Huge fleet join Sea View One-Design75th anniversary celebrations

Last Friday 18 August, 175 Sea View One-Designs (SVODs), the world’s largest local one-design fleet, celebrated the class’s 75th anniversary in style. Fittingly, the event took place at its home – Seaview, on the Isle of Wight – with a mass-start morning fleet race followed by an historic ‘sail past’ spectators lining the waterfront later in the afternoon.

Class Captain William Edwards explained the unique characteristics of a class built by the same family and only raced in one village:

‘The boats are traditional wooden boats made of spruce and oak and elm. They are
clinker-built which means that they are planks laid over the top of other
planks on a frame. They have spruce masts which are 18ft tall, the boats
are 12ft long, they are very difficult to sail. We are very unusual and unique in the sailing world in that we have multi-coloured sails. All other classes have the same coloured sails – our sails are a complete myriad, eclectic mix, as diverse as the colours for jockeys. The whole point being that each family is identifiable by their unique colouring on the sails.’

The 1931-dated fleet of Seaview One-designs’ now totals 198 boats which lie off Seaview on swing moorings during their summer season. Every evening in August about 50 SVODs enter the Evening Dinghy Race. The fleet includes many Ex-Olympic sailors and, when their schedule allows, the odd America’s Cup sailor has been seen battling with the regulars – and quickly finding out how hard it is to win in this competitive fleet!