South Staffs Burgee
South Staffordshire Sailing Club
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The Uffa Fox Trophy

By Peter Waine

Uffa Fox presented SSSC with its first trophy, which at his suggestion included some seamanship tasks and was not a straight handicap race. Uffa Fox, world famous yacht designer and exceptional dinghy sailor, was Patron of our club until he died in 1972.

The rules were drawn up by Uffa and Clement Jones: all boats had to lie at anchor, with sails stowed, then start according to handicap; a reef up to the first batten had to be rolled in on one leg of the course, and reefs taken out on another leg; later in the race a "man overboard" drill had to be carried out. Once the rules had been finally agreed, Uffa wrote to Clem Jones saying that he thought they were "wonderful" and a "great credit to the club."

Nicholas Jones quotes from Uffa's letter to his father: "There is no doubt that such a race will bring home to a great many youngsters the importance of seamanship and possibly may be the means of one of them saving the life of a crew who has gone overboard .... On such occasions one does not think, but only acts by instinct brought about by past experience."

However, enthusiasm to win (by fair means or foul!) and the ingenuity of the crews meant that several umpires had to be positioned at strategic locations around the course, to monitor the observance of these rules.

This trophy was first sailed for in 1955 and was won in the first two years by one of the club's earliest juniors, Tony Wyer, (taught by Peter Waine) who went on to "big boat" sailing and runs Small Boat Supplies in Wolverhampton.