Monday, June 20, 2016

Header Photo: The Flight of the Snowbirds

Hugh R. McMillan Photographs - UCI Libraries

The previous header photo was of the fleet of 12' Snowbird dinghies making their way upwind in the "Flight of the Snowbirds", a one-race tour around Newport, California harbor. Held in August, the race usually attracted over 100 Snowbirds with the record topping out at 167 Snowbirds in 1957. Over the Snowbird history, the class issued more than 500 numbers but, being primarily a junior boat, died out in the late 1960's as yacht clubs turned to smaller, lighter boats for their junior programs.

The Snowbird first appeared as plans in the 1921 "The Rudder" magazine and by 1923 they were being built in Newport as a junior boat. Designed by Willis Reid, the Snowbird remains the only American designed sailing dinghy to be used in the Olympics, selected as the Olympic monotype for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

Featuring a V-shaped chine hull, from this angle the Snowbird bow and chine looks similar to the latter designed Danish OK Dinghy, though the Snowbird is a much wider, stable boat than the OK Dinghy.

Hugh R. McMillan Photographs - UCI Libraries

Raced single or two-up in the "Flight" we see, in this photo, a wide range of crews, from juniors, to couples, and all-women.

Hugh R. McMillan Photographs - UCI Libraries

For a 12 foot boat, this is a very big mainsail, well-suited to the lighter airs of Newport Harbor.

Hugh R. McMillan Photographs - UCI Libraries


ek said...

Thanks for the post - it helped with research that led to my purchase of hull #344. This is a great little boat that I'd never heard about before seeing the Craigslist ad....

Tweezerman said...


Glad this post helped you out.