Flying 10 sailor Arthur Hill tells the story of Brigand

Arthur Hill has been in touch to tell us more about the Flying 10 pictured above, which I photographed at the Beale Park Thames Boat show some years ago.

‘I was the owner of Brigand. I purchased her in 1957 until she was sold at auction to the owner of Beale Park the year before she went on display at the show.

‘For most of her very long life with me she was sailed regularly in Chichester Harbour.

‘In the early 1950s I met up with Flying 10 number 1, which had flat decking and was the prototype. It was this boat which I fell in love with and soon after an ad in Exchange and Mart brought up one for sale in Christchurch. As far as my researches went I only knew of one other 10, which was owned by someone in Farnborough, Hampshire and which was sold to New Zealand. I believe that all other 10s were wrecked in a storm at Southport.

Brigand was number 26, and was was built in 1947 at the Aln Boatyard at Alnwick in Northumberland, which is now no longer in existence. She was fitted with an early aluminium mast (which once broke in a force 7 in Chichester Harbour). Her sails were Terylene, except for the spinnaker which was cotton. I kept her in immaculate condition and had great fun sailing her.

Flying 15 sailors usually did a double take on seeing her and were not convinced by my explanation that she was a 15 that had shrunk in the wash!

‘She planed well in a good blow but occasionally suffered with cavitation around the rudder, which made life interesting.

‘Before I bought her I had the privilege of sailing a Flying 20 on Southampton Water.

‘I met Uffa Fox several time in the Isle of Wight, and showed him Brigand actually sailing, which pleased him enormously.

‘My other great love for much of the period I owned Brigand was flying a vintage motor glider called a Fournier RF4D single seater – effectively, the flying version of the 10. Both were beautiful, and with great character and manners.

YouTube has some very fine video clips of the Fourniers, particularly this one of the Skyhawks aerobatic team.

‘Mixing flying with sailing was sometimes difficult although sailing usually won!’

Thanks for a great story Arthur – it’s always good to get the background to an interesting boat, particularly when it makes a good story.