Sunday, March 29, 2015

More Aluminum Sailing Dinghies

In response to my post about the aluminum Gouget Moth, several readers sent in some aluminum sailing dinghies they have come across.

Australian "R.L". sent two photos of a welded aluminum version of the Australian 11' Aquanaut Dinghy, masterfully crafted.

Mike Scott owned a prototype De Havilland 12' aluminum dinghy during his time in Australia. His story:
"I'm not sure who designed that alum dinghy I had, could well have been built as a prototype for the Vagabond, and therefore designed by Alan Payne. They maybe figured that alum was not the best way to go and so built the 3 class boats in glass. The 16ft Corsair is still going strong all over Oz, but the 12ft Vagabond and 10ft Gipsy seem to have faded. When I worked at Miller and Whitworth (Bob Miller and Craig Whitworth, sailmakers, Flying Dutchmen champs, and of course the legendary Bob Miller (aka Ben Lexcen). They became the agents for the 3 classes, and we would place an advertisement in the local paper for 'Free Sailboat rides', and we would take out prospective customers and then try to sell them a boat....was a fun job, but didn't get to see my kids much....that was 1966. Check out De Havilland Marine. I also worked there - that was where this boat came from. I bought it for 'scrap value', one of the perks of the job, I guess. In those days I was an accountant - ha...!

In the U.S, Grumman remains the most famous firm for their line of aluminum small boats and canoes but their most enduring aluminum sailboat is their dink, much sought after by the cruising crowd.

Tom Price pointed out that Grumman, in the late 1960's, built a 15' racing dinghy, called the "Flyer." Tom came across it at a Baltimore Boat Show. It doesn't appear many were made as this is the only image I could dig up about this dinghy on the InterWebs.

And finally, the aluminum sailboat I came across at Bobby Muller's yard? After digging around it appears it was the Pelican class, a 12 footer design by Philip Rhodes, of which over a thousand were built by the Aluminum Company of Canada - Alcan. More info about the Pelican can be found at this blog post here.

A nice roomy 12 footer.

A video walk-around of a Pelican.

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