Conversations with Classic Boats

Published on February 13th, 2023

Conversations with Classic Boats is a podcast about classic boat designs and the stories behind them. Hosted by Tom Darling, this episode traces the origins of the planing dinghy from its 1920 origins to the 1970s Laser.

First to appear is Uffa Fox, the leading designer of International Fourteens up to 1950. A prolific author of books on yachts and performance sailing through the 1930s, Uffa was sailing personality, crew, and sailing instructor to the British Royal Family. Dubbed the ‘Flying Fox,’ he drew classic dinghy designs like ‘Avenger’ and ‘Defiant’ with shapes that could get up and go on an offwind plane.

Fox’s successor was a Canadian journalist and self taught boat designer named Bruce Kirby. Besides becoming editor-in-chief of One-Design & Offshore Yachtsman and later Yacht Racing, Bruce brought forward his Mark designs that dominated International 14 sailing in the modern era. Boats like Torch, Flame, and Inferno became the winning models in the 14s. The Kirby Mark IV was considered one of the best dinghies ever built.

Kirby went on to design over 60 boats, including several 12 meters, but he is known world over for the 1971 launch of the Laser. Hundreds of thousands of boats later, Laser remains the “It “ Boat for our crowd, Gen Z through Boomers. The podcast contains original interviews with noted author Nat Philbrick and with Mark Smith, Kirby’s long time friend and producer of the posthumous memoir. “The Bruce Kirby Story: From the River to the Sea”.

comment banner

Tags: , , ,

Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your download by email.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.