Saturday 5 December 2009

Wet Saturday Afternoon

On a cold wet Saturday, with evening coming on around four thirty, smells of dinner cooking slowly in the kitchen, what could be better than browsing through old magazines and books looking at boats that you would like to sail, like to build and like to own.

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.

Paul Fisher designed this handy yellow Cegall 11, constructed in the well tried "stitch and tape" epoxy ply method, she is built by Chippendale Craft. Cegall is the Catalan for Snipe.
The Italian's have really taken to the International 12 Foot Dinghy Class. Designed by George Cockshott, an amateur boat designer from Southport, over ninety years ago, the International Twelve Foot Dinghy became the first one-design racing dinghy to gain international recognition. Today it is virtually forgotten in the United Kingdom, but the class still enjoys a sizeable following in the Italy, Netherlands and Japan
No dinghy round up would be complete without an entry from Uffa Fox, here are lines for his Utility & Fay his own frostbite dinghy.
Francois Vivier designed his Morbic 12 as a performance balanced lug sail, with more than a nod of appreciation for the International 12 feet (an Olympic class). More than that, the Morbic is a "sail and oar" boat, able to sail anywhere.

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.


  1. There are lots of these - and many are pretty good. Whatever happened to the Heron and Gull, the Miracle and the Pacer? They're all pretty cool boats, and often available so cheaply second-hand, it's difficult to justify building a new one. Though quite a few aren't exactly pretty...

  2. Look into the Lynaes Dinghy for construction! You can have my loft for free on Flickr. It's in the Lynaes Dinghy set. Regards

  3. Max, how are you? The Lynaes Dinghy was documented, commented on and drawn by Danish historian Christian Nielson is his book "Wooden boat designs: Classic Danish boats measured and described" I have posted about a fellow in Massachusetts who adapted the plans and built one in traditional style, with some very juicy photos of the boat.( I have no idea how I missed this post of yours, possibly because I was working on my own post. On December 6. How's that for synchronicity!?

  4. I always want to sail one of then boats, take my belongings and out it in the boat, say good bye and take a long trip around the world, this is my dream.


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