The Toy was designed for the IYRU trails to find a a successor to the Finn as the Olympic single handed dinghy. The name Toy comes from Tony’s Own Yacht.
In Tony Allen’s words:
My story is :- I started sailing when I and two friends built a Jack Holt designed Hornet in 1953 and in 54 started making fittings (Holt Allen). I built a second Hornet in 1956 and married my crew.
When we were expecting I changed to sailing a Jack Holt Solo.
I was having lunch with Jack and he told me about the IYRU competition for a single hander potentially to replace the Finn as Olympic single hander.
As we did often in those times we drew ideas on the back of the menu and batted back and forth with ideas, I wanted Jack to design lighter and more exciting whereas Jack felt what was wanted was a pretty and easy to sail conventional boat.
Jack built a really pretty boat called Cavalier. I launched and sailed it at Burnham and though I loved it I thought it not what was wanted for the competition. So when we next met I sketched out what I thought, a bit of a cross between crewing on a Hornet (the fun of being on a seat out board) and a very light stretched solo.
Jack did another boat bigger than Cavalier with a sliding seat called Corinthian, but it was heavy.
Jack persuaded me to have a go at building my Toy to see what the race committee thought.
The competition was run by The Yachting World as a paper presentation. and I was joint winner with two continental designs, I remember that one was called blizzard I think by a friend in Belgium. I cannot remember the other.
We shared the £1000 prize, Whoopee.
The original Toy was built very light by the Mirror dinghy method pioneered by Jack, I built a second prototype with a very small change of lines to reduce the wave drag also of plywood.
On Christmas day I woke with terrible toothache and phone John Partridge a dentist friend who sailed Hornet at Brightlingsea. and he got me to go to him to be fixed, whilst I was in his chair with all the instrument in my mouth he asked that I give him license to manufacture TOYs. When he let me go I found that I had agreed that he would be sole builder in the UK and that he would pay me a Royalty per boat.
It was then that I redrew to make in GRP and changed the bow shape to be suitable for GRP.
I do not now know how many were built, I know some were built in Russia and some in Hamburg.
We did several competitive trails observed by IYRU committees and did not disgrace ourselves.
I wish you much fun sailing Toy, there was a TOY owners association but I was too busy to look after my boat and it’s furtherance.
Wishes Tony Allen