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Irish Sailors Celebrate International 12 Foot Dinghy Centenary in West Kirby

19th June 2013
International 12
International 12 Number 9, with no foredeck, no jib, and a dipping lug rig, racing at Sutton Creek. Photo: Courtesy Vincent Delany
Irish Sailors Celebrate International 12 Foot Dinghy Centenary in West Kirby

#international12 – Ireland will be at the forefront of centenary dinghy celebrations to be held in the UK next week in an historic class still active in Ireland.

The 1913 designed international 12–foot dinghy is having a centenary regatta on a marine lake at West Kirby, near Liverpool from the 28th to 30th of June.

30 boats from six countries are competing including three Irish boats sailed by Aiden Henry, Billy Bebbington, Margret Delaney, Gerry Murray, and George Miller.

'A practical dinghy, good to row, easy to sail (though difficult to sail well), very capable as a tender, it is, all in all, the perfect all round dinghy', say enthusiasts.

The 12s held an Irish national Championship at the Royal St. George YC in 2011 and a look back through Irish sailing archives reveals strong ties to many Irish Yacht Clubs (See images below).

At that championship boats sailed with the original International 12 foot rig – with no foredeck, no jib, and with a dipping lug rig – and with the Dublin Bay rig of a small foredeck with washboards, jaws on the bottom of the gaff and a small jib.

The Delany family boat 'Cora' No. 8 will be attending West Kirby. Steered by Margaret Delany who is currently based in the UK, but, as the boat has an Irish sail number, she will be classified as an Irish boat.

Cora has undergone substantial rebuilding at Norfolk Boatbuilding School. She has returned to the original rig and has been receiving advice from the International 12 foot sailors from Holland.

George Miller from the Royal St. George Yacht Club has attended several Intrernational 12 regattas in Italy and elsewhere in recent years.


The boats were originally called the British Racing Association 12–footer and were later awarded Olympic status. They were also awarded international status about the same time.

There are currently strong fleets in Turkey, Japan, Holland, Italy and smaller fleets in the UK and some other countries.

Irish fleets were orignally strongest in Royal Munster Yacht Club (documented in RCYC's history), Seapoint Sailing Club, Sutton Dinghy Club, Howth Sailing Club and Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club.


An entry list of the Irish Int 12 foot championship at IDRA Dinghy Week in Baltimore, West Cork year 1960 or 1964

A former Olympic class in 1920 and 1928, it became relatively obscure outside Holland, Italy, and Japan.

Although superseded by modern dinghies there has been a revival with new boats being built.

Below is a contemporary text from the foreunner to Afloat magazine describing how the 12s evolved.


Published in Historic Boats Team

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