Torch dinghy

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Torch dinghy

Post by cweed » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:14 pm

I helped a gent recover his torch from the waters of Chichester harbour recently. Without seeing the insignia on the sail, I'd never have known what it was; gunter rigged, foredeck configuration like a Solo, with the mast stepped some distance aft of the foredeck, and built in buoyancy / seating .
The owner built it himself, as the hull, this one was fibreglass, was moulded from an Enterprise mould, and he said a number of them had been moulded at an evening class at a college back in the '70s. He completed the wood decks and sourced the sails and rig. The beam is 2" wider than the Ent, presumably via the deck. As a sailing dinghy, it looks quite heavy, but I suppose, like the GP, that was the way of that era dinghies.
I see the Dinghy database notes the designer as Bert Keeble, not Jack Holt, so the Torch is quite a 'spin off'' class in its own right.

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Re: Torch dinghy

Post by Michael Brigg » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:24 pm

I seem to remember reading that the Torch was a design targeted for use by Scouting groups etc. Hence the emphhasis on Homebuild/finishing, and the robust construction, conservative rig and relatively low performance target. It was intended as a cruising/camping/teaching vehicle.
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Re: Torch dinghy

Post by PeterV » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:24 pm

If this was built from an Enterprise mould then it's not a Torch. A Torch is narrower (not wider) than an Enterprise and shorter. However if the owner is not very familiar with the differences I can understand the confusion since both are double chine hulls and hence look, superficially similar. The Torch was designed for building at school and a lot were built from wooden kits. Later came a glass version and I suspect that the moulds were loaned out for school builds as well. Most were based in the Essex area and at the Essex schools regatta we used to have a large fleet. They originally had wooden gunter rigs, but later boats had alloy bermudan rigs.
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Re: Torch dinghy

Post by JimC » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:17 pm

PeterV wrote:If this was built from an Enterprise mould then it's not a Torch. A Torch is narrower (not wider) than an Enterprise and shorter.
That's my memory as well: much clumsier looking hull than the Enterprise too.

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Re: Torch dinghy

Post by poacher » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:49 pm

The Torch was designed by Bert Keeble, a metalwork teacher at Maldon Grammar School, in the early 1960s. It was meant as a boat that could be built in schools and used to teach pupils to sail. We built 2 at MGS, sail no 5 called "Conquerer" and no. 100 called "Shoestring" as it only cost £25 to build as we used recycled everything. Nice steady boats, not as lively as an Enterprise or GP14. They were used a lot in schools and training establishments.

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Re: Torch dinghy

Post by Torchdinghy » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:58 pm

Hi all, as a new Torch dinghy owner I'm keen to chat with other Torch sailors and hoped there may be some here!

I don't know very much about the Torch dinghy, and would like to know more. This particular Torch, her history I don't know anything about, she was kept in a barn unsailed for at least a year before I took her for a trial sail on a large inland lake in Ireland. She looked like a nice little GRP dinghy, in good condition and with nice wooden trim and a bit larger (13ft) than the Mirrors I learnt to sail (badly!) in years ago.
Can anyone give me more information on rigging and tips on sailing them? I cobbled together the unfamiliar rigging, it's more or less obvious where everything goes, but I'm sure I'm not getting everything right, (especially stopping the daggerboard from popping up unexpectedly). The number on the sail is 379, how recent is this, and is there anyone still making Torches?


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