The story of a friendship:Uffa Fox and Prince Philip


Fowey boat builder Marcus Lewis restores a classic Uffa King National 12 racing dinghy




Marcus Lewis spent some of his summer renovating this splendid Uffa King National 12 dinghy

Fowey boat builder Marcus Lewis sent over this collection of photos showing some of the things he’s been working on during the summer of 2012, including this magnificent Uffa King National 12 class racing dinghy. Here’s what he says:

‘Just thought I would fill you in on what we have been up to over the summer, apart from the usual repairs, maintenance, and replacing broken bowsprits on Troy class racing yachts, we have had a major rebuild to do on an old National 12. Flook, boat number 888, was one of the last Uffa Kings to be built – she is believed to have been built around 1947.

‘This Uffa Fox design revolutionised the National 12 class in the 1930s.

Flook had been in a barn for over 20 years, but had a few split planks, a few old patches, delaminating decks, usual sort of stuff. We went right through her, refastening the centreline, replacing eight planks, completely re-timbering her, cleaning up her original wooden mast and re-rigging, re-decking, and a good varnishing all over.

‘The owner also had a new set of sails and is now enjoying watching his grandchildren coming to terms with a rather tippy National 12!

‘We have also had Wayfarer number 11 in for a bit of a tidy up, refastening the panels to the stringers, making good old repairs, paint up, repair original wooden mast, re-rig, etc.

‘Cheers, Marcus’

That National 12 looks great after your had work. I wonder whether those youngsters knew what grandad had got them in for – though in those days I guess the boat likely had a nice heavy steel keel to help keep things under control. It’s also nice to know there are still some of the earliest Wayfarers afloat – I know not everyone loves them, but I’m a little soppy about them as I learned to sail in a Wayf, and round our way their numbers are dropping like flies…

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.