The weekend of 3rd and 4th March saw the Alexandra Palace once again transformed for The RYA Dinghy Show - the world’s oldest (and some might say only) show devoted exclusively to sailing dinghies. Despite the snow, more than 150 exhibitors made it to the show, many at the last minute. Despite initial fears, the attendance at the show was high, markedly more so on the Sunday.
The show has long been sponsored by the Royal Yachting Association and consequently whilst there are numerous trade exhibitors, many Class Associations and Sailing Clubs and other organisations participate, with much focus on the history of small boat design and development, with many stands featuring original restored timber craft alongside gleaming up to date models of exotic construction.
Add to that a line-up of diverse and informed speakers, and the continuing “kids go free” policy and you have a recipe for a uniquely enjoyable family event which keeps the many regular visitors and exhibitors coming back year after year.
Once again Verisona Director Tim Reynolds was in attendance, alternatively manning Bosham Sailing Club’s Stand and the adjoining National 18 Exhibit featuring the most recent Morrison designed version of the National 18 dinghy, which has rightly acquired a growing reputation as a very capable performer following racing success during the winter series. With 25 boats now in build or already of the mould, and growing fleets in Ireland, Scotland and England, the brave decision of the Class committee to commission Phil Morrison to produce the radical new design, and thereafter appoint White Formula as its sole builder, has clearly paid off and with the Classes 80th Birthday celebrated this year, its continuing future as the largest active original “National” status Class seems assured.
At the same time ,with much attention also focusing on the much trailed Ian Proctor Celebration event planned for September 2018 at Bosham Sailing Club (also the organisers of the trail blazing Classic Revival Event-an internationally recognised celebration of this Country’s uniquely rich and varied history of small boat design and enjoyment), the interest in the original Uffa Fox and Ian Proctor versions continues to grow, so it was a delight to meet again many older 18 enthusiasts, to swap experiences ,explore tantalising rumours of more long forgotten Craft awaiting re-discovery in barns in dinghy parks, and celebrate those already now recovered and under restoration with the intention of participating in the increasingly popular Classic small craft raids and racing events both her in the UK but also now in mainland Europe.
The event is also an excellent opportunity to catch up with our many trade clients and discuss new projects, and that same “back to the future” theme also applied, with many trade exhibitors introducing new lines reflecting the increasing diversity of the interests of boating enthusiast.
Accordingly, with the Americas Cup adopting a foiling monohull design for the next challenge in NZ, a lot of the talk both on the stage and the stand stands reflected the ever faster developments in foiling craft designs and the relevant technology, at which British manufacturers clearly excel, yet at the same time others show cased products clearly inspired by the Classic yacht revival movement, ranging from fittings of exotic materials, clad with varnished timber shells, to sails, clothing and rigging constructed of modern high performance materials but designed and created to otherwise authentically resemble the look and feel of the natural originals.
Despite the recent public failures of a number of large boat building businesses, the universal feedback from the show was universally positive, and as dinghy enthusiast owners tend almost invariably to move on to larger craft, this bodes well for the future both of the sport, but also the industries that support it.
Having originally trained as a wooden boat builder and built or restored a number of craft including classic motorboats, dinghies and yachts over recent years, director and Head of Verisona’s Marine Team Tim Reynolds has restored with his co-owners and is presently racing both the last Uffa Ace timber 18 built, as well as a Proctor composite model.
He has also just completed a 7 year rebuild of a 1963 varnished mahogany Nordic Folkboat, intended to be raced in the ever more popular classic yacht racing scene here in the UK as well as in the Baltic, and has a number of other “restorations” waiting to take its place in his workshop, so has specific practical experience and understanding of all that is involved in such projects.
Little surprise therefore that Verisona Law is rightly regarded as the “go to” firm for anyone requiring expert legal services in respect of all aspects of such work, including the acquisition, verification of provenance and original ownership of such craft, as well as the preparation of the necessarily specialised contractual paperwork concerning their restoration, use and enjoyment so as and when (and if) things go wrong, our expertise ensures that our clients are best placed to ensure that unfortunate events do not become unpleasant ones.