Ajax 23 One Design Class Association
Chairman's Report to the AGM of the Association on 26 December 1992.
John R Williams George H Josselyn
I am pleased to report another good sailing season for the Ajax fleet. The National Championships were held at Falmouth this year. Eighteen boats contested the event and Glen Litherland in Samaki was the overall winner. David Sutcliffe was second sailing Polyphemus and Brian Roberts was third in Sandpiper. Falmouth Week also attracted eighteen entries. Some fairly boistrous conditions were experienced and the overall winner was David Mathewson sailing Ajax. The week was well organised and thoroughly enjoyed. Mike Akehurst from Royal Harwich Yacht Club sailed in a borrowed syndicate boat and was made very welcome. Both Ajax and Goosander, the original syndicate boats, have been sold and replaced by Astrid , which has been restored after several years out of the water.
The East Coast Championships were contested by 18 boats. Conditions varied from a flat calm on the first morning to a force 6 by the end of the second day. Unfortunately the high seas and wind caused both the Committee Boat and the marks to drag . The fourth and final race had therefore to be cancelled. Bruce Johnson sailed consistently and had a well deserved victory in Guillemot. John Williams in Thunderer was second and Henry Baker and John Selby in Storm Petrel third. Our thanks to Jeremy Stone (Class Captain) for his excellent organisation in what proved to be very difficult conditions.
The Ajax Class was pleased to host the annual Oxford and Cambridge Varsity Match at Harwich. This is a three boat team race sailed over five days. The Deed of Gift specifies that the match must be sailed in keel boats. The Universities therefore borrow suitable boats from different clubs each year. Cambridge had a narrow victory after two protests and a tense final race.
Unfortunately the dreaded "osmosis" has reared its head on the East Coast. Three boats have been treated and two more are in the workshops at the moment. It would seem that rainwater in the cockpit is the main culprit as the meter readings are lower in the area of the buoyancy tanks. Owners are reminded that boats must be reweighed after treatment.
1992 has seen another sinking. This was due to a heavy gust laying the boat over when she was already half full of water. There are lessons to be learned from this. Firstly, that the boats float awash and it is very difficult to lower the sails in this condition,as it is sometimes impossible to release the halyards without putting ones head under water. Secondly, owners may consider that extra buoyancy bags are required , perhaps under the helmsman's seats and at the forepeak. Thirdly, the possibility of fitting pumps which can be operated from the gunwhale may be considered.
The last two original booms on the East Coast have now broken and most replacements seem to be from Z-Spar. The original mast "foots" are becoming very corroded and some owners are considering replacements.
The beginning of the season was marred by news of the sudden death of Lt. Cdr. John Townsend, MBE. RN. As you are all aware John was Chairman of the Association for many years and devoted a great deal of time and energy on behalf of the Class. He will be greatly missed . As John won the May Day Trophy shortly before he died, a new "Townsend Trophy" will be awarded to the winning Ajax in future St. Mawes May Day Regattas.