Two dinghy classics from Ian Proctor’s drawing board – the Kestrel and the Osprey

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Ian Proctor’s Kestrel dinghy

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.

Ian Proctor Osprey dinghy

Ian Proctor Ospreys

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”

Ian Proctor remembered at the Maritime Museum Cornwall

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Ian Proctor

Ian Proctor. His achievement in designing popular small sailing boats was recognised by the design establishment

The National Maritime Museum in Cornwall is staging an exhibition celebrating the work of outstanding 20th Century small sailing boat designer Ian Proctor. I’m delighted, as there can’t be many small boat sailors in the UK who haven’t sailed at least one of his boats – my own family sail a Minisail and a Prelude, and love them both even if their little hearts are plastic.

Here’s the NMM’s press release outlining some of Proctor’s outstanding achievements:

‘The life of Ian Proctor and his outstanding designs will be celebrated this autumn at the Maritime Museum in Falmouth.

‘From September 17, find out more about this accomplished yachtsman and prolific designer in the Museum’s Study Boat Area. Check out a state of the art brand new Topper dinghy on show, loaned to the Museum by Topper International, and the first fibre glass International Tempest, Tempestuous.

‘Ian Proctor’s innovative designs and ideas modernised the whole concept of small boat sailing, making a vital contribution to the popularisation of the sport. He designed over 100 different boats and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Royal Designer for Industry.

‘Andy Wyke, Boat Collection Manager at the Museum, explained: “I chose Proctor because Continue reading “Ian Proctor remembered at the Maritime Museum Cornwall”