SEVENTY 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 decade.

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 fleet, 1959

Sail Number Name Owner Year built
1 Bombero A.Borrough 1937 Sent to San Francisco
2 Flirt J.G.Connel 1939 Sent to San Francisco early, 1970
3 Starlight S. Olsen 1948
4 Rani 111  E Marshall, H I Hughes 1939 Last heard of in Cowes 1960s
5 Arrow J Ewing, C.G.Baxter 1956
6 Susie D H McCowen 1954
7 Margaret H V Lobb 1938
8 Tadpole E Mitchell 1954
9 Nauta C A Browne 1939 Converted for cruising 1979
10 Windflower/ F G Mitchell 1954
11 Pirate 11 J.C Quinnell 1955
12 Wahoo H Ford 1955
13 Happy- Go-Lucky A. P Costain 1955
14 Burro 11/ Wildgoose AK Krefting 1946
15 Knol 111/ Afros 111 Julian Salmond 1939
16 Marenda ex Cheetah H Freemantle, E Jones 1957
17 Mitzi John Grandy 1958
18 Sybil/Diana J H Millar 1958
19 Mallard/Champoo Barrie Heath 1956 Sent to San Francisco 1960
99 Idol 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 and 2,

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 countback.

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 Young.

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.

The 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 Dragon Sailor.
  • Reay Mackay, Gairloch One design sailor and his family.
  • Andrew Henderson, 8 metre, Dragon and Etchells skipper.
  • 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 was.  

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

K1
Stallion
Tom Merret
Willie Kerr, Robert Shaw
J. Macqueen, R. Finlayson, W. Rennie & Dennis Jackson
Gillian Manuel
1966
Mahogany
K2
Mighty Mo
Monsiuer Bassompierre
Brian Tunstil
Marshal Napier & Douglas Miller
Hugh & Robert Napier
David Witten, Tim Lightholler
Peach Prothers & Jo Fairlie
1961
Mahogany
K3
Arrow
John Gibb
1956
Pine
K4
Wahoo
Lt Commander Pat Brians
Blair Forbes
1958
Pine
K6
Susie
Bert D'Agistino
Jack Robertson
Will Rudd
1954
Pine
K7
Wiffenpoof
Robert D Brown, J Paver
Tony Thain
N, Henderson
Marshal Napier
Gilmour Manuel
1967
Mahogany
K8
Tadpole
George Steadman, Eddie Gamley
Howard Fowler
Collin & Constance Carmichael
John Macdonald (Sheen)
Gilmour & Gilli Manuel
Robert Napier & Michael Pollet
1954
Pine
K9
Starlight
Shona Young

Pine
K10
Kyla
James Leask
Harold Haswell Smith
Christina Manuel
Mike McEwan, Chris Roddis & Ian Broadley
1954
Pine
K11
Pirate 11
Bill Maitland
1955
Pine
K13
Happy Go Lucky
Tom Merret
Tom Cuthell
Evan Young
1955
Pine
K17
Mitzi
Karry Holmes, C Connors, Campbell Macaulay
1958
Pine
K18
Seil
Diana 2
Ian Woolward
Fraser Mills

Mahogany

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 scene.

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 Colson

Kyla

Mike Conlin, Johnny Bingham, Nick Gore

Mitzi

Robin Dicker

Pirate

Roger Smith, Jeremy Blower

Wild Goose

Mike Conlin

Sanchia

Nick Coppin

Amelia

Roger Smith


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