2016, 2017 & 2018 - Cockleshell competes in the new Hamble Classics Regatta

2015 - Cockleshell wins IRC Class 4 at the Royal Southern's September Regatta
A weekend of brilliant late summer weather for the Royal Southern Yacht Club's 2015 final monthly regatta.

September-regatta
Photos by Chris Gillingham and Vicki Weston

2014 - Cockleshell wins at Cowes Classics Week
Cowes Classics Week 2014 (21-25 July), supported by Charles Stanley, attracted 150 boats in 12 classes and this year the 88-year-old Cockleshell raced with the ‘Fast’ Division of the Classic Cruiser Class.

Vicki-Danegeld-LR x CCW_2014_Tim_Jeffreys__TJP0915-792-800-600-80

In a varied class of 12 boats racing under the Scandinavian KLR handicap system Cockleshell finished ahead of Bob Fisher's 28 foot 1898 Fife ‘Mignon’ and William Amherst’s Nicholson 36 ‘Janessa’ to win the Danegeld Half Model, also defending the Maurice Wilmot Trophy for classic dayboats she won in 2013. Other boats in the class included two more Nicholson 36’s, ‘Temeraire’ and ‘Aurai’, three Nicholson 32’s ‘Fals Cappa’, ‘Responsive' and ‘Bambella', David Elliott’s vintage 6-Metre ‘Monsoon’, Martin Thomas’ 'Charm of Rhu’, Andrew Hitt’s 46 foot ketch ‘Helmi’, and Bob Gatehouse’s 30 Sq. Metre ‘Erida’.  
 
Cockleshell was helmed by Jonty Sherwill and expertly crewed each day by Vicki Weston. Conditions were light, with beats against the strong spring tide ebb along the Solent's stony shores, but thankfully Cockleshell never touched the bottom! From 5 starts she scored 4 first places, three with line honours, and was third behind ‘Mignon’ and ‘Janessa’ in Race 4. Some races were long, one lasting 4.5 hours.


Cockleshell wins at Cowes Classics Week 2013


Cowes Classics Week (15-19 July) attracted 127 boats in 12 classes. It is the first time that the 87 year old Cockleshell has been entered in a major regatta and she won the Classic Dayboat Class with six 1st places from six starts.

In a varied class of 6 boats racing under the Scandinavian KLR handicap system Cockleshell finished ahead of Aubrey Finburgh's Requin Class 'Johnny III' from Lake Annecy in France, and Jonathan Evans' Loch Long 'Tantrum' from Aldeburgh. Other boats in the class included Andy King’s 30 Sq. Metre ‘Gluckhauf’, David Elliott’s vintage 6-Metre ‘Monsoon’, and Rees Martin’s Tumlaren ‘Alert’. 
 
Helmed by Jonty Sherwill and crewed each day by Vicki Weston, there were guest appearances from Gordon Bonney, Fiona Earle, and 6-Metre owner Robin Richardson on the final day.

The Early Years

Cockleshell was built not only for racing but also for family day sailing out of St. Peter Port, Guernsey. Sailing without auxiliary engine in the big Channel Island tides requires good judgement and A.J. Barber was well known as an expert local navigator. Consequently he was asked to contribute to Adlard Coles Channel Pilot.

AJ used this knowledge to good effect while racing Cockleshell in the St. Peter Port yacht fleet, a menagerie of small cruisers and dayboats. Cockleshell was a regular entrant in both Royal Channel Island Yacht Club and Guernsey Yacht Club events, and the success he enjoyed during his lifetime was continued after he died by his son Max Barber and my father John Sherwill.

John Sherwill had boundless enthusiasm and in 1955 he decided to try bigger races in Cockleshell so he built a small cabin top so she would qualify. This may have been a reaction to being disqualified after winning the Sir Jesse Boot Round Jersey race that year on the grounds that Cockleshell was not a cabin cruiser even though his entry had been accepted. The incident was reported in the Guernsey Press.

To England

In 1957 John Sherwill with his wife and young son moved to East Anglia to join the Mann Egerton motor group, leaving Cockleshell in Guernsey. A year or so later and with the boat being little used AJ’s widow Winnie Barber offered her to John Sherwill.

My father’s experience of sailing Cockleshell in all conditions around Guernsey will have contributed to his confidence in delivering the boat to the East Coast of England which he duly did in August 1959, crewed by Ben Johnston. Arriving at Orford after a week of port hopping along the French coast and including an overnight passage across the Thames Estuary Cockleshell would spend her first two seasons in England moored on the rivers Orwell and Deben.

A seaboat tries fresh water

A job move for my father then saw her heading to Norfolk and a less than suitable home at Wroxham Broad (62-63) before returning to the River Deben just two years later in 1964. There Cockleshell would remain for 25 years as a keen competitor in the vibrant Waldringfield Sailing Club yacht class.

This fleet included the beautiful dark green ‘Emerald’, an Orford Whitewing of 1898, ‘Manka’ the old 6-Metre, some 20ft. locally built Kestrels, two new and neatly varnished BB’s, some Pandora and Pegasus yachts, a pair of Mystere 25’s, and towards the end of her stay some Popcorn mini-tonners built by Mike Nunn. There was some occasional racing out at sea to the Cork Lightship and also during Deben Week each August, requiring the fleet to head out through the notorious ‘Deben Bar’ entrance.

My parents John and Pat Sherwill retired back to Guernsey in 1983 (now with a small motor launch, Tomboy of Itchenor) and with my growing business and yachting commitments on the south coast Cockleshell spent a year ashore in 1986 before coming south (by road) to join me at Hamble in 1988 after a final season on the River Deben.

No comprehensive list of Cockleshell’s race results exists but some milestones are listed below:

IMG_1576-Mignot-200x1976-50-Summers-Trophy Click to view

1938

Guernsey Yacht Club Mignot Cup

1952 - 1953 - 1954
Winner 3 years running of the St. Sampsons and Vale Regatta Farmer Cup
Engraved pewter tankard awarded - but not the trophy!

1953
Royal Channel Island Yacht Club Centenary Cup

1975
50 Summers Half Model Trophy presented to Waldringfield Sailing Club
Cockleshell won the trophy in 1983 sailed by John and Jonty

1991
Hamble River Combined Clubs CHS Championship - Cockleshell - Boat of the Series

Hamble River Sailing Club Trophy Races
Bottle Pursuit
Copper Kettle

Bursledon Regatta
Ronnie Burton Trophy for Yachts of 25 feet and under
Winner in 2002, 2010, 2012 & 2015

2010 Hamble River Combined clubs
Winner Class 3 Phillip David Cup

2012 Hamble River Sailing Club
Wednesday Evening Racing
Overall Winner of ‘A’ and ‘B’ Series

2013
Winner Classic Dayboat Class at Cowes Classics Week. Read More
HRSC Wednesday Evening Racing
Overall Winner of ‘B’ Series

2014
Winner Classic Cruiser Class (Fast) at Cowes Classics Week
HRSC Wednesday Evening Racing
Overall Winner of ‘A’ and ‘B’ Series - NHC

2015 Hamble River Sailing Club
Wednesday Evening Racing
Overall Winner of ‘B’ Series - HRSC Club Handicap and NHC

2016 Hamble River Sailing Club
Wednesday Evening Racing
Overall Winner of ‘B’ Series - HRSC Club Handicap and NHC

2017 Hamble River Sailing Club
Wednesday Evening Racing
Overall Winner of 'A' and ‘B’ Series - HRSC Club Handicap (NHC system no longer in use)
Bursledon Regatta
Ronnie Burton Trophy for Yachts of 25 feet and under

2018 Hamble River Sailing Club
Wednesday Evening Racing
Overall Winner of 'A' and ‘B’ Series - HRSC Club Handicap
Bursledon Regatta
Ronnie Burton Trophy for Yachts of 25 feet and under