Off she goes, Iain Oughtred's slightly foreshortened Penny Fee, at 15ft. Sails by Jeckells, spars by the wonderful Jeremy Freeland at Collars. The rest by Messrs Burke and Morgan (that's Jonny by the way...)

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Planks (More Thoughts)

Jan, who commissioned the Gartside skiff I am building and about whose appearance I have been agonising over,  sent me a link to this photo, of a class of clinker dinghy they sail in the Netherlands as an example of the different ideas builders have about the line of planking.

To my mind the dinghy on the right looks pretty awful, and yet it is leading the fleet, so either the helmsman is good, or the planking makes the boat fast. I hope it's not the latter as all conventional wisdom about "if it looks right..." goes out the window.

The boat on the far left looks OK, and the middle boat is, to my eye, the sweetest looking, although the ones in the background may be better. They are clearly slower than the trio in the foreground. Hmmm.

I suspect the leading boat was amateur built, and good for whoever it was. He's either built himself a rocket ship, and to hell with good looks, or is a demon helmsman. I don't think, however, his idea of a fine line will catch on. Better a slow, but good looking boat, than a fast ugly one? But then look at Myth of Malham, a rocket ship from the 1950s that most people thought ugly. They also thought Britannia was ugly too, when launched in 1893.

But they were smooth sides, carvel. I think it's different with clinker, where the eye immediately notices any discrepancies in the lines of the planks. And the ones in the dinghy on the right are pretty wild.


  1. The boat on the right has just caught a puff the others haven't felt yet. More heel, higher point. The advantage of being to windward. No worries, Adrian, your eye is impeccable.

  2. The helmsman at the right is Emiel Westerhof and a good helmsman. His boat is indeed built by an amateur builder Rypke de Jong. A lot of people don t like this boat because of the planking. All 12foot dinghies in the Netherlands (250) are classic and have the same speed. The class rules are very strict, so the helmsman is important. Need more information? Best regards. Pieter Bleeker. Dinghy ned824 and dutch champion 2014.