20 years at BG!
As we now step into 2018, we can reflect on 20 years of BG Sails and Design (formerly BG Radio Yachts & Sails).
From the humble beginnings of our first IOM design Southern Cross 2 in late 1998, our small business has continued to grow to one of the worlds leading sail and design providers for International class radio yachts.
In this time, over 600 of our designs covering the International One Metre, Marblehead, Ten Rater and RG65 class have been built to order with over 750 delivered in plan form to over 50 nations worldwide. Similarly, our sailmaking side of the business has seen over 5000 suits of panelled racing sails made to order since 2008 alone, with the addition to the business of Victoria and our permanent move to the UK enhancing production since.
Performance on the race course of our equipment has been rewarding with a total of 9 World Championship wins with 6 podium finishes and 3 European Championship wins with 8 podium finishes. At National Championship level, wins across the globe stand at 75 with an even greater number of podium finishes. The above results are all complimented by the too numerous to mention regional and club level success many skippers have achieved using our products on a weekly basis across the classes we support.
Over the past 20 year period the sport has seen many changes with the most notable being the standard of quality in equipment and product being offered at the top end being far more available than ever before. From much improved electronics housed in consistently well built and refined designs with better suited rigging and fittings suited to our elements, it is now rare to see retirements from racing compared to the past years.
The filter on effect of such improvements has seen the standard of sailing competition raise significantly and sailor retention with equipment right through large fleet events from A to E heats capable of matching the very best if sailed to its capabilities. The net result to customers is the confidence that a well sorted International class design is a better investment than it ever was which is great for our sport.
2017 - Another strong year at the top end
IOM – International One Metre Class
GBR's Rob Walsh narrowly missed out on recording a second World Championship win in Pierrelatte, France, settling for third behind 2009 champion Zvonko Jelacic of Croatia and two time Marblehead World Champion Guillermo Beltri of Spain. In a close contest the final result was not decided until the last race with all 3 skippers in contention for the win. Robs result sees our Britpop/POP design on the podium for the fourth World Championship in succession, having won the previous three events. Congratulations Rob, and of course both Zvonko and Guillermo.
A total of 5 Britpops finished in the top ten with a notable effort from 2011 champion Peter Stollery racing the same boat #2 that took him to victory at West Kirby. Also of note was Scott Condie gaining the highest place finish of any Australian skipper since 2009 in his first international event.
At national level here in the UK our Britpops continue to dominate the local ranking scene, culminating in Rob Walsh taking out the Nationals in the lightest of conditions at Datchet Water.
The Britpop design now going into its 8th year in production continues to offer consistent quality in performance of a well sorted boat. With over 450 supplied and limited options available that can truly match the ease of its performance across all conditions for the average skipper, we do not anticipate anything new for production in the immediate future.
M – International Marblehead Class
The Marblehead class continues to strengthen both here and in the UK with good quality builds now under production from a number of sources, complimenting our work in showing just how competitive quality older designs can be with.
Our own Grunge design continues to lead the way with a strong win at the UK Nationals at the home of ‘M’ racing in Fleetwood to continue an unbeaten run for the original prototype dating back to 2012. Against a field that contained the top 6 from last years worlds, BG took the win with a clear 17 points from 18 races recorded against a 48 boat fleet from 7 nations. Both Darin Ballington and Tony Edwards had fine events in third and fourth respectively behind 2006 World Champion Martin Roberts for a Grunge 1, 3, 4. Other notable results were from our Grunge builder James Edwards of Robot Yachts coming in tenth and the greatly improved Bill Culshaw who with his new Grunge saw him placed firmly in the top ten after day one and finish up with a solid 14th place finish. Well done guys!
Darin Ballington continued his good form to take on the number one ranking in the UK. Of note over the year was the continued development of the original Bantock Paradox here to a level that it managed to take out a Saturday ranking event in open water at West Kirby. A timeless design, finishing with a score equal to its 23 years since its build using relatively inexpensive upgrades. A showpiece showing the value in investing in a well sorted and successful design.
Our production Grunges are steadily making their way around the world with boats now in NZL, AUS, soon to be the USA ,FRA and of course here in the UK. Andrew Reid with limited preparation managed second place at the AUS nationals and has since gone on to record strong ranking race wins there. Of note also in AUS and NZL is the continued good performance of home built boats built to our Indie lines plan.
10R – International Ten Rater Class
Our Trance 10 Rater design continues to show its capabilities both with the original prototype winning races in SUI and GER raced by Jurgen Peters and our World Championship winning boat taking Scott Condie to an AUS nationals win and its new owner Andrew Reid to a couple of State event wins there against strong opposition.
We are currently in the process of evaluating a production run to this design with news on this to come, of course only after having been fully trialled and approved by our team first…
The RG65 class held their UK National Championship at Birkenhead with our prototype Electronica design making a return to competition in the hands of class first timer Graham Elliott. From the outset and despite some unwanted slime in the water, Graham managed to dominate a fleet filled with some of the latest designs available. It was noted by observers just how quickly Electronica would step out from the fleet after the start to often be in a controlling position to record a score of 22 points from 24 races. With his worst dropped being a 5th and his nearest competitor on 59 points, it was a commanding result whichever way you look at it....
It had been our hope to look at production for Electronica through 2017 but the instability currently surrounding the class and rules on an International level has led us to adopt a wait and see approach before making any commitment on a production version.
For 2018, the year ahead is a big one for International events starting with the IOM European Championships in Rogoznica, Croatia April. This event will be followed up by the Marblehead and 10 Rater class World Championships in Biblis, Germany in May. All 3 events promise a continuation of maximum entry fleets of the worlds best radio sailing skippers which is a fantastic reflection of the genuine strength of our sport at the highest level around the globe.
A solid calendar of racing in the UK has once again been planned with strong participation across the classes we sail ensured at clubs right across the country. An IOM Nationals at Fleetwood to test boat and body on and off the course, the Marbleheads back to Manor Park for another family fun weekend of camping and good food or its off to the centre of London for a weekend of sightseeing and a spot of 10 Rater sailing on the historical Round Pond. Whatever your class, there is plenty to look forward to.
At BG, both Victoria and I are working hard to continue our efforts and success of the past 20 years and look forward to working with our customers new and old on getting more from your racing whether a new build or updating an older design in the classes we love and continue to support.
We trust that no matter what you race that 2017 has been kind to you on and off the water and wish all skippers a healthy 2018.
© BG Sails & Design 2018