Portsmouth sailing club honours war veteran and marine artist in naming new launch

The Portsmouth-based Victory Class sailing club have named their new launch boat in honour of a former war Veteran and marine artist.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 10:30 am
The naming ceremony with 'Sapristi' and Victory Class members and officials
The naming ceremony with 'Sapristi' and Victory Class members and officials

Officials decided on ‘Sapristi’ in recognition of the grant given to the club by The Wyllie Trust, based in Romsey, which greatly helped with its purchase.

The name Sapristi was first used in the class for the boat owned by Lt Col Harold Wyllie, a former Commodore of Portsmouth Sailing Club with which the Victory Class, established in 1934, has strong links.

Sapristi translates as ‘good heavens’ which could well allude to what every sailor hopes for – fair winds.

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The naming ceremony with 'Sapristi' and Victory Class members and officials

Lt Col Wyllie served in both the Boer War and in the First World War, the latter as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps before joining the Army. Outside of his services commitments, he was a noted marine artist.

Victory Class officials and members held a naming ceremony for Sapristi at their base in Old Portsmouth.

The newly-named boat is a replacement for her predecessor, which was damaged in the Camber three years ago when a guard ship with gear problems careered into her.

Victory Class vice-captain Matthew Salt told The News that Saprista will be used to ferry members across the Solent to their boats stored in Haslar Marina, Gosport. The launch will also act as the referee’s base during races.

The naming ceremony with 'Sapristi' and Victory Class members and officials

Victory Class members are gearing up for the start of their racing season in mid-April.

Races are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons through to October. Each race can last for around two hours, or more on Saturdays, but that depends on weather conditions. Last year, the Victory Class organised a 97-race season, of which 77 took place.

Salt said: ‘It’s a very accessible form of racing in a great setting outside Portsmouth Harbour.

‘It’s competitive on the water with great socials off it. There’s a good balance - it’s not a place where people come along, race, and then vanish.’

Further details from victoryclass.org.uk