Enter Synthetic Sails

Changes to the boats and rig were few in the 1946 – 60 period; two worthy of mention are, firstly, the adoption of a new headsail arrangement during 1949 when the roller furling foresail was removed and, secondly, the acceptance of synthetic sails in 1958. In that year cotton sails were still well to the fore on many occasions but, it was said, the general view was that terylene was superior! In the late 1940s 1012 boats started most weekends and in Burnham Week this went up to 1213. The racing was very keen and the 1,2 and 3 flags were spread over a number of boats. In 1949 for example 12 boats won flags. However JADE and ARIEI, were always prominent.

There was some very heavy weather early in the 1950 season and C.M. McPherson drowned when HALLOWEEN (RB 5) sank running out of the R. Roach on an especially rough day. The Class and the Club suffered another sad loss in the same year with the death of Mary Abrahams.

In 1953 the United Hospitals bought GERALDINE (RB 14) as a Club boat and sailed her in the Class. Racing was still extremely keen but the Sold hands appeared to have the flags under control. In the 1953 season, for example, ten boats were among the flag winners. ARIEL and JADE were in the leading group but had, this time, to give way to Clyde Cooper sailing AQUAMARINE (RB 15). In Burnham Week these positions were reversed, but this was Sidney Sabins last season with ARIEL, bringing to an end a wonderful run of sailing.

Lt. Cmdr. A. E. (Bert) Clark was elected Captain of the Class in 1954, and Norman Robertson, the owner of BLUE JACKET (RB 4), was elected Commodore of the Club and his vice Commodore, Lord Waleran sailed ARIEL. Norman appropriately led the fleet in the second half seasons points, the first half season having been won by JADE.

Norman Wilkinson who, pre-war, had sailed LAVENDER LADY (RB 3) very successfully until he left the Class to buy one of the Club’s first Dragons, returned to the Class in 1956 with WHIMBREL (RB 9). The racing that year was again extremely close. ten boats sharing the flags. The overall winner was again JADE whose main competitors were VAURNINE (Bert Clark), QUARTZ (RB 13) (Peter Harvey, AOUAMARINE (Clyde Cooper) and WHIMBREL (Norman Wilkinson).

In 1957 the Class increased to 18 boats which was a post-war record Bert Clark finally came good and swept the board in VAURNINE but the turnouts were rather disappointing. Among the new owners was the RNVR Sailing Club with RAE (RB 19) as a club boat.

1958 was the Silver Jubilee of the Class, Wilkie was elected Class Captain and the number of boats on the race card went up to 19. VAURNINE was not fitted out until during the season but with the Burnham Week Cup within her grasp lost it in the last race to Wilkie in WHIMBREL.

In 1959 Nim Crowther (BELINDA RB 5) was elected Class Captain and Clyde Cooper, now in ANNETTE, had a very successful season.

1960, despite rather poor weather, was again a very successful season and not infrequently the maximum fleet of 19 boats started. JADE won rather less than her usual quota of races. Frank Berry in GANNET (RB 3), after being runner up to Bert Clark in VAURNINE for the seasons trophy, carried off Burnham Week, with JADE as runner up. In team racing the Class driven, no doubt, by Nim were very successful winning all the matches at home except that against Oxford which was drawn, and after many years absence the Magnus Cup came back to Burnham after a good days racing and excellent hospitality at the Essex Yacht Club at Leigh. An innovation was a team race against the RCODs which was won. On that note we will leave the RBODs and turn to another form of team racing.