Of course the internet gives us so much more scope for meandering around an almost infinite library of sailing and boating information. And so it was that I arrived at the Woodenboat Forum and specifically a post by Brian AKA "the Keyhaven Potterer" asking for 'Nominations for the best 12' sailing dinghy'. Now he didn't actually say what defined "best", but he did qualify that it needed to be wooden and available as plans.
Now I have nothing against the International Moth or Cherub skidding along on foils, it's just not for me. Here though are a few of my favorites.
The Axe One Design above is a lovely clinker built (lapstrake) dinghy from the south Devon river. Designed in 1951 specifically for members of the Axe Yacht Club, the A.O.D. was principally a two man dinghy. Each summer the boats return to Cornwall to sail on the Fowey, Fal and Helford Rivers, but primarily to attend Fowey Classics – the highlight of the A.O.D.s summer.
John Alden designed X-Class frostbite dinghy above, Design 0561, a classic 11'-6" lapstrake racing dinghy.
Brian AKA Keyhaven Potterer nominated his local Keyhaven Scow (above), one of the Solent Scows which are common in our creeks and harbours from Chicheter to Lymington.
Paul Gartside designed Riff for strip plank construction, based in the Pacific North West several of Paul's design catalogue reflect a strong English west country influence.
I'd love to sail any or all of these classic dinghies. What a great way to spend a Saturday.