|Length: 3.66m (12ft)|
|Country: United Kingdom|
|Rig Type: |
Bermuda Sloop Fractional (with jib)
|Sail Area: sq. m|
|Spinnaker Type: |
|Spinnaker Area: |
These came about from an education project in Avon (Bristol, Bath and surrounding area), based on the hull of a MIRROR dinghy and built in all GRP (with a bow added) with built in bouyancy and rolled sidetanks. They utilised Mirror sails set on a bermudan rig, years before the Mirror itself went bermudan. The masts were fairly crudely made with a round section alloy tube with a mast track rivetted on the back.
Potted history Nova dinghy.
In the mid sixties I was involved with school and youth sailing in Gloucestershire. When Avon County was formed in 1964 we inherited a mixed bag of boats ranging from Wayfarers, 420s and Mirrors. We needed to get beginners on the water as cheaply as possible. Wayfarers were expensive, 420s frightened novices and Mirrors were nominally ideal but suffered damage from multiple use and were a little small. I had served an indentured apprenticeship as an aircraft engineer with the Bristol Aeroplane Co. During my time there we built the world,s first production g.r.p. sailing dinghy as a sub contract job, the Alpha.
Having gone later into technical education I was asked to design a basic training dinghy that would stand up to multiple use. The result was the Nova. Confusion arises with the Mirror because we used Mirror sails. These are smaller in area than the ones I designed for but I arranged a deal with Jeckells to buy misnumbered sails from which they ripped off numbers and insignia, otherwise brand new at a silly price. The spars originally used caravan awning track as a luff track, later changed to Holt Allen track then Proctor minus with integrally extruded track. The hull is longer than a Mirror, shallower and beamier. My experience with the prototype Mk 1 Gull and years of sailing a Fireball made me opt for a chine hull with the more certain behaviour once the chine digs in compared with a rounded hull. The spoon bow rises into heavy waves and permits novices to charge up the bank without damage. The full transom track makes sail setting easier and also retains the rudder in event of capsize. The metal spar normally promotes inversion which stops the boat blowing away downwind but we often fitted a velcroed pocket in the top sail panel containing a foam panel to prevent this. The boat also comes up dry apart from the water in the mast. A dagger board was retained to increase useable space with an instructor and two trainees aboard. Thickness of 3/4″ permits standing on it during capsize recovery without fear of snapping it off. The area forward of the forestay mounting was intended for a spinnaker chute but I never got round to modifying the foredeck moulding I produced around thirty Mk1 hulls in my own workshop. We exhibited at the London Dinghy exhibition and received orders from various Education Authorities and Outdoor Pursuits Centres I then arranged for Palm Mouldings of Portishead to produce the Mk2 which is identified by moulded registers in the side decks to receive the thwart, non skid areas on the side decks, and raised areas around the jib jambing cleats and rowlock socket positions. External aluminium rubbing strakes were replaced by moulded in ones and an option of a cast aluminium rudder stock. Production ran into three figures but we only sold to schools and youth organisations, often as kits with hull, spars and standing rigging supplied for finishing by the customer. This kept the price down to get as many people on the water as possible at minimum cost. The Exhibition dinghy was No. 25 with a special gel coat finish incorporating go faster stripes, black spars and sheets and the correct larger sails of 76 sq. ft. in yellow and white stripes. This was presented to my wife as a silver wedding present and is named Bossanova. At the age of 75 plus she still sails it single handed. At the time I was considering going into full scale production for the general public the bottom fell out of the dinghy market and larger less labour intensive boats were making an appearance like the vac formed Topper so I reluctantly withdrew from the business and closed Nova Marine Designs.
|No class association known|