Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

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ACB
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Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by ACB » Mon May 25, 2009 7:45 pm

(This probably uses a lot of bandwidth, so if its old hat and not interesting I'll take it down.)

I picked up a copy of "The Yachting Year" Volume One, 1946, a not very rare "yachtsman's annual" edited by a certain Eric Hiscock, who went on to become quite well known in cruising circles...

And here are the new dinghies for 1946...


I think this may be one of the first references to the Firefly in print. The blurb reads as if Uffa Fox wrote it. The suggestion that the RYA approached Faireys is interesting. This was written before the discovery that the untapered alloy mast was unsuitable, of course:

Image

Looks like Uffa was playing with a Una rig idea - note the alternative mast position?

Image

Here we have a proto-Swordfish:

[img]http://i535.photobucket.com/albums ... .jpg[/img]

Not yet associated with Faireys...

Image

but what became of this handsome design?

Image

Mr Heath Robinson must have been involved in the design of the "undercarriage" that stowed in the boat and became a road trailer when wanted... :lol:

Image

and here we have the future and the road not taken both on the same page - one of the "Yachting World 14ft Restricted Class", of which the prototype, "Merlin" was designed by Mr Holt, and two sharpies - the upper one was a design sponsored by "Yachting Monthly" for amateur construction, the YM 16ft sharpie, designed by Jack jones.:

Image

The general tenor of the book as regards "small craft" is that there will be a lot of amateur built sharpies; this did not come to pass and whilst I can see that sharpies are awkward for sea sailing, having to be kept afloat, one wondered why they did not "take off" inland. It may be that the motor car, able to pull a light dinghy, has something to do with it.

The arrival of the GP14 may have finished off sharpies as such.
Last edited by ACB on Tue May 26, 2009 2:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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JimC
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by JimC » Mon May 25, 2009 9:59 pm

The 15 footer would surely be the Swordfish - hence the 15 as the class logo...

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Ed
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Ed » Tue May 26, 2009 9:15 am

......

have a good look at one of those small photos....and you will see (at least Chris and I reckon) that the Merlin is none other than No 6 - Iska.

the one and only time I have found one of my boats in a book!

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by roger » Tue May 26, 2009 12:40 pm

Yes I thought it was Iska as well.
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by ACB » Tue May 26, 2009 2:08 pm

You are quite right - I've just looked at the book and the sail number is 6.

I had misread the caption, which says that the boat is "one of" the YW 14 ft restrictred class and that prototype, Merlin, was designed by Mr Jack Holt. So it is indeed her.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by chris » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:51 pm

Yes it is certainly Iska...or Replica as she was called then.
There are also two images showing Iska in the 1946 YW write up of the first merlin nationals (or do I mean '47?
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Chris 249 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:27 am

The Firefly was shown with a una rig for singlehanded sailing in the early plans, when they were shown in more detail in YW. One wonders why that version wasn't used for the Games.

It highlights how the FF anticipated so many of today's multi-role SMODs, and wasn't the FF the first mass-market SMOD itself?

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Ancient Geek » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:36 am

There is no doubt that the Firefly was the first SMOD in mass production, though of course there are lots of examples of local OD's built by a single local builder in really quite big numbers.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur McDonald who was the British rep' once held a Dinner Party I was at spellbound, describing the option of jib or no jib they were given at the '48 'games, the simple answer was it was quicker with a jib, and a certain 18year old Dane seemed to cope rather well! So the competitors almost to a man sailed with a jib, some lowering them when it got very windy.
Simples.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by chris » Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:14 am

ABC,
before Merlin was adopted as a class name they were indeed simply known as National 14ft restricted class and I quess that in 1946 that would have been the case.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Ancient Geek » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:35 am

The original name for the class was Wizard but Beecher said it was thought to be Post War Slang so the master Wizard merlin was chosen!
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Rupert » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:45 am

By Firefly No7 there was certainly no sign of a forward mast position having been an option - I'm fairly sure it wasn't on No1, either, from the photos I've seen. The short side tanks made it as far as No7, but had been extended forwards at some point to fit with later boats.
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by DavidC » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:08 am

I think that we really must distinguish between a class that is built by one manufacturer and a manufacturer's class.

The Firefly might indeed be the first boat aimed at the mass market and produced by one manufacturer. However, it is fundamentally different now and always was from the current SMOD's. The Firefly was adopted as a National Class in 1947 at which point the YRA set up independent rules, specifications and independent management. This means that no changes can be made without the approval of the class association and the (now) RYA. The class association has an interest maintaining its class and therefore hopefully the class continues and survives. The right to build can be re-allocated by the RYA if and/or when the current builder ceases.

The current SMOD's are totally different. The entire rights to the class are owned by the manufacturer. He alone decides what he will do and when. Any class association will have no say in the boat and any rules will be so vague as to provide no protection whatsoever. The manufacturer can build the boats any way they want at any weight or standard and the customer will get what they are given. He can stop production or destroy the tooling at any time and tough luck on those that have invested in that class.

Everyone has a choice although I suspect that the pro's and con's are not always fully known by new buyers and some of the boats do have a place in the market I am sure. However as always - buyer beware.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Ed » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:36 am

David,

you are absolutely right!

I have often thought what fun it would be to put reps from RS, Laser, Topper and all the builders together in one room and say:

"OK, lets all agree the rules first.....set up the class....and then you all go away and come up with the best boat you can - to the rules and we start racing next Summer".

Real competition like that would certainly drive up the quality of the boats!

But of course they wouldn't be SMODs.....but a new Dev Class.

I guess you either like the idea (illusion?) of all racing in identical boats....or you don't.

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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Rupert » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:22 pm

But look at what happened to the National 15' class, the Swordfish! National status didn't help it at all when Fairey's decided to alter it and produce the Albacore, stopping production of the Swordfish. If the Firefly had been less of a success out of the blocks, maybe without the Olympic boost, would it have gone the same way?
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Re: Is this interesting? The new dinghies of 1946..

Post by Ancient Geek » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:52 pm

David C is of course absolutely correct as always I generalise!
Simples.

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