John I. Thornycroft & Company
John I. Thornycroft & Company Limited known as Thornycroft was a British shipbuilding firm founded by John Isaac Thornycroft in Chiswick in 1866, it moved to Woolston, Southampton, in 1908, merging in 1966 with Vosper & Company to form one organisation called Vosper Thornycroft. From 2002 to 2010 the company acquired several international and US based defence and services companies, changed name to the VT Group. In 2010 the company was absorbed by Babcock International who retained the UK and international operations, but sold the US based operations to the American Jordan Company, who took the name VT Group. John Isaac Thornycroft had shown shipbuilding ability when aged 16 he began building a small steam launch in 1859; the vessel was named Nautilus and in 1862 it proved to be the first steam launch with enough speed to follow the contenders in the University race. The ensuing publicity prompted his father, the sculptor Thomas Thornycroft, to purchase a strip of land along the Thames at Chiswick in 1864, that became the start of John I.
Thornycroft & Co. In its first ten years the yard had a modest production building steam launches and steam yachts; the breakthrough came in 1873, when the firm built the small steel torpedo craft Rap for the Navy of Norway, followed by similar boats for other navies, by HMS Lightning for the Royal Navy in 1877. Torpedoes and torpedo boats were seen as weapons of the future and throughout the 1870s and 1880s the Thornycroft yard became a major supplier to a number of navies; as Banbury put it: No high-pressure salesmanship was needed to sell torpedo-boats in the nineteenth century. The original boats had locomotive-type boilers but, like its competitors, the company developed a water-tube boiler, patented in 1885 and providing more speed; the size of the vessels grew exceeding 100 tons with Ariete, delivered to Spain in 1887 and 200 tons in the Daring-class torpedo-boat destroyers of the Royal Navy. The largest vessel built at Chiswick was the Alarm-class torpedo gunboat Speedy of 810 tons. During the 1890s it became difficult for the new vessels to pass under the Hammersmith Bridge - masts and funnels had to be lowered or removed, put back in place again further down the Thames, if something went wrong during trials and the boat had to return to the yard the whole process had to be reversed.
In 1904 the Oscar Mordaunt yard at Woolston was acquired, production moved there. At its peak, the yard at Chiswick employed 1,700 men; the production of destroyers at the yard caught the imagination of the writer H. G. Wells, who let George Ponderevo, main character of the book Tono-Bungay, become a destroyer designer in the last chapter, describing a test run of the destroyer X 2 under the Hammersmith Bridge and out into the open sea. In the years at Chiswick John Thornycroft concentrated on the design and development part of the enterprise, while his brother-in-law since 1872, John Donaldson, managed the commercial side; when Donaldson died in 1899, a group of industrialists headed by William Beardmore bought into the company, they provided much of the financing when it was transformed into the public company John I. Thornycroft and Co. Ltd in 1901, with Beardmore as chairman. William Beardmore's interest in the company proved rather short-lived and he resigned as chairman in 1907; the management team of the new company consisted of John Thornycroft's son, John Edward Thornycroft as manager, John Donaldson's son, Thornycroft Donaldson as technical director.
The first ship built by Thornycrofts for the Royal Navy at the Woolston Yard was the Tribal-class destroyer HMS Tartar. Up to the start of World War I, the yard built 37 destroyers for the Royal Navy and several more for other navies. During the war, the yard made 26 destroyers, 3 submarines and a large number of smaller craft for the Royal Navy. Notable among the smaller craft were the Coastal Motor Boats, based on a design by John Thornycroft who continued working with hull designs at his home on the Isle of Wight until his death in 1928, taking out his last patent in 1924; the construction of smaller boats did not move to Woolston, but to a new yard on Platt's Eyot in the Thames at Hampton. The construction on Platt's Eyot included yachts and - during the two world wars - a large number of small vessels for the Royal Navy; the yachts included Enola, Estrellita and Moonyeen. The pre-war motor yacht Prunella may have been built at Hampton; these four are now recorded on National Historic Ships' National Register.
In the inter-war years there was still some construction for the Royal Navy at Woolston, but the yard built civilian ships, like the ferry SS Robert Coryndon for Uganda in 1930. She still survives, but as a half-submerged wreck on the shore of Lake Albert; when World War II broke out, production was stepped up again, the yard built corvettes and destroyers. Production was delayed by several bombings influenced by the yard's proximity to the Spitfire-building Supermarine factory situated in Woolston; that factory was bombed extensively in the beginning of the war, Thornycroft's yard received its fair share of the bombs. Among the more notable ships built by the yard in the war years were the two Hunt-class destroyer escorts, HMS Bissenden and HMS Brecon, with better stability than their sisters; the largest naval vessel built at Woolston during the war years was the fast minelayer HMS Latona of 2,650 tons, with turbines capable of 72,000 shaft horsepower and a speed of 40 knots. The first se
Dame Ellen Patricia MacArthur, is a retired English sailor, from Whatstandwell near Matlock in Derbyshire, now based in Cowes, Isle of Wight. MacArthur is a successful solo long-distance yachtswoman. On 7 February 2005 she broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe, a feat which gained her international renown. Francis Joyon, the Frenchman who had held the record before MacArthur, was able to recover the record again in early 2008. Following her retirement from professional sailing on 2 September 2010, MacArthur announced the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity that works with business and education to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. MacArthur was born in Derbyshire where she lived with her parents, who were both teachers, two brothers Fergus and Lewis, who now live in Pennsylvania, she acquired her early interest in sailing, firstly by her desire to emulate her idol at the time, Sophie Burke, secondly by reading Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series of books.
She has since become the Patron of the Nancy Blackett Trust which owns and operates Ransome's yacht, Nancy Blackett. Her first experience of sailing was on a boat owned by her aunt Thea MacArthur on the east coast of England, she saved her school dinner money for three years to buy her first boat, an eight-foot dinghy, which she named Threp'ny Bit though decimalisation had taken place before she was born. She sellotaped a real'threepenny bit' coin onto the bow. MacArthur attended Wirksworth County Infants and Junior Schools and the Anthony Gell School and worked at a sailing school in Hull; when she was 17, MacArthur named it Iduna. In 1995 she sailed Iduna single-handed on a circumnavigation of Great Britain. In 1997 she finished 17th in the Mini Transat solo transatlantic race after fitting out her 21 ft Classe Mini yacht Le Poisson herself while living in a French boatyard, she was named 1998 British Telecom/Royal Yachting Association "Yachtsman of The Year" in the UK and "Sailing's Young Hope" in France.
Asteroid 20043 Ellenmacarthur is named after her. MacArthur first came to general prominence in 2001 when she came second in the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world sailing race in her Owen Clarke/Rob Humphreys designed Kingfisher, subsequently MacArthur was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to sport. At 24, she was the youngest competitor. In 2003, she captained a round-the-world record attempt for a crewed yacht in Kingfisher 2, but was thwarted by a broken mast in the Southern Ocean. A trimaran named B&Q/Castorama unveiled in January 2004, was specially designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret for her to break solo records; the 75-foot trimaran was built in Australia, with many of the components arranged to take into account MacArthur's 5-foot 2 inch height. Using the yacht, her first significant record attempt in 2004 to break the west–east transatlantic crossing time failed by around one and a quarter hours, after over seven days of sailing, she began her attempt to break the solo record for sailing non-stop around the world on 28 November 2004.
During her circumnavigation, she set records for the fastest solo voyage to the equator, past the Cape of Good Hope, past Cape Horn and back to the equator again. She crossed the finishing line near the French coast at Ushant at 22:29 UTC on 7 February 2005 beating the previous record set by French sailor Francis Joyon by 1 day, 8 hours, 35 minutes, 49 seconds, her time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes 33 seconds is world record for the 27,354 nautical miles covered. This is an average speed of 15.9 knots. On 8 February 2005, following her return to England, it was announced that she was to be made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her achievement, it is believed that she is the youngest recipient of this honour. Coming after the event being recognised, rather than appearing in due course in the New Year's or Birthday Honours lists, this recognition was reminiscent of accolades bestowed upon Francis Drake and Francis Chichester when reaching home shores after their respective circumnavigations in 1580 and 1967.
MacArthur was granted the rank of Honorary Lieutenant Commander, Royal Naval Reserve on the same day. In recognition of her achievement she was appointed a Knight of the French Legion of Honour by President Nicolas Sarkozy in March 2008, she is a fluent French speaker. In 2007 MacArthur headed up BT Team Ellen, a three-person sailing team which includes Australian Nick Moloney and Frenchman Sébastien Josse. In October 2009 MacArthur announced her intention to retire from competitive racing to concentrate on the subject of resource and energy use in the global economy. On 2 September 2010, she launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity focusing on accelerating the transition to a regenerative circular economy; the Foundation works in three areas: Education – inspiring a generation to re-think the future Business – catalysing business innovation Insight – the opportunity for a re-design revolution In June 2000, MacArthur sailed the monohull Kingfisher from Plymouth, UK to Newport, Rhode Island, USA in 14 days, 23 hours, 11 minutes.
This is the current record for a single-handed woman monohull east-to-west passage, the record for a single-handed woman in any vessel. MacArthur's second place in the 2000–2001 edition of the Vendée Globe, with a time of 94 days, 4 hours and 25 minutes, is the world record fo
The Finn dinghy is the men's single-handed, cat-rigged Olympic class for sailing. It was designed by Swedish canoe designer, Rickard Sarby, in 1949 for the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. Since the 1952 debut of the boat, the design has been in every summer Olympics, making it one of the most prolific Olympic sailboats as it is the longest serving dinghy in the Olympic Regatta, it fills the slot for the Heavyweight Dinghy at the Olympic games. It is a physically demanding boat to race at the highest levels since the class now allows unlimited boat rocking and sail pumping when the wind is above 10 knots. Although the Finn hull has changed little since 1949, there have been developments to the rig; the original spars were made of wood until the late 1960s and early 1970s when there was a slow change to aluminum masts. Aluminum is more flexible and gives more control over sail shape, it became commonplace after the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich when they were first supplied to Olympic sailors.
Carbon fiber masts have become common place in competitive Finn fleets. The sails too have gone through revolution and are now made of various laminates such as technora and Kevlar; the class rules are overseen by the International Finn Association. The Finn Gold Cup serves as the World Championship for the Finn class. 2006 Finn Open European Championship International Finn Association Russian Finn Association North American Finn Class for US and Canada Finn Site - Germany Finn Association Czech Republic Hungarian Finn Class Association
William Fife Jr. known as William Fife III, was the third generation of a family of Scottish yacht designers and builders. In his time, William Fife designed around 600 yachts, including two contenders for the America’s cup; the Royal Yachting Association was formed in 1875 to standardise rules, Fife and his rival G. L. Watson, were instrumental in these rule changes. Around one third of Fife's yachts still exist, his last designs were built in 1938. Fife was born in North Ayrshire on the Firth of Clyde, his father William Fife Sr. and grandfather William Fyfe had been designers and boat builders in Fairlie. The family business operated from a shipyard on the beach in the village. Fife began building yachts in 1890 and soon surpassed the achievements of his father and grandfather and became known as one of the premier yacht designers of the day; as the third generation of a venerable Scottish boat building family, William Fife inherited a rich legacy but was quick to establish his own reputation as one of the top designers in the yachting world.
Dominating his chief competitors, Fife was a master of his trade who received commissions from European royalty and from clients as far away as Australia. Following on the heels of the success of his design Dragon, Fife adopted a stylized Chinese dragon as his trademark. Thereafter, those yachts that took shape on the shingle at Fairlie were known throughout the yachting world by this distinctive scrollwork. Fife designed two America's Cup yachts for grocery and tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton who challenged for the cup a total of five times; the Fife-designed challenger Shamrock I lost to Shamrock III lost to Reliance. After the establishment of the first International Rule in 1906, Fife became a prolific designer of metre boats and building several successful 15-Metre and 19-Metre yachts in the years leading up to the Great War. Between 1907 and 1913, William Fife Jr. designed eight of the twenty 15mR yachts built, but his first 15mR named Shimna was not built at his famous Fairlie boatyard, but by Alexander Robertson and Sons Ltd, because all Fife's principal yacht builders were needed to work on Myles Kennedy’s new 23mR, White Heather II.
Fife died on 11 August 1944 at the age of 87 in North Ayrshire. He never had children, he was buried in Largs. The yard was continued for some years after his death by his nephew, but never achieved the renown known under Fife's ownership. French yachtsman Éric Tabarly, two-time winner of the OSTAR and owner of the Fife design Pen Duick wrote: While Fife established a leading reputation on the yacht racing circuit, his work included a number of fine cruising vessels. Dr. William Collier wrote of Fife's 1920s work: The Fife yard had a reputation for the high quality of the craftsmanship of the yachts built at the yard. Today, it is thought. Of these, there are around fifty still sailing, most notably: cruiser handicap rater Nan 36-rater Pen Duick 21-rater Mignon, sisterships Pierette and Yvette cruiser handicap raters Moonbeam III and Moonbeam IV 15mRs Mariska, Hispania and The Lady Anne 12mR Cintra 8mR Lucky Girl 19mR Mariquita Ketches Sumurun and Belle Aventure on the Eastern Seaboard handicap rater Hallowe'en 23mR Cambria gaff-rigged schooner Altair ketch Eilean, which famously featured in the music video for the 1982 Duran Duran song Rio.
Fife once said that the secret of a great yacht was that it should be both "fast and bonnie". He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1919 New Year Honours. In 2004, he was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame. Torch Kilmeney Fiona Neptune Erycina Ulidia Thalia Calluna 15 ton cutter Corsair – designed by William Fife Sr. 3 ton lugger Achilla 2 ton lugger Gew Gaw – built by James E. Doyle Kingston 3 ton 1-rater lugger Nansheen – built by James E. Doyle Kingston 5 ton lugger Elva 8 ton 1.5-rater lugger Vill-u-An – built by Robertson & Sons 6-ton Dublin Bay 25 cutters Darthula and Whisper – built by James E. Doyle Kingston Franco Pace. William Fife: Master of the Classic Yacht. Adlard Coles Nautical. ISBN 978-0-7136-5030-3. May Fife McCallum. Fast and Bonnie – A History of William Fife & Son Yachtbuilders. John Donald Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0-85976-566-4. Fairlie Yachts Fife Regatta 2008 flickr archive of the Scottish Maritime Museum
Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. The field of navigation includes four general categories: land navigation, marine navigation, aeronautic navigation, space navigation, it is the term of art used for the specialized knowledge used by navigators to perform navigation tasks. All navigational techniques involve locating the navigator's position compared to known locations or patterns. Navigation, in a broader sense, can refer to any skill or study that involves the determination of position and direction. In this sense, navigation includes pedestrian navigation. In the European medieval period, navigation was considered part of the set of seven mechanical arts, none of which were used for long voyages across open ocean. Polynesian navigation is the earliest form of open-ocean navigation, it was based on memory and observation recorded on scientific instruments like the Marshall Islands Stick Charts of Ocean Swells.
Early Pacific Polynesians used the motion of stars, the position of certain wildlife species, or the size of waves to find the path from one island to another. Maritime navigation using scientific instruments such as the mariner's astrolabe first occurred in the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages. Although land astrolabes were invented in the Hellenistic period and existed in classical antiquity and the Islamic Golden Age, the oldest record of a sea astrolabe is that of Majorcan astronomer Ramon Llull dating from 1295; the perfecting of this navigation instrument is attributed to Portuguese navigators during early Portuguese discoveries in the Age of Discovery. The earliest known description of how to make and use a sea astrolabe comes from Spanish cosmographer Martín Cortés de Albacar's Arte de Navegar published in 1551, based on the principle of the archipendulum used in constructing the Egyptian pyramids. Open-seas navigation using the astrolabe and the compass started during the Age of Discovery in the 15th century.
The Portuguese began systematically exploring the Atlantic coast of Africa from 1418, under the sponsorship of Prince Henry. In 1488 Bartolomeu Dias reached the Indian Ocean by this route. In 1492 the Spanish monarchs funded Christopher Columbus's expedition to sail west to reach the Indies by crossing the Atlantic, which resulted in the Discovery of the Americas. In 1498, a Portuguese expedition commanded by Vasco da Gama reached India by sailing around Africa, opening up direct trade with Asia. Soon, the Portuguese sailed further eastward, to the Spice Islands in 1512, landing in China one year later; the first circumnavigation of the earth was completed in 1522 with the Magellan-Elcano expedition, a Spanish voyage of discovery led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and completed by Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano after the former's death in the Philippines in 1521. The fleet of seven ships sailed from Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Southern Spain in 1519, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and after several stopovers rounded the southern tip of South America.
Some ships were lost, but the remaining fleet continued across the Pacific making a number of discoveries including Guam and the Philippines. By only two galleons were left from the original seven; the Victoria led by Elcano sailed across the Indian Ocean and north along the coast of Africa, to arrive in Spain in 1522, three years after its departure. The Trinidad sailed east from the Philippines, trying to find a maritime path back to the Americas, but was unsuccessful; the eastward route across the Pacific known as the tornaviaje was only discovered forty years when Spanish cosmographer Andrés de Urdaneta sailed from the Philippines, north to parallel 39°, hit the eastward Kuroshio Current which took its galleon across the Pacific. He arrived in Acapulco on October 8, 1565; the term stems from the 1530s, from Latin navigationem, from navigatus, pp. of navigare "to sail, sail over, go by sea, steer a ship," from navis "ship" and the root of agere "to drive". The latitude of a place on Earth is its angular distance north or south of the equator.
Latitude is expressed in degrees ranging from 0° at the Equator to 90° at the North and South poles. The latitude of the North Pole is 90° N, the latitude of the South Pole is 90° S. Mariners calculated latitude in the Northern Hemisphere by sighting the North Star Polaris with a sextant and using sight reduction tables to correct for height of eye and atmospheric refraction; the height of Polaris in degrees above the horizon is the latitude of the observer, within a degree or so. Similar to latitude, the longitude of a place on Earth is the angular distance east or west of the prime meridian or Greenwich meridian. Longitude is expressed in degrees ranging from 0° at the Greenwich meridian to 180° east and west. Sydney, for example, has a longitude of about 151° east. New York City has a longitude of 74° west. For most of history, mariners struggled to determine longitude. Longitude can be calculated. Lacking that, one can use a sextant to take a lunar distance that, with a nautical almanac, can be used to calculate the time at zero longitude.
Reliable marine chronometers were unavailable until the late 18th century and not affordable until the 19th century. For about a hundred years, from about 1767 until about 1850, mariners lacking a chronometer used the method of lunar distances to determine Greenwich time to find their longitude. A mariner with a chronometer could check its reading using a lunar determination of Greenwich tim
The Mirror is a popular sailing dinghy with more than 70,000 built. The Mirror was named after the Daily Mirror, a UK newspaper with a working class distribution; the Mirror was from the start promoted as an affordable boat, as a design it has done a great deal to make dinghy sailing accessible to a wide audience. Although most popular in the UK, Mirrors are sailed in other countries, notably Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, the Philippines and the United States; the Mirror was designed by Jack Holt and TV do-it-yourself expert Barry Bucknell in 1962. It employed a novel construction method where sheets of marine plywood are held together with copper stitching and fibreglass tape; this is called stitch and glue construction. Buoyancy is provided by four independent integral chambers rather than by bags, it was designed to be built with simple tools and little experience, this meant that the design was quite simple. For example, the characteristic'pram' front reduces the need for the more complicated curved wooden panels and joinery needed for a pointed bow, a daggerboard is used instead of a hinged centreboard.
The result is a robust and light boat that can be maintained and repaired, can be launched into the water quickly from storage or transport. Although most experienced sailors would carry a paddle rather than oars, if necessary it rows well. If the transom is strengthened, an outboard motor can be used for propulsion; the original rig was a Gunter Rig, but in 2006 the class rules were changed to allow a single mast and an alloy boom. Although a Bermudan sloop rig has now been introduced for the Mirror, the original Gunter rig meant that all the spars could be packed inside the hull for easy storage or transportation; this same space saving is still available with the Bermudan rig by using an optional two-piece aluminium mast. Mirrors can be sailed without a jib by moving the mast into an optional forward step and moving the shroud attachment points forward. However, in this configuration it can be difficult to tack, so it would be used to de-power the boat for beginners. Most single handers retain the mast in the standard position and handle the jib as well: because of the Mirror's small size, this is quite manageable.
Mirror class rules permit the use of a spinnaker. This may be used by single handers as well - although flying a main and spinnaker single-handed sounds complex, it is quite manageable with a bit of practice. Mainsail controls permitted by the class are downhaul and kicking strap; the Jib tack fixing may be adjustable while sailing allowing changes in jib luff tension and tack height. The Mirror is stable enough to be sailed safely by two young teenagers or two adults, it is an excellent boat for teenagers learning sailing for the first time. Richard Creagh-Osbourn commented in the Dinghy Yearbook 1964 that the Mirror'was one of the two best one design dinghies drawn by Jack Holt - the other being the Heron'; the design met with a considerable degree of scepticism from the established boating fraternity due to its unconventional design and construction but Creagh-Osbourn and Beecher Moore were two of the respected pundits of the dinghy scene who were far sighted enough to see the value of the design, supported it.
Within a few years its lower cost and massive promotion by the Daily Mirror transformed the boat into the most popular two man dinghy in terms of sales per annum worldwide. This was sadly short lived, the imposition of 25% VAT in the late 1970s on boats, killed the dinghy market and the sales of the Mirror - it never recovered, by the time the economy improved, its franchise of practical post war kit builders had been replaced by kids who had little understanding of the most basic woodworking skills and less interest - it remains popular but not to the extent and enthusiasm that fostered the book'Mirrormania' in 1976. Despite not being a fast dinghy, the Mirror is popular for one-design racing; because of the large number that have been made, it is easy to find other Mirror sailors to race against - at least in the countries where the Mirror is popular. The large fleet of similar boats coupled with the Mirror's stability and relative complexity make it the ideal boat to learn racing skills.
It is a recommended UK Olympic pathway boat and many top sailors learned their trade in Mirrors. Mirrors are raced competitively worldwide; the Mirror World Championship is contested biennially by the nations of Ireland, the UK, the Republic of South Africa, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia. Ireland has dominated the event over the past decade, winning the championship in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005 although the last two world championships have been won by British pairings. Anna Mackenzie and Holly Scott from team GBR were the first all-female team to win the title in 2007, contested in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Andy and Tom Smith from Great Britain won the event in 2009 in Pwllheli, Wales. Former world champion Ross Kearney won both the 2010 Mirror European championships at Sligo Yacht Club, the 2011 Mirror World Championship held in Albany, Western Australia, with current crew Max Odell; the 2013 World Championsh
Flying Dutchman (dinghy)
The Flying Dutchman is a 20-foot one-design high-performance two-person monohull racing dinghy. Developed in the early 1950s in the Netherlands, its large sail area per unit weight allow it to plane when sailing upwind; the boat utilizes a trapeze harness for the crew and hiking straps for the skipper to counterbalance the wind force on its sails. It made its Olympic debut at the 1960 Olympic Games; the FD is still one of the fastest racing dinghies in the world. She carries a mainsail, a large foresail genoa, a large spinnaker for running and reaching; the FD has been the basis for many important innovations in sailing over the past half century: First one-design dinghy to make use of a trapeze gear, a feature found today on high performance dinghies and catamarans Roller furling genoa Windward sheeting traveler Spinnaker chute Spinnaker pole launchers Composite constructionThese innovations were possible because the FD was left as an "open" one-design class, where innovation and development in the boat is allowed and encouraged.
Parameters that influence the speed of the boat directly, including hull shape and sail area are controlled, but other areas can be adapted to suit. The FD was sailed in Olympic competitions from 1960 Olympic Games through the 1992 Olympic Games. Since 2008 the FD is one of the Vintage Yachting Classes at the Vintage Yachting Games, it was in the late 1940s that the IYRU instigated a new modern two man international dinghy, the Tornado. She was not a success; the Royal Loosdrecht Yacht Club of Conrad Gülcher obtained half a dozen Tornados and found them uninspiring. Conrad imagined that with modern construction methods and the use of moulded ply, a better dinghy could be constructed. Conrad with the help of Uus Van Essen, a naval architect and measurer for the Dutch Yachting Federation made a preliminary design early in September 1951; the design was sent to 30 top class helmsmen in Europe, including Bossom, John Cahmier, Charles Curry, Manfred Curry, Ferry Laagwater, Stewart Morris, Morits Skaugen and Shorty Trimingham, with the request to comment within two weeks.
By the end of September 23 responses had been returned with suggestions for modifications to the design of the boat. Mr. Loeff, chairman of the Dutch Yachting Federation, agreed to discuss the boat at the November meeting of the IYRU, but required he see her sail first; as no prototype yet existed, this was hardly feasible to accomplish, but Conrad had the mould and hull built in one week, the mast cut and the boat rigged in another. The boat was designed to be simple, inexpensive to produce; the repeatable measurement system defined by Uss van Essen aided to that end. It took to the water against the 12m2 Sharpie and the Tornado dinghy at Loosdrecht one week before the IYRU meetings. Mr. Loeff was impressed, took the plans to the IYRU for discussion, it was decided to hold trials for the new boat class in the summer of 1952 in the Netherlands, the name of the design, Flying Dutchman, was born. The trials were held on the open water of the IJsselmeer at Muiden. Seventeen boats participated, some one-designs like the Osprey and Typhoon, others were from existing classes, including Hornet, Thistle and Rennjolle.
The results showed the new boat to be a success, the FD was adopted. However, the boat was set with the limitation "for continental lakes only". Another set of trials were set up for 1953 at La Baule on the open sea. Meanwhile, the small jib in the initial design was replaced with the Genoa, a trapeze was added. At La Baule there were again one-designs such as the Coronet, a smaller version of which became the 505. Off the wind the Coronet with her bigger spinnaker and mainsail upwind the FD won. Afterwards it was clear that the FD did well on the open sea, the "lakes" limitation was lifted; the Class started to blossom, thanks to the promotional activities of Conrad and a well structured Class Organisation. In 1957 the FD was selected to replace the Sharpie at the 1960 Olympic Games in Naples. By the 1960s there were "FD" fleets throughout the world, including Lebanon, Portuguese East Africa, Venezuela, along with fleets forming in Europe, the United States, South Africa and New Zealand. Many well known yachtsmen have spent time competing in the FD, including Paul Elvstrom, Hans Fogh, Ben Lexcen, Peder Lunde, Stewart Morris, Keith Musto, André Nelis and Marc Pajot, Rodney Pattisson, Ted Turner, Jon Turner, David Wilkins, the deKleer brothers, Buddy Melges.
Source: Source: Source: Source: International Flying Dutchman Class Home Page Flying Dutchman - International Sailing Federation Flying Dutchman USA International FD Bulletin Forum