Alpha Dinghy of 1963 History
Bossoms of Oxford produced the Alpha dinghy as a fibreglass alternative to the Firefly in the late 1950s, and both Oxford and Cambridge started using them. The Mark I was not a success because its foam sandwich construction became water-logged after minor damage. The Mark II in plain fibreglass was better, but the problem of producing well-engineered small fibreglass dinghies was not solved until later times, and the Alpha did not prosper.
In the 1960s the club sailed on a small gravel pit at St Ives, using a ramp constructed by the Territorial Army. Col Wylie of the CU Appointments Board, Senior Treasurer at the time and later President, was active in the Cambridge TA. Interestingly, the Alpha anticipated the current bow fender of the Firefly by having a bow made of rubber.
Irish Tour of 1963 History
Anthony Butler organised a tour of Ireland in the summer of 1963. No less than seven matches were sailed in Northern Ireland: Royal Ulster YC (Won); Ballyholme YC (Lost); East Antrim BC (Won); Royal North of Ireland YC (Won); Strangford Lough YC (Won); Holywood YC (Won); and Carrickfergus SC (Lost).
The team then moved to Dublin for the Irish Dinghy Racing Association (IDRA) Team Racing in Dun Laoghaire – Ireland’s answer to the Wilson Trophy at that time. The highlight of the event was a Friday tour of the Guinness St James Gate Brewery with other visiting university teams – including an excellent lunch washed down by copious quantities of ‘the black stuff’. The team’s performance in the IDRA event was less that exceptional, with an early knock-out. Round robins were yet to be invented.
Photos of 1963 History
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