Beam 6ft 8in
Draft 1ft 8in plate up/ 5ft plate down
Displacement 1400lbs (3 Tons Thames Measurement)
Sail Area 170 sq ft (195 sq ft with genoa)
“Domesticated dinghy men” were the people Alan had in mind when he designed the lightweight Spitfire. Like his other designs, Spitfire used a resin-bonded mahogany plywood shell, the strength of which was sufficient to make frames unnecessary, although there were a number of longitudinal stringers which stiffen the internal structure.
Light weight construction, made the Spitfire a fast boat, “Can be planed, if nerves are good” claimed the designer. One Spitfire raced from Dover to Calais in 3 hours 12 minutes, beating several much larger boats and winning the race overall.
The cockpit was self draining, but beneath the sole was a sealed buoyancy compartment, with another right forward in the forepeak. The price for a finished boat
Alan was an innovative designer, his Fleetwood dinghy of 1948 was described as the fastest dinghy under £100.
He later floated into outdoor legend ... in a caravan , his most usual project was an Amphibious Caravan .Released in 1955 to considerable media attention, the blue and white "Otter" Amphibious Caravan measured five metres by two metres. It was built of marine plywood and could be launched directly onto any inland waterway. Once afloat, it could cruise at four knots, holding up to six passengers; the reinforced roof doubled as a sundeck. A winch was provided with the undercarriage to haul the Otter back onto land.
Eckford and his business partner, Ronald Sams, sold about 200 of their amphibious caravan. But this venture was a sideline to the main focus of their company, based at Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, which was to manufacture small items of sports equipment, such as tennis, squash and badminton racquets, hockey sticks and billiard tables, most of which were manufactured in Jamaica.
An original film clip can be viewed here.