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Flying Fifteen

The Flying Fifteen is a two person racing sports boat which is 6 metres long which was originally designed by Uffa Fox in 1947.  The Fifteen refers to the original waterline length - 15 feet (4.57m).  The boat has significantly evolved over its 72 year history and has been maintained as an attractive, competitive, high performance modern sports boat.
Parkstone has the biggest active fleet of Flying Fifteens in the UK, and possibly the world, with over 28 sportsboats which have a draft that means we can sail across the entire Poole Harbour racing area in all but the very lowest tides.  Over 1/3rd of the PYC fleet is sailed by mixed teams, with 3 helmswomen currently, and the fleet has a strong camaraderie with an excellent social programme. 

The Programme

Flying Fifteens race every Saturday and Wednesday afternoon from Easter to Christmas with typical turnout of 10-18 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 3-sail reaches.  We also enjoy occasional forays out into 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. 
We are able to race in winds up to 30 kts because the boats are very hard to tip over - they can occasionally broach but the keel helps them pop back upright.  Competition is pretty hot in both heavy and light airs because the boats are evenly matched irrespective of crew weights thanks to rig tuning options.  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 Parkstone Flying Fifteen 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 all 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 include in (often irreverent) race reports that are shared on Facebook.

The Boat

The Flying Fifteen is a competitive, high performance planing keel boat that is highly responsive to quality boat handling and fantastic fun to race.  It sails like a dinghy and 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.

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 membership applications from sailors who wish to join the Flying Fifteen fleet.  Please contact the Fleet Captain (Steve Randle email) or Vice Captain (Crispin Read-Wilson Crispin Read-Wilson 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