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NATIONAL CHAMPION SAILOR MIKE INGHAM JOINS NORTH SAILS
North Sails Fireball Wins the Bloody Mary 2015
Winner of the Epiphany Day Race
Australian Fireball Nationals 2014
Fireball Notts County Open
ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Aina Colom Wins the Ciudad de Palma
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YWDB Week Rock 2014
I cannot remember the exact moment we decided to attend the 2014 Day Boat Week in Rock but it was quite an easy decision to make. It turns out in talking to my father who is now 84 years old that we have had a family association with the class for over fifty years with Dad attending his first Day Boat Week in 1963. He won two races that year in a brand new wooden Glued Clinker Day Boat named Sea Nut that he had built, I think that name follows our families love of the sea! That followed many years later with our next outing in 1980 when Dad had built his first "Smoothie" cold molded boat DB 588 and I crewed for him aged 15 years, we had a great week but no trophies this time except for the cadet race! That boat was later sold onto Tim Parkinson who raced her successfully for many years before he was tempted back to the traditional clinker construction that he sails today.
The YWDB is an excellent boat for racing, cruising and teaching and it was the teaching aspect Dad had in mind when he built the original PaPa. That boat was built in 1999 / 2000 for my sister to teach her children to sail in and then a few years later he built PaPa 2 for me to teach my own children to sail in as well. The boats are very roomy and heavy and also have a metal centerboard so they are super stable, ideal for taking small children and the whole family out to sea in safety. As our boats are 100% wood and cold molded they look like a piece of furniture on the water, there is nothing quite like sailing a wooden boat. Check out
for the full picture.
It was back in 2002 when Fiona and I were living in the UK that we decided we should have a go at Dayboat Week in the original PaPa. Our first outing was in Poole Harbour and we had a rude awakening with our poor downwind speed! Despite that challenge we managed 3rd overall with Fiona on the tiller and me pulling the strings. 2003 we went to Rock in Cornwall and managed 2nd overall, still not quite fast enough or clever enough to beat Peter Hewitt the Champion at the time but improving. Finally in 2004 we got our act together and managed to win the week again with Fiona on the helm and me on the strings, then we put the boat back in the shed for a while. There was a rest period of 10 years whilst our own boys grew up and got a few sailing trips under their belts before a mad idea came into my head one winter's day in 2013.
So that brings me nicely onto 2014, as you can see we may have been associated with the class for 50 years or more but we don't actually sail in the main regatta's that often! It was decided that I would sail our own boat PaPa 2 with my eldest son Jack as my crew. Jack and I raced together for the first time in 2013 in the Glandoore Classic Week and also in the Castletownsend Dinghy Week both in a mixed handicap fleet. PaPa 2 had never actually seen another YWDB let alone raced against one so it was going to be interesting on the start line for race 1 in Rock!
At some stage in the regatta planning we also decided that I should get the original PaPa from the Isle of Wight and Fiona would sail that one with here sister in the regatta. Easy to say but actually quite a logistical nightmare to organise but it did offer me an excuse to ride my motorbike............Once I realised that was part of the plan then the rest fell into place.
We arrived on mass in Rock, Cornwall a couple of days ahead of the regatta to give us time to set the boats up and see how they were going. We had to measure a couple of new jibs and Peter Hewitt obliged with his tape measure on the Club house floor. With all the official stuff taken care of we rigged and launched the boats and put them on their moorings for the week. With the boats being so heavy and the sand being nice and soft in Rock it was no problem letting the boats dry out every night and certainly a lot easier than dragging them up the slipway after racing every day.
Finally race day came and fortunately for us it was light winds as my crew was a little below average weight at 35kg. One championship race was sailed on the first day and after a long battle with the current National Champion Peter Hewitt we managed to win the race by a small margin. The boat was actually quite fast upwind and a little sticky downwind so it made for a really interesting race. There were 26 boats on the line with several past class champions so it was a real test for us on day one.
Straight after the points race the class hold what they call an 'Opportunity Race'. This is a Crews / Ladies / Cadet race all in one and the results are taken out of the one race for all categories. Jack jumped ship for this race as the wind was up and my sister in law Nicola took the helm of PaPa 2 with me as the crew. We only made our change over just in time to get the one minute gun and start so we didn't get the best start to the race possible. Diana Parkinson led the way for 99% of the race with us chasing hard, it was only in the final few metres to the line that we managed to slip past Diana and for Nicola to take the Ladies Prize and the Crews prize for the race. Well done Nicola.
The theme continued for the week with light airs and building tides and we continued to work on our downwind technique as the week went along. In each of the points races we were never more than a few boat lengths away from Peter Hewitt or Murray Glenister and we had some really nice racing. I think its safe to say that racing with your own son or daughter in the boat is really something special. We were talking all through the race and I was trying to explain to Jack in simple terms why we were doing what were doing etc..........We had a ball and he learned so much about tides and wind it was a great experience for him and an even greater one for me sailing with him.
Somehow we manged to keep the wheels on the wagon and won races 1,2,3 and 5 with a small slip up in race 4 where we had a shocking start. However after a long fight back in race 4 we managed to get up to second and secure the Championship with a race to spare. That was a nice moment but the best was still to come. The final race 5 was the nicest of all with about 12-14 knots of wind, sunshine and a strong flood tide. We managed to make a better start and win the pin this time leading from start to finish. We had some new faces chasing us in this race as the wind was up for the first time.
Finally it was all over and we went ashore for the last time and the prize giving dinner. I had some plans to make a really nice speech and talk about how it's been great fun growing up with a boat builder as a father and sailing with him and then years later repeating the exercise with my own son. For those of you there the story was a little different as I was slightly overtaken by the emotion of the whole event. Dad was supposed to be at the regatta watching his son and grandson racing but due to ill health that never quite happened. However he was delighted to see the original boat arrive back home on the Isle of Wight in one piece and listen to all the stories from the week.
The Dayboat Class may not be a modern high performance boat but like any One Design Racing its the purest form of racing you can do. When you get a fleet of 26 boats sailing under their own class rules on short courses you can be certain of some great racing. We are planning a return visit in 2015 if the dates work out and I guess as my crew is growing fast we might like a little stronger winds! Or maybe not, if its a light forecast I can always take my youngest son James!
Well done Jack, it was a great week and one to remember.
Powered by North Sails............For more details on these sails please see our dedicated
See the regatta report by Tim Parkinson
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