Rutland Water

8-9 September 2007
Photos by Paul Burton, David Boyle and Graham Ebb, report by Graham Ebb
Boats attending were:
  • 40 Lady Penelope
  • 42 Nimrod
  • 49 Be Be
  • 25 Blue Jazz
  • 43 Red Kite
  • 44 Thrift
  • 45 Morvoren
  • 39 (name unknown)


After six months in the planning, it was time to pack the car on Friday morning. Christine would be home from work for lunch and we would be on our way. Just the sailing gear to put in the car. Then, catastrophe ! I strained my back lifting it in. Not that it was that heavy, I guess I must have just twisted something. Some pain killers and a season on the floor, no not that sort of season, just laying flat out and an hour later, we were on our way.

We had planned to arrive mid afternoon before any visiting boats, so that we could override the entrance barrier. We have had to replace it once this year, due to it coming down on the unwary, so I did not want it to happen again.

I have not organised a rally before, actually I have not even been to one, but as a member of both the PSSA and Rutland Sailing Club, it seemed like I should take one step forward and do my bit. Fortunately, I had Bill Parker to share the load.

Both Red Kite and Lady Penelope arrived by road and set about mast raising and rigging. I don’t know how they did it but Lady Penelope was in the water in just over an hour. Most impressed. Three more boats, Thrift, Be Be and Nimrod arrived Friday evening / Saturday morning from the Water Sports Centre at the other end of the lake. These were joined by three already at the Club, Morvoran, Last Orders and ourselves, Blue Jazz.

Seeing all these boats together on the pontoon was quite a sight. It was the first time ever, that there had been such a gathering of 235 boats and their owners. I had never imagined that within three years of taking our new boat to Rutland Sailing Club, there would be so many more. Perhaps it is the ideal location for trailer sailors, great facilities, beautiful location, plenty of water and no tides to restrict the Sunday jaunt.

The welcome briefing on Saturday morning outlined the programme and the action started at 13.00 hrs with a cruise in company around a set course. Six of the boats joined in and it soon developed into a good spirited competitive race. The sun did not shine, but the wind was near perfect, so although the photos have grey skies, there were plenty of smiling faces. Fortunately, my good friend David, helmed Blue Jazz, which allowed us to participate without further strain on my sore back. Once round the course took about two hours, so by about 15.30 hrs we were taking afternoon tea on the terrace.

Still talking about this new phenomenon of being part of a flotilla of 235 boats, Saturday evening saw about forty people attend the evening buffet in the Club, kindly sponsored by Parker Lift Keel Yachts. As well as the attending crews, members of the manufacturing team from Parkers also joined in, along with other crews without boats and prospective owners alike. It was a very convivial evening and allowed the exchange of many ideas and exploits. I managed to stand up long enough to welcome everyone and conveyed a message from our Commodore Clifford Miller, who was previously scheduled to attend one of two other PSSA functions this weekend. Bill added his welcome and introduced the attending members of his team. We all retired to our bunks contented and looking forward to the promise of more good weather the next day.

After breakfast on the terrace over looking the water and a short briefing, we were all aboard for the ‘Kettle Club’ race. Well, I say race, there are no rules - well only two. The first being that only the leading boat needs to keep to the set course, the others can shortcut and catch up, and the other rule, well it’s in the name, somewhere around the course you have to have a cup of tea! It’s a good way to keep all the different types of boats and skills levels together, to enjoy the fun of sailing in company.

Then in the afternoon, for those with a more serious competitive spirit, it was the last in the ‘Race-Intro’ series of races. These have been held over the season to promote racing for 235’s and were joined by several visiting boats. Some keen racing was enjoyed. The series winner was Nick Bett, who was presented with the ‘Parker 235 Trophy’ by Bill, who had kindly donated it.

Mid way through the race, we were surprised by the RAF, who gave a very low level ‘fly past’ by the only remaining Second World War Lancaster bomber. So low, in fact, that you could see the pilot, complete with handlebar moustache and sticky-out scarf. How Bill organised that I don’t know! Mind you, the day before we were buzzed by a Red Arrow, complete with red vapour trail. I think it must be something to do with all the airfields around here.

The weekend drew to a close, everyone having enjoyed themselves. The weather had been kind, the sailing great fun, the company convivial and new friends made. And my back? Well it held together enough to allow me also to enjoy the weekend, thanks to Christine’s support, literally. What started with a disaster had ended up a success, what a relief.

To all those who worked to create this weekend, please accept our thanks; to all those who participated, thank you for attending and we hope to see you all next time.

Graham Ebb
Parker 235 no 25 'Blue Jazz'