pete siddle

18/12/2010 17:35:50
the gurn
Do I recollect that Peter Siddall used to sail a merlin? How well he has done to be playing for the ashes in the Aussie team.

18/12/2010 17:59:47
Ahh...I think you'll find that Pete was part of the exodus over to 505s in the late 1970s/early 1980s. If I recall, he either crewed for Steve France or Vernon Ralston (along with the likes of John Patterson and Andy (hakuna matata) Jones.
One of Pete's claims to fame was reading a sunday broadsheet on the hairy sail out to the start at either Felixstowe or Gt Yarmouth. An offshore breeze, but as with all good 505 crews they didn't get going until the 10 minute gun. So, Pete sat on the plate case, facing aft, reading his paper whilst his helm had to work to keep the 'hull under the rig'!!

Pete was also known for a rendition of 'Old Macdonald had a farm' that involved whales and pints of beer.... messy...


20/12/2010 11:37:55
Chris Rathbone
I think he carried on crewing Vernon Ralston. There are many stories told about Pete Siddle and vernon. Didn't they sail round Salcombe with a transistor radio one year?

20/12/2010 21:40:51
Andy Gray
Merlins/505's. Pete crewed for Vernon(ex.White Hysteria)(rumour had it he got caught up in the self bailer offloading his morning tea before the race after their traditional spot of pre race tandem cycling. The paper was merely a cunning cover up.) in a beautiful composite red Phil/Spud 505. Rob Trickett also had a sister white Spud boat. Steve France and Robbie (had a black Parker. John Patterson had a Kyrwood and I think had Dave Webster (ex Pat Blake) crewing at one point. Lew Dann crewed for John Loveday to a few major wins and Lawrie Smith did well too and sold a white Parker to Colin Humphrey (ex green Hysteria) when he moved to France.I've run out of steam now but I'm sure there are many more. They are both great boats.

20/12/2010 22:30:33
Andy... thanks for jogging the memory. As you say,both great boats, sailed by great people who all knew a bit about having a lot of fun! It is interesting to note the  dynamic between the two classes - a lot of crews ended up migrating their way into the bigger boat where they quickly made their mark. Phil Morrison was another who made the move, with the result being the superb Rowsell/Morrison 505s, one of which, 'Ethel' was very much a winner in the hands of Chris Haworth it may well have been the red one, ex-Vernon.  

It is also interesting to compare the relative positions of the two classes today. Whilst the Merlin fleet continues to show all the signs of a healthy class, the 505 'in the UK' has struggled in recent years in the face of the 'new class' skiffs. Maybe £18,000 plus for a fully equipped new boat is a factor.....

Where are you these days and what are you sailing?


23/12/2010 00:00:50
Dan Alsop
but is he any good at cricket

23/12/2010 09:59:14
And can he cook?

04/01/2011 09:48:35
Keith Callaghan
Last I heard of my old friend and clubmate Peter "Chopper" Siddall was that he was living happily with his second wife in Fowey, and was sailing a Sigma or Rival or some such boat. I've got lots of old super 8 cine film from the 70s which I've recently had digitised, and Pete and Vernons' antics feature often. Happy days.

05/01/2011 00:47:27
> the 505 'in the UK' has struggled in recent years in the face of the 'new class' skiffs. 

What like the Boss (dead class) the 5 Tonner (dead class) the 4 tonner (dead class) or the RS800 (similar turnouts to the FiveO in recent champs but dropping in popularity. Two handed trapeze boats are at something like a 30 year low in popularity in the UK, but the 505 is as healthy as any and better than most. Mind you it probably helps that the 505 is a least a great 50s vintage design, whereas the Boss and the Tonners were just dreadful by any standards...

05/01/2011 08:50:29
Ah but the 5000 was a great concept and without that the 49er would not have happened. The probelm was that Phil Morrisin and Dave Clark designed a good boat with the weight equalisation being a great idea. Proved very interesting when we were getting 60+ baots to international events prior to 1998 as the small guys did well in the breeze and struggled more in light conditions as their skills had been consentrated on their weaknesses prior to joining the class. The unfortunate problem was that Tim Coventry and his management team lowered the material specification and added in excess of 30 kg to the boats weight. Originally it was designed to come in at 80kg. Now at that weigt with modern rig, foils and carbon wings, youd have a beast. Alas corporate boats are driven by marketing and become stayed and so do not last unless the class takes control and drives it.
Bye for now
PS 505 is a great boat though

06/01/2011 09:26:23
Some spelling errors!! and it was Derrick Clark and Phil Morrison. Wikipedia shows it as just Phil Morrison!

06/01/2011 22:04:43
Not many 'Skiffy' classes above the 505 in the nationals attendance tables on Y&Y

Sail numbers now over 9000, 46 boats at the nationals this year (with a world in a different country in the same month)125 entrants at this years world championships! Not really struggling.....

07/01/2011 05:37:24
the gurn
well Pete held the fort in Sydney for a while 41 in the last innings - Peter (Frampton) and I cannot resist asking what the latest score is - the Ozzies dont like it up em!

07/01/2011 09:33:39
Barry D
When did Pete become an Australian?

07/01/2011 10:45:38
"the 505 'in the UK' has struggled in recent years "

When I wrote this, the comment that was made was, as far as I am aware, well informed and a reasonable perspective on the state of play within the fleet. Back around the start of the 2000s, when the Laser 5000, Boss and 49er were very much in vogue, the 505 suffered a big dip in support. At one point numbers at the Nationals sunk as low as 24 boats....with many of these being the diehard class stalwarts. In an inspired move, the UK Class Association hosted the Worlds at Hayling in the hope that this would revitalise the class here and one can but applaud them for efforts as it has worked. Numbers wise since then, the 2009 entry at Torquay was spot on the 10 year average of 36 boats.

Putting this back into context - when the 'Australian fast bowler' Pete Siddle was crewing for Vernon Ralston, you'd have 100+ boats just for a Worlds Qualifier and to make one of the coveted 12 places that would make up the UK team was a major task - you needed to be top 10 across a season long qualifying series. The front of the fleet was deep in talent and even names such as Eddie Warden Owen, Phil Crebbin and John Patterson, though frequent front runners, were never able to consistently win against the established big names in the fleet; Colclough, Pete White and the Wilmott brothers.

So yes, the class did struggle in the face of the twin wire/skiff revolution and though it has staged something of a recovery, there is nowhere near the depth of world class sailors seen in the fleet that you had before. I did also point out that the comment made was from a UK perspective as again yes, the class remains strong internationally.

I asked in my posting if price was a reason, as the 505 is now an expensive pastime. If you really want to do well, you need to get out onto the continent and sail against the top competition there and this is now a big money scenario. One could also argue that the class did itself no favours with 'new' hull shapes changing the game. At the Nationals, they reward the first boat pre-8400 (the time of the last hull shape revolution)as it seems obvious that the later boats enjoy something of a performance advantage.

After all, in a development fleet such as the Merlin, changing the hull shape is right at the very heart of the class, but in a senior 'one design' it can make a mockery of those who invest in new boats ony to find that the ground has shifted under them.
I've just seen that Barry Dunning posted the previous comment - there too is yet another Merlin sailor who has done time in the 505!

I hope this puts my comment 'into perspective'!
PS: Keith (Callaghan). Pete and his nickname. For reasons of decency I skated over some parts of Pete's on shore antics..... Felixstowe parties being just one of them!!!

07/01/2011 11:11:23
Barry D
Quite right Barnsie. Had the pleasure of sailing with some of the greats. Derek Farrant, Larry (Skid) Marks and Marcell Buffet, the French world champion to name a few. Great boats with a real party atmosphere.

07/01/2011 22:44:05
> Ah but the 5000 was a great concept and without that the 49er would not have happened. 
> The probelm was that Phil Morrisin and Dave Clark designed a good boat

No and No I'm afraid! The 49er was a simple logical develoopment of what was going on in the 18s, and you can make an excellent case for the 5 Tonner being the worst boat built in any numbers in the last twenty five years. The rig was wrong, the hull shape was wrong and the construction was wrong...

09/01/2011 21:47:25
Now now Jim. The 49er was developed by Julian and did have its origins in the development program that he and his father were following. However, without the 5000 opening the eyes of the ISAF to the concept of mass racing in skiffs and Julian being at Garda (sailing Loony Tunes)to pick up on the attraction/enthusiasm for this type of sailing and seeing how Paul (Henderson) wanted a boat of its type in the Olympics,the 49er may not have been desigined in 1996 but possibly at a much later date. They actually finished the prototype and the selection regatta at Garda.

Having sailed the 5000 in probably the hotest competition outside the Olympics in the early to mid 1990s, feel that the current crop of skiffs owe a lot to the 5000. Of he batch around at the time, it was probably the best. The dog was the Boss and that was due to the fct teh faster it went, it became more unstable.

Have fun and try a high performance skiif in big breeze some time

09/01/2011 23:25:07
I'm with you all the way on this one! My boat was in Ian Ridge's workshop at the time Dereck Clark was building the prototype Olympic Dinghy (that would end up being badged as the 5000), I went off to sail 14s for a while and Ian was left sailing my Merlin at Weston. But all the talk was of the 'new' boat and how good it was. Had the development continued and had the boat been put out as Phil and dereck envisaged, then the 5000 would have been a very different proposition all together. It is quite possible that a lightweight 'specialist 5000'(rather than the bullet proof boat for all that it became) would have given the still new and unproven 49er more than a run for it's money.

Last year I did the Top Ten UK Dinghy Design series for Dinghy Sailing Magazine and when I featured the 5000 at number 10, I got a lot of the same sort of comment as has been seen on here. Yet at the time that the skiff thing all kicked off, the 5000 had a very popular televised European Cup circuit (sponsored by Audi)that was attracting a wealth of top talent.

This is not to say that the 49er is not a superb boat, for it patently is. Was it though the best boat at the Trials or were there other factors at play out in Lake Garda? I think I'll pass on commenting further on that subject, if you heard the rumours then they may well have been true! Could it be that one of the attractions of boats like the Merlin is that they are not subject to the international power plays that now flavour the sport.



10/01/2011 15:12:32
Tim Fells
This discussion brings back some fun memories from the Garda selection trials for the high performance dinghy. Laser and Topper were there with full works teams, the Budgens in the 5-toner and Jon Turner/Richard Parslow in the ‘Buss’ if memory serves correct.  There were a series of short races with all the prospective classes on the same line.  Julian Bethwaite in the 49er simply disappeared up the track and did a horizon job.  I don’t think anyone had anticipated such a gulf in performance and the Laser and Topper teams were left looking rather despondent.  Rumours went round that the 49er would be un-sailable in the hands of mere mortals so Julian took it out single handed, 3 sail gybing past the crowded shore line in about 20 knots – that pretty much killed off any criticism although Phil Morrison suggested there might be a problem with wind chill caused by the 49er’s exceptional speed and he couldn’t see where to store the sandwiches.  In a last ditch effort to impress, JT and Richard took the Buss out for a spin when the breeze was hitting high 20’s and took the rig out of the boat, although Richard creatively blamed it on clipping a passing windsurfer!

Happy days!


10/01/2011 15:46:27
Having to think hard now...was it you Tim sailing in the B14 there?


10/01/2011 17:08:35
Tim Fells
Indeed it was!

10/01/2011 18:08:24
Andy Hay
The 49'er development including the ISAF HPOD trials, etc. are described at length, from the Bethwaite perspective, in Frank's second book, "Higher Performance Sailing". They describe the whispering of how unsailable the boat was, perfectly reproduced by Tim earlier. A good story of good design and design to meet specification.

Chapter 17 if anyone is interested.

The 49'er came from the 18 foot skiff lineage, NOT the 5tonner, etc.

10/01/2011 23:28:30
I don't think though FBs memory isn't completely reliable when it comes to dates in that chapter. After rereading it last night I went back and found some posts from that era and I reckon his statements about how early boats were sailing in the UK are a little exaggerated. But the trials results weren't a big suprise to those of us who had antipodean contacts: the Australians *AND* New Zealanders were about twenty years ahead at the time... FB has a definite tendency to be excessively Sydney centric.

10/01/2011 23:30:06
> It is quite possible that a lightweight 'specialist 5000'(rather than the bullet proof boat for all that it became)
> would have given the still new and unproven 49er more than a run for it's money.

Not a hope. Not even close. As I say the hull shape was completely and utterly wrong.

11/01/2011 08:50:17
David Gates
Gentlemen. if I may make one small correction. Topper sent the Boss, not the Buzz The buzz being a smaller version of the ISO with only a single wire. The Boss twin wire with scaffolding on the sides.

11/01/2011 10:10:55
Tim Fells
Indeed it was the Boss in Garda, but it was quickly nicknamed the Bus, much in the same way as the Iso became known as the Eyesore by those of a playful disposition.

11/01/2011 12:01:35
Forgot the B14 was there. Yes would have been interesting to see Julian single handing the prototype. Remember doing the first 49er GBR qualification HISC weekend with John Derbyshire in a rib. We ended towing some house hold names of the time off the bar as the ebb tide and wind made the trip in near impossible. On the day, the I14 guys had fitted jammers as Will Henderson will remember and the Budgies cleaned up. Sadly I was no longer able to participate as my lower back had given up the ghost, but JC and I had a very good weekend and JC learnt alot about the boats. On another note, it was Sparky's first weekend on the team. He sent Hugh Stiles out ofr his first full on trip in the RYA Tornado in the bay. Bits came back. I think both also learnt a lot that day.

11/01/2011 12:04:54
Dougal, many forget Derek's depth of input and the records should be set straight to so as such as Phil currently gets all the credit on the net. Still think a down to weight 5000 would have given the 49er a run for its money. Only problem with the hull shape, having sailed all of them was the aft planning area could have been flatter and chines more pronounced. Could sail the 5000 in near impossible winds unlike the Boss and ISO which were nightmares. The best of the bunch has turned out to be the B14, also another Julian design.

11/01/2011 13:01:08
David Gates
I recall hearing murmurs that Phil was disappointed about the weight of the 5000 as built in production, that he had designed it to be built of other materials than used, and to be a lot lighter. Also if I recall correctly the B14 went through a chequered career before it was named the B14, I think it's original name was Exocet or similar, and went through a couple of lay out changes. I am sure there must be someone out there who can confirm or put me right regards the above.

12/01/2011 09:38:52
Tim Fells
David - with Barnsie and me on this discussion you have 2 people with encyclopaedic knowledge of the B14 class.  You are right that the class first appeared in 87 in its current wide wing format but with a smaller rig / sail plan.  Julian put on a demo for the 505 faithful attending the Worlds in Sydney in Jan 88 and as a consequence the Japanese took up distribution rights as did Storrar & Bax who imported a batch of boats.  It was launched as the Exocet, although quickly renamed Extrovert due to Falklands sensitivities, but really didn't catch on as it was so alien to the current genre of dinghies.  Subsequently, David Peacock at Rondars took on production and Europeanised it with narrow wings, single trapeze and larger genoa and the class started to attract some attention.  However, it wasn't until 96 when the class reverted to the original wide wing spec with a modern sail plan and LDC took on promotion that it started to become an established class.  The construction has developed significantly but the deck layout and hull shape are as original.  Now with carbon mast and wings it is a very refined boat and a truly sensational sailing experience.


12/01/2011 12:19:53
I can only back up Tim's comments and when the weight (4x2.2 kg) is removed from the wing out ends in 2013, we'll have unleashed a beast. Once the carbon wings are correctly set in the boat, they are near bomb proof as our boat has shown after initial teething problems. Like a Merlin on steroids.


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