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Flying Fifteen

Parkstone has the biggest active fleet of Flying Fifteens in the UK (and the world), with 34 boats at the start of 2024.   We can sail across the entire Poole Harbour racing area in all but the very lowest tides and it’s only a short sail out to the Bay. 

About one third of the fleet is sailed by mixed teams, with three (very competitive) helmswomen. 

The fleet has a strong camaraderie with help/ advice always available and an excellent social programme.

The Programme

Flying Fifteens race every Saturday and Wednesday afternoon from Easter to Christmas with a recent turnout of 26 boats.  Courses are mostly set in the harbour with races typically lasting 1½ to 2½ hours and with the prevailing wind bringing the possibility of 2+ mile screaming three-sail reaches.  We also enjoy racing in Poole Bay, where Flying Fifteen Regional and National Championships are often held, and where the boats are able to show off how great they are for sea sailing. 
Racing is close in all wind conditions because the boats are evenly matched irrespective of crew weights thanks to rig tuning options.  We aim to race in winds up to 30 kts (the boats are very hard to tip over - they can occasionally broach but the keel helps them pop back upright).  We are very lucky to have our own volunteer race team for those times of the year when other fleets have stopped sailing and it’s impressive how many people manage work schedules to have Wednesday afternoons free. 

The Fleet

Flying Fifteens have raced in Poole Harbour since the early 1950s.  Many boats have joined the fleet after visiting the club for open meetings, championships or the annual Poole Week Regatta which sees an entry of around 25 Flying Fifteens.  Others have switched to sailing Flying Fifteens from other classes, with National, European and World Champions and even an Olympian in our ranks – giving an extra thrill to those mere mortals among us when we get the chance to beat them.  The fleet is also fortunate to have a close relationship with representatives from two of the top Flying Fifteen sailmakers who are always happy to give help with tuning tips.
There is a very friendly atmosphere in the fleet both on and off the water.  This starts in the boat park when rigging, continues through to the bar after racing and into an excellent fleet social programme through the year.  On a race day, joining the relay that forms to help each other bring the boats out quickly gives a good chance to hone your race story before hitting the bar.  The most interesting snippets of post-race gossip are hoovered up by the 3rd placed team to be included in (often irreverent) race reports.

The Boat

The Flying Fifteen is an attractive, highly competitive, planing two person sportsboat.  The boat has evolved significantly since it was designed by Uffa Fox in 1947 (the Fifteen refers to the 15’ waterline length, with the overall length being just over 6m).  It sails like a dinghy and is highly responsive to quality boat handling and fantastic fun to race.  It is remarkably agile and lively in a breeze and in waves, with the keel providing stability that enables even novice crews to enjoy a good blast.  The boat suits a wide range of crew weights, male, female and children – with mixed crews competing successfully at club, national and international level in all winds.  Boats are evenly matched regardless of age - a 27 year old boat often wins series at Parkstone and a 20 year old boat won the Southern Championships held in Poole Bay in 2022.  It is possible for a mixed crew to launch and recover at Parkstone on their own, using the pontoon to remain totally dry, though part of the class spirit comes from helping each other recover boats after racing.  There is always plenty of help available. 

Find Out More

There are often openings for new crew and any members interested in a trial in a Flying Fifteen would be most welcome.  The Club welcomes new membership applications from sailors who wish to join the Flying Fifteen fleet.  Please contact the Fleet Captain (Mervyn Wright email ) or Vice-Captain John Keates email) for further information or just pop down on a Wednesday or Saturday and talk to one of the fleet.  

Class representatives

Mervyn Wright

Class Captain

John Keates

Vice Captain

Sara Briscoe

Social Secretary