Note - this was a special dispensation for the 2011 UK National Championships and
the season series at Poole Yacht Club

Photographs courtesy and copyright 2011 Eddie May

Ian Proctor’s 1950s Osprey was often raced 3 up until the trapeze allowed 2 crew configurations to be faster. The class allowed me to try the modern boat with 2 children trapezing at the same time. The Nationals at Lee on Solent proved that this set up was an exciting option for the class.

With the two competent 13 year old girls’ daughter Emma and friend Milly at the front, the boat felt safe, well balance and was brilliant fun to sail. We had a total of 30 stone on board so performed better when the wind picked up. My result was similar to my previous Osprey experiences.

The twin wired Osprey is one of very few boats you can enjoy sailing with children aged 11-13. The flexibility of 3 on board was a great surprise to me. The boat is safe and controllable because you can always make up for an error made by one crew member. In the worst case if a child fails to unclip from the wire then the other two can prevent that horrible capsize. When racing it is easy to get the spinnaker pole up while leaving one out on the trapeze. With a competent child on board it is easy to take a non sailing child for the sail of their live.

 

Children love trapezing and I have found that they are very easy to teach. If they have been abseiling they are used to the terror of going over the edge then relaxing into the harness. We always practice on dry land then the experienced child leads. My chant is ‘clip on, front foot first, head back and don’t touch the handle’.

 

Sheet loads and spinnaker pole launching are a problem. To get the jib tight they have to work together while trapezing. We found our best tacks were with the back child coming in before the tack and getting the sheets under good control while the front child flew through the boat at the last moment and went straight out on the new tack. Our best answer for the pole launch was to do it before the kite with the barber haulers released. Having 2 at the front allows accurate retrieval of the barber hauler, sheet control and balance as the kite went up. The windy reach is always the most exhilarating on an Osprey. The girls took the sheet in turns and worked together to play the kite.

Are there any down sides to this development? My daughter has not taken her helming career seriously as her Topper seems rather pointless after the fun of the Osprey. However she is now a good crew and will enjoy sailing with the squad groomed expert helms. 

The committee is looking at rule changes for the class. The Osprey has always been a 3 man boat which is faster with 2. This will never change.

 

Twin wiring is great fun for small people but the natural rule of weight still applies. The boat felt very balanced with 30 stone onboard and I would not wish to sail with more. The rig, sheet loads, foils are optimised for a small helm and large strong crew.

 

This is the traditional Osprey and is not challenged by twin wiring. I believe there is little risk to allowing anybody to twin wire the Osprey as long as they did not change the configuration during an event.