David Thomas

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Rupert
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David Thomas

Post by Rupert » Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:31 pm

Sad news that David Thomes has died. Did my first yotting in a Sonata, and just a few weeks ago was mending the Unit. A man with great vision.
Rupert

Obscured by clouds
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Re: David Thomas

Post by Obscured by clouds » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:43 pm

a much underatted desiner IMO

[PS. what's up with the Unit?]
Tony



MR 2404 Julia Dream
N18 276 Sibrwd [ongoing project]
Hirondelle catamaran Kalipse
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Rupert
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Re: David Thomas

Post by Rupert » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:48 pm

The gunwale was detaching itself.
Rupert

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Re: David Thomas

Post by Obscured by clouds » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:54 pm

don't think i ever did anything about the gunnels. dead brass screws?
Tony



MR 2404 Julia Dream
N18 276 Sibrwd [ongoing project]
Hirondelle catamaran Kalipse
[down to 3!]

dronskiuk
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Re: David Thomas

Post by dronskiuk » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:35 am

Sad news, was a bit of a childhood hero and my love for the design of the Unit is well entrenched. RIP

Rupert
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Re: David Thomas

Post by Rupert » Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:10 am

I love the Sonata as a boat - 4 of us on board a tiny boat, yet it worked. OK, we were students, so not expecting luxury, but still a fun couple of weeks.
Rupert

davidh
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Re: David Thomas

Post by davidh » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:04 am

Re David Thomas,

I've taken a brief time out from completing the Merlin Book (which has more than a few David T references!) to write what is not so much of an obituary as a 'retrospective' of his life. David was so much more than the immediate memories....his time in 12m Americas Cup Boats, his work as an innovator - as it working with the FDs on the first spinnaker chute ( and before people leap up full of indignation to say "not so", in David's plans store, he has/had the drawings of the chute and how it should be built into the bow, plus how the forestay loads should be brought down into the hull.... and yes, it predates anything else I've found), innovation again with the lines of Nitro, the ground breaking/rule bending Merlin.... to winning the Round the Island Race....

It looks as if my piece will go into All at Sea so anyone along the South Coast can get it for free..... but for the rest of you, if you wait until next summer, I have already got an agreed plan to do a mega series on the 50th Anniversary of the IYRU Trials that features the Unit, ToY, Cavalier and so many more innovative boats. Yachting World were a big part of the first set of Trials, held at Weymouth and would show up the 2 sides of David Thomas - the clever innovative designer, but also the man determined to take on the establishment. You saw this too in the Quarter Ton Cup which he could have won but.... well, moving swiftly on....

For, the more you look at his life, the more you can draw parallels with that of Jack Holt.....indeed, it is easy to see him in the light of the keelboat version of Holt. His boats were accessible, fun and were perfectly timed. The generation that had grown up on Holt dinghies were moving on and where better than a Thomas boat. Like Rupert I have fond memories of time spent in a 'Snottie' (Sonata) except that we were four 'hot jocks' with our eyes on racing success and nothing else. At the time there was a big fleet at Hayling Island for the winter series, the race of the event was a beat out to the Nab, then a spinnaker blast back. In true dinghy fashion we forced our way upwind in a lot of breeze, then went for the hoist without even thinking about the perils; that we carried the rig away nose diving on a standing wave at the bar was just part and parcel of the fun!

I hope that I have done David proud..........to say that I was saddened when I heard the news is an understatement!

D
David H

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jpa_wfsc
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Re: David Thomas

Post by jpa_wfsc » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:27 pm

Obscured by clouds wrote:don't think i ever did anything about the gunnels. dead brass screws?
Yes I think they are.

I am planning on getting unit back under cover for some work this winter, and probably trying to exchange it for a canoe, as realy, I preffered the canoe to sail, and Matthew wants to sail a canoe also...
j./

National 12 "Spider" 2523
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Obscured by clouds
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Re: David Thomas

Post by Obscured by clouds » Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:19 pm

well if you are to move it on, don't forget that dronskiuk really really really wants a Unit.
Tony



MR 2404 Julia Dream
N18 276 Sibrwd [ongoing project]
Hirondelle catamaran Kalipse
[down to 3!]

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jpa_wfsc
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Re: David Thomas

Post by jpa_wfsc » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:51 pm

RIP David Thomas...

A long list of good boats at http://sailboatdata.com/view_designer.a ... gner_id=76

The Unit is a delight to sail - did the IYRU trials put him off designing more dinghies? If so that was bad for us all.
j./

National 12 "Spider" 2523
Finn K468 'Captain Scarlet'

British Moth, 630, early 60's 'Pisces'

!!!! Not CVRDA !!!!
Comet Trio - something always ready to sail.

davidh
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Re: David Thomas

Post by davidh » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:43 pm

Sadly, most of the YW obit ended up on the cutting room floor, thought the one I did for All at Sea got included in its full form.

I do not think that the experiences with the IYRU changed David's thinking, he was already moving in the direction away from the smaller boats.

There is no doubt that in many ways he was far ahead of his time; in his office, he had the plans for Unit still. A look at the waterlines showed a definite leaning towards the triangular waterlines so beloved of performance designers a quarter of a century later.

In a lot of ways, I like to think of David as the pocket cruiser equivalent of Jack Holt; his designs were there for everyone and what is more, could be sailed by everyone (there were quarter tonners back then you didn't want to get caught off the back of the Island in, but the Quarto was very nicely mannered).

Elsewhere, John has asked me about 2015 and the 50th celebration of the initial trials. Sadly, this is not considered these days a 'mainstream' topic and will thus struggle for column inches in the print media, though I do expect something to go in YW/Y&Y - bizarrely I'll have more success placed work abroad. There will be though (fingers crossed) a major on-line feature and an illustrated talk should any clubs be looking for an interesting evening. (this was offered to the RYA as a topic for the Dinghy Show, given the significance of the Trials..... but the decision makers didn't seem to understand what that was all about - so I can see you 'under the organ' this year (time for Sandy to buy me another drink!).

D
David H

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