Squib Nationals at Weymouth Day 3 – The 65 boat Squib keelboat fleet with 800 nearest the committee boat, and 142 the black boat half way down the line – these finished second and first respectively © Christine Boyd
Vincent Delany looks back at another great Squib Class event:
Weymouth Sailing Club hosted an excellent Squib Championship this year. Now that it’s over it is time to review what we can learn from the event.
Firstly a limit was put on the number of entries. This was probably a restriction imposed by the Weymouth Harbour Authority. There were 65 boats competing. This number could have been exceeded by up to 20 more boats if mooring facilities had been available.
Of the entries, 21 came from the east coast, 26 from the south coast, 3 from the north and Scotland, 10 from Wales and 4 from Ireland (North and South),
Peter Aitkin was PRO and despite some excessive eagerness among the fleet over the first few days, he generally started races under the ‘Blue Peter’, followed by the ‘U’ flag, and only when necessary reverted to the ‘Black Flag’. Remarkably, for one start, he managed to identify thirteen sail numbers of competitors who were OCS.
The courses which he always selected for the practice race and the 8 championship races were the ‘Windward- Leeward’ course option of either three or four laps with a 1.25 mile beat and (to facilitate a short sail home) always finished on the part of the course closest to Weymouth Sailing Club.
Squibs are a strict one design class, but within that class there were different boat manufacturers: low number Oliver Lee boats, mid-number Hunter boats, high numbers, and Rondar 900 Boats.
Most of the top squib sailors prefer to sail in low numbered boats, thus, low numbers finished in the following positions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10 etc. The highest placed mid-number finished in 37, 47 etc. reflecting the fact that many top sailors don’t like them. The high numbers finished in the following positions: 6, 7, 13, 14, 17 and 18 etc. There were only two Rondar boats of which one finished in 5th place.
What else can be said about the boats and their equipment? There are almost equal numbers of Batt Sails and Hyde Sails in the fleet, but the winner was one of only two boats which used Lonton & Gray Sails. The highest placed Batt Sails were in second position and the highest placed Hyde sails in fourth place.
This would seem to indicate that there is very little differences in the performances of each manufacturer of sails, although the set up for each type of sails is totally different. The winner went for a tight rig set up with a small amount of pre-bend in the mast.
One element which did make a large performance advantage was electric pumps which have become the norm on top boats except for the Rondar boats which have a self-draining cockpit.
At the launch and scrutineering in at Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy it was very evident that almost all the boats were scrupulously prepared, with few boats present with anti-fouling, and all with very smooth bottoms.
The standard of boat-handling was remarkable, both on the start line and on the race course, and when some of the top boats found themselves in the mid-fleet, they discovered that boat speeds in the mid fleet were remarkably similar to those at the top of the fleet, and found that smart tactics, and clear air were the best way to escape the mid-fleet area.
The 2024 Squib Championship takes place in Edinburgh and a great entry is anticipated from both sides of the Irish Sea