Sailing at Woolverstone Hall - as told in "Janus"
N°: 29

Chris Snuggs: "What a magnificent story it is: so many years of excellence in all areas - and terrific support and commitment from the staff. However, one must single out Stretch Poole: over two decades overseeing the whole operation, teaching, encouraging, organising. It must have been a dream job for him, but if ever someone fitted a particular niche to perfection, it was he.

And what a complete record he left us below, in a style which makes each account come alive. It's all pretty awesome ......."

PLEASE SEND IN COMMENTS TO ADD HERE, and/or in the "Comments" page accessed above.
I have no information about the years after "Janus" ceased publication in 1977, If any of the younger
Old Boys would like to write an account of their sailing memories, that would be extremely welcome.

26 - 1977

25 - 1976

24 - 1975

23 - 1974

22 - 1973

21 - 1972

20 - 1971

19 - 1970

18 - 1969

17 - 1968

16 - 1967

15 - 1966

14-2/Winter 1965

14-1/Summer 1965

13-2/Winter 1964

13-1/Summer 1964


12-2/Winter 1963

12-1/Summer 1963


11-2/Winter 1962

11-1/Spring 1962

10-2/Winter 1961

10-1/Spring 1961

9-2/Winter 1960

Spring 1960


Winter 1959

8-1/Spring 1959


7-2/Winter 1958

THE PAST season has been the most successful in the history of the Club from every point of view. The School fleet has been increased by four boats, an elderly Snipe and three new Cadets. Mrs. Pitts-Tucker, one of the School Governors, generously loaned us the Snipe, and has arranged for a new set of sails for next season. Despite some dubious remarks when she arrived, the Snipe has been a firm, favourite with the senior members, especially on their jaunts to Harwich after the exams. This is due in no small measure to the efforts of A. Jones and his crew who shivered in an unheated, boathouse to caulk endless seams.

On Open Day Mrs. Smitherman launched three new Cadets to complete the seven Dwarfs. "Bashful" was built by D. House, N. O'Loughlin and their crew in the workshop. She is a most successful boat, and has performed very well in all her races. We are very grateful for the inspiration, guidance and time of Mr. Hanson and Mr. Turner, and hope that they will be equally successful with the "Enterprise" that is to be built this winter. "Doc" and "Sleepy" - more affectionately known as the Banana Boat - were built by "Chippie", and have caused many a raised shape and performance.

The School matches were all very closely fought, and provided good racing:

  • After a shake-down against the Staff, which the School won, we met Gresham's at Woolverstone and beat them 40¼-37¼ but lost the return at Barton Broad 72½-50 - this meeting took place in a strong blow, and our helmsmen never mastered the difficult conditions.
  • Against Ipswich the team sailed very well, and in the first race gained a lead of two points only to lose the second after a rather inconclusive protest, the final result being a win for Ipswich, 36¼-33¼
  • When Norwich came last year, we were, beaten, but this time we made no mistake and won a most enjoyable match by 43¼-35¼-
  • Finally we arranged a new fixture with Felsted and this was the most exciting of all. After gaining a lead of three points in the first race, the School were in danger of being trounced in a "drifter" for the second. Ultimately everything depended on whether Bauer could beat the last Felsted boat round the turning mark. He did, and the School won 8¼-37¼.
  • Unfortunately it was not possible to arrange an Old Boys' match, but with more helmsmen leaving this will not be the case next year.

The team sailed well this year, and many examples of good tactics were seen, notably from H. Leeson and A. Jones. but every member pulled his weight, with R. Lewis in "Bashful" being an unbeatable combination. Sailing Colours were awarded, to A. M. Jones and H. Leeson. The team was G. Brown (Capt.), A. Glass, A. Jones, W. Bauer, H. Leeson, R. Lewis, R. Gerrish and P. Williams.

The House Competition, sailed in teams of two boats, was narrowly won by Halls with Corners second and Hansons third. Everything depended on a Corners boat hitting a turning mark. Hansons are to be congratulated on the performance of their two novice helmsmen. The Novices' Plank. with an entry of 11, proved very exciting, and was finally won by B. Sandland, with K. Ashdown second and A. Brett third. During the holidays many boys returned to the Orwell and the Deben to sail - Williams and Sylvester during Deben Week, the same two and Bauer and Baguste in the Keeling Cup, and no less than 13 boys took part in the Waldringfield Cadet Week. A camp was arranged and six boats taken across and they performed very well indeed. Lewis and Gerrish ultimately finished tieing in fourth place in a fleet of 20 boats. They and Brett often led the race, and our dark blue hulls were much admired, even the Banana boat, which had the opposition very worried before racing started. Finally, the best feature of the year has been the co-operative spirit amongst the boys, hich, together with the help of Mr. Goetzee, has made this season so enjoyable.


7-1/Spring 1958


6-2/Winter 1957

THE PAST SEASON was one of mixed success, being made up of some disappointing school matches, and some good individual performances.

The School team won two matches; one against the Staff by 42ƒcƒV points to 33ƒcƒV, and the other against the Old Boys by 40½ to 37. Both of these were new matches and will become annual fixtures. We were delighted to see M. A. Gordon-Smith and R. Vizard in the School boats, and it was soon clear that neither of them had lost any of their skill, nor, may it be said, had Gordon-Smith lost any of his jubilant eccentricities. A good feature of this match, held on Open Day, was the interested gallery of parents and boys who came to watch the boats being rigged, and the race being started. Let us hope that more Old Boys will take part next year.

The inter-school matches were less successful. At Barton Broad the School sailed very well against Gresham's, and won the match on the water, but unfortunately A. Jones was disqualified as a result of a protest; the final result was therefore a win for Gresham's by 28½ to 25. The racing was full of incident, with the boats being very close all the time. Whittell, of Gresham's, was dismasted, and managed to get under way very quickly, and three boats in the second race were still at the landing stage at the five-minute gun, and there they had to stay! The return match was cancelled because of illness in the School.

The match against Norwich was very close, with A. Jones picking up two places in the last 20 yards before the finishing line, and G. Brown having a very good first place in Sabrina. Norwich won 40½-38¼. But against Ipswich, the School were well beaten at Waldringfield, by 46½ to 33. The feature of this race was the way our boys persisted in racing against each other, so allowing the Ipswich team to get into an unassailable position.

The School team in all the matches was M. Brown (Capt.), G. Brown, W. Bauer, A. Jones, R. Guest, P. A. Williams, H. Leeson.

The House Sailing Championship was convincingly won by Hall's House, with Johnston's second and Corner's third. Hanson's were in the unfortunate position of having novice helmsmen in two races, with the result that they finished last by a big margin.

In individual racing boys have done very well. The School Fireflies won the Harwich

Half-pint Trophy for club racing, and always took part in the club handicaps. Helmsmen were G. Brown, R. Guest and P. A. Williains. In the Keeling Cup, which again took place after a lapse of one year, R. Guest finished third on points, and G. Brown fifth. P. A. Williams was in a borrowed boat, and did not seem to settle down afloat with his very charming crew. And finally we sent one Cadet to the Waldringfield week, and although the crew of D. House and N. O'Loughlin did not shine afloat, they more than made up for this ashore. This visit should again become an annual event, and I hope that more boys will be able to go next year. The "Novices' Plank," competed for by new helmsmen was convincingly won by R. Lewis from A. Glass and R. Gerrish. Finally in the Harwich Harbour Regatta, G. Brown and R. Guest sailed in the Burton Cup for Fireflies; and at the Ipswich Regatta

D. House won the Cadet Race from R. Guest.

In addition to the above events, the School Club have had three lectures. The R.H.Y.C. invited 50 boys to hear Cdr. A. Villiers illustrate his very excellent film on his voyage in Mayflower II. Boys also went to a lecture in Ipswich given by Mr. and Mrs. E. Hiscock entitled "Round the World in Wanderer 111" and I'm sure they realised the pleasure and excitement of this kind of adventure in the drab world of the Welfare State. Finally R. Hopkins gave a most informative talk on "Racing Team Tactics" in the Geography Room, and it was soon clear that he had had a very salutory effect on the team's performance. The School Library has acquired several new books on sailing, and these should not get dusty on the shelves. They include books on cruising, handling and racing, and are an invaluable addition to our reading. Two new Y.W. Cadets are being built by "Chippie," and I think it is true to say that, although many things still remain to be done, the Club has reached a most satisfactory state in its development.

The first School sailing colours have been awarded to R. Guest because of his performance not only in School matches, but also in open events, where our reputation is growing. His skill will be greatly missed next year.


6-1/Spring 1957

5-2/Winter 1956

The greater part of our sailing during the summer has centred around competitive work, as the results show, and though the picture may seem rather black we have achieved some success and gained considerable match experience. After the disastrous start at Greshams, where we were thoroughly trounced and made to look a set of novices by experienced crews, we set to and followed a stern training scheme, with the result that M. Brown beat the best of Greshams in Cadets, and the finishes with Norwich were counted in seconds. We were bitterly disappointed that the tri-angular match was "blown off" as we were thirsting for revenge on the Broads. However, home and away matches, and a tri-angular, are promised for next year, and an Autumn Term match is promised with Ipswich.

The House competition was most exciting, with races being lost in the last tack, and patience bringing its own reward in a "drifter" The final race was virtually a sail-off between Johnstons and Halls, both with level points, and Drew, of Johnstons gained a commanding lead in the first beat, and was never seriously challenged.

The remaining time was spent in training new crews and helmsmen for the future, and this will continue as long as weather permits. We shall continue to sail in the R.H.Y.C. races at week-ends, and as these notes are going to press, Guest, in Grumpy, beat Flying Fifteens and Fireflies to come second in the club handicap. Well done!


The following are the results of competitive sailing held during the Summer Term

May 19th: v. Greshams, at Barton Broad: light, variable N.W. wind
Race I Race II
1 Greshams 1 Greshams
2 Greshams 2 Greshams
3 Greshams 3 Greshams
4 Woolverstone: A. Jones 4 Woolverstone, F. Ravenscroft
5 Guest and Drew, Woolverstone, retired - hit mark 5 Woolverstone, R. Cox. M. Brown, Woolverstone, retired

Final score:

Greshams 481/2

Woolverstone 20

May 26th: v. Greshams, at Woolverstone: moderate E. wind
Race I
Race II

Sabrina, Greshams.

1 Snow-white, Greshams
2 Snow-white, Cox (W.) 2 Sabrina, Drew (W.)
3 Grumpy, Greshams 3 Grumpy, Brown, M. (W.)
4 Happy, Guest (W.) 4 Sneezy, Greshams
5 Sneezy, Bauer (W.) 5 Happy, Greshams
6 Dopey, Greshams, did not finish 6 Dopey, Jones (W.)

Final score: Greshams  311/2    -   Woolverstone  281

June 9th: v. Norwich School, at Woolverstone: moderate N.E. breeze
Race 1   Race 11
1 Sabrina, Davis (N.) 1 Snow-white, Tyrell (N.)
2 Snow-white, Guest (W.) 2 Sabrina, Brown, M. (W.)
3 Happy, Cox (N.) 3 Grumpy, Cox (N.)
4 Grumpy, Bauer (W.) 4 Sneezy, Jones (W.)
5 Dopey, Drew (W.)   Happy (N.) and Dopey (W.) did not finish
6 Sneezy, Claburn (N.)    

Final score: Norwich 361/2   -   Woolverstone 33
June 9th: v. Norwich School, at Woolverstone: moderate N.E. breeze
Race 1   Race 11
1 Sabrina, Davis (N.) 1 Snow-white, Tyrell (N.)
2 Snow-white, Guest (W.) 2 Sabrina, Brown, M. (W.)
3 Happy, Cox (N.) 3 Grumpy, Cox (N.)
4 Grumpy, Bauer (W.) 4 Sneezy, Jones (W.)
5 Dopey, Drew (W.)   Happy (N.) and Dopey (W.) did not finish
6 Sneezy, Claburn (N.)    

Final score: Norwich 361/2   -   Woolverstone 33

House Sailing competition, after 4 matches
1 Johnston's - Drew and Guest: 251/2 points
2 Halls - Cox, Jones and Bauer 241/2 points
3 Hansons - M. Brown 20 points
4 Corners - Ravenscroft and G. Brown 181/2 points


June 30th: v. Ipswich School - Cancelled.
July 5th: Triangular match, Greshams. Norwich. Woolverstone - Cancelled.
June 16th: Visit to Orwell Yacht Club Regatta. Cadet race won by Bauer, with Drew second and Ravenscroft third.

5-1/Spring 1956

REGULAR SAILING continued during the Autumn Term until the icy November blasts drove us into the Modelling Hut for the winter. There a loyal band of seniors refitted all the small boats, and spent many a pleasant afternoon in the warm while the snow lay deep outside. A new Cadet mast made for "Happy" as a result of a well-known accident, and new Firefly bow-checks are in process of completion.

The whalers were also repainted by a hardy group of Fourth-Formers under the guidance of Mr. Smith, and the whole fleet looks very trim now that we have taken to the water once more. The summer programme which promises to be very full has started with perfect weather for "shaking down" the boats. Four House matches are to be run, and we have matches with Gresham's and Ipswich. In addition to this, the Sailing Club hope to join in the Sea Cadets long week-end in June. We have only one regret, that the long-awaited rescue boat will not be with us for a few weeks, and we shall have to continue temporarily with our outboard motor. May we have clear skies and fair winds for a successful and enjoyable term's sailing.


4-2/Summer 1955

The Sailing Club has had another successful season from many points of view. While the old sailing dinghy "Syrian Prince" has been pensioned off after a long and useful career, "Sneezy" has joined the other Cadets, and "Snow White" was purchased during the summer term, giving us two Fireflies. It will now be possible to sail off the House matches on a four boat basis, and this will be a most satisfactory system, both from a competition and a training point of view.

The number of qualified helmsmen has risen rapidly during the season, and this, together with the large group of keen juniors coming along in the whalers, speaks well for the future vitality of the Club. It is clear that Woolverstone Hall has become "sailing-conscious," and that the river is exercising its inevitable fascinations on a large section of the boys.

We sailed one match against Ipswich school in our boats during the summer term. They came with a strong team of race-hardened sailors, and the school side of Harrington, Gordon-Smith, M. Brown and Vizard did well to hold them to a draw at 91 points each. It was an inspiring sight, and no doubt a novel experience for our crews, to have Cadets planing in a fresh breeze. This will, we hope, be the first of many such meetings, and we are already promised matches with Ipswich school and Waldringfield Sailing Club for next year.

Two crews were entered for the annual "Keeling Cup" competitions organised by the R.H.Y.C. for schoolboys. In a large fleet of keen sailors our crews soon learned the elation and despair so common in hard-fought racing. Although finishing in 16th and 21st positions, we gained invaluable experience for the future, and already crews are in training for next year by taking part in the winter races with the R.H.Y.C. It is only by this kind of racing that the best of our helmsmen can be found, and when the time comes to choose next year's entrants, I am sure that places will be keenly disputed.

Sailing has, however, its less exacting side, and cruises to Ipswich and Harwich were organised during the summer; these were, at times, most exciting, and thoroughly enjoyed by the whole fleet. We have continued our activities as weather permitted during the autumn term, and we have been quite lucky in this respect. Capsizes have been frequent, and we are grateful for the new life-jackets which the Sea Cadet Corps have provided. Finally a word of welcome and farewell. Mr. H. Smith has joined the Club, and his whaler experience is proving invaluable with our younger sailors. And Mr. Matthews is leaving us, after having inspired the sailing activities for so many years. His wisdom, his skill, and his love of the sea and of boats have always been readily available, and it is thanks to his enthusiasm and example that the Club has achieved its present thriving state.


4-1/Spring 1955


3-2/Winter 1954

Despite the rather adverse summer, a full and successful term's sailing was carried through, our latest acquisitions, the Firefly, "Sabrina," and the three cadets, "Grumpy," "Dopey" and "Happy," also the old sailing dinghy, "Syrian Prince," all being put to full use. The outboard motor, provided for use in the pulling dinghy, proved to he of great value and gave us a craft that was very useful as a directing boat and one that could get very quickly to the scene of an upset - But upsets were few and the standard of helmsmanship and watermanship was decidedly better, often in rather rough weather.

Thanks to the Parents' Association, who so kindly presented us with "Sabrina," we were able to enter for the "Keeling Cup" series of races for the first time. The Keeling Cup races are open to all schoolboys and girls in the country, and no less than twenty-four Firefly dinghies were entered. There were five races in the series, preceded by a practice race; and how our hearts beat high when we came second in the practice race, and obtained a gun for third place in the first actual race.

However, we then faded out somewhat, and in the end had to content ourselves with being thirteenth on aggregate points: but it was an encouraging start, and we shall try to do better next year.

For the Orwell Yacht Club regatta, our motor pinnace towed four of our own entries, and sundry other boats, who begged a tow to Ipswich harbour where we anchored and acted as a mother ship. Our boats did well and we gained valuable racing experience, and although we were not among the prize winners, our two Cadets flattered us by being first and second for the first two of the three times round, and by making more experienced helmsmen go all out to head them into a fine finish. Sabrina too had a good race.

The inter-house series, sailed in a good breeze, were keenly contested, and resulted in Corner's House winning the cup with eight points, Johnson's and Hall's six and Hanson's four.

How nice it would be if we had four Cadet dinghies for these series instead of three, so here's to the next time and happy sailing to us all.

3-1/Spring 1954


2-2/Winter 1953

Since the beginning of the summer term the Sailing Club has made great progress. Just in time for summer sailing the Parents' Association presented the club with a cup which was used as an award for inter-house racing.

As the club had only two Cadet-class racing dinghies, a rota had to be worked out so as to enable all four Houses to race each other the same number of times before the end of term. When all the points had been added together for the term, Corners House was found to have turned out on top with the greatest amount of points, thereby gaining the honour of holding the cup for the first time.

The club has two whalers, a sailing dinghy, a rowing dinghy, a motor launch, two Cadets, and also the loan of a National belonging to Mr Shuttleworth. Mr Robinson, the school shipwright, has done a very good job in repairing and maintaining the boats. He has built a Cadet from a kit and has the material to build another. Every member owes his gratitude to Mr Shuttleworth, the master in charge of the club, who has taught us all the arts of sailing and who has coached us all through the specified tests.

Boys are not allowed to join the sailing club until they are thirteen years old. This winter fourth and fifth forms are not included in the club activities, but instead are taking senior crew and coxswain tests for next spring and summer sailing. It is our sincere hope that sailing will in future be one of the major sports of this school, and we also keenly look forward to competition with other schools and clubs.


2-1/Summer 1952