FIVE YEARS ON THE
INTERNATIONAL ONE DESIGN IN GREAT BRITAIN
The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club (RCYC) is
situated at Burnham, on the banks of the River Crouch some 50 miles to the
north-east of London. The Club was formed in 1872. Prior to the Second World
War it was the premier location for one design racing in England. In particular
during the thirties it was the centre of 6 metre racing, attracting helmsmen
from all parts of the world. As 6 metre racing became more intense at national
and international level, so the costs escalated.
Flirt and Nauta
‘Tiny Mitchell’, then Commodore of the Corinthian, a post he held with
distinction from 1931 to 1952, was well aware of the limitations that
participating imposed and he did much to encourage the less costly racing
classes such as the Dragon. Through his close association with the 6 metre
class he was well informed on the origins of the IOD and recognised its
undoubted potential. In 1938 he purchased Bombero and this was sailed by
his son E.B.N. (Budd) Mitchell, later to own Tadpole. In order to
encourage the class Bombero was sold to John Mould in 1939 and the
Mitchell family took delivery of Nauta. Margaret, built in 1938, was
brought to Burnham in 1939 and joined the fourth member of the class Flirt, owned
by C Peto Bennet. These four boats formed the nucleus of the Burnham fleet and
raced regularly as a class in 1939. A fifth boat Kara, built in 1937 was
according to Lloyds Register, based at Falmouth, Cornwall. In 1939. It has not
been possible to learn more about this boat pre-war or post war. The 1949
Lloyds Register gives her home port as Sandiford, Norway.
Sadly, the racing activity came to an abrupt halt during the Second
World War and formalised sailing did not recommence until 1947.
However, the Second World War and its
aftermath were nearly fatal for the IOD class. During the war, legend says that
Aas buried the construction jigs to protect them during the Nazi occupation.
Everywhere the yachts were laid up and the materials used in the ‘golden era’
of wood, iron and mild steel were savaged by neglect.
THE POST WAR DEVELOPMENTS.
Flirt at Burnham on Crouch
In 1947, Peto Bennet, later Vice-Commodore
of the RCYC, imported Flirt 11, and racing at Burnham of International
One Designs got under way.
The ‘Yachting Monthly’ (March 1949) carried an
article on the International One Design and suggested that C Peto Bennet was
planning to build IODs in the UK, by arrangement with Bjarne Aas. In fact this
did not happen. The article goes on to praise the sea worthiness of the boat in
the hardest of weathers as proved at the Hanko Regatta of 1947. At this stage
the RCYC had plans to open a branch of the club at Cowes, extend the fleet at
Burnham and encourage a second fleet of IODS on the Solent. Meantime a leading
Cowes yachtsman, A.P. Costain, with much experience of big boat racing and
cruising, bought a Dragon and recognising his limited knowledge of small boat
class racing planned to gain experience in the ‘Q’ handicap class. To this end
he dispatched his skipper on a trip around the UK to find a suitable boat. At
Burnham, the skipper found Flirt for sale. On his recommendation,
Costain bought the boat unseen and raced it with great success in the Solent
Menagarie handicap class.
This and the opening of The Royal
Corinthian yacht Club at Cowes encouraged the Burnham boats to move south and
this led to a full IOD class racing on the Solent. The class now started to
generate more interest and throughout the ‘50’s new boats were added to the
fleet on a regular basis- Burro (Wild Goose), Starlight, Pirate 11, Tadpole,
Susie, Wahoo, Happy-Go-Lucky, Windflower (KYLA), Idoo (Champoo), Arrow, Mirenda, Mitzi, Sybil (Seil,
Diana 11), Sanchia and Mallard. This process
continued through the early ‘60’s until Bjarne Aas ceased building- Mighty Mo,
Stallion, Wiffenpoof, Jemima Rooke (Surya) were the last wooden boats to arrive
in Great Britain.
Mitzi, Sybil (Seil, Diana), Tadpole, Susie, Happy-Go-Lucky and Windflower (Kyla), racing along the Green at Cowes with the Royal Yacht Squadron in the background. Susie is heading for the inner passage along the Green, this is between a line of rocks parallel to the shore that a vessel can enter near the Squadron but not exit from it for about 200 metres along the Green, thus dodging the severe tide in this area.
According to the Royal Corinthian Yacht
Club, race programme of 1960 the results list twenty IODs in the fleet at Cowes
with fifteen racing regualarly. It was a full racing programme with races each
weekend and Cowes Week comprising some 48 races in all. This level of racing
continued throughout the ‘60’s but the decline started towards the end of the
A beautiful silver model of an
International One Design was the Solent points overall trophy. This was on
display in the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, in Cowes until the nineties, when
alas it disappeared during a sad upheaval in the clubs history, a piece of
International One Design memorabilia has been lost it seems for ever. ‘Stallion’ GBR1 was the last winner of this trophy in 1972.
To This day the bar area of the Royal
Corinthian Yacht Club is decorated with a mural depicting twenty International
One Designs racing off the Clubhouse.
Cowes – England
||Sent to San Francisco
||Sent to San Francisco early, 1970
||E Marshall, H I Hughes
||Last heard of in Cowes 1960s
||J Ewing, C.G.Baxter
||D H McCowen
||H V Lobb
||C A Browne
||Converted for cruising 1979
||F G Mitchell
||A. P Costain
||Burro 11/ Wildgoose
||Knol 111/ Afros 111
||Marenda ex Cheetah
||H Freemantle, E Jones
||J H Millar
||Sent to San Francisco 1960
||E O Liebert
Of the four pre-war boats, Bombero, was last heard of in San Francisco; Margaret
Was unfortunately wrecked in the Channel Islands in 1966. Flirt went to San Francisco and Nautus (renamed Titus) was last seen in Chichester, UK modified for cruising and fitted with an engine. The original owners are now dead and nearly all the early records have been lost which is indeed sad.
'Kyla' GBR10 1954
THE MOVEMENT TO SCOTLAND.
The first IOD to come to Scotland was Windflower,
renamed Kyla, in 1968.This was followed by Mitzi in 1969 and Arrow
in 1970. By 1973 there most of the present fleet had moved to the Royal Forth
yacht Club (RFYC), the fleet totalling 13 boats, 11 purchased from the Solent
Arrow and Wahoo, from
the Channel Islands. There followed a period of active and very competitive racing, with the fleet taking part in the IOD
Worlds for the first time in 1974 at Larchmont, USA and hosting the Worlds on
the Forth in 1975, 1979, 1984,1990 and 1998.
The first Worlds in Scotland was a keenly
fought affair, the previous years World champion Stephen W. Wales battling a
closely fought series against local Helmsman Bobby Brown. Bobby was to again
represent the Scottish Fleet in the Worlds in 1979.
Bobby and the Wiffenpoof team qualified for
the worlds by winning the qualifiers with one race to spare and most of the
fleet followed them back to harbour not realising that there was still one race
to go in the qualifying trials. Bobby Brown was beaten again into second place,
this time by another Marblehead crew lead by Charlie Hamlin and Jud Smith,
Bobby actually won more races than the Charlie and Jud but lost the Worlds on
The Worlds in 1979 were a great success both
ashore and afloat, this can mainly be attributed to the organisational and
budgeting skills of Fraser Mills and Marshal Napier and the support of the
Royal Forth Yacht Club.
International One Design World Championship racing of Edinburgh, 1979
One design racing at the Royal
Forth Yacht Club in the ‘Seventies’ was at its height, International One
Designs, Dragons, Etchell’s, Sling’s, Loch Longs and Sauk’s. Seventy, one designs were often to be seen racing twice during the week and at the weekends in the shadow of Scotland’s
capital, Edinburgh. Racing, in these classes proved to be very competitive,
some of the leading one design sailors in Scotland were found on the Firth of
Forth at this time. With James Leask, former Dragon Edinburgh Cup winner
dominating the early years of the International One Designs, Marshal Napier,
Kenneth Gumley, Hamish Mackenzie, David Young & Gilmour Manual, dominating
the Dragon Class, not just in Scotland but on a global scene. Many of these
helmsmen crossed over to the IOD class in the years ahead to experience
delights of these vessels.
The IOD class grew quickly and the
competitive nature and the social scene that grew around the class encouraged
the growth and incoming skippers included, Robert Brown, Jack Robertson, Bert
D’Agistino, Peter Holmes, Ian Woolward, and Fraser Mills, who began to chase
the ‘Old man of the sea’ James Leask, and eventually the class was no longer
dominated by James Leask, but offered a level playing field of competition not
governed by cheque book warfare.
The Class also raced at the regattas around
the Firth of Forth, namely; Aberdour, Burntisland, Cramond, Queensferry, with
some of the class visiting, Elie and North Berwick. Racing in the class was
keenly fought no matter where the venue, whether round the cans racing or
Olympic triangles. The owners and crews endeavoured to get the best out of
their vessels and tuning was increased to get the best out of the boats, rigs
and sails. The annual class party with IOD’s rafted up in the middle of Granton
harbour during ‘Forth Week’ was one of the highlights of the racing / social
scene in Edinburgh.
In 1973 the International One Design Class travelled
across the country to take part in Clyde Week in Rothesay as part of the Clyde
International Fortnight. The racing was keenly fought between the IOD’s and the
beautiful lines of the class caught the attention of Clyde based sailors, this
a few years later, lead to Marshal Napier, being ‘on the road’ in the UK trying
to discover the whereabouts of IOD’s that had not made their way North. ‘Marenda’ was found in Chichester and
subsequently Marshal bought her and brought her north where Dusty Mackinnon
purchased her and restored her to racing trim. Marshal also travelled to Bangor
in North Wales to see ‘Wildgoose’, that was subsequently purchased by Brian
The ‘Kyla’ trophy is
presented for the class championship in Scotland, a half model of an International
One Design, presented to the Class by the Royal Forth Yacht Club for annual
competition. It is a coveted trophy that is closely fought for throughout the
year, to win this trophy is an achievement that the whole crew have to work
hard for, there is no let up in the chase for this trophy, make a mistake and
it was pounced upon by the chasing crews and one missed tack or thump on a wave
going to windward could seriously jeopardise the crews overall position in the championship.
1979 North Sea Cup was sailed in Edinburgh with the above Royal Forth yacht
Club Crew coming out on top.
Being involved with the International One
Design fleet in Edinburgh was viewed upon as a privilege and crewing places
throughout the fleet were a prize to be fought for.
When owners could not make a race, the
search for a replacement skipper was never difficult, ‘Jockeys’ could always be
found to take on a hot seat. Among these were :
- Dr. David Young, winner of many prestigious
championships among them the Dragon
Edinburgh Cup, the Dragon Gold Cup, the Etchell’s European Championships.
- Keith Miller, Champion IOR, CHS & IRC Offshore and
- Reay Mackay, Gairloch One design sailor and
- Andrew Henderson, 8 metre, Dragon and
- Kenneth Gumley, twice Dragon Edinburgh Cup
winner, who also crewed for Fraser Mills at an International One Design World
Championship in Maine.
- David Patterson, dinghy racer
extraordinaire, international and national champion in the Graduate, Fireball
and Merlin Rocket classes.
Many crews cut their teeth in this class
and some visiting Jockeys never got the knack to sail these boats to the level
they did in other classes, this was a class you could not just step into, many
who thought they could have stepped ashore wondering where it all went wrong!
THE EMERGENCE OF THE CLYDE FLEET
From 1984, boats started to move west to
the Clyde where there was a nucleus of three boats, Mirenda,
Wildgoose and Starlight. By 1990 the worlds were held
for the first time at the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club, with the
reduced Forth fleet transported to the Clyde and 1995 saw the complete
transition of the IOD fleet to the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club
(RNCYC) at Rhu. To establish the class on the Clyde, Pirate 11 and Starlight
were renovated by Silvers Marine at Roseneath. Throughout the ‘80’s
considerable efforts were made by Marshal Napier and Brian Young to establish
the location of the remaining IODs in the UK, determine their condition and
where possible marry a boat with a potential owner. It is largely due to their
efforts that the 1990 Worlds were so successful. Brian and Marshal have made
major contributions to the International One Design class in Scotland without
their help the class would not have been the success it was for as long as it
In parallel the IOD moulds were obtained
and the first fibreglass IOD in Scotland, Jeannie M, was built at
Silvers Marine in time for the 1990 Worlds, She was named by HRH Princess
Anne, The Princess Royal, unfortunately, later events led to only two
fibreglass boats being completed, both of which are now in Norway with the
fleet at Tonsberg.
In the mid ‘90’s some fleet boats suffered
extensive lay ups and neglect and in order to provide sufficient boats for the
1998 Worlds much effort was expended by Gilmour and Gilli Manuel to restore
these boats to a first class racing standard, Stallion, Tadpole, (Sheen)
and Kyla all received the ‘Manuel’ full on treatment. The Scottish fleet
is in their debt for the enthusiasm and energy they applied to the task.
The International One designs have enjoyed
some great sailing and competition on the waters of the Clyde. World
championships, North Sea Cups, Commodores International Cup team racing, Royal
Northern & Clyde Yacht Club versus The Seawanaka Corinthian Yacht Club,
Oyster Bay, Long Island, The Barge Cup, Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club
versus The Royal Forth Yacht Club and many other club on club competitions.
The Scottish International One Design Fleet. 1968 - 2008
Willie Kerr, Robert Shaw
J. Macqueen, R. Finlayson, W. Rennie & Dennis Jackson
Marshal Napier & Douglas Miller
Hugh & Robert Napier
David Witten, Tim Lightholler
Peach Prothers & Jo Fairlie
|Lt Commander Pat Brians
|Robert D Brown, J Paver
|George Steadman, Eddie Gamley
Collin & Constance Carmichael
John Macdonald (Sheen)
Gilmour & Gilli Manuel
Robert Napier & Michael Pollet
Harold Haswell Smith
Mike McEwan, Chris Roddis & Ian Broadley
|Happy Go Lucky
|Karry Holmes, C Connors, Campbell Macaulay
THE EMBROYONIC FLEET IN ST. MAWES, CORNWALL
International One Designs, have added colour and competitiveness to yacht racing wherever they have been based in the UK, this is being continued today at a new venue for the class in St Mawes, nr Falmouth, Cornwall, South West of England. St Mawes is a jewel in Cornwall’s crown and here the International One Designs are being greeted with the respect they deserve. Six of the Clyde boats have now found their way south to this centre of English yachting.
The St Mawes fleet has been brought to life
by Roger Smith and his boat yard. The St Mawes Sailing Club is the centre for
these boats and already the owners and crews are participating on the
International One Designs are not new to the
Carrick Roads – Sanchia has been based in Falmouth for many years – but it was
Roger Smith, of Polvarth Boatyard, who spotted the opportunity to create a
racing fleet of IODs in St Mawes. Following Robin Dicker’s restoration of Mitzi
and Roger’s purchase of Amelia, four more IODs – all of them wooden – have been
purchased from Scotland and brought down to St Mawes over the past two years.
There are now six IODs in the harbour – Mitzi, Happy Go Lucky, Kyla, Wild
Goose, Pirate and Amelia. St Mawes now hosts
the only IOD racing fleet in the UK and are in the process of registering the
fleet with the International Class Association. We hope gradually to increase this
fleet further, such that one day St Mawes may be in a position to host the
World Championships in Cornwall.
St. Mawes IOD Fleet 2009
Happy Go Lucky
Andrew & Tess
Mike Conlin, Johnny
Bingham, Nick Gore
Roger Smith, Jeremy