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The Sandhopper Fleet at Maylandsea Bay Sailing Club

The Sandhopper fleet offers competitive sailing from April to October each year.

Just what makes the Sandhopper so popular?

It is a stable and easily managed boat that can still offer exciting and exhilarating racing. It is a shallow draft version of Oliver Lee’s 19ft. Squib Design being a triple fin keel-boat which is an ideal design for estuary waters such as the River Blackwater. The characteristics of the river, the shallows, the spits and the strong tidal flow, all add extra dimensions to the challenge of racing.

The Sandhopper moorings are all close to the clubhouse. Generally, around six to eight boats compete each weekend and are easily recognised on the river by their distinctive blue sails. Some boats are sailed with just a helm and one crew, however an additional crew, a third person can provide useful extra weight in a heavy blow. Being a third person can provide valuable experience for any sailor new to the class.

The Sandhopper sailors are a friendly group and many have been attracted to the class by capsize free sailing but this doesn’t guarantee a dry sail. Many are experienced sailors who have won open meetings not only in Sandhoppers but also in a variety of class dinghies.

The Sandhopper also offers leisure sailing. Cruises on the beautiful River Blackwater can provide a relaxed day’s sail. It is possible to sail to Osea Island, picnic on the beach and swim in the shallows. A sail to Maldon Hythe Quay is popular and the statue of Byrhtnoth who fought the Vikings in 991 acts as a navigation point. On the way you might see cormorants and seals sun bathing on the mud.

So, whether you want to race or enjoy a leisurely sail, a Sandhopper at MBSC may just be the boat for you.

Doreen Levy. S30   

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SCBA LogoVisit the Sandhopper British Class Association website.