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International 12 Dinghies To Celebrate New Arrival at Revived Royal St.George Yacht Club Championships

2nd September 2020
A new International 12 foot dinghy this year in Ireland by Rui Ferreira of Ballydehob A new International 12 foot dinghy this year in Ireland by Rui Ferreira of Ballydehob

As the International 12-foot class prepares to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its revived championships next week in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the historic dinghy class is also welcoming a new arrival.

A new clinker-built 12 has recently been completed by Rui Ferreira of Ballydehob in West Cork.

This class was designed in 1913 by George Cockshott as the British Racing Association 'A' Class. The class was adopted by the International Yacht Racing Union on 1st. January 1920 and thus it became the International 12 Foot Class. The class was the only dinghy class to compete at the 1920 Antwerp (Belgium) Olympic Games, at Oostende.

The new build 12 on the slipway in West CorkThe new build 12 on the slipway in West Cork

As Afloat previously reported, the class grew in popularity in Ireland in the 1920s and 1930s with fleets of professionally and amateur-built boats in Baltimore, Clontarf, Crosshaven, Howth, Malahide, Sutton, and Seapoint (Monkstown, Co. Dublin).

Today there are many 12 Foot Dinghies in Ireland, some having been in the same families for many years. Some are unused and located in barns while others are used as yacht tenders. We have a member interested in restoring an International 12 Foot Dinghy, so if you have one which needs restoration, do let us know.

In 2010 Gail Varian organized a revived Irish Championship at the Royal St George Yacht Club.

The 10th anniversary of this revived championship for the historic 12 Foot Dinghy prizes will be held in Royal St George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire on Sunday 13th September, in which the modified Dublin Bay 12 Foot Dinghies with a mainsail and jib will sail against the International 12 foot Dinghies with just a mainsail on equal terms.

A small piece of yachting history: At the 1920 Olympic Games at Oostende, the organisers didn't know the difference between a 12 Foot Dinghy and a 12 Meter Yacht, so they put both classes on the same course. After one race, the dinghy competitors went on strike and refused to race on the 25mile long racecourse. This caused such chaos among the organizing committee, that it was several months later before the second Olympic race for dinghies which was held in a different country, in The Netherlands.

The organisers would like to hear from any Irish owners of 12 Footers.

For more information contact the author below

Published in Historic Boats, RStGYC
Vincent Delany

About The Author

Vincent Delany

Email The Author

Sailing historian Vincent Delany is a member of the Association of Yachting Historians, and an active sailor in Water Wag, SOD and Squib classes. He has written a thesis on 'Yachting and yachtsmen on the River Shannon 1830-1930.' He has lectured on the history of The Water Wag Club, Royal St.George Yacht Club, and the Killinure Yacht Club, He has written two sailing books 'The Water Wags 1887-2012' and 'The International 12 foot class in Ireland' both of which are available from blurb.com

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