classic racing dayboat, gracing the river Thames since 1911
The EOD class has been a constant sight in the Thames Estuary for almost 100 years and is one of English sailing’s true classics.
The boats are immediately striking to the first-time observer – they have strangely tall rigs, huge sails and give an impression of a graceful strength and power well beyond their 18ft length.
They originated in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, before the First World War with the development of a boat called the Thames Estuary One Design. Sailing at that time was a “gentleman’s” pursuit and the owner, helming, would often enlist the aid of a paid crew of fishermen.
In 1919, the Essex Yacht Club of neighbouring Leigh-on-Sea commissioned its own version, the Essex One design, of the same length but without a spinnaker.
The two classes continued, racing sometimes together and sometimes apart, spreading well beyond the Thames estuary into Kent and around the East coast, for the next 50 years until merging into the combined Estuary One Design class at the end of the 1960s. The newer fibreglass boats and the surviving wooden examples are still racing and exploring these waters today.
These pages are intended as a celebration of their past, an information point for their present and a launching place for their future.
Video of Tango, EOD 104
Video of Anthony Douglas Hamilton sailing Caprice an Essex One Design (fore runner to the Estuary one Design), Sail No 61 in Chichester Harbour.