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Searching for Silver - Lost trophies from 505 championships need hunting down

by David Henshall 23 Jun 01:00 PDT
1968/9 had been a 'good year' for Larry Marks as he added to his haul of silverware © Larry Marks

As the UK settles down to the celebration of the Queen's platinum jubilee, we can also look back to that summer, 70 years ago when the sport of dinghy sailing was at the start of a fundamental reshaping as it moved to create the basis of the wide based populist activity we enjoy today.

The boat that would become the legend of the Finn would be moving singlehanded dinghy sailing up a gear, and boats such as Jack Holt's Hornet were introducing performance sailing to anyone who wanted to be known as a 'planker' (you have to be careful typing that one).

It was little surprise that as dinghy and small boat racing assumed this new, dominant identity, as distinct from the previous image of 'yachting' that there would be a need for new media outlets to report on what was happening. Yachts and Yachting had first hit the news stands just five years earlier, but quickly become one of the leading outlets for news and informed comment on what was going on in clubs and classes around the country.

They certainly didn't lack for material and when the IYRU (now World Sailing) were looking to introduce a new two-man performance dinghy, Y&Y were on hand to report on the developments. The Trials would eventually produce the Flying Dutchman in the form that we know it today but would also be the spark plug for the 5o5.

The story of the FiveO was clearly one that struck a chord with Ralph Wadham, the owner of the Yachts and Yachting Magazine, for as soon as new boats started sailing out of the workshops, he was quick to purchase one.

Back in 1954, there was a very clear barrier against any form of professionalism and advertising was completely banned, yet Ralph would push the boundaries of what was acceptable by naming his boat 'Yandy' and despite the obvious connotations, there was nothing the sailing authorities could do to stop him.

Yandy, 5o5 number 16 would be the first of a long line of iconic FiveOs, as it was not only a quick race winning boat, but it would continually grace the racing circuit for a decade or more and even later in life, would still spring some surprise wins.

With Yachts & Yachting so closely associated with the new 5o5 class, it was great to see them donate a superb trophy for the National Championship winner, with this becoming one of the top sought after prizes in the sport. As the class grew into the premier performance dinghy in the UK and aboard, the amount of silverware that went alongside the Yachts & Yachting Trophy could mean that a successful year could put a severe strain on the mantelpiece (all sailor's homes back then had a mantelpiece with this task in mind!).

However, over the years many of the amazing - and in some cases beautiful trophies have gone walkabout, but as the 70th anniversary of the class starts to loom over the horizon, the search is on to bring them home, have them restored and then get them back into circulation.

We may not have mantelpieces any more, but do you have, or do you know the location of any of the missing 5o5 Class Trophies. The search for the Silver is on and no one is going to question why you may still have it, but the Class would really like it back. The best contact point for anyone would be Nathan Batchelor at Ovington or Andy Smith who will be happy to arrange collection.

As can be seen from the picture above of Larry Mark, who 'scooped the pool' one year, these really are trophies worth racing for.

Can you help find them?

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