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Flying Ant


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Mark Orams and Brett Orams won the Nats and quite a few other events sailing out of Torbay. Their FA was a gem. Give Mark a bell - even if he can't help out directly I'm sure you'll get great old time stories.


I was told that Mark is still sailing at Torbay and is jiggin' up participation there. Good on him. Torbay used to get 50 odd racing on a good Sunday (all classes: Ps, FAs, Paper Tigers, Cherubs, etc.) when I was there. Will take the 49er up for a race or two once we're not so dangerous. :oops:

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Mark and Brett's boat was called Tugmuscle (if I recall). She was beautifully prepared. They won the '78 Nationals at Kohi (the very last time I raced an FA), and were easily the classiest act in the fleet. The final race was a blowout. We were well ahead when the race was called off. Absolutely amazing two-sail reaches. I was really disappointed they called the race off as it was probably the only time were we going to beat the Orams boys. Still remember that last race - 35 years later.

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Spectre was Mark Bell's boat. Absolute beauty. I sailed a bit with David Owst on Vivo. Was an orange thing. A mate of mine used to sail his by himself. He was tall enough to lie in the bottom of the boat and push the pole out while he steered with his foot. Was a hoot to watch.


Quite a few of us here raced each other back then obviously


Couple of other crews from back then were Mike and Richard Van Alphen and the Garrett sisters, Patsy and Cathy


You old crusters :lol:

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Yes I know Mark Orams well hes a good friend and he does a lot for our yacht club and we now have a thriving PT fleet there as of last season with Marko and Mark Bell sailing there plus others. I have taken on he Rear Commodore role at Torbay for the coming season so getting busy.


Wal you would be a better size to take it for a sail than me I do need sails at some point.


Can anyone remember did any of them ever have alloy masts as all the guys seems to talk about wooden ones on their boats




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Our one Stingray #220 had a rotating wooden mast.

I don't remember how many had alloy masts back then.


The sails while the same area as a P class main weren't quite the same and most of the Top boats had three full length battens rather than the full top batten and three short battens that we had.


We actually started racing ours at Castor Bay against Mark Bell and Simon Daubney who back then had Vivo #94.

My brother and I would take turns sailing with Dad.

From memory I was about 8 or 9.

I think I used to struggle to put out the pole but somehow we managed and had some very good races, until Mark and Simon upgraded to Spectre #243. After that we never got close they were too quick.


Back then My dad and I couldn't race at Torbay because the class was officially for under 21's only but my brother would race there with his mate but they always struggled.


One of the Top crews was the Garrett girls and I'm pretty sure there Dark Green ant was called Atom ant?

I remember Patsy sailing but Id always thought she sailed with Sally (Crews very own Miss G of Expedition Coppellia fame) but I see Wal has listed Patsy sailing with Cathy.


I also remember David Ousts brother Jo (who now works at Salthouse Boatbuilders) and I thought he used to sail Vivo with his brother some of the time?


Our Flying ant remains one of my very favourite boats.

It was a hell of a quick and really used to light up.

They are quite under powered in the light but still ghost along nicely but once theres a bit more like 12-15 they are off.

We raced the Sunbursts a bit and in the light the Sunbursts are quicker but in a bit more breeze the Ants can nearly pace a Sunny upwind but can leave them for dead off the wind.


One of the Ants best features is that its a really great boat to learn to sail skiffs. Everything is small enough that its really easy to manage but it just kicks everything like P Class or Starlings and leaves them for dead.

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Couple of pictures of 1976 Flying Ant Nationals on Manukau Harbour. A bit still to learn on boat positioning, sail handling and sail trim by the looks. I'm on FA 234 Termite. Jeremy Oust is Fo'ard Hand.


Wanted to buy a new fully battened main for the Nats, but Hoods quoted $50, and on $3 a week for 3 hours part-time work, I thought that was outrageous. Still, an OCS on race 2 of a 4 race weekend with no drop races and that was that. Blew like hell on the Sunday, still remember one broad reach with no kite where the boat just got up and flew.


Boat beautifully built and finished. John Lidgard built her for sons Kevin and Duthie. As he told me later, only had to build one boat for two kids. Sitka spruce in the build, the stiffest material available at the time. Laminated and varnished Teak and Kauri? splash boards. Painted like a keeler with black topsides, white boot-top and stem, and turquoise bottom.


Had an alloy mast when I had her, but originally a wooden mast with solid wire rigging.


Bought her off Patsy and Cathy Garrett, who then built Atom Ant. They sold her to Michael and Lee Stringer.

Their father Ross Garrett still in Torbay and involved with MERC Winter Lecture Series and wrote `The Physics of Sailing' some years ago. Remember him in 1979 putting hydrofoils on an A-class cat. The more things change, the more.....


Derek Dikstaal crewed with David Oust. Didnt run into him again, literally, until the 2001 Y88 2-handed Nats.


Overall, great boats. Certainly after two years in a P-class. Punt of a thing really, nearly put me off sailing altogether. Never sailed in a boat with a boom longer than the boat since. In fact, apart from a year-long dalliance with a 3.7, never sailed without a crew since either.

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MuzzaB I am sure Jucy was FA18, ours was FA276 (Condor, ex Living Wreck?).


And yes, a lovely boat to sail in a breeze, and I too remember those 1978 Nats at Kohl/Tamaki,, them were the days !!


Alloy mast on our boat I recall, but wooden boom...

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