The Flying Dutchman (FD) is a 20-foot one-design high-performance two-person monohull racing dinghy. Developed in the early 1950s, its large sail area per unit weight allow it to plane easily when sailing upwind. The boat utilizes a trapeze harness for the crew and hiking straps for the skipper to counterbalance the wind force on its sails. It made its Olympic debut at the 1960 Olympics Games.
The FD is still one of the fastest racing dinghies in the world. She carries a mainsail, a very large foresail genoa, and a large spinnaker for running and reaching. The FD has been the basis for many important innovations in sailing over the past half century:
First one-design dinghy to make use of a trapeze gear, a feature commonly found today on high performance dinghies and catamarans
Roller furling genoa
Windward sheeting traveler
Spinnaker pole launchers
These innovations were possible because the FD was left as an "open" one-design class, where innovation and development in the boat is allowed and encouraged. Parameters that influence the speed of the boat directly, including hull shape, weight, and sail area are strictly controlled, but other areas can be adapted to suite.
The FD was sailed in Olympic competitions from 1960 Olympic Games through the 1992 Olympic Games. Since 2008 the FD is one of the Vintage Yachting Classes at the Vintage Yachting Games.
2 Wall of Fame
2.1 Olympic Games
2.2 Vintage Yachting Games
2.3 Asian Games
2.4 Pan American Games
2.5 World Championship
2.6 European Championship
4 External links
It was in the late 1940s that the IYRU instigated a new modern 2-man international dinghy, the Tornado. She was not a success, as there was no leap forward compared to the existing pre-war classes. The Royal Loosdrecht Yacht Club of Conrad Gulcher obtained half a dozen Tornados and found them very uninspiring. Conrad imagined that with modern construction methods and the use of moulded ply, a better dinghy could be constructed. Conrad the help of Uus Van Essen, a naval architect and measurer for the Dutch Yachting Federation made a preliminary design and early in September 1951. The design was sent to 30 top class helmsmen in Europe, including Bossom (SUI), John Cahmier (GBR), Charles Curry (GBR), Manfred Curry (GER), Ferry Laagwater (NED), Stewart Morris (GBR), Morits Skaugen (NOR) and Shorty Trimingham (BER), with the request to comment within two weeks. By the end of September, 23 responses had been returned with suggestions for modifications to the design of the boat.
Mr. Loeff, chairman of the Dutch Yachting Federation, agreed to discuss the boat at the November meeting of the IYRU, but required he see her sail first. As no prototype yet existed, this was hardly feasible to accomplish, but Conrad had the mould and hull built in one week, and the mast cut, stepped and the boat rigged in another. The boat was designed to be very simple, and consequently inexpensive to produce. The easily repeatable measurement system defined by Uss van Essen aided to that end. It took to the water against the 12m2 Sharpie and the Tornado at Loosdrecht one week before the IYRU meetings. Mr. Loeff was impressed, and took the plans to the IYRU for discussion. It was decided to hold trials for the new boat class in the summer of 1952 in the Netherlands, and the name of the design, Flying Dutchman, was born. The trials were held on the Loosdrecht lakes and on the open water of the IJsselmeer at Muiden. Seventeen boats participated, some one-designs like the Osprey and Typhoon, and others were from existing classes, including Hornet, Thistle, Sharpie, and Rennjolle. The results clearly showed the new boat to be a success, and the FD was adopted. However the boat was initially set with the limitation "for continental lakes only".
Another set of trials were set up for 1953 at La Baule on the open sea. Meanwhile, the small jib in the initial design was replaced with the Genoa, and a trapeze was added. At La Baule there were again one-designs such as the Coronet, a smaller version of which later became the 505. Off the wind the Coronet with her bigger spinnaker and mainsail was faster, but upwind the FD won. Afterwards it was clear that the FD did very well on the open sea, and the "lakes" limitation was lifted. The Class started to blossom, thanks largely to the promotional activities of Conrad and a well structured Class Organisation.
In 1957 the FD was selected to replace the Sharpie at the 1960 Olympic Games in Naples. By the 1960s there were "FD" fleets throughout the world, including Lebanon, Morocco, Portuguese East Africa, Argentina, Venezuela, Thailand, along with fleets forming in Europe, the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Many well known yachtsmen have spent time competing in the FD, including Paul Elvstrom, Hans Fogh, Ben Lexcen, Peder Lunde, Stewart Morris, Keith Musto, André Nelis, Yves and Marc Pajot, Rodney Pattisson, Ted Turner, Jon Turner, David Wilkins, and Buddy Melges.