Friday, 4 May 2012

Tricorn Dinghy

An interesting dinghy from the early 1960's designed and built in response to Ian Proctor's Wayfarer which was proving to be a reliable cruising dinghy. Designed by Illingworth & Primrose and built by Martin Goacher boat builders, the Tricorn featured as a favourable test report in the 1962 Light Craft magazine.
Stability and comfort do not seem to have compromised performance and the small cuddy appears to be a useful feature which blends in well with the overall design.
The lines look modern with firm turn at the bilge and a fairly flat run aft. Apart from a few niggles over a few of the construction details the Tricorn looks to have been a capable cruising dinghy. For whatever reason the Tricorn wasn't a commercial success, one turned up on ebay a few years ago, perhaps it was lack of marketing on the part of her builders, maybe the appeal of a cruising dinghy such as this was over estimated, whatever the reason, they are few and far between.


  1. Hey! I have a Tricorn! I bought a slightly tatty but solid and relatively complete one last year. It's this years restoration project.

    I bought it because I liked the design pedigree and the quality of construction, as well as the practicality of a the concept. It's a cruising dinghy that can be left unattended on a mooring for long periods (the cuddy can be sealed and the cockpit self drains).

    Mine was probably built in 1962 and may have been used by a sailing school or disabled sailing project, as the mainsail had been cut down by about 25 sq.ft. and the light alloy plate replaced by a heavy lump of galvanised steel. This would make the boat very stable but very slow.

    I intend to have her afloat this summer with brand new sails, a coat of epoxy paint and maybe an alloy plate, though I might see how she sails with the steel one before I change it. This could be a post for 1001 Boats when I have photos and some seatime.

    1. Patrick, i've just bought a Tricon too and would love to hear from you and compare info and progress. you can contact me at



    2. Hi Harvey. Great to hear from someone with a Tricorn! I have not made much progress at the moment, but let's compare notes. I've e-mailed you separately.
      All the best

  2. Patrick, what a coincidence, interestingly the article makes a point about "those who cruise may prefer a heavier centre plate". What interested me is that the Tricorn looks like a very capable dinghy and personally I think its a very attractive design - sort of a predecessor to the larger Hawk 20 but ironically more modern looking, in my eyes anyway. Look forward to seeing progress -

    PS I'm just painting Erica's SCOW (1951) I did high build epoxy primer over the very old and crazed grp and the using Shipmate silicon alkyd - very similar to Toplac easy (forgiving) to apply and I get very reasonable results Max

  3. This is a topic that is near to my heart...
    Take care! Where are your contact details though?
    Also see my site: contractor Orlando

  4. I had a tricorn, I aquired it from cam sailing club, and sailed it on the avon for several years before returning it to the cam. I found that a flying fifteen main and jib both fitted and suited the boat well. I also fitted support under the mast that could be pushed out of the way when not sailing, it made the top deck and rig alot stiffer. I now sail a K1

  5. Hi There, I live on the west coast of Canada near Victoria B.C. and I just bought a Tricorn. I was looking for more info on it and I found your article. I am interested in the article above from LC mag but it doesn't magnify well for reading, is there any way you could send me a larger version of this ? It's difficult especially here in North America to find anything ln this craft. I have been looking for a boat like this for years and I am excited to restore her. The tricorn hadn't been sailed in over 20 years, the mast, cushions and sails had been stored inside and it even came with a Seagull. thanks for any help! Mike

    1. Mike - send me your email address (your comment is anonymous) and I'll email you the originals - my email

    2. Max, my Tricorn, no. 4, Salvo, is now in good sailing order, albeit with hand-me-down sails bought on eBay and adapted where necessary to fit.

      I sailed in the 2013 Semaine du Golfe de Morbihan last year, but unfortunately illness has prevented me from doing much since.

      You can see photos of my progress on my Picasa gallery at:

      Perhaps you could pass this link on to Mike in Canada.

    3. How are you all getting on? Do you still have your Tricorns? Have you had chance to sail them much?

      I bought one back in 2015, but it 's in a bad way. I have managed to get out on it a couple of times, but it was clear how much work needed doing. I even have a youtube video of me sailing it if you're interested.

      I absolutely love the design - swing keel, lightweight yet still slightly ballasted, massive open cockpit, small cuddy to stash all your gear and even curl up in for a break from the elements.

      I didn't want a project boat because I just don't have the time, didn't realise how much work it needed at first. But I just can't bare to part with it because I love the concept/design of it so much.

      I've been making very very slow progress over the last few years. I'm very far from an expert at this sort of thing either so there's been a lot of difficult decisions and various challenges to overcome.

      But I feel like I'm starting to get somewhere recently and am really hoping it gets to see a bit more action this summer.

  6. Driving back from St. Andrews New Brunswick, quite by accident, came across the Tricorn which my father bought on the day I was born June 14th, 1962. We lived in Port Cartier Quebec at that time, and then moved home to New Brunswick. Dad sold it in 1965 when he bought a 32 foot wooden schooner that had just been built in Chester Nova Scotia, on spec.

    She is going to need a lot of work, but if anyone is going to fix up the old girl it should be her long lost twin brother. Not sure if this thread is still running, but photos will follow. :-)

  7. Here are pictures taken today of my twin sister, M'Lady, taken today in her current state. She and I will be 54 this June 14th. It would be nice to see her on the water by then.

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  9. Seen one of these for sale and am considering it. Apparently it has room to tuck your legs under the seats from its dinky little cockpit for sleeping... has anyone every tried this? It looks like a very tight space!

    Also I'd imagine with it being so light, if you were on your own, wouldn't it tip the boat slightly so that you're sleeping on an akward list?

    1. Hi Matt, just found your comment. A bit late to reply now, but, yes, there are two berths that extend under the cockpit seats. They are relatively narrow but snug. You do need to be fairly slim and flexible to get down below into the cabin in the first place, though, and even then getting dressed or into a sleeping bag is so awkward in the restricted space that only one occupant can attempt it at any one time! On the other hand, if you are young, slim, fit and very friendly with your crew, it is way better than sleeping on the bottom boards of a Wayfarer.


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