Squib sailboat

Squib sailboat

A Squib is a type of small racing keelboat originally designed in 1967 by Oliver Lee as a successor to his Ajax 23.

The prototype was built in cold moulded wood and sailed extensively over the winter of 1967-68. after successful proving trials she was used as a plug and the first GRP Squib was launched in June 1968. By the end of that year there were six Squibs racing on the Crouch and they had grown into a substantial fleet by 1969 with new fleets forming at Waldringfield, Brixham, Abersoch and Aldeburgh. At the Yachting World Keelboat Rally held in 1969 the Squib was pronounced to be the most interesting entry. when numbers passed 300 in 1972 the Squib was granted UK national status.

While in the UK fleets expanded interest began to spread abroad. A couple of Squibs went to Tortola as day charter boats and a fleet grew there. Other groups grew in South Africa, Greece, Germany and Australia. Many of these boats were either club owned, operated on charter or used in sailing schools.

By 1974 sail numbers had approached the 400 mark despite growing economic gloom. That November an event called the Squib Symposium was dreamed up by Simon Fraser, and that country's leading yachting journalists came to Burnham-on-Crouch to race Squibs against one another. The resulting press comment further enhanced the Squib's reputation as did the Design Centre's decision to put the Squib on its index of selected designs.

The Class has now spread to all parts of the British Isles, where there are 27 active racing fleets, 10 of which muster more than 20 boats. The most recent fleets to be formed were at Royal Ulster YC in 1998, East Antrim BC in 2000 and Kinsale YC in 2001.

The Royal Ulster YC fleet now embrace Squibs from Ballyholme YC and the combined fleet is called the Bangor Fleet.

By 2005 over 810 Squibs have been built and the National Squib Owners Association had over 640 members. A National Championship has been held at a different venue every year since 1972. In 2002 it was held at Royal North of Ireland YC with an entry of over 80 boats. A Match Racing Championship which was instituted in 1988 was held at Howth in 2000 but was not sailed in 2001. In 1995 Rutland SC instituted an Inland Championship which attracted 34 entries and proved so popular that it has been held every year since and in 2002 attracted 43 entries. Squibs race as a class in Aldeburgh Week, Medway Week, Menai Strait Fortnight, Oulton Week, Tay Week and racing with a PY of 115.

Until his death in 1993 Oliver Lee was the sole licenced builder of Squibs. The licence lapsed on his death and in 1994 it was granted to Barker Brewer Boats Ltd but they relinquished it in 1996 after having built 12 Squibs. In 1997 the licence was granted to Parker Sailboats who built 40 squibs up to the end of 2001.

External links

* [http://www.squibs.co.uk/ Squib Class Association]

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