Ajax 23 One Design Keel Boat – day racing at its best!
The Ajax fleet at RHYC provides competition and excitement both for regular top-finishers and crews aspiring to be at the top. A superb sea boat that looks after its crew, the Ajax is fast both to windward and with the spinnaker flying downwind. It is solid and stable and copes exceptionally well in strong winds, making it a pleasure to helm and to crew. The Ajax is normally raced with a crew of three, although two up is perfectly possible, especially in lighter winds.
The class has two fleets, one at RHYC (23 boats registered, about 13 actively racing) and the other at St Mawes (Falmouth). The National Championships are held by each club in alternate years. In alternate years a number of RHYC boats will make the journey to St Mawes to compete in July, and may stay on to sail in Falmouth week (August) where the Ajax is often one of the best represented classes.
At RHYC, we race every weekend in the sailing season, making full use of the River Orwell, as well as going out to sea frequently or up the lovely River Stour. An attraction of Ajax sailing is that we do not need rescue boat support for our racing, and this gives us great flexibility with our courses - sometimes choosing short, sharp racing (usually when windy) and sometimes using fair wind and tide to go further. Being a strict one design keelboat means that what really counts is how the boat is sailed. While there is plenty of rivalry on the water, Ajax sailors are friendly and welcoming; always happy to help each other and new owners get the best out of their boats. In winter there are occasional lunches at the RHYC for the class.
The 2017 Ajax Class Captain is Martine Clayton. Please contact Martine if you have any questions about the Ajax or if you are interested in joining the fleet at the RHYC.
Report on Ajax Spring Series Races 1 and 2
With just six boats launched it was pleasing to see all six being rigged for the first races of the 2017 season when we mark 50 years of Ajax racing. All boats set off for the Clamp House start in good time where Race Officer Pat York was waiting. With the wind flicking between South South East and South the course for the first race was Collimer (S), Trimley (S), No 1 (P), Trimley (P), No 1 (P) with a finish at Trimley. The start found five of the six on the line with Hermione just behind. As the fleet sailed towards Levington the wind backed and no one was able to lay Collimer. Teal tacked first on to port but could not clear the other Starboard Boats. Teal delayed her tack back causing Telamon to alter course and after the usual pleasantries Teal took a 360 turn penalty. To leeward of this Polly Oliver managed to squeeze up ahead of Pegasus to establish a clear lead by the time the fleet reached Trimley. The wind was a steady forever 3 against the tide and there wee some waves as a result. Polly Oliver stretched her lead on the run back from No 1 whilst some boats had to gybe before setting their spinnakers. Teal powered up the next beat and round No 1 for the second time just behind Telamon surging past to take second just before the finish line. Guillemot and Hermione rounded out the finishers with Pegasus retiring for further crew training and debriefs.
The second race had a windward start with just Fagbury (P) and Collimer (P) as turning marks with the finish between Bay and No 4. Polly Oliver started at the starboard end of the line with Teal and Telamon slotting in behind. Guillemot chose the Port end. The first beat against the first of the flooding tide was notable for Teal running hard aground when trying to work through under Polly Oliver. This left Telamon and Gullemot battling for second place as again Polly Oliver stretched away upwind. The run back from Fagbury was amongst some RHYC cruising boats, perhaps returning from the Cruise In Company shakedown cruise. Guillemot chose the Trimley shore which looked very promising initially. By Collimer Telamon had a solid second place with Teal coming through ahead of Guillemot. Teal continued this charge but could not catch Telamon by the finish.
Results. Polly Oliver 1,1 Telamon 3,2 Teal 2,3 Guillemot 4,4 Hermione 5,DNS, Pegasus RTD,DNS