I’ve owned a number of yacht tenders. Two of them were folding dinghies. All of them were made from plywood or moulded from GRP. With one exception, I bought them second-hand. The exception was my folding Seahopper which I acquired in 1984. Two years ago I glassed her chines to strengthen her for use as a tender to ‘Ladybird’, but now I no longer own the yacht or her tender, because I have accepted a generous offer for them.
If I were thinking of getting another tender, I would seriously consider a Fairey Duckling, designed by Uffa Fox. Ducklings were manufactured by Fairey Marine at the Isle of Wight. They were produced in the early sixties, along with a range of sailing and motor yachts. Like these bigger boats she was formed by a hot moulding process developed during the Second World War for building wooden aircraft. Veneers of resin impregnated agba were welded together under pressure by a vacuum bagging process. The result was a relatively lightweight, very strong wooden hull, free of internal frames.
After 50 years of continuous use, quite a few Ducklings remain in service, which is a testament to the durability of resin impregnated agba. These rugged dinghies can carry up to three people, plus their gear, and still have acceptable freeboard. Most Ducklings are equipped with a sailing rig consisting of wooden spars short enough to fit into the boat, a Gunter mainsail and a small jib, plus a daggerboard and a kick up rudder with a tiller.
• Length 9'
• Beam 4'
• Depth fwd. 18"
• Depth aft. 14"
• All up weight for rowing 100lbs.
All up weight for sailing 135lbs
Early Fairey Duckling Brochure