The Victory Class

 VICTORY KEEL BOATS 

The Victory Class was born in 1934 - based on the design of the Bembridge Sailing Club one-design first built in 1904 - and was the brain child of the Portsmouth Harbour Racing and Sailing Association whose main objective was the promotion of one-design racing with boats built to strict specifications and with a strict control over modifications, slipping and scrubbing.

 The Portsmouth Harbour Racing and Sailing Association chose to follow the Bembridge Sailing Club one-design but with some minor modifications to the hull and some major modifications to the gaff rig. This design was at the time thought to be fast enough to give good sport, safe enough for novices and also had some capacity for sleeping aboard even if under an impromptu tent. There were several of the ex-Bembridge boats harboured at Portsmouth Harbour and the new design was such that the boats could be used in all types of weather and sea conditions of a normal solent season and were capable of being produced at a moderate price. In particular the boats were affordable by members of the three services.

The result of the planning and design teams was a 20ft 9in long boat with beam of 5ft 10in, draft 2ft 6in, carrying 195sq. ft of sail and with half a ton of ballast on the keel.

The new Victory Class, as it became known, was accepted by the Solent Classes Racing Association which allocated the letter "Z" as its sail mark. (In Gibraltar however the sail mark is the letter "V"). New victories could only be built by approved builders to the official templates and were open for measurement by the official measurers throughout construction. The Victory Class was subject to some strict rules, in particular, boats could not race as Victory yachts unless owned by members of the class. Spinnakers were introduced in 1935 but it was agreed that they could be prohibited in a race on the initiative of the class captain and subject to mutual agreement.

The first Victory race at Portsmouth was won by Commander Denham in Z 12 "Waterwitch" which took the presidents shield for the top scoring boat in the 1934 season. This boat was not however raced during the 1935 season after which she was sold to the Royal Artillery Yacht Club and used by a series of owners thereafter. After being laid up in Portsmouth in the late 1970's she was sold to the Gibraltar fleet in the early 1980's.

There has been a Victory fleet at Gibraltar since the 1940's. Of the 32 boats numbered Z 6 to Z 37 built before the war, three (two immediately on being built) were shipped to Gibraltar before the war and nine after the war. Of Victory boats build after the war numbered Z 38 to Z 69, eleven (five immediately on being built) were shipped to Gibraltar. The total number of Victories arriving at Gibraltar was therefore 23.

In 1969 the running backstays which were inclined to be a nuisance to set up when changing tacks were replaced by standing backstays. At first these could not be adjusted during racing but were subsequently modified to be freely adjustable. To make this change possible the main boom had to be shortened, the main sail slightly cut down and the foresail enlarged to compensate. This change has not however been adopted by the Gibraltar fleet.

The Victories in Gibraltar have a season spanning from the end of April to the end of October and of late due to the manufacture of higher quality paints The Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club's class rules prohibit any of the Victories being slipped during the racing season unless emergency repairs are required in which case racing penalties may be imposed by the Sailing Committee.

In an attempt to further standardise the class the Sailing Committee at The Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club has in recent years:-

1. Individually weighed the fleet and introduced a low limit weight for the class which has required some of the lighter boats to carry some extra ballast.

2. standardised the purchase of sails by using only one supplier and regulating the frequency of purchases.

These steps to further standardise the Victory class in Gibraltar were introduced given that the class owners have always been keen to see that the fleet remains a strict one design so that racing may be on level terms. To this end the class rules and the specifications of boats and sails have been strictly controlled and only altered with the consent of the majority of the Victory owners.

 List of Victory Class Boats and Owners in Gibraltar.

V1 - Viking - Louis W. Triay Q.C., (Vice Patron of the RGYC)

V2 - Nike - No longer at the RGYC

V3 - Cleo - Sunk in a storm

V4 - Odyssey - Raymond Payas Esq

V5 - Cora - Broken up

V6 - Niña - Christian Sheppard-Capurro Esq

V7 - Genista - Jacob Hirschbaek Esq

V8 - Temptress - Chris Keightley-Pugh Esq

V9 - Fencer - Hamish Risso Esq

V10 - Zeus - Sebastien Moerman Esq

V11 - Athena - RGYC owned

V12 - Calypso - Steve Hammerton Esq

V13 - Laguia - Broken up-keel retained by RGYC

V14 - Flash - Charles Lavarello Esq (Vice Commodore)

V15 - Pendlewitch - No longer at the RGYC

V16 - Andromeda - Michael J. Sheppard-Capurro Esq

V17 - Emendek - John Bassadone Esq

V18 - Boreas - Andrew Tucker Esq

V19 - Alitea - Jane & Dennis Sciacaluga Esq

V20 - Fairdawn - Nick Cruz Esq 

V21 - Zoe - Andrew Alcantara

V22 - Avocet - Brendan Roche Esq

V23 - Waterwitch - Edgar C. Lavarello Esq

 Victory Moorings

Having already been re-located from the north shore of Coaling Island to the Rooke foreshore in about 1990, to accommodate the reclamation of the area to be used as a “football pitch” come temporary coach park, the Victory moorings were on the move again during the 2007 pre-season.

The Mid-Harbour reclamation is being constructed in the waters immediately in front of Rooke and the Victory moorings ground-tackle had therefore to be recovered from the sea-bed and re-located during February 2007.

The new location is off the Europort shore, immediately in front of the Hospital and Europlaza buildings. Two trots have been laid parallel to the shore, in depths ranging from 8 – 11 metres.

Since the new moorings are exposed to a considerable fetch during Westerly and South-Westerly winds, the 2007 Victory sailing season ended earlier than usual. This allowed owners to haul out their boats before the onset of wintry weather. 

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