Happy Centenary event for Jack Chippendale

There was a real party atmosphere recently at the top of Fareham Creek and even the sun decided to join in the festivities by giving Fareham Sailing & Motorboat Club a rare visitation on this otherwise wet and miserable spring.

The celebrations were two-fold, with the club opening their smart new Quarterdeck extension that offers panoramic views out over the water, whilst at the same time playing host to the Jack Chippendale centenary event.

Boatbuilder Jack had run the famous ‘Chippendale Boats’ yard from the Quay area, with much of the definitive work taking place up on the third floor of the Trafalgar Quay building. There some 4,000 racing dinghies would be made, before being lowered down onto the ground courtesy of a pulley system. A Portsmouth lad by birth, Jack set up his company very much in his own image, with the dual focus on making the boats as beautiful as possible, whilst also making them quick enough to be championship winners.

As his reputation grew, Jack would be responsible for building the prototypes of many of the dinghies that are popular today and even when he had moved on from building his boats, Jack remained committed to the idea of top-class work by supporting and teaching the next generation of boatbuilders.

The Chippendale boats joining the club fleet in front of the smart Fareham Sailing and Motorboat Clubhouse.
Images: David Henshall

What made the centenary day even more special was the presence of most of his old workforce, led by his foreman Eric Harvey, who had also been the main instigator of the event. Eric led an interested party on a walking tour of the area, including getting access into the old Trafalgar building, where the guests had to make their way up steep and narrow steps to reach what had been the main workshop.

Afterwards it was back to the sailing club for drinks, a BBQ and a great jazz band, while out afloat some of Jack’s prettiest boats joined in with the club fleet for a couple of races which started in front of the crowded club terrace. It was an amazing day for visitors and club members alike and a fitting tribute to one of the founding fathers of the UK’s ‘golden era’ of domestic dinghy development.


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