Scilly To Host Redwing Sailing Championships

A week-long programme of events to celebrate the affection Scilly and Cornish sailors have for redwing dinghies will begin next Saturday when Scilly hosts the Redwing Sailing Championships.

The event has been held here previously in 2004, 2007 and 2009.

Last year Looe was the venue with the Falmouth area acting as base in 2010.

The traditional varnished boats, sailing under bright red sails, were first designed for Looe sailing club in 1938 and became popular in the 50s and 60s with islands’ farmers and boatmen who competed for the Redwing trophy.

Island Redwing representative Keith Buchanan, says Scilly’s first Town Clerk, Roland Phillips, commissioned Sam Ellis to build Tern no 155, which won several trophies. He later built Gylfinir No 170 from driftwood.

Both are still sailing and Keith says that shows how good the boats and the craftsmanship are.

Keith expects the eight Scilly-based Redwings will join twelve visiting boats for the week of races. They’ll be competing every day from next Sunday, except Wednesday, when the visitors will have a free day to explore.

Ten Redwings have been established here now and many are what Keith calls ‘basket case’ projects. At one point there were six being restored in the Porthmellon area of St Mary’s.

Two years ago there was just a single boat here.

There’ll be unique publicity for the event with one boat sitting on the quay. Another on Holgate’s Green will host laminated history boards outlining the Redwing story and James Fletcher’s recent experience in refurbishing the Fantastic.

Keith says with the resurgence in interest he is hopeful that the sailing championships will grow in the same way that gig racing has.