Please select your home edition
Edition
Multihull Central Aquila 36 728x90

Family, friends and fans of David Thomas pay him homage at RSYC

by Peta Stuart-Hunt on 12 May 2014
David Thomas and Jonty Sherwill Michael Austen
Family, friends and fans of David Thomas pay him homage at RSYC - Hamble, Hampshire, UK: The modest genius of David Thomas, arguably Britain's most prolific and influential yacht designer, was celebrated in style at a Royal Southern Yacht Club dinner packed with family, friends and many of those who have taken to the water in one of his boats.

Variously described as the 'proxy uncle' to the 'great, bold and loonies' who go to sea, and the 'Pied Piper of yacht designers', David was lauded by numerous speakers for the immeasurable pleasure his many and various designs have provided over a career spanning half a century. The evening also marked David's 25th year as a member of the Royal Southern.

The main speaker Peter Poland, a long-standing friend of David, built many of his designs as co-owner of Hunter Boats. 'David has an instinctive understanding of what sailors want - he has been the Pied Piper of yacht designers, that's his secret,' said Peter.

'People from all divisions of sailing have sailed out on a David Thomas design. They will go on forever.

'He is also responsible for the largest one-design fleet in Round the Island Race history, 105 Sigma 33s, a record that will never be beaten.'

Peter highlighted a number of David's innovative design features, including hull chines which have since become commonplace, and the sheer range of his yachts, from Sonata and Impala to the Sigma 33 and 38, and from the 707 to 67-foot round-the-world Challenge yachts. He also raised the biggest laugh of the evening speculating on the 'number of babies made in the forepeak of a David Thomas yacht'.

Another collaborator, Jonty Sherwill, worked with David in the mid-80s on the interior design of the Sigma 362, Sigma 38 and other projects. Speaking before the dinner he said:

'It's been a combination of business and pleasure and has continued that way since then. I would characterise David as being pragmatic, practical, cost efficient but innovative. He spots gaps in the market which other people maybe don't and I think that's been the secret of his success.'

Pressed on his favourite DT design, he added: 'That's a tricky one, all of his boats have great character, but the one of his that caught my eye first was in the 1970s, the Impala. It was a really pretty boat and remains competitive still, it's a little gem.'

Celebrated solo racer Mike Golding highlighted the fact that he had sailed the 'wrong way' round the world three times in a Challenge 67, once single-handed.

'It is an amazing boat that did incredible things and it has given immense pleasure to so many people, and done so in safety. It was designed for a race that many people said could never be done.'


Sailors and admirers had come from far and wide to honour David, none more so than Runar Steinsen and friends who travelled from Iceland.

'I've had several of David's yachts, starting around 1976 when he designed a quarter-tonner for me which really started small boat sailing in Iceland.' Later he built another DT design which featured three trapezes and became known as the Secret 26, the forerunner of the 707 and the first of what are now known as sportsboats.

'We called it the Secret as not many people know about it,' said Runar. ’We had a small class of six in Reykjavik and arranged our own world championships. David came over and sailed in it, and won of course.'

Earlier on the Saturday, Chief Race Officer Tony Lovell had made the regrettable but necessary decision to cancel the day's planned racing due to the gale force winds. Sunday's parade of sail also fell foul of the conditions.

The intention is for those who entered to be given free entry to the July Regatta on July 12-13 with prizes awarded from extracted results. It is further planned that the innovative Solent Snooker event will be held on July 19-20.

Musto AUS 2017 660x82 4Hella Marine - July 2016BIA 2017 Brisbane 660x82 General

Related Articles

Flagstaff Power announces new partnership with Andrew Fielding
Love of sea runs deep in family. Amongst generations there are lighthouse keepers, ships captains and timber shipwrights Andrew Fielding cut his teeth in the marine industry. His childhood was spent playing amongst the boats at his parents marine brokerage.
Posted on 19 Aug
Sailing legends prepare at Rivergate
Ahead of what promises to be a stellar season of sailing five sailing yachts have berthed at Rivergate Marina & Shipyard Ahead of what promises to be a stellar season of sailing, five iconic sailing yachts have berthed at Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, Brisbane in an impressive line-up seldom seen on our shores.
Posted on 19 Aug
J/121 offshore speedster decked
The new J/121 Offshore short-handed speedster is coming together, in more ways than one. She is looking fast and sleek. Just this past week, after all systems had been installed for engine, power-train, steering, plumbing, electrical and the water-ballast distribution pumps and manifolds, the deck was fitted and installed!
Posted on 18 Aug
Full house at The Boat Works
The Boat Works has experienced an expansion burst, adding talent, trades and tools. The Boat Works has experienced an expansion burst, adding talent, trades and tools. Four seasoned marine industry professionals have recently bolstered the talent pool which now exceeds the 40 onsite trades: RT Marine surveyors, C Worthy and Bayliner Boats, Yachtsmen International management and crew services, and upholsterer, Melfi Designs.
Posted on 18 Aug
Eventory to develop innovative networking app for Yacht Racing Forum
Yacht Racing Forum delegates partners and exhibitors will benefit from state of art networking app developed by Eventory Yacht Racing Forum delegates, partners and exhibitors will benefit from a state of the art networking app developed by Eventory; a Polish based IT company
Posted on 18 Aug
Royal Geelong Yacht Club bidding for three major international events
Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) is targeting three new World Championship Sailing events in the next four years RGYC is currently in the bidding to deliver the 49er/NACRA World Titles in January, 2020, the Laser Masters World Titles in March, 2020, and the Fireball World Championships in January, 2022 in Geelong.
Posted on 16 Aug
Boat Books September 2017 Books of the Month
The 2018 Calendar of Wooden Boats® continues to set the highest standards of quality and tradition for wooden boat The 2018 Calendar of Wooden Boats® continues to set the highest standards of quality and tradition for wooden boat enthusiasts around the world. The 2018 edition features 12 new images by Benjamin Mendlowitz. Sailboats, small boats, powerboats and workboats
Posted on 16 Aug
Michael Jarvin recognised for 50 years of boating dedication
Michael Jarvin has received the NSW Government’s Maritime Medal in recognition of his invaluable advice, support Marina industry icon Michael Jarvin has received the NSW Government’s Maritime Medal in recognition of his invaluable advice, support and networking in the Australian marine industry.
Posted on 15 Aug
Environmentally friendly Koolewong Marina
Koolewong Marina located on the Central Coast of New South Wales has been accredited as a Clean Marina Level 3 Koolewong Marina located on the Central Coast of New South Wales has been accredited as both a Clean Marina Level 3 and a Fish Friendly Marina. The internationally recognised accreditation is administered by the Marina Industries Association and participants are audited by qualified independent auditors.
Posted on 15 Aug
Simrad GO9 Chartplotter Display wins 'Best New Product of the Year'
The Simrad® GO9 display was recognized at the West Marine VIV Awards presented at this year’s 2017 VIV Conference. The Simrad® GO9 display was recognized at the West Marine Very Important Vendor (VIV) Awards presented at this year’s 2017 VIV Conference. The chartplotter was selected as the Best New Product of the Year, and Navico – parent company to the Simrad brand of marine electronics – was selected for driving Best Store Support.
Posted on 15 Aug