Ajax 23 One Design Class Association


2004 Chairman’s Report


Chairman                                Treasurer                                            Secretary

John Williams                                     David Liddington                                   Peter Wright


Dear Member                                                                                       June 2004


The National Championships. 


We are hoping to see several RHYC boats travel to Falmouth this year. Perhaps up to 5 boats will try to retain the trophy for the East Coast fleet.


David Liddington (Vice Chairman & Treasurer), Peter Wright (Secretary) and myself (Chairman) will have completed 5 years of “Service!” at the AGM in 2005 at Royal Harwich.


The next two volunteers for Secretary and Chairman should be chosen from the SW fleet, and should be ready for the next AGM.  Perhaps the SW fleet should start thinking about the “Candidates.”  The East Coast fleet also needs to choose a Vice Chairman.



In the East Coast fleet have been transformed by Richard Chenery by use of a “group e mail” system.  Results of both last race and series are circulated to all members the day after racing.  Organisational matters are also dealt with this way saving huge numbers of phone calls.


I think that the time is approaching where we could circulate the papers for the AGM electronically and save a tedious amount of envelope stuffing.

Members without computers could obviously elect to continue to receive paper copies.

I would be grateful for feedback from the AGM.



AGM Matters.  The minutes of the last AGM (Harwich 2003) are enclosed.  As you will see, there was a discussion regarding some publicity for the class.  I volunteered to try to produce a web site.  The result of my efforts can be seen at: -




It was agreed that the Association would donate £100 to RYA Sailability.


Tony James stepped down from the East Coast Committee at the AGM after many years of service, both on that committee and as class Chairman in the past.  He was very influential during the re-writing of the Rules in 1989 and we thank him for all his efforts.  Doug Sharps agreed to replace him on the committee.


It was agreed that the Handbook would be re-issued and there was agreement that a new list of members be circulated.  However, I now understand that there are significant problems with this regarding the Data Protection Act, and we would require the written agreement of every member to publish such a list.  There is a boat list on the web site, which does not have addresses or telephone numbers.


Since the 2003 AGM Handbooks have been circulated to all members.  If you have not received yours, please contact Peter Wright (secretary).


Discussions took place at the AGM about radios. 


The feeling of the meeting was that the East Coast fleet would encourage radios to be carried during racing for safety reasons, as well as notification of courses between races on “back to back race days”. 


John Williams thought that they should be turned off at the 5-minute gun at Championship events so as to not infringe the “outside assistance rule”. 

David Kerridge thought that they should be kept on, including during Championship racing.  We need to be careful that members without radios are not disadvantaged.  I think that this issue can be dealt with in the sailing instructions for the Championships.


News from East Coast.  Richard Chenery (Class Captain 2004) and Doug Sharps in Avocet won the Spring and were second in the Autumn series.  David Mayne and Kelvin Douglas won the Summer and Chris Brown the Autumn Series.



Spring                                       Summer                                                Autumn


1st         Avocet                                     Guillemot                                              Mars

2nd        Pegasus                                    Pegasus                                                Avocet

3rd        Apollo                                       Apollo                                                   Guillemot



The Harwich Regatta provided 5 good races.  Richard Chenery and Doug Sharps in Avocet won from David Kerridge in Pegasus.  They received the Prosser Plate kindly donated by Jeremy Prosser in memory of his father who was the first owner of Thunderer.  The East Coast fleet had been delighted when Jeremy presented the trophy at the Class AGM in 2001.




Harwich Regatta

1st        Avocet

2nd        Pegasus

3rd        Mars



The Pin Mill Regatta was won by Doug Sharps and Richard Chenery in Avocet.



The National Championships took place in Dovercourt Bay and there follows the report submitted to Yachts & Yachting by James Skellorn.





John Williams finally laid hands on the Gimpel Trophy and won the National Championship for the Ajax class of 23 foot racing keelboats after twenty years racing in the fleet.  Williams’ boat Thunderer, crewed by his brother Hugh and his son Richard, beat off the competition from fourteen boats over five races in Dovercourt Bay.  The regatta was organised by Royal Harwich Yacht Club and racing took place on 18th-20th July.  The fleet included two visitors from the St Mawes fleet in Cornwall, and also new owner Peter Nicholls sailing Mandalay and crewed by his sons, and Aquila, recently recovered by the Thomas family from Belfast and restored to racing condition.  She was helmed by Lindsay Thomas, and crewed by her father Cedric and Bruce Brocklehurst.


Friday produced a fresh southwesterly.  Pegasus (David Kerridge) led from the start from one of the St Mawes boats Athena (David Liddington).  However, Thunderer worked her way past Athena and caught Pegasus on the third run, passing her on the subsequent beat, and held on to win.


In the afternoon race, the wind strengthened initially, and Athena took a clear lead.  Behind her Storm Petrel (Henry Baker) and Puffin (David Pearce), took up the chase with Pegasus and Thunderer 4th and 5th.  Puffin held second place and on the last beat Pegasus pulled through to third place as the wind eased and started to vary in direction.  Behind her, the next six boats finished overlapped with one another, making it tricky for the race committee to sort out the correct finishing order.


Saturday brought bright sun and a light onshore breeze.  Defending champion Avocet (Doug Sharps and Richard Chenery) got to the front of the fleet at last, pursued by Athena, Guillemot (David Mayne) and Goosander (Malcolm Mackley).  Goosander got to second place on the run, but then overstood the windward mark to fall back.  On the last beat, Pegasus found a windshift to lift her to second place, beating Athena and Guillemot by a few feet.


The shifting breeze caused Race Officer Doug Brown problems in setting the course for the afternoon race, and the fleet eventually set off on a short Olympic course.  Thunderer, Goosander and Athena got away cleanly from the pin end of the start line and led the way.  Thunderer held on to win.  Athena crossed the line second, only to discover they had been disqualified for an infringement before the start.  Meanwhile, Pegasus once again found a shift to pass Goosander on the last beat and take second place by inches.


The dinner on the Saturday night was enlivened by a speech from Cedric Thomas in which he gently pointed out to the fleet just how many of them had been beaten in races by the only lady helm, Lindsay Thomas.


The points situation for the final race was close, as ever.  Athena would have been strongly placed but for her disqualification in race 4.  Now she had to win race 5 to win overall.  Thunderer needed a top three result to win, providing she beat Pegasus.  Pegasus had very consistent results, but needed to be first or second and two places ahead of Thunderer to win.


Sunday produced a southwesterly wind that varied wildly in strength and direction, producing a course which resembled a snakes and ladders board, with holes in the wind in some places and in other places fresh breezes that enabled you to sail straight for the windward mark.


A 30º windshift a few minutes before the start favoured the pin end of the start line.  Avocet, Thunderer and Pegasus arrived at the weather mark at the front, but Avocet aimed too low for the wing mark, allowing Thunderer and Pegasus through.  Thunderer built a small lead on the second reach and Avocet got back to second place.  Pegasus found the snakes on the beat and fell back.  On the third beat, Athena found the fast lane offshore, to bring her back into contention with Avocet and Thunderer.  Avocet held on to win, and Athena eventually got ahead of Thunderer to take second place, but Thunderer held onto third place to take the championship.


1              Thunderer             (John Williams)                                    9 points

2              Pegasus                 (David Kerridge)                                  9 points

3              Athena                   (David Liddington)                              10 points

4              Avocet                   (Doug Sharps/Richard Chenery)       12 points



James Skellorn




News from Falmouth.  The turnout for Falmouth week was excellent at a total of 24 over seven days. 


1st David Liddington                             Athena

2nd Bob Edwards                                  Nemesis

3rd David Kerridge                                Pegasus

4th Anthony Armitage                            Hermes

5th Claire& Lindsey Thomas                 Aquilla

6th David Porter                                    Ajax



The SW Championships attracted an entry of 16.


1st Athena

2nd Sandpiper

3rd Nemesis

4th Troy

5th Ajax

6th Aquilla



Peter Nicholls is the new owner of Mandalay at RHYC.

Chris Ferri and Neil Kennington have bought Artemis from Tom Hill.

Rosie Carter has recently bought Teal from Peter Wright.


Two boats have changed hands in St Mawes.


Daniel Duff now owns Vim

John Andrew and Pete Little have bought Osprey


Proposed Rule Change

The Officers of the Association would like to propose that we have only one fee of £6.00 for all categories of membership. This would make the collection of subs more straightforward and remove the complication of some boats having joint owner members and some being associate members. The difference in subscription is minimal £2.00.



John Williams     


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