The Flying Dutchman, regarded as one of the finest and fastest one-design dinghy classes ever designed, will return to Sydney Harbour en masse when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron conducts the Australian and World championships, starting next week.
A fleet of 45 boats, 30-plus of them from overseas, including the current world champions from Hungary, will contest the championships. The nationals will run from 28-30 December 2014, the worlds from 3-8 January.
The Flying Dutchman is a 20-foot, strictly one-design, high-performance two-person monohull dinghy developed in the 1950s, and an Olympic class from 1960 through to 1992. Its large sail area to weight ratio allows it to plane easily when sailing upwind.
Over the years, notably during the Olympic years, the FD has attracted some of the world’s best adult sailors, including Britain’s Rodney Pattison, Canada’s Hans Fogh, the USA’s Jonathan McKee, West Germany’s Jorg Diesch, Spain’s Luis Doreste, America’s Cup skipper Ted Turner, Keith Musto, Norway’s Peter Lunde, New Zealand’s Helmer Pederson, French brothers Yves and Marc Pajot, Australia II designer Ben Lexcen, Britain’s Keith Musto, Germany’s Jorg Diesch and famed Dane Paul Elvstrom.
Lunde, Pedersen, Pattisson (2), Doreste and McKee also won Olympic gold medals.
Since leaving the Olympics after the 1992 Games, the FD class has become stronger throughout the world. In 2011, the world championship in Italy attracted a fleet of 135 boats.
Big international fleets in Europe have tended to dominate world championships with the Hungarian combination of Szabolcs Majthenyi and Andras Dornokas having won seven of the last 10 worlds.
Smaller fleet race in Australia, on Sydney Harbour and Port Phillip and the 42 boat fleet for the worlds on Sydney Harbour include 11 Australian crews.
Among the Australian entries is Carl Ryves and his crew of John Maguire. Ryves, now aged 74, with Dick Sargeant as his crew, just missed out on a bronze medal at the Mexico Olympics back in 1968. Ryves is now one of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s leading helmsman in the International Dragon class but recently sailed a Flying Dutchman with the active Woollahra Sailing Club fleet and apparently has decided to have yet another tilt at a world championship.
A small fleet of FDs contested the recent Sail Sydney 2014 regatta with the veteran team of Ian McCrossin and James Cook taking out the series with five wins out of eight races which was also the NSW State championship. McCrossin and Cook finished second in the 2008 Worlds in Napier, New Zealand with Norman Rydge and Richard Scarr placing third.
Matt Whitnall, who has also raced Dragons and Etchells with success in recent seasons, has teamed up with James Bevis for the Flying Dutchman class. They finished second overall with a consistent series that produced two wins.
Third went to Edward Cox and Peter Bevis, the 2013 Australian champions, who will be sailing a new carbon Mader FD imported from Germany in the .Australian and World champions over December-January.
Among the Victorians entered for the Nationals/Worlds are former FD national champions Peter Bartels and Stewart Edgar while 505 sailors Michael Babbage and James McAllister have also bought an FD.
From Peter Campbell