Menagerie Fleet

The Menagerie fleet consists of all other classes that race at Midland Sailing Club. Some of the classes only have one or two boats, while others are larger but don't have enough members racing frequently enough to make an individual class series worth running so they all compete within the Menagerie fleet instead - as well as the overall pursuit series of course.

Arthur Bedford. Menagerie Fleet Captain


There are dozens of different classes of dinghy that could be sailed at Midland Sailing Club, given that we welcome any monohull dinghy with a RYA Portsmouth Yardstick number (a performance indicator) of between 982 (Fireball) and 1155 (Solo) to compete in our race series. Since the majority of our racing is run as both scratch and parallel pursuit series, where slower boats start earlier, all classes and fleets can fairly compete with each other.

The Menagerie Fleet exists to ensure the smaller classes have a voice within the club, and to provide equal opportunity for race prizes. When a class becomes active enough, it will leave the Menagerie and become a fleet in its own right. We also have occasional appearances of other classes too, such as RS 400 and Moth. The latest addition to the Fleet is the Phantom, the first of which appeared in December 2011 and there's talk of a few more joining too.

A note on the stats: PY the Portsmouth Yardstick and is taken from the RYA 2011, unless we've decided to use a local Club Number instead. Start is the delay (in minutes:seconds) for our pursuit races and sail area includes both jib/genoa and spinnaker if carried. We also occasionally change the start time of a class too; changes will be posted in the club and on the racing section. In case of doubt, the numbers stated in the racing section are the ones to use.


Fireball emblemThe Fireball is probably the highest performance dinghy that just about anyone can sail in almost any wind strength, on any style of race course, on virtually any stretch of water. A genuinely international sailing dinghy with a single trapeze and spinnaker. An adjustable rig rules out the need for complex racks or weight equalisation systems; and class rules allow flexibility to fit the boat out to suit you, making it ideal for smaller helms or crews to sail the boat that they want.

The Fireball is the only trapeze boat that is regularly sailed at Midland Sailing Club and members currently own three. Crewing opportunities are highly sought after.

Fireball Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association
982 13:30 4.93 m 1.37 m 24.44 United Kingdom Fireball Association


Laser emblemThe Laser is the most popular sailing dinghy that has ever been produced. There are now nearly 185,000 boats world-wide. At the highest level it is an Olympic class and the UK has a very good standing within the world rankings.

The club owns a Laser which is regularly sailed by members, plus there are a couple of other Lasers that are raced by their owners.

Laser Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association
1082 10:00 4.2 m 1.39 m 7.06 m2 UK Laser Association


Laser 2000

Laser 2000 emblemDescribed by the makers as "A boat born for club racing with a dynamic but forgiving hull shape that is easy to control, making it perfect for a family cruise as well. It is ideal for less experienced sailors with years of built in progression included".

In addition to members own boats, the club bought a Laser 2000 a few years ago to give us a second large training dinghy, but it is available  to race in the Menagerie series and is regularly seen out on the water. The Laser 2000 is allowed to start a little earlier if only two sails are being used, typically this is when it's being used by less experienced crews who don't feel comfortable with using the spinnaker.

Laser 2000 Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association

10:00 (2 sail)

12:00 (3 sail)

4.44 m 1.77 m 21.82 UK Laser 2000 Class Association



Mirror class emblemThe Mirror is a small, light, easy to sail, easy to transport, pram dinghy (pram means it has transoms at both bow and stern). It is the classic dinghy for training, cruising and racing. A stable family boat suitable for all ages and abilities, ideal for just "messing about", it is also raced widely and actively both in the UK and abroad. Its ease of handling makes it a very good single-hander sailed with main and jib. For racing the crew is two but when pottering three can be carried.

We have two Mirror dinghies owned by club members which are mainly used for leisure sailing and rarely join the races. With a RYA PY of 1385 it is regarded as too slow to join the main pursuit races, but like the Topper and Optimist they can be accommodated by arrangement with the OOD.

Mirror Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association
1385 special 3.3 m 1.39 m 10.5 m2 UK Mirror Class Association


National 12

National 12 class emblemThe National 12 is a two person, two sail racing dinghy. With a main & jib area of around 10.4 sq metres (8.4m2 measured) and a light hull, 78Kg including mast and centre-board, there is ample power to drive the fast and responsive hull.

The 12 is a development class so hulls and rigs can be changed or modified within the class rules. The different hulls allow helm-crew combinations between 16 & 23 stone to be competitive. You are free to fit your boats out as you please so you can customise your twelve to your requirements.

The Twelve has a long, famous and intriguing history, and has developed into an exciting racing boat which performs well in all conditions and is a joy to sail.

We now have six being sailed at the club, and it's the only class within the menagerie fleet to host an Open Meeting. At this rate of growth, it can't be too long before they become a fleet in their own name.

National 12 Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association
1087 8:15 3.6 m 2 m 10.4 m2 National 12 Owners Association



Optimist class emblemThe optimist is described by the International Optimist Association as both "a flat-bottomed, hard-chine, pram-bow dinghy with a una spritsail" and also "a bathtub that breeds the best sailors".

Former Optimist sailors were over 50% of the dinghy skippers at the last Olympics

Optimists are designed for kids. They can handle them without danger, fear or back-strain. They're safe and simple enough for an 8-year old, yet exciting and technical enough for a 15-year old and over 150,000 kids in over 100 countries cannot be wrong. The Optimist is not only one of the biggest dinghy classes in the world, it is the fastest growing and is the only dinghy recognised by the ISAF exclusively for under 16s.

It's easily transported on top of any car, (where it will drip water over your shiny paintwork!) and is available in GRP, wood and wood/epoxy.

The club owns four Optimists, with a few more being owned by members. They are used by the Juniors and have their own races during Junior Sailing, although some join in the Saturday afternoon pursuit by arrangement with the OOD and it's a good experience for juniors who can't quite manage bigger boats just yet.

Optimist Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association
1646 Special 2.31 m 1.13 m 3.3 m2 International Optimist Class Association (UK)



Phantom class emblemThe latest class to start racing at Midland SC, we have just one boat on the water at the moment, with others giving it very serious consideration.

The Phantom was designed by Paul Wright and Brian Taylor in 1971. They wanted to produce a single-hander that was exciting to sail, manageable and at the same time affordable to build. It's a one design high performance single-hander, the Phantom has a hard chine hull with a deep 'V' bow, a flat run aft, and planes easily. With her lightweight hull and large rig on a stayed mast she has a high power to weight ratio, but is stable and responsive. There is no trapeze or spinnaker and she can carry a wide range of helm weights.

Phantom Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association
1030 12:00 4.42 m 1.64 m 9.75 m2 Phantom Class Association


RS Feva

RS Feva class emblemRS Sailing says the Feva was "designed to set new standards for recreational sailors, families, clubs, schools and holiday companies. The boats are easy to handle, fun to sail, versatile and highly durable."

The club owns three RS Fevas that are primarily used as training boats, but are also used for club racing by members. When being sailed single handed or by less experience crews the Feva can be used with just two sails (main and jib or main and spinnaker) and is allowed to start earlier.

RS Feva Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association

3:00 (2 sail)

6:00 (3 sail)

3.64 1.42 14.6 m2 RS Feva Class Associations


RS Vision

RS Vision class emblemRS Sailing says the Vision was also "designed to set new standards for recreational sailors, families, clubs, schools and holiday companies. The boats are easy to handle, fun to sail, versatile and highly durable". The owners club adds "whether you are learning to sail, racing, or cruising, the multiple award-winning RS Vision is eminently versatile".

The club owns an RS Vision as a training boat and members can also use it for racing and earn points in the Menagerie series.

RS Vision Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association
1085 8:15 4.6 m 1.75 m 24.8 m2 RS Vision Owners Club



Topper class emblem

Whether just messing about in boats, having fun off a beach, learning to sail, flat out blasting or competitive racing, there are so many reasons for choosing the fantastic Topper.

It requires little maintenance, is easily rigged in a matter of minutes, is rugged and safe for beginners and an exciting race boat too as your skills develop AND it is car-toppable. It truly is the most versatile of sailboats.

The club owns 6 toppers that are used for training. While the Toppers can be raced very effectively, in practice we are finding they are too slow for our main pursuit races, although most OOD's will accommodate the Topper on request. Their use in club racing is being discouraged in favour of the RS Feva, of which the club has three available for use by members

Topper Stats
PYStartLengthBeamSail areaUK Class Association
1301 3:00 3.38 m 1.19 m 5.3 m2 International Topper Class Association (GBR)


Acknowledgements: The RYA, manufacturers and individual class associations for the descriptions of each class which have mostly been taken directly from their websites as the authoritative source for their class.  Ask 10 people to come up with a summary of any boat and you'll get at least 11 different answers, so I'm ducking that whole debate as it's basically unwinnable. If members what to enhance the information about their favoured boat, then please get in touch - scribes are always welcome!