Boats and Classes
A wide variety of boats are sailed at Maidenhead Sailing Club. Any mono-hull dinghy with a minimum PY of 950. can be sailed at the club, and you will see a variety of classes of boat on the lake, and also available for hire.
Class fleet racing is organised for Albacores, Solos and Lasers, while other classes race in the Menagerie fleet where results are calculated after applying a handicap system. We also have pursuit and handicap races where all the different classes race together. For more information on Club Racing at Maidenhead, click here.
The Albacore is the fastest of the three fleets raced at Maidenhead. We have the second largest Albacore fleet in the country. Our racing calender includes an Albacore class race every Sunday morning and our annual Albacore Open.
The Albacore is a comfortable double-hander that is simple to learn but continues to provide plenty of challenge for advanced sailors. At 109 kg hull weight, it is a relatively light 15 footer with a fully adjustable rig, enabling both light and heavy crews to race head-to-head.
If you would like a trial sail in an Albacore, talk to our Albacore fleet captain firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange this. Similarly if you are looking to buy an Albacore, feel free to ask advice on any boat you have found, we'll even help you get started in your new boat if you want advice on rigging it.
Our Club Albacores
These are available for hire to experienced sailors.
One of them is an older boat but sails well and provides a good representation of the Albacore sailing experience. You will find it near the race hut - it is the blue one parked closest to the single-hander pontoon.
Unlike most Albacores in our fleet, this one has an uncomplicated setup. Beginners can just leave the two controls (outhaul and kicker) on a default setting. More advanced sailors will find these still provide enough finesse for racing mid-fleet.
The other one is a newer boat for expert sailors and ready for competitive racing.
Club Albacore Rigging Tips
Sails – These can be left in the boat. There is also a reduced-size mainsail available in the green sail bag on the right, on the floor of the central container.
Jib halyard – When the jib has been almost fully hoisted, the jib halyard wire hoop will emerge from inside the mast. Put the hook, which is part of the orange tensioning system, into this hoop. Now pull the orange control line, located on the centreboard case near the mainsheet block, to put a small bit of tension in the halyard. Use gentle tension for gentle winds and a bit more if it’s windy. Racers achieve optimum tension by adjusting it while sailing upwind so that the leeward shroud just goes slack but not floppy. Too much tension makes the boat difficult to sail (fussy jib); too little and pointing will suffer.
Outhaul – Beginners can leave the outhaul on. It is the yellow rope hoop where the boom meets the mast. Pull it to the stop and the cleat will hold it there. Racers will release this for reaches.
Kicker – Beginners can just take up the slack, unless the winds are strong when pulling on more kicker will make the boat easier to sail. It’s the blue rope with the cleat at the foot of the mast. Racers will adjust this to match wind strength, aiming to keep the top batten parallel to the boom.
Shrouds – The shroud quadrants (below the side decks) can be left in the middle setting. The shroud levers (above the side decks) can be left closed by beginners. Racers will open these levers on reaches and runs, letting the mast pivot forward, and then use the orange rope to take up the slack in the jib halyard. Remember to reverse these steps before the upwind beat.
At Maidenhead Sailing Club the Laser fleet is by far the largest fleet. We have over 40 members' Lasers stored at the club and many of these are active participants in our racing calendar.
In the new naming convention, Lasers are now referred as ILCA, with sail sizes 4, 6 and 7.
As a one-design class of dinghy, all Lasers are built to the same specifications. The hull is 4.19 m (13 ft 10.5 in) long, with a waterline length of 3.81 m (12.5 ft). The hull weight is 56.7 kg (130 lb), which makes the boat light enough to lift onto a car roof rack. Fast and very competitive, the Laser is an incredibly versatile boat with three rig configurations that all use the same hull. The Laser Standard and Radial are Olympic men and womens' classes, respectively.
Laser Standards have a 7.06 m² sail. In a decent breeze sailors need to weigh 80 kg or heavier to make the most of this powerful setup. Race boats have more sail controls to allow more control and tuning of the rig,
The Laser Radial has a shorter mast. The sail has a smaller area and different cut to the Standard. It is a good choice from women, lighter men, or youths progressing up to the Standard.
This is the smallest Laser rig and has a pre-bent bottom mast section. It is often sailed by young sailors moving up from the Topper fleet.
The Menagerie fleet encompasses all the other boats not in the Albacore, Solo or Laser fleets. It currently consists of about 70 members' sailing boats that include Aeros, Phantoms, Optimists, Toppers. RS Visions, Topaz, GP14s, Comets and British Moths.
The Menagerie fleet always welcomes new members and looks forward to seeing how their boats compare with other classes. They are very willing to give advice to new comers. This is the fleet where juniors start, and one of the most successful fleets at the club.
The Solo fleet is one of the most active classes at the club with around 10 boats racing regularly.
At 13 feet and single-handed, the Solo is a great first boat for those who are just learning to sail and a very competitive racer for more advanced sailors. With continuous control lines fed to both sides of the boat, the helm has full control to depower in high winds - enabling both light and heavy crews to race head to head.
If you would like a trial sail in a Solo, talk to a committee member or Solo class member. Similarly, if you are looking to buy a Solo, feel free to ask advice on any boat you have found. We'll even help you get started in your new boat if you want advice on rigging it. We may be able to help you find a suitable boat to buy if you are having trouble locating one. Reasonably competitive boats can be bought for around £600 upwards, or if you are prepared to do some renovation work you can find some real bargains.