With its distinctive and attractive light blue sails, the Enterprise is the dinghy you see more often than other classes on the lids of jigsaw puzzles, chocolate boxes and biscuit tins!
13’ 3” long, the Enterprise was designed by Jack Holt in Putney, South London in the early 1950s and the class recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. She was designed at a time when dinghy sailing for leisure was growing rapidly, and new sailing venues were being opened up – reservoirs, rivers, small lakes and gravel pits. Being light, highly manoeuvrable and having a relatively large sail area for their length makes Enterprises well suited to the conditions at Papercourt and they quickly grew in numbers, there now being around 23,000 registered Enterprises nationally. They can be made from wood or glassfibre: either has its benefits in terms of maintainability, good looks and competitiveness.
Enterprises are relatively easy to sail but difficult to sail well. This makes them great racing boats but also exciting just to sail in any conditions. They are designed to be sailed by two people and don’t have a spinnaker. There’s a fairly healthy Open Meeting circuit in the Southeast although recent years has seen a decline, and the National and World Championships are very well attended. Many well known sailors have started their sailing careers in an Enterprise.
The fleet at Papercourt is the fourth to be registered by the Enterprise Association, and it’s been sailed here for all of the fifty or so years since then. There are quite a few Enterprises in the dinghy park but like other fleets, we could do with more people going out on the water each week: we normally get three or four Enterprises starting the Saturday or Sunday pursuit races in the summer, these being the most well attended races. Having said that, we have more than our fair share of race winners in our fleet, including some well known national standard sailors.
If you are interested in sailing an Enterprise, or want some advice about buying one, feel free to contact me on my email address or catch me down at the Club: I’d be happy to organise a sail with myself or another E-boat sailor, or pass on a few wise words about what to look out for when you are thinking about making a purchase.
Message for Enterprise Sailors
Hi to all fellow Enterprise sailors
If you’re anything like me I expect that you will be looking at the crocuses in flower and buds on the daffodils, and the lengthening grass in your back garden and thinking something like “all is looking like too much hard work, time for a sail”.
Well, rest assured that you are not the only person thinking that.
But before you go down to the Club, peel off the cover and put up the sails it might be a good idea to give your boat and any other equipment the once-over before the season really gets under way.
Safety first is a good principle, so…
Make sure your buoyancy bags and tanks are properly fixed to the boat and inflated
Check your trailer wheels, bearings and ball-hitch to make sure they are properly greased and working OK
Look at the heavily loaded points on your boat – where the shrouds and forestays are connected, the standing and running rigging, the rudder’s gudgeon and pintle, and make sure they are firmly fixed.
Don’t forget your personal buoyancy: make sure your kit is OK.
Then look at the things that would be irritating if they stop working while you’re out on the water. Try to remember last season, and the things you meant to fix but never got round to doing, like that corroded pulley block in the mast, or the self bailer that irritatingly wouldn’t stop leaking.
Then look at the things that could work better and decide what you want to improve next season. It might be a simple and cheap fix, or alternatively (as in my case) the Kicking Strap that’s never been quite as good as you thought it might be. Make a list, work out how much you think the replacements will cost, and decide if you want to spend that much. Prioritise according to best value: in other words, what will give you the best bang for your buck.
When you finally get round to going for a sail, remember that you’ve probably not done this for a while and things might not be as easy as you remember them when you did them last. Before you go out to race in a force five and then end up giving the rescue boat drivers plenty of early-season practice in the chilly waters, choose a calmer day and go out for an hour or so for a practice. Remember how to tack efficiently, balance the boat, and gybe. Go round a few marks when nobody is challenging you, and take a good look at the racing rules and see how they’ve changed in the new 2009 edition: https://www.sailing.org/racingrules.php . The major changes apply to mark-rounding. All of this will stand you in good stead for the new Season.
See you on the water … I have a few things to do before I go for a sail!