I found a Fleetwind!

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davidh
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I found a Fleetwind!

Post by davidh » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:48 am

An interesting one this - made me think and scratch the head for a while. From the road, I'd seen a small dinghy in the long grass and weeds in the corner of a field - finally stopped to have a closer look and it's (I'm 99% sure) a Fleetwind. Further checks suggest it is a Bossoms built boat, all grp, classic 1970s white hull/pale blue decks.

The wood in the boat - the thwart and C'board case capping......they're all shot - there is a mast (simple section, no taper) - but that is bent....no other gear. I don't think that there has been a class association for many a long year so this is a real 'lost class'.

This could soon be a pile of ashes...............unless someone is interested!

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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by JimC » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:19 pm

davidh wrote: I don't think that there has been a class association for many a long year so this is a real 'lost class'.
There was a published PY number for the Fleetwind as recently as 2003 so they oughtn't be extinct yet...

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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by corkman » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:40 pm

If you want a wooden one, there is currently a "small wooden sailing boat" in Emsworth on the bay. It doesn't look like it has the original mast but otherwise late 60/early 70 one looking at the buoyancy tank arrangement.
the Fleetwinds had a close association with the "Signets" in later years, so maybe thats another thread you could follow if you want to try to find out more.

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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by davidh » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:07 pm

Jim,

from what I remember, the RYA used to be quite gentle about shifting boats into the 'moribund class' folder - I would imagine that pre SailRacer that there would be something of a lag between activity fading away and the boat being removed from the PY list. After all, like the Swordfish, there may well be one or two still bobbing around somewhere BUT - it has to be said, I don't know of any still active.

I'm sure this is a good example for your more detailed look at the PYs and classes - for all those people who think we are weighed down by fleet fragmentation now, a look back at history (at least from what I see) indicates that there were a lot more classes in the late 1960s/early 1970s than now!

I think it was Henry Ford that was quoted as saying that "history is bunk" but there are lessons to be learnt from what has already been, if only people take the time to look. If confirmed, the recent demise of the Kestrel CA..... the dropping by Laser of boats such as the EPS (amongst others) and now RS divesting themselves of the 300 and 600, all have a certain deja vu about them.

But I digress...the Fleetwind! An interesting case study, all the more so when you compare it with that of the not dissimilar Graduate.

An interesting thought though: Henshall's second law of class dynamics states that the great periods of mass extinction comes not during a recession, but as we emerge from recession. The arrival on the scene of the new Devoti single hander, the new RS single hander, a new Cirrus single hander suggests to me that the new battle ground will be.... well, I can save the effort of typing it. The lessons from history can be applied here though, but even if you were to estimate that there could be 'one in, one out' I'd want a lot more data to say which would be which!

D
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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by neil » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:05 pm

davidh wrote:Jim,

from what I remember, the RYA used to be quite gentle about shifting boats into the 'moribund class' folder - I would imagine that pre SailRacer that there would be something of a lag between activity fading away and the boat being removed from the PY list.
Anyone else slightly despondent that the PY system is being influenced by a commercial concern. Passionate about the balance sheet no doubt. Still, this is all about money so there's a vested interest in having classes drop off the list so money can be made from the new classes and the services surrounding them.
davidh wrote: An interesting thought though: Henshall's second law of class dynamics states that the great periods of mass extinction comes not during a recession, but as we emerge from recession. The arrival on the scene of the new Devoti single hander, the new RS single hander, a new Cirrus single hander suggests to me that the new battle ground will be.... well, I can save the effort of typing it. The lessons from history can be applied here though, but even if you were to estimate that there could be 'one in, one out' I'd want a lot more data to say which would be which!
Always thought the naming of a Law after an individual is usually conferred by peers, usually post-mortem. ;)
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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by Rupert » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:39 pm

I might be naive, but I don't see it as a commercial thing - simply that they feel if there aren't enough returns, you get the chop, rather than keeping a historical figure.

Personally, I think this is shortsighted, but I don't see it as an RS plot.

Whether Henshall's 2nd law should wait a while before being named, I have to agree that now is the time (if we are truly leaving recession) that people will be looking at new classes, and woe betide the ones who fall away.
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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by Hotspur » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:47 pm

Is this the one on Apollo Duck? I'm going to look at it in a week or two. I sailed one years ago and I think it would suit my needs rather well, though I'd prefer a wood deck!

Edit: not the same boat but presumably from the same original source?
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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by JimC » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:06 am

neil wrote:Anyone else slightly despondent that the PY system is being influenced by a commercial concern. Passionate about the balance sheet no doubt. Still, this is all about money so there's a vested interest in having classes drop off the list so money can
I can say categorically that there is absolutely no such commercial influence. I am there, and would know. Classes drop off the published list when there is insufficient data for a reasonable number, and may appear again if returns improve. IIRC the National 18 is one class which has dropped off and returned more than once. I do find it rather disturbing to be accused of being part of a corrupt process.

I'm not aware there is any great financial interest for the RYA in having one manufacturer popular over another. The technical section get some sort of fee income for admin of national and international classes, which I believe is the same whether its a manufacturer or CA led class, but that's about it.

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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by Ed » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:27 am

Are Fleetwinds that rare? We see them down here every now and again.

There was a very nice one for a few years at Roadford recently. Came to all the CVRDA events and was for sail recently. Was painted in cream with the name down the side of the boat in BIG letters. The class association was certainly going a few years ago, but run in conjunction with the Signet.

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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by Rupert » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:29 am

Jim, my only suggestion with the yardsticks would be to make the last known figure for a class that has dropped off the table available in the same place that the current figures are, as it would make the process of getting a starting-point handicap for an old boat at a club far more straight forward.
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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by solentgal » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:30 am

Fleetwinds are fairly rare now........numbers reached around 700 or so, I believe, and most of those were built by the early 60s......just check old copies of Light Craft for sail numbers. My Dad bought one for us when we were kids (#352ish I think), but we had to relocate due to redundancy and we never got the chance to try it. I subsequently bought a beautiful wooden example(#422) a few years later and sailed it in Chi Harbour for some time.... I loved her. I bought another a few years later and had some good sailing in that too.
I bought and renovated a GRP one a couple of years ago, intending to sail it with Lynne, but she thought it a little too small, so that ended up in France with a new owner.

The one that is for sale in Emsworth (on ebay at present) isn't a Fleetwind apparently......I thought it was when I first saw it advertised last year on a local notice-board with those pics, but it said it was designed by a local boat builder and was one of 3(?) built. If you look closely it doesn't look quite right for a FW, and appears to be gunter rigged too. I haven't been to look at her (I daren't, as I know she would end up in my garage!)

Oddly, when I was sailing last year, I saw what appeared to be a FW sailing in Emsworth.......I was too far away to be sure, and headed the wrong way, but I thought it had the FW insignia, and it looked right.....strangely the hull looked a similar colour to the supposed ebay FW too.....this is a little mystery I should like to solve.
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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by davidh » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:46 am

Hi Sami,

That would tie in with my knowledge of the boat -it used to have quite a powerbase at Clubs such as Tudor SC on Langstone Harbour.
I think that pre-Sailracer, back in the old days of the RYA doing the annual manual number crunch for the PYs, that classes tended to linger longer on the PY list. For the situation to be otherwise, you would have to assume that every sailing sec. of every club where Fleetwinds raced was failing to submit a return!

I too fail to see the commercial aspect of the new approach to the PYs, if you look back in time, it is very hard to find a successful boat that was not launched by a commercial concern. Some things never change.........

Still, I'm happy to be quoted as applying 'Henshall's law of Class Dynamics' (1st, 2nd and 3rd) - these were attributed to me after I'd done a series of talks on the changing nature of the sailing scene and as a number of respected journalists were in the audience, I was happy to be recognised by my peers. As for waiting until I'd departed to that great dinghy park in the sky, in the modern world of instant communication, if you don't label your thinking, writing, photographs or whatever as YOURS, someone else will take it as their own!

But we were talking Fleetwinds: I'm puzzled, for none of the SMODs that I can think off have really replaced the FW. It's closest rival, the Graduate, continues, but did that see a sudden growth spurt as FW owners changed classes? yet as you pointed out, it didn't do badly number wise (I can think of a lot of modern classes that would love to have 700+ boats) and was not unattractive in it's hull lines, but what really happened? Hmmnnn...think I will look further and deeper into this!

In the end, it is a shame! I know that we've had one turn up at Classic events, for a pair of lightweights, I'd have thought that this was a lovely, low maintenance option to the Firefly!

D
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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by JimC » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:54 am

davidh wrote:I'm puzzled, for none of the SMODs that I can think off have really replaced the FW. It's closest rival, the Graduate,
The sailing scene in the UK seems to have concentrated in the middle as I think I've said before. Almost all those litlle 11ft classes that Dad used to sail with youngish child are gone or declines, Gulls, Herons, Mirrors are a shadow of what they were and really youth only, even the 12ft classes seem to be down and the slower 14footers like Enterprises and GPs. And of course as I've said often the high performance classes are also lower in popularity than they use to be.

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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by davidh » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:15 pm

Jim,

In what we could almost describe as 'Jim's Law' - that the sailing activity has seen a shift inwards from either extreme of size, have you come to any conclusions as to the rationale at work here?

I was doing my own attempt at number crunching last night (though it is nowhere near yours in detail or depth) for I was trying to work out pretty much just what you've been saying. I wanted another angle on it though; has the decline at the top extreme (boats of 16ft and over... the FDs, 505s, Ospreys etc) been greater in % terms than that down at the opposite end? (or - is the decline across all sectors within what would be an acceptable definition as a 'constant'?)

I started the work as an adjunct to some work on the 505. I was trying to come up with a meaningful quotient, something arrived at from new registrations against numbers at the Championships maybe (though now, SailRacer stats would also be an interesting indicator!). I know that this topic is of interest to you as I've followed your comments elsewhere on the thread re the RS 300 and the future for any class that fails to get any form of regeneration through new boats. I still think that there is a 'tipping point' somewhere in the stats that says that once reached, without some form of remedial activity, that the trend will result in the loss of the CA.

I'm reminded of the people who 'save and restore' the old east german Trabant. One has to ask the question 'why'! There are a number of dinghy sailing equivalents - just one or two, someone's pride and joy - but ultimately, they will face either a move into the classics or else like so many classes, will vanish for good!
(now there's an intellectual challenge; Name some classes where there are NO remaining examples)

D
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Re: I found a Fleetwind!

Post by Rupert » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:45 pm

Trying to prove a negative is going to be hard, David - I'd say for any class which built more than a handful of boats, there is always the chance that there is one tucked away somewhere. Finding it would be an altogether different proposition.

I've never sailed a Fleetwind, but it struck me as a boat that might be nice to sail singlehanded - just a bit more stable and less powerful than a Firefly.
Rupert

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