2007 News

News from China

From Alistair Skinner in Shanghai

Some time ago, I shipped my Bolero '4 Dragons' out to Shanghai. She has an inline rig with runners and is a pure joy to sail but over the intervening 3 - 4 years a germ began to grow.

My soon to be wife, Li Li has also caught the sailing bug so wouldn't it be cool to be like the Mortons(!) and then we cold have a boat to race against here in China. So feelers went out to Hong Kong and Japan for a cheap second hand quarter tonner. There had to be one or two, the Worlds were over this way a few years back. Then a mate told me where there was a new one, never sailed. Didn't fall for that one, bound to be a wind up....

There was...., he assured us, built in the same yard that produced two of the Hong Kong team that had come third in the '77 Admiral's Cup.

ImageStill doubting, Li Li visited the yard, now largely just a sevice base for the owner David Lieu's 200 ft motor yacht 'Van Triumph' and she took some photos. When I saw them I knew I had to visit.

I walked into the shed where the boat had sat under a sheet for 25 years determining to spend a couple of hours and fine tooth comb looking for dents, gouges - the sort of thing that 25 years of neglect would produce, but in actual fact 10 minutes told me she had been well looked after and cared for in the corner of the huge shed. Her rig was complete with an IOR hand built maxi depth boom and a Proctor mast still in its brown slightly oiled tape wrapping and in the delivery crate - 2 spreaders, rod rigging, runners and checks - here was a proper little IOR race yacht.

She had originally been drawn as Dubois No 55 (Shiny Shovel) just 5 before the landmark No 60 'Police Car' which had been part of the victorious '79' Australian Admiral's Cup team (and many other things beside). Shiny Shovel originally had a centreboard which proved less than ideal so Ed Dubois was asked to draw a modification with fixed keel and our boat was born.

She has been built with a full Airex foam sandwich hull, a lead keel with a touch of Antimony for hardness, has had the tracks and winches fitted but not even the hole has been cut in the deck for her keel stepped mast so we have in reality found a '25 year old brand new Quarter Tonner' (no you can't have her - she's not for sale - just sail....!).

Ed Dubois's design office were incredibly helpful and found her original plans which I was happy to pay for (14 sheets) and we pored over them when they arrived and these proved incredibly valuable when we visited Frank Gerber at North Sails (UK) to order a set of sails. We currently have a main, 3 jibs and 2 kites in build through Frank designed partly off plans, partly off measurements of the rig-less boat and partly through photographs.


Stan Cockeram of Harken was enthusiastic with his advice of which size wheels to place where and his help was invaluable. The only piece we decided to replace was the main track as having a windward sheeting car on the current boat we felt we couldn't go back to something lesser on the new one.

Tacktick have also been very helpful and she will sport a full set of their wireless gear.

She will be completed at Far East FRP, a dinghy builder here in Shanghai and frankly I have been amazed at their skill and care. She will however remain unmodified as I think a find like her deserves to be rigged as original and I am sure she will still be an IRC flyer.

Her sister is already there, at the yard, getting a makeover an aging Hollywood starlet would be proud of. I expected them to tart her up but they are giving her the boat equivalent of liposuction, tummy tuck and facelift all at once.

First public appearance will be at the Shanghai International Boat Show so the locals can see a couple of 'proper' sailing race boats amongst the cruisers, dinghies and stink pots then into Chinese waters.

Boat boats will be weighed and IRC certificates will be obtained and we intend to work the boats and crews up and compete in next years China Cup in Shenzhen, the first real big boat regatta in China which had its inaugural running this year.


Next project? I hear Shiny Shovel is about somewhere looking very sorry for herself and there are bound to be one or two in Japan. We may as well help teach people how to sail on proper tweaky little boats, everything else for them after that would be simple.

Yep - I suppose I am 'Still Crazy after all those years'.......

Alistair Skinner and Li Li

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Christmas present ideas.....

Two books which may be of interest to you.....

Winning Knowledge is the latest book hot of the press from Graham Sunderland, author of Winning Tides.  Compiled with Rupert Holmes (see below, new owner of an Extension) this book is a perfect gift for those who race in the Solent and a necessary read.  Available from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.winningknowledge.co.uk at £27.90.

RYA Tactics by Mark Rushall (whose wife Liz sails on Super Q/Espada) is another great book.  Mark is an RYA Coach (in 2006 RYA Squad Coach of the Year) and his book breaks new ground in presenting this complex element with easy to follow and logical diagrams.   Signed by the Author for £16 (including UK p&p)from www.rushall.net

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Press Coverage

Yachts & Yachting, check out August 24th edition of Y&Y.  There have to be some merits to being the Class Secretary and running the website as Y&Y have published a lovely pic of Espada on page 63, and also lots of mention of Quarter Tonners in the report of Cowes Week IRC Class 8.  Thanks Rupert! We invited Bob Fisher to sail with us on the Friday and he talks of his invitation on page 77.  Thanks Bob!

Sailing Anarchy, Tuesday 31st July - check out www.sailinganarchy.com for Mark Mill's comments on Quarter Tonners.  Thanks Mark for plugging this wonderful class..... Should provoke some comments on their forum.

Yachts & Yachting, 19th October edition - has 4 page Boat Test feature by Rupert Holmes on Quarter Tonners.  Many thanks to Roger Swinney and his team for allowing their boat to be used and to Olly, Roger and David Sharp for their 'quotes'!

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China Coast Race

Jamie McWilliam (known to many of you as he chartered Espada for Cowes Week 2006 and Catch for Cowes Week 2007) has just finished the China Coast Regatta with straight bullets in his 1981 Jacques Fauroux Quarter Tonner Sai Kung Belle.  He reports a couple of Cowes wipe-outs along the way.... Well done.  Jamie lives in Hong Kong and bought his boat in Asia with a view to shipping it home to the UK for a mega refurb, only to discover it is too wide to fit into a container......

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News from Northern Ireland

From Tom Jobling: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hello from Northern Ireland. I'm the owner of a Bolero GBR 7258T "Prodigal" (fromally Debeloro, of Fleetwood). She was acquired some 4 seasons ago out of Cork and has sytematically been restored to 'a tidy litle yacht'. However, I seem to be stuck with an IRC of 0.847 and was wondering if any of your (Belero) members would have any tips on how to loose a point or two? Whilst we have no formal 1/4 Ton racing in NI there are quite a number of Quarter Ton type boats around Larne, Belfast, Strangford Loughs, as well as Lough Neagh. We all however are racing in a general IRC fleet; when its windy we lose to the 'big' boats, then mess up there racing in the lighter stuff. I race out of East Antrim Boat Club on Larne Lough where our regular IRC fleet consists of a First 8, a couple of Impalas, a Laser 28 and a bunch of small keelboats - all ex champion dinghy sailers! I think its only a matter of time before we in Northern Ireland find ourselves with a 1/4 Ton weekend in the calander.

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