Why was it launched? What is it for? Is it doing anything constructive? Should you take part?
BIFFA organises a range of events for the enthusiastic travellers – mostly top 50 sailors who are usually owners of competitive or up to the minute boats, attending qualifiers, nationals, internationals. Inevitably, they gather at clubs with big water. A few years ago, it became clear that there was a need to provide inter-club racing for clubs with smaller ff fleets and, particularly, smaller sailing areas.
Many such clubs have significant numbers of classic and some silver boats few of which support the major events. My view is that a divide was slowly developing between the top 50 most competitive enthusiasts and the rest of the ff community. There seemed to be a need to provide opportunities for a wider group of ff sailors at many clubs to meet, compete, talk and contribute to the development of the British ff fleet in toto. As it happens, quite by chance, this coincides with important proposals to develop the rig, offer new sail materials and update the class “image”. The more we talk about these, within and between clubs the better. The more we travel, the more we talk and recognise common interests and the more cohesive the ff community will become.
The first response came in the midlands – the TNT series organised by Mike McKee and Chris Swallow. Two years later, we launched the Southern Travellers Series (STS) currently managed from Datchet and a third Series has been launched in Scotland.
The STS began two years ago. The initial idea was to involve small and medium sized inland clubs, particularly those with classic and silver boats. For practical travel reasons there needs to be a fast link between the clubs. The M4 seemed to be OK so for the first two years the clubs were Bewl, Broxbourne, Datchet, South Cerney, Cardiff Bay and Llangorse. Six events; three to count and the national top fifteen ranked boats were excluded from the results (though not of course from the events).
The two years yielded some clear messages. Bewl members are less enthusiastic about the idea; secondly, no modern boats qualified. Thirdly, the enthusiasts were the classics, several qualifiers and a few silvers also qualified.
The objective is to bring ff sailors together; I conclude that most of the modern boat travellers attend the major opens – so they are involved elsewhere. So the STS can focus more accurately on classics and silvers; and then, what about qualifying? Five events and three to count? Or two to count? The target is to encourage ffs to travel and get together. I am inclined therefore to stick with three to count and hope (and exhort!) owners will respond.
Returning now to the questions in the title – have I answered the first three and will you take part?
Bookmark this page as http://www.flyingfifteen.co.uk
You can email the Series Organiser at STS@flyingfifteen.co.uk