Pssst… How about an 18ft Thames Estuary One Design for the summer?
At this time of year, many people will be thinking about what to sail in the coming season – and for someone this could be the ideal boat.
Fiona, fomerly Mercury, was built in Burnham on Crouch in 1936, and is for sale by the International Boatbuilding Training College following a major restoration. The college folks say a few minor touches would be needed to finish her off.
The story goes that in 1911 Southend’s Alexandra Yacht Club asked designers to draw up a one-design boat that would be able to sit on the estuary mud at low tide. Both Morgan Giles and May of Hammersmith submitted plans for an 18ft sailing dinghy with a lifting keel and optional rig of up to 220 sq ft. The Morgan Giles boat was adopted, but with the sail area reduced to 210 sq ft.
A number of members agreed to purchase new boats at a meeting in December 1911. Drake Brothers of Tollesbury won a tender and built ten boats, and the first race took place in May 1912. Read more history here.
More detail about the boat is available at Sailboatdata.com.