classic racing dayboat, gracing the river Thames since 1911
Estuary One Design
The roots of the Estuary One Design Class go back over 100 years to the Thames Estuary One Design, a wooden sailing dinghy with a lifting keel, first built in 1911 to plans by the famous yacht designer Morgan Giles.
In 1919 members of the Essex Yacht Club commissioned the same designer to come up with a new boat with similar dimensions – but faster. The result was the Essex One Design, which first took to the water in 1920, when nine boats were built at the Cole and Wiggins boatyard in Leigh-on-Sea. During the years before and after the Second World War the class became increasingly popular, as the design was ideally suited to racing in the short seas of the Thames Estuary. Local fleets were based not only at Leigh but also in Margate, Ramsgate, Dover, Whitstable and Herne Bay.
A new sail plan and tighter building regulations were adopted in 1950 but by the mid-1960s the cost of building new wooden boats had become prohibitive. A new glass reinforced plastic (GRP) design was commissioned, based on the old wooden hull plan but cheaper to build, lighter and with modern fittings and buoyancy. This design remains largely unchanged today – a dependably strong but fast hull and a powerful rig with a 30 foot high mast. Over the decades the design has proved its worth and racing capabilities in the changeable conditions and often short, steep waves of the Thames Estuary.
For a longer history of our historic boats please click the buttons to the right.
An original wooden hull plan form 1919.
For more historic plans click the links below.