Kestrel, the UK’s first all-glass reinforced plastic sailing dinghy
The 15ft 6in Kestrel was the UK’s first all-GRP sailing dinghy. The first plastic Kestrel appeared at the London Boat Show in 1956 and created a lot of favourable comment in the plastics magazines – but rather less in the yachting press, which could not quite trust the new material. However, when builders began to apply strict quality control, the boat became more popular.
Even today, the Kestrel is quite a quick boat – for racing purposes its Portsmouth Yardstick is a healthy 1038 – but Proctor designed her to be as suitable for cruising as for racing. As he pointed out, although the boat did not look like a racer at first glance, a number of subtle refinements including a sloping stem profile, deep hull, firm bilges and a long run enabled it to sail fast even in rough water.
The boat is still sailed and raced, and there is a Kestrel Class Association.
Ospreys planing with their crews on trapezes
Designed in 1953 as a contender for the Olympics, in trials the 17ft 5in Osprey was pipped at the post by Continue reading “Two dinghy classics from Ian Proctor’s drawing board – the Kestrel and the Osprey”