Saturday, July 14, 2007

Royal Burnham One Design 75th Anniversary

What I have never mentioned in this blog is why the time pressure to get Roach launched.

Well the answer is that over the years I have been in correspondence with the Dallimore owner’s association and this year was the 75th anniversary of the launch of the Royal Burnham One Design which Norman Dallimore was commissioned to design.

The Dallimore family are still active in racing these dinghies, and invited all owners of Dallimore yachts past and present to a ball at the RBYC to celebrate the 75 years of the class. So what an incentive to get Roach down there and join the celebrations.

I knew that several Dallimore yachts were making the effort to go down to Burnham and participate in a honorary sail past. The instructions were to fully dress the yachts – so the first thing I did was buy a set of code flags on e-bay in eager anticipation of the day.

Henry was coming down from Ireland to help her beat up the Whittaker Channel, and the idea was to spend a couple of days afterwards exploring the Roach – for obvious reasons. I have always wanted to do the Havengore Bridge, so this was also a plan!

Unfortunately all these good willed plans were not to be. Launching a boat that has been re-rigged comes with many unforeseen problems. The stays were to short, the new mainsail needed adjusting, the slides jammed in the track. The original reefing gear was not uptp the task. To top it all off this was the wettest June on record, and I was continually drenched and trying to fix deckhead leaks which I never knew I had.

So whilst I busied myself with all these tasks in a bid to make the deadline, Henry was flying over from Cork, crossing London, and taking the train to Woodbridge. I met him on the platform with juts half my to-do list done!

After a quick pint in the pub it was clear that Roach was not ready to make a sea passage and we aborted. I called the Dallimore’s to give them the bad news, and they very understood, much to my surprise. There was an outside chance of taking the boat down to Burnham, so we decided to make for Ramsholt anyway, and take a buoy to see what the weather was like before going out of the bar the next morning.

We had a lovely meal in the Ramsholt Arms and then it was off to bed, after drinking a nightcap in the cockpit. It was a magical night. The next morning it was clear that the wind had veered and that it would be a long old beat to Burnham, in the pouring rain. Not only that I had not got off quickly enough to get back into the Tidemill marina, and as such we were rushing back to get the last of the water in the town. No joy, you cant change nature, and at Troublesome reach we ran out of water and headed back to pick up our mooring again.

It was off to the Dallimore ball by car then, and just as well as it difficult driving, let alone sailing in the torrential rain that came that afternoon. By the time we were in the hotel and DJ’d up, the weather had brightened. Betty Dallimore, hosted a most splendid pre-ball garden reception at her home. The occasional shower made us dive for cover, but I have to say she made a magnificent job of welcoming all these Dallimore owners and previous owners. The crews of Priscilla and Marchwood Maid had all come from the Netherlands.

The ball was a great success, and we were put on the head table with the Dallimore’s. The club is lovely and everything was very well organised. I could not help seeing 3 Bentleys in the car park and several top end Merc’s – all in all the club seemed to have quite an affluent air to it, but we felt very welcome nonetheless.

The next day we passed by the marina to see the Dallimore yachts. They all looked lovely – Both Priscilla and Marchwood Maid having recently been spruced up. Athena, was a lovely looking sloop, very similar to Roach, but with a counter stern. I hope to meet up with them properly with Roach sometime soon.



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