Historic class prepares for Victory bid

Members of the Victory fleet
Members of the Victory fleet
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Victory Class boats are still going strong on Portsmouth waters – 81 years after first setting sail.

And Portsmouth Sailing Club’s fleet are in high spirits ahead of the new season.

The club, who sail out of Old Portsmouth, are set to begin a hectic weekly sailing schedule beginning with their first race of the season on Tuesday, April 14.

The programme will consist of Tuesday and Thursday races as well as a Saturday contest, pitting club members against each other as they all fight for glory.

Portsmouth’s sailors will also go head-to-head with rivals from Gibraltar later this year in an effort to regain the trophy they lost in 2014.

Up to 15 boats will take to the water for the upcoming series – including Z6, one of the original Victory class boats dating from the 1930’s.

Sailed by one helm and two crew, the class was born in 1934 from the Portsmouth Harbour Racing & Sailing Association’s desire to promote affordable, one-design racing boats.

The fleet is now one of the oldest in the country and has become a popular fixture in the local racing calendar – with the club counting round-the-world sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston among their number.

Last year saw the class celebrate its 80th anniversary and committee member Drew Robertson-Young believes 2015 will be equally busy.

He said: ‘We have hairdressers sailing, we have lawyers sailing – the Victory class really is all-inclusive.

‘Last year was a great success with a range of special events – including being hosted at the Royal Yacht Squadron during Cowes Week – and we are really looking forward to the new season.

‘We have probably the oldest sailing class roots in the city and we are looking to build and strengthen the class further.

‘We have a combination of wooden and GRP boats in the fleet, all on an even keel.

‘When it comes to racing, it is the wonderful wooden, against plastic fantastics.

‘As it is a one-design class, where all boats are equal, the racing is very, very competitive.

‘These are old boats but they are a lot of fun and really enjoyable to sail.’