by Emma Slater
Being an RYA National Class, the National Squib Owners Association (NOSA) are a traditionally strong association with a healthy membership and one of the highest participation numbers in their national championships. In 2009 they enjoyed a turnout of over 100 boats in Weymouth which is remarkable given that only 870 boats have been built since the boat was introduced in 1971.
Squib fleet action
Whilst some classes have a number of different builders producing boats, the Squib has been built since 2009 by BP Sailboats based in Essex. Unfortunately, there have been a recent series of events which have led to the RYA having to withdraw the licence issued to BP Sailboats.
Bas Edmonds, RYA Technical and Racing Services Manager explains: 'The purpose of the RYA’s involvement within classes such as the Squib is to protect its design integrity and to ensure that any developments within the class are controlled and considered before being voted on. However it came to light that BP Sailboats had modified the keel pattern without approval and when the RYA came to arrange an inspection we were informed that the company were no longer trading in the UK. We had no alternative but to initiate a one month cancellation clause within our licence with BP Sailboats which will prohibit BP Sailboats from building Squibs.'
'It has come to light that as part closing down the moulds, which we and the NSOA firmly believe belong to the Squib Class, have been moved to an undisclosed location.'
This leaves the Squib Class with no licenced builder and no knowledge of the whereabouts of its moulds.
Steve Warren-Smith, Chairman of the NSOA, 'This has come as a surprise to the NSOA. I visited BP Sailboats in September to discuss how the NSOA and builder could work together to help stimulate new growth in the class. Bruce Parker has built well over 100 Squibs, all to the highest quality, including our present national champion. Nothing was mentioned at that time, and to find out that the business has closed was unexpected and that our moulds have disappeared is rather puzzling as they are of little value without the RYA licence to build Squibs. Nevertheless, we as a class are using the present situation as an opportunity to modernise the Squib brand and I look forward to working closely with our new builder to achieve that outcome.'
Bas concludes: 'In these kind of disputes it is important to appreciate that both parties may have differing viewpoints and we would be open to facilitating a meeting between the BP Sailboats and the NSOA to make sure that we can get the class back on its feet as soon as possible. The Squib Class has a strong following with numerous fleets around the UK and it would be a huge injustice to see the class disrupted in this manner.'
The RYA would very much support a successful resolution to this matter which would see the moulds being returned to the class and them being able to carry on producing boats. For more information please contact Bas Edmonds, RYA Technical and Racing Services Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org