by all crews as their confidence grew with the big rigs.  Carefully picking their way through club racing Solos and Flying Fifteens, the Aussie skiffs certainly made an unusual sight on a Warwickshire lake...even Draycote's own 49er sailors were saying "that kite is HUGE!)

So it was mission accomplished at Draycote...your next chance to see the 12' skiffs in action will be this coming weekend at Grafham...forecast is looking good so prepare for some spectacular sailing!

Alan Atterbury

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 November 2006 )