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backstayman2

Kestrel dinghy?

31 posts in this topic

We recently inherited, from a friend of a friend who moved away and has long since stopped sailing, a very old British fiberglass dinghy known as a Kestrel. I would say it must be from the 1960s or maybe early 1970s. A hair under 16' long. To my eye it's an awful lot like a 470 with more freeboard. Had a chance to drop it in the water last week, and it is a very very nice-sailing boat. It has a heavy ?aluminum? centerboard that seems to provide a little righting moment, and a tiny spinnaker that launches out of a tube at the bow. I haven't sorted out all of the nuances of the rigging -- it has fairly standard race-boat features but, in typical British fashion, all of the systems are somewhat overly complicated. Has anyone ever heard of these boats? Do they have a portsmouth number? ... i couldn't find reference to one online. Just love the boat, I am guessing it's unfortunately rather one-of-a-kind though, no?

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Something like http://www.kestrel.org.uk/ might be a good place to start. Strong-ish fleet in the UK with ~20 boat nationals, but I don't think I've heard of any in North America. For a portsmouth number, if you can't find one in the US database, try the RYA listings at http://www.rya.org.uk/racing/Pages/portsmouthyardstick.aspx and figure out a number that would be close in the US system.

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The Kestrel is, indeed, a British boat, and I sailed one a couple of times in the 1970's. You need to improve your search ability because they are still an active class in the UK and are also still built. look at Class association for more details

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I was at the Kestral website... sort of looks like a baby 5o5! Nice little boat... wish we had more double handed dinghy choices here in the U.S. of this sort. Something along the lines of a souped up Snipe, or even a 470 for that matter. Seems that with double handed dinghies, other than I-14's and 5o5's, there aren't many spinnaker/trapeze dinghies to choose from.

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There is one in Ottawa. Not used much and certainly not setup for racing.

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1335482527[/url]' post='3689025']

There is one in Ottawa. Not used much and certainly not setup for racing.

 

Raced these in the Middle East. Oil company had several at its beach club in varying to terrible state of repair. Dug mine out of the beach where it was being used as a kids playground toy. Got a local contractor to repair it, and a sponsor to pay for new rig. Went on to win club championship and 24 hr race. Never was sure it was quite straight but was fun and seemed indestructible.

 

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I sailed one as a teenager in the UK. It was rather like an Albacore with a spinnaker. I recall it was pretty heavy and very much a first generation design to take advantage of the (then) new material called fiberglass.

It was a pleasant enough boat to sail, either racing or cruising.

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There's a Kestrel up in Saratoga NY. It used to race Portsmouth there.

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We recently inherited, from a friend of a friend who moved away and has long since stopped sailing, a very old British fiberglass dinghy known as a Kestrel. I would say it must be from the 1960s or maybe early 1970s. A hair under 16' long. To my eye it's an awful lot like a 470 with more freeboard. Had a chance to drop it in the water last week, and it is a very very nice-sailing boat. It has a heavy ?aluminum? centerboard that seems to provide a little righting moment, and a tiny spinnaker that launches out of a tube at the bow. I haven't sorted out all of the nuances of the rigging -- it has fairly standard race-boat features but, in typical British fashion, all of the systems are somewhat overly complicated. Has anyone ever heard of these boats? Do they have a portsmouth number? ... i couldn't find reference to one online. Just love the boat, I am guessing it's unfortunately rather one-of-a-kind though, no?

 

 

We have one. Fabulous boat. Ours was made in 1962. It is the same boat my dad owned when I was a pre-teen. We found it in a mangled state in upstate NY and had it rebuilt. The guy who did the work is a well known J24 specialist but nearly ruined the thing with totally slipshod work. So we had to have it rebuilt again. But after we did: what a terrific machine! We have sailed it in Portsmouth regattas on lakes and in the ocean and it's just a pure joy. The spaghetti is, however, way too complex -- the sails could be controlled just as well with a bit simpler rig. Also it is a very tippy boat. The spinnaker is small but effective. When it gets really moving, it's one of the funnest boats I've been on. I gather many years ago there was a really active racing class, but now the only real place appears to be Saratoga Lake, NY. I forget the portsmouth number but it's just a frac lower than a JY15, as I recall.

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We recently inherited, from a friend of a friend who moved away and has long since stopped sailing, a very old British fiberglass dinghy known as a Kestrel. I would say it must be from the 1960s or maybe early 1970s. A hair under 16' long. To my eye it's an awful lot like a 470 with more freeboard. Had a chance to drop it in the water last week, and it is a very very nice-sailing boat. It has a heavy ?aluminum? centerboard that seems to provide a little righting moment, and a tiny spinnaker that launches out of a tube at the bow. I haven't sorted out all of the nuances of the rigging -- it has fairly standard race-boat features but, in typical British fashion, all of the systems are somewhat overly complicated. Has anyone ever heard of these boats? Do they have a portsmouth number? ... i couldn't find reference to one online. Just love the boat, I am guessing it's unfortunately rather one-of-a-kind though, no?

 

 

We have one. Fabulous boat. Ours was made in 1962. It is the same boat my dad owned when I was a pre-teen. We found it in a mangled state in upstate NY and had it rebuilt. The guy who did the work is a well known J24 specialist but nearly ruined the thing with totally slipshod work. So we had to have it rebuilt again. But after we did: what a terrific machine! We have sailed it in Portsmouth regattas on lakes and in the ocean and it's just a pure joy. The spaghetti is, however, way too complex -- the sails could be controlled just as well with a bit simpler rig. Also it is a very tippy boat. The spinnaker is small but effective. When it gets really moving, it's one of the funnest boats I've been on. I gather many years ago there was a really active racing class, but now the only real place appears to be Saratoga Lake, NY. I forget the portsmouth number but it's just a frac lower than a JY15, as I recall.

 

would you please post pictures?

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We had two of them on Mobile Bay about 30 years ago. We dueled them pretty evenly in our Windmill.

 

RD

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You can still buy them new as far as I am aware...been a while since I subscribed to 'Yachts and Yachting' magazine (uk) they had adverts there.

 

The UK has quite a few classes that you might never have heard of, some are suprised that Merlin Rockets are still around and being raced..for one.

 

One interesting boat to me is the 'Shearwater' Catamaran, really beautiful lines. It was a 'first' for many things...not least trapeze and high aspect mainsails, I believe. Think its a Prout design. Anyway, I will stop blithering. Anytime you USA guys are over in the UK, might pay to do some research and find a regatta or two, of some of the older classes.

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We recently inherited, from a friend of a friend who moved away and has long since stopped sailing, a very old British fiberglass dinghy known as a Kestrel. I would say it must be from the 1960s or maybe early 1970s. A hair under 16' long. To my eye it's an awful lot like a 470 with more freeboard. Had a chance to drop it in the water last week, and it is a very very nice-sailing boat. It has a heavy ?aluminum? centerboard that seems to provide a little righting moment, and a tiny spinnaker that launches out of a tube at the bow. I haven't sorted out all of the nuances of the rigging -- it has fairly standard race-boat features but, in typical British fashion, all of the systems are somewhat overly complicated. Has anyone ever heard of these boats? Do they have a portsmouth number? ... i couldn't find reference to one online. Just love the boat, I am guessing it's unfortunately rather one-of-a-kind though, no?

 

 

We have one. Fabulous boat. Ours was made in 1962. It is the same boat my dad owned when I was a pre-teen. We found it in a mangled state in upstate NY and had it rebuilt. The guy who did the work is a well known J24 specialist but nearly ruined the thing with totally slipshod work. So we had to have it rebuilt again. But after we did: what a terrific machine! We have sailed it in Portsmouth regattas on lakes and in the ocean and it's just a pure joy. The spaghetti is, however, way too complex -- the sails could be controlled just as well with a bit simpler rig. Also it is a very tippy boat. The spinnaker is small but effective. When it gets really moving, it's one of the funnest boats I've been on. I gather many years ago there was a really active racing class, but now the only real place appears to be Saratoga Lake, NY. I forget the portsmouth number but it's just a frac lower than a JY15, as I recall.

 

would you please post pictures?

 

 

Sure, here are a couple of shots. We are absolutely crazy about the boat. For a 50 year old sailboat, she sure can throw it down!!! I'm sure the brand new ones are amazing.

post-48661-088972700 1335744333_thumb.jpg

post-48661-036424300 1335744349_thumb.jpg

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We have one. Fabulous boat. Ours was made in 1962. It is the same boat my dad owned when I was a pre-teen. We found it in a mangled state in upstate NY and had it rebuilt. The guy who did the work is a well known J24 specialist but nearly ruined the thing with totally slipshod work. So we had to have it rebuilt again.

...

 

What did he do, putty in a couple gallons of vermiculite?

:rolleyes:

 

Sorry, it had to be said!

 

But it looks like a cool little boat.

 

FB- Doug

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My understanding is that it is a smashingly successful class in the UK, encompassing both hardcore racers as well as couples that just do a bit of racing but never really caught on across the pond. I remember reading that it was apparently specifically designed to sail in estuarial waters, and as such has a bit more freeboard than a 470, as well as a slightly more wave-piercing shape, to better deal with chop.

 

Clicking on the site referred to, the cost is only UKP7000, which I guess is about $11.3k, including three sails, for a boat with a superbly sorted rig, and all manner of sail shaping controls including a mast ram. That seems like an absolute steal. I don't know what the market is like for 2-man dinghies in the USA, but this is just the kind of boat that would make for really interesting fleets, since it looks to be somewhat technical without being anything nearly as athletic or twitchy as a 505. I would think a company like Rondar USA would be the one to import these if there was any demand, given their experience dealing with British boats.

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There is a new Canadian dealer for many of these Ian Proctor designs (and yes I do agree, he designed some spectacular dinghies that even today are a joy to sail.) I have never seen a Kestrel, but we have a Osprey in our club. What a boat. Very fast.

 

http://www.npboats.com/

 

 

 

 

My understanding is that it is a smashingly successful class in the UK, encompassing both hardcore racers as well as couples that just do a bit of racing but never really caught on across the pond. I remember reading that it was apparently specifically designed to sail in estuarial waters, and as such has a bit more freeboard than a 470, as well as a slightly more wave-piercing shape, to better deal with chop.

 

Clicking on the site referred to, the cost is only UKP7000, which I guess is about $11.3k, including three sails, for a boat with a superbly sorted rig, and all manner of sail shaping controls including a mast ram. That seems like an absolute steal. I don't know what the market is like for 2-man dinghies in the USA, but this is just the kind of boat that would make for really interesting fleets, since it looks to be somewhat technical without being anything nearly as athletic or twitchy as a 505. I would think a company like Rondar USA would be the one to import these if there was any demand, given their experience dealing with British boats.

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I dunno guys, I think enthusiasm is great, and its good that you like your boats. But to me its just seemed like another mid performance 50s style cruiser/racing/family dinghy, sort of in the same sort of style as an Albacore or Wayfarer, to pick boats that are going to be vaguely familiar to you. Its not remotely like a 470 - that's a weird comparison to me. Olivers' comments further up seem right on the money to me. I would have thought you had a reasonable selection of craft in that sort of line on your side of the pond anyway. Definitely regarded as on the tame end of the spectrum over here, not that there's anything wrong with that.

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... I would have thought you had a reasonable selection of craft in that sort of line on your side of the pond anyway. Definitely regarded as on the tame end of the spectrum over here, not that there's anything wrong with that.

 

Not really

 

A design from the '50s would be an improvement, since the other popular US one-designs mostly date from the 1930s or the '40s.

 

Except for the Laser, of course, and that's a whole 'nother story.

 

FB- Doug

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We had two of them on Mobile Bay about 30 years ago. We dueled them pretty evenly in our Windmill.

 

RD

 

That would have been "Wheaty" Cleveland sailing his Kestrel with his wife and his stepsons sailing the other boat I believe. You'd see them at the Spring Regatta at Buccaneer YC, the Summer Regatta at Mobile YC, and the Wadewitz Regatta at Fairhope YC racing Portsmouth. His wife was my 7th grade English teacher. I think it was actually more like 40 years ago since I am 53 and I raced against them in my Finn (with a wooden mast) when I was 13/14 years old.

 

RD - Mickey?

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... I would have thought you had a reasonable selection of craft in that sort of line on your side of the pond anyway. Definitely regarded as on the tame end of the spectrum over here, not that there's anything wrong with that.

 

Not really

 

A design from the '50s would be an improvement, since the other popular US one-designs mostly date from the 1930s or the '40s.

 

Except for the Laser, of course, and that's a whole 'nother story.

 

 

Actually, out of the top 20 one designs on this side of the pond there are only 3 from the 30s and 40s (Thistle, Snipe, Lightning) - there are that many from the 90s. (That's the 1990's not the 1890's, smartass)

 

Granted, most designs are from the 50s and 60s, but there are reasons for that.

 

1 Laser Radial 60s (well maybe later - the hull is from the 60s)

2 Sunfish 50s

3 Laser 60s

4 Thistle 40s

5 Flying Scot 50s

7 Lightning 30s

6 E scow 50s

8 Albacore 50s

9 MC scow 60s

9 C scow 1906

11 J/22 80s

12 Hobie Cat 16 60s

13 29er 90s

14 Snipe 30s

15 Formula 18 90s

16 Vanguard 15 90s

16 A-Class Catamaran 60s (perhaps older as it's a box-rule class)

18 J/24 . 70s

19 505 50s

20 Lido 14 50s

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...

 

Actually, out of the top 20 one designs on this side of the pond there are only 3 from the 30s and 40s (Thistle, Snipe, Lightning) - there are that many from the 90s. (That's the 1990's not the 1890's, smartass)

 

Granted, most designs are from the 50s and 60s, but there are reasons for that.

 

1 Laser Radial 60s (well maybe later - the hull is from the 60s)

2 Sunfish 50s

3 Laser 60s

4 Thistle 40s

5 Flying Scot 50s

7 Lightning 30s

6 E scow 50s

8 Albacore 50s

9 MC scow 60s

9 C scow 1906

11 J/22 80s

12 Hobie Cat 16 60s

13 29er 90s

14 Snipe 30s

15 Formula 18 90s

16 Vanguard 15 90s

16 A-Class Catamaran 60s (perhaps older as it's a box-rule class)

18 J/24 . 70s

19 505 50s

20 Lido 14 50s

 

 

Okay, so out of the most popular one-design classes here... half are from the 1950s or earlier. That's a strong defense of the US dinghy racing scene ?!?

 

History- the E-scow goes back to the 1920s also when the existing scow classes were updated & grouped by size, the MC-scow was a SMOD based loosely on a then-popular class (the D-scow, iirc) and that amazing new technology: fiberglass.

 

You also left of the biggest & most active class, the Opti... although the current one-design class was birthed in the mid-90s, the boat itself goes back to the 1940s.

 

Windmill & Y-flyer 1950s

 

It's good to have one-design classes with staying power. It's bad to have existing one-design classes actively clubbing new classes over the head and cannibalizing a shrinking group of sailors.

 

The Kestrel looks like a great boat, I saw a Craigslist ad for a thing called an MFG Whip that looked like quite a cool boat (hard to say from it's looks what it sailed like), then there have been a bunch of not-so-great ideas like Advance's sawed-off bench-seated Flying Dutchman clone. Then some great classes have died here, the 470 leaps to mind.

 

Of the classes listed here, most are struggling. It's not a pretty picture. Why are US sailors so different from other countries sailors?

 

That's somewhat of a rhetorical question but I am curious. Not intending to criticise anybody in particular.

 

FB- Doug

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post-28478-007652800 1337364728_thumb.jpg

 

And finally heres a pic for 1987 of the one we dug out of the sand, rebuilt, re rigged, and raced. Happy days!

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post-28478-007652800 1337364728_thumb.jpg

 

And finally heres a pic for 1987 of the one we dug out of the sand, rebuilt, re rigged, and raced. Happy days!

 

OMG. Sailing Kestrels in Oman (with non-standard trapeze and Fireball sized spinnaker). Heavy, painful, bitch of a boat, murdered the wife's knees. What bliss when we got our hands on an ancient 470.

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american_kestrel.jpgkestrel.jpgAmerican-Kestrel-Falconry.jpg

 

 

Kestrels in competition and etc

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We have the Kestrel in Ottawa. It is a very good boat although I need to put some work into getting it back into shape. Planes easily but can be a handful for a light crew.

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The largest fleet is at the Saratoga sailing club in New York sate. They host the annual North American champs there..usually in June. Hartley boats of the UK make them now and are distributed in North America by npboatsus.com. They could also be available soon through Zim sailing as they now import other Hartley boats.

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The kestrel is a great boat, It does very well in light wind handicaps, and can hustle well in a blow, the hartley boats are nice and stiff compated to the olderboats, but a well sailed and sorted old boat will compete well with the new boats

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