National 12

Length: 3.66m (12ft)
Width: 2.00m (6ft 7ins)
Country: UK
Rig Type:
Bermuda Sloop Fractional (with jib)
Crew: 2
Trapeze: none
Sail Area: 8.4 sq. m
Spinnaker Type:
No spinnaker
Spinnaker Area:
0 sq.m
Design Year: 1935
Boats Built:
CVRDA Handicaps
Vintage wing: 101
(Alloy mast, Dacron sail)
Vintage wing: 107
(Wood mast, Cotton sail)
Classic wing: 98
(Alloy mast, Dacron sail)
Old wing: 96
(Alloy mast, Dacron sail)

In 1935 the only dinghy raced on a national basis was the expensive International 14, and so to encourage dinghy sailing the RYA published rules for a simpler and cheaper 12 foot clinker built dinghy, with 90 sq ft of sail. Uffa Fox’s first National 12 design (sponsored by Yachting World) was launched in 1936. The Twelve proved extremely popular, and over 150 boats were built in the first year.
From 1936 to the present day the class has continued to develop. Rule changes have been made where necessary, for example, a minimum width rule was introduced in 1937, and a maximum width in 1980.
Vintage Twelves are those with clinker built hulls. The earliest boats, from 1936 until 1952, are of traditional ribbed and nailed clinker construction. The most common designs are the Uffa King, Holt 500 series and the early Ian Proctor designs. In 1952 the first glued clinker boats were built by Wyche & Coppock, these were durable and easily maintained and so this method of construction became universal.
Ian Proctor started experimenting with metal masts to replace wooden spars in 1952 and terylene sails arrived in 1954.In 1958 Ian Proctor’s Mark VIII was the first fully planing N12.
Clinker construction went out in 1970 with the development of GRP hulls and ‘four plank’ wooden construction. Most modern 12s have lightweight, hi-tech carbon fibre hulls.

Class Association website: