This years Rally took place at Woolverstone Marina on the River Orwell. The event was well attended and 10 Boats took part. The fleet assembled at Woolverstone Marina before sailing to Woodbridge and the Tide Mill for the following Evening.
The Red Fox is an innovative design by David Thomas. The range has incorporated a number of Models over the past 2 decades. By far the most common version is the Red Fox 200 and the later 200E. Originally the boats were built by Red Fox Yachts. After becoming part of the Select Yacht Group, the 200T and 200S versions were added to the range. These are all Category C cruisers which can be easily trailed and launched. The asymetric lifting bilge keels (and later twin keels) means that the cabin space is maximised by not having a central lifting keel taking up space in the cabin.
The Red Fox Vision is a 7.15 meter Six Berth Category B yacht with two unballasted asymmetric foils. Sadly the Red Fox Vision is no longer in build.
The Red Fox twin fin keel (T), and the leeboard versions (E/S) are now built by British Hunter as the Hunter 20 Fox.
THE RED FOX RANGE:
The 200E has a draft of 0.20 meters when the twin asymmetric dagger boards are up. When down the yachts draft is 0.90 meters. The boards considerably enhance the performance making the Red Foxes exceptionally user-friendly.
The 200T with its twin keels make her stable while maintaining a shallow draft. Easily trailed and launched the twin Keel Version has a draft of 0.70 meters . 4 berths are provided in one main open plan cabin with a separate heads compartment
The 200S is similar to the 200E and but has a different deck moulding incorporating a huge cockpit area while still providing below deck accommodation comprising of a 2 + 2 V berth and sitting room.
Finally the "Vision" offers six berths in three cabins and full head-standing room in the saloon. The galley is compact with a two burner cooker and worktop / sink space. There is also a separate heads compartment.
The Red Fox / Hunter 20 has been around in various forms for a number of years. We have had our RED FOX 200T since the end of 2004, spending 4 enjoyable years with it based on the Norfolk Broads and more recently on the River Orwell in Suffolk.
Mooring on the Norfolk Broads
With a draft of only 0.7m (2ft 3inches), the twin keels of the Red Fox make it ideal for the inland waterway network of the Norfolk Broads, and for the creaks and coastal areas of the East of England.
Who needs a depth sounder when you can see the bottom!
Down below the accommodation is open plan but surprisingly roomy for a boat of this size. There is a V-berth up front and two straight side seats giving 4 berths (realistically enough room for 2 adults / 2 children).
Moving aft, there is a simple galley with a sink, cold water tap and a stove to port. The separate heads compartment with a sea toilet, sink and cold water tap is situated to starboard. To have a separate heads compartment is quite unusual on a 20’ boat.
The accommodation benefits from having no intrusive centreboard box or lifting keel. The Twin keels have allowed the designers to really use the space inside and we have found that there is more space in this little 20 footer than on many 25-26fts.
We have added a Spray-hood and full cockpit tent, which increases the “usable space” in the evening (or when it is wet) and to allow for a bit more flexibility.
The twin keels of the 200T make launching and recovery a bit more challenging than say with a conventional lift keel yacht. The single axle trailer has a separate 4 wheeled cradle for the boat, which then sits on the trailer and is winched into and out of the water (the theory being that the cradle gets wet and not the trailer). All I know is that from my experience everything seems to get wet including the person recovering the boat. However it avoids those expensive lift in / lift out charges that most of the marinas seem to charge these days.
We trail the boat behind a standard family estate car, which is fine most of the time. However we do struggle on some steeper slipways during recovery. If we used a small 4x4 it would probably be slightly better and solve this problem. However for us we manage.
Sailing the boat, she tends to (and actually needs to be) sailed fairly upright. The keels are set quite far apart with their roots quite close to the waterline. Despite having the shallow draft of 2ft 3inches she remains remarkably stable (which was one of the key requirements for the family). We do seem to sometimes slip sideways more (in certain conditions – lighter airs for example) but perhaps that might be down to the helmsman rather than the boat. The big bonus is being able to sail single handed and having all lines coming back to the cockpit.
Under power we use a 4hp Mariner Outboard which sits in a well in the cockpit. The big advantage of having a cockpit well is that we don’t have to struggle lifting the outboard over the stern. We do of course loose some cockpit space.
We have found that there are not that many boats of this size that can comfortably accommodate 2 adults and 2 children overnight (or even for a week) and that are equipped with a simple (but functional) galley; have a separate heads compartment and on top of this still have decent sailing qualities. For us the Red Fox ticks all these boxes.
The twin keels means that we can take ½ tide moorings and not worry if she sits on the bottom. In fact on our present mooring she is still afloat most of the time. As an added bonus is the ability to be towed home at the end of the season and sit on the drive for the winter months. Suddenly our hobby is much more affordable than one might initially think.
For those that are interested, Select Yachts stopped building the Hunter 20/Red Fox 200 last year when they ceased trading. However the boat is now being built by British Hunter (http://www.britishhunter.co.uk/) and is now known as the British Hunter Fox 20. It is available with Twin Keels or Twin Lifting Leeboards.
The RFOA was formed in 1999 as a result of the interest of owners of Red Fox Yachts who had previously met and communicated on a more casual basis. Membership is drawn from owners of all versions of the Red Fox 200 series and Red Fox Visions. Members are widely located around the UK with a few more overseas in Holland and Germany. The Association serves to promote and support the various interests of these owners. This is mainly achieved by publication of a bi-annual magazine, issue of news bulletins, organisation of an annual rally and annual general meeting as well as a website. Some members meet on other occasions for either sailing or social get- togethers. This blog is being developed to allow members to get in touch On-Line
The R.F.O.A. has a diverse membership located all around the country. There are a number of members located on the East Coast, South Coast and also in Wales. Membership & How to Join The Red Fox Owners Association is open to anyone who owns, sails or has an interest in a Red Fox Boat or the Hunter 20 range as it is also known. The membership fee is £8 per year, from 1 Jan to 31 Dec. If you would like more information on how to join, please make contact via the below address