Dear FD Sailors, I have an old wooden one which I can no longer store. I am happy to give it to anyone who would care to come and fetch it. I am in Kingston, Ontario. The boat needs repainting and has some dry rot here and there but is still sailable, maybe not in a gale! I know one gunwhale piece made of pine or spruce needs to be replaced but that is technically an extremely easy repair. If given new deck plywood she could look beautiful again. She was last sailed a few summers ago, cannot recall exactly. She has no road trailer but a very large number of sails, some in excellent condition belonged to Sir Rodney Pattison who won 3 Olympic medals in FDs. I bought these used from him at the 1976 Olympics which were held here, my hometown. She has a very good light mast (Proctor B) and boom and beautiful light centerboard and rudder. She is underweight but since I never raced her seriously I never added the lead. I attach a short text I wrote about her history as well as that of the class and something of the story of her sistership which only missed getting the bronze medal in 1976 due to tie-breaker rules! FD KC 26” (named informally “Penguin Classic” due to her originally black livery) is a “Flying Dutchman” registered under the International Yacht Racing Union symbol system as from the “Kingdom of Canada”. She was not however the 26th Canadian FD as the number alone might suggest. By the time she was finished (summer 1976) the class rules had begun to allow the recycling of sail numbers in the event of the original bearer ceasing to exist. In fact Canada over the years had around three hundred FDs total, located variously in the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, and British Columbia. At its peak the fleet in Kingston was the largest: 15 boats circa 1971, the year the owner and builder of KC 26 first joined the fleet. At that time the nearest other large fleet was just southwest of Kingston at Canandaigua Yacht Club in upstate New York. Particular local interest attaches to FD KC 26 because one of her three sisterships, FD KC 278, took part in the 1976 sailing Olympics held in Kingston out of Portsmouth harbour, narrowly missing winning the bronze medal in a fleet full of exceptionally experienced racing sailors. More on these Kingston-built boats below. The FD was designed by Uus van Essen in 1951 in the Netherlands to enter in the international competition for a new two person high performance racing dinghy. Because of its obvious excellence it had been designated by the International Yacht Racing Union an “International” class in 1952, i.e., almost immediately. The boat was first included in the Olympics in 1960, retaining that status until and including the 1992 Games. Although far from being an inexpensive boat, the FD was for a long time for various reasons the most international of all the Olympic sailboat classes. No country ever dominated racing in the fleet for more than a year or two. For example, it was said that in 1968 the toughest FD racing was among English crews, as that year there were three widely considered to be liable to win gold if selected for the British team. It is reckoned some 10,000 have been built so far. The Seahorse genoa rigged on FD KC 26 was bought used at the 1976 Olympics from its owner, Rodney Pattison, a member of the Royal Navy who won the FD gold medals in 1968 and 1972 and silver in 1976. During those latter Kingston Olympics his parents were billeted with the parents of the builder of FD KC 26. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the FD was widely considered to be the fastest monohull sailing craft, exceeded in speed only by rather exotic catamarans. From the start the FD was a semi-open design class as builders were allowed considerable latitude as to structural matters and cockpit configurations. Thousands were home-built all over the world, although a considerable number of established professional small boat builders became prominent due to success with their FDs. Originally all FDs were made out of plywood (cold-moulded in the case of the hull skin). Relatively few highly competitive FDs were ever made with the increasingly popular glass fibre reinforced resin system, as the great length of the FD made the ‘plastic’ boats either too soft and bendy or far too heavy. They also tended to absorb too much water over the course of a day’s sailing. Polyamide fibres were promising stiffness without great mass around the time of the 1976 Kingston Olympics, but were not yet in wide use. The boat you see here was made out of wood according to a highly innovative structural design developed by Anton Zegers, a Dutchman who immigrated to Canada around 1960. “Tony” worked and lived in Montreal for many years, building and racing FDs in the active and very international fleets sailing on Lac St.Louis and based mostly at the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club (near Dorval) but also, slightly upstream at the Pointe Claire Yacht Club. Tony Zegers served on the 1968 Canadian Olympic team as a back-up sailor. A structural engineer by profession, he moved to Kingston in the early 1970s, bringing his home-built FD with him. He decided to try for the 1976 Olympics in the FD class in an all new boat. Three other keen Kingston-based FD sailors joined in. We got a good discount on buying and shipping from the Netherlands a set of four ‘shells’ (the thin ‘skins’ of the hulls). They arrived safely ‘nested’ together. Being only the skins with minimal reinforcing they were just floppy enough to be separately taken up a staircase into a rented space formerly occupied by a mattress factory. We shared the upstairs landing with the office of the local electricians’ union. In this large space the skins were set into home-made ‘molds’ and gradually completed. By the end they were of course far too stiff to leave the way they came in. A window frame was enlarged and the boats were lowered some thirty feet by block and tackle into a gravel parking lot. The builder of FD KC 26 was tasked with repairing the wall around the window frame, but the building was demolished soon after anyway to make place for a new hotel (still there at the NE corner of the intersection of Brock and Ontario Streets). Tony Zegers, the genius behind the whole project narrowly lost the racing trials for membership on the Olympic team, through no fault of his local crew, Gordon Crothers. The remarkable thing was that the formerly Danish sailor, Hans Fogh, who did win the Canadian Olympic trails (he had won the silver medal in FDs back in 1960 sailing for Denmark) was so impressed by Tony’s boat that he said he wanted to use it in the actual Games. He did so, and narrowly missed getting the bronze medal. He with Montreal crew Evert Bastet (many times a top Olympic crew) came in 5th 6th 5th 13th 3rd 4th and 6th. In total points they were tied for third place but the tie-breaker rule gave the nod to a Brazilian team who had achieved one 1st place finish. Hans Fogh died suddenly in 2014 (aged 76). A great sailor in many classes of boat, of all Olympic athletes Hans achieved the greatest medal-winning longevity, 24 years passing between his first medal win and his last medal win. The boat you see here of course never won any medals. She was completed by Kingston-born Colin Duncan, with early help from Bruce MacNaughton (and much later and very meticulous help from their mutual high school chum Peter Wilson). FD KC 26 was as exact a copy of Tony’s FD as possible. Colin’s routine in the final months of construction (working from 8 a.m. until midnight every day of the week) was to walk over to Tony’s boat first thing and do exactly whatever Tony had done the day before. There was a bit of a rush near the end. Colin, having no expectations of being in the games was just able to get his boat finished in time to have it measured by the official Olympic boat measurement team in the special hall that was built as part of the Portsmouth Olymic Harbour complex. The night before the measurement Colin was so filled with nervous apprehension he could not sleep a wink. But his boat passed the elaborate certification process with flying colours. Not only was it a conforming FD (legally allowed to race as such) it turned out to be, like Tony’s, one of the best FDs ever made. The three completed that year in Kingston were stiffer than any other FDs and yet weighed in a staggering 35 pounds underweight (an advantage in the order of 10%). To race, these boats were in fact obliged to carry compensating lumps of lead, but these could be placed to some further advantage. Tony’s design also excelled in the matter of concentrating the centre of mass of the whole boat fore and aft as well as side-to-side. This gave the boats greater inherent stability, as well of course as a greater ability to regain trim after surmounting a wave. Given that the FD was/is an “over-canvassed” design this feature was no small matter. During the 1976 games one of the famous Pajot brothers from France (Olympic silver medallists in 1972) paid a fulsome compliment to Colin’s boat parked in its spot just in front of the front door of Kingston Yacht Club. A cherished moment, he could still recall the exact scene more than forty years later. At that time the hull of FD KC 26 was black above the waterline but the gleaming deck sported 7 coats of specially imported American varnish applied chilled so as to minimize bubbles and flow irregularities. That finish eventually ended up having to be replaced by marine paint (long sad story!). So this boat does not look the way she did in the summer of 1976 when Marc Pajot saw her, but few of us do! Wooden boats do not last forever outdoors. FD KC 26 is now too compromised by dry rot in various spots to be able to sail safely in more than a mild breeze. But as recently as circa 2010 she was capable of high performance. In technical contravention of the racing rules Colin modified her rig (only after consulting Tony about how to do this in a secure fashion) so as to be double trapezed both sides. The boat clearly was much happier having both its humans outboard. She was easier to steer accurately as the hull could react quicker to both the negative pressures and positive surfing opportunities presented to her by waves (generally very nastily and irregularly shaped in Kingston harbour due to various geologic and other factors). When double-trapezing the skipper and crew of course had to be even more agile than usual (which is saying a lot) to cope with the boats’ newly unfettered wishes. Her speed upwind with both crew ‘out on the wire’ was astounding. Sailing off the wind was of course extra difficult but when successfully done also extremely fast. The speed increase even suggested flatter sails might be advantageously used. Nowadays many boats, large and small can sail as fast as an FD, many even faster, but there is reason to believe the FD was the first sailboat fast enough to be able to use foils to rise out of the water when fully powered. This strange success (which did not catch on) was achieved on the flat waters of Plymouth harbour on the south coast of England where there is only rarely any shortage of wind. It is also interesting to note that the three builders of the boat here, Duncan, MacNaughton and Wilson, all spent time as youngters in sailing school at K.Y.C. racing in a small fleet of plywood boats built locally according to a design by Kingstonian Francis MacLachlan that had been entered in one of the early 1950s trials won by vanEssen’s FD design. There is said to be somewhere not far from Kingston one still intact version of his “Hurricane” class dinghies. The other class also used by the sailing school back in the 1960s was the still famous “Flying Junior”, a shortened version of the FD designed specially for younger (smaller) people by Uffa van Essen a few years after his full-size Flying Dutchman had established its reputation. These days FDs are still raced in various parts of the world. Several videos of the world championships held in Europe have been made available on Youtube. The one filmed in Cadiz in 2011 includes some of the best action footage of sailing ever filmed. The boats look positively excited and very happy, behaving more like porpoises than dinghies. Pretty generally watching sailboats racing has been likened to watching paint dry or grass grow, but the Cadiz footage has a mesmerizing effect even on non-sailors. There is a good Wikipedia article on the class. Much historical material is to be found in issues of the Flying Dutchman Bulletin, especially #82 and #67, which commemorated the twentieth and twenty-fifth anniversaries of the class, when many of those originally involved were still alive and active. PS: Another local sailor here is a lawyer who specializes in sailing matters and he could help draw up any border crossing documentation that might be needed.