International Twelve Foot Dinghy

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12' Dinghy
12 foot dinghy.svg
Designer George Cockshott
Location United Kingdom
Year 1912
Design One-Design
Crew 1 or 2
Draft 0.92 m (3 ft 0 in)
Type Monohull
Construction Clinker (Original)
GRP (modern)
Hull weight 104 kg (229 lb)
LOA 3.66 m (12.0 ft)
Beam 1.43 m (4 ft 8 in)
Hull Appendages
Keel/Board Type Centerplate
Rig Type Standing lug
Mainsail area 9.3 m2 (100 sq ft)
D-PN SW 103
Former Olympic class (Vintage Yachting class)

The International Twelve Foot Dinghy was designed by George Cockshott, an amateur boat designer from Southport, over a century ago. It became the first one-design racing dinghy to achieve international recognition.

George Cockshott[edit]

Cockshott was born 7 May 1875, and educated at Uppingham and King’s College Cambridge. He resided at Southport, and was Vice-Commodore of Southport Corinthian Yacht Club. As a boy he took a keen delight in building and sailing model yachts, and while at school built for himself a rowing and sailing boat. He joined the Cambridge University Sailing Club shortly after its formation in 1893. On coming down from Cambridge, he spent several seasons as ‘forward hand’ racing in the Southport ¾-rating class and the Menai Straits 1-rating class. He owned the Unona, a half decked centre board boat, and designed and sailed for two seasons a boat in a ‘restricted class’ of 12-foot dinghies with a fair measure of success. In 1901 he became owner of the 12 ton cutter Eurynome, a boat long famous as a cruiser-racer in Irish, Clyde and Welsh waters, and though Cockshott preferred cruising to racing, considerably reduced her spars and canvas, she was successfully raced under his flag for several seasons in a strong handicap class. In 1904, he again entered the ¾-rating class as part owner of Imp. His present yacht is the Sthoreen, an able and comfortable cruising yawl of 16 tons, built from his own designs, and launched in the spring of 1906. Cockshott has also turned his attention to yacht architecture, and, in addition to his own yacht, one 20 tonner, several smaller yachts, and motor launches, and tender to the Southport lifeboat, have been built from his designs. He designed a new racing class for the West Lancashire Yacht Club from which six boats are now being built.

Clubs: Royal Mersey Yacht Club, Southport Corinthian Yacht Club, West Lancashire Yacht Club, and Cambridge University Cruising Club. Address: 3, Tulketh Street, Southport.


In 1913 there was published in England a new rating rule for yachts of all sizes. The rule was prepared by the self -styled 'Boat Racing Association' under the chairmanship of Lt. Col. J. T. Bucknill at a meeting in November 1912. B.R.A. felt that ordinary racing sailors were not catered for by the YRA (Yacht Racing Association) rating rules. Initially there was to be a class of 18 footer rating, which was to be smaller than a 6m. Other sizes of yachts were intended to follow, including a 12-foot and a 20 foot.

The B.R.A. rating formula was:

Rating in feet= (Length + Square root of sail area)divided by 4 + (length x square root of sail area) divided by 3 x cube root of weight.

I leave it to another contributor to do the mathematics.[1]

The class is known in some quarters as '(Section 5) The International One-Design 12 Foot Dinghy Class' as it is the smallest and 5th design approved by the International Conference of Nations held in 1919.

The Alternative Design[edit]

Following the success of the George Cockshott design, there was a suggestion in 1920 that the Cockshott design be replaced by a (superior?) design by Frank Morgan Giles, who suggested that his design was superior to the design created by Cockshott who was a mere amateur. Morgan Giles persuaded the British that his design was superior, but he was unable to convince the Dutch or Italians. [2]

The Future of the Class[edit]

The foundations of the international association were laid at a meeting in the Hotel Jolanda, Portofino, Italy in May 2006 and this was followed by another meeting in Tuzla, Turkey in October 2007. During this time much progress has been made towards re-establishing the 12' Dinghy as a truly international class.

The 12 feet dinghy is one of the Vintage Yachting Classes at the 2012 Vintage Yachting Games.

The World Dinghy Championships[edit]

In 1924, The Brussels Royal Yacht Club held the first World Dinghy Championships. Which nations competed?



Republic of France


Irish Free State


The Irish Championships[edit]

In the 1920s till the 1950s there were fleets in Royal Munster Yacht Club, Sutton Dinghy Club, Howth, Baltimore, Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club, and Seapoint Boat Club. The first 'International Dinghy Championship' was held by the Royal Munster Yacht Club in Cork Harbour on 12, 13 and 14 August 1925.[4]

In 2011 the first Irish combined DBSC 12 foot and int. 12 foot Championships for at least 40 years was held at the Royal St George Yacht Club. Boats of the International Design and the Dublin Bay rig sailed against each other as equals in 2011, which was won by Gail Varian in a DBSC rigged boat.

In 2015 in Dun Laoghaire harbour and in the waters outside the harbour, the second Irish championship of recent years took placed under the Royal St. George Yacht Club burgee on 30 August. George Miller in 'Pixie' an Internationally rigged boat won overall.

The following year the event in Dun Laoghaire harbour, which was part of the National Heritage Week, was sailed in light weather, and showed that the DBSC boat was capable of pointing higher upwind, but being considerably slower downwind. The Irish championship winner was the DBSC 12 Sgadan owned by David Sarratt and crewed by Gail Varian.

Dublin Bay 12 footer[edit]

Due to the type of short steep waves which occur in Dublin Bay, Ireland, some owners of the Dun Laoghaire International 12 footers under the recommendation of J.J. O'Leary, modified the design in the 1960s to reduce the amount of water taken over the bow. They modified the design by putting a small foredeck with washboards, inserting a new mast step aft of the existing step, cutting a circular hole in the forward thwart, moving the mast aft, shortening the boom, cutting down the size of the mainsail, and hoisting a small jib borrowed from the other Dublin Bay classic dinghy class the Water Wag. The modification was declared a success, and the modified fleet sailed and raced for about another 10 years. No alterations were made to the hull, or underwater appendages - so the alterations should be reversible.

Builders of International 12 foot Dinghies[edit]

The Seapoint Boat Club 12 footers were built by Michael Mahony of Dun Laoghaire in 1925. [5]

Wall of Fame[edit]

Olympic Games[6][edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Netherlands (NED) 1 1 0 2
2  Sweden (SWE) 1 0 0 1
3  Norway (NOR) 0 1 0 1
4  Finland (FIN) 0 0 1 1
2 2 1 5
Games Gold Silver Bronze
1920 Antwerp
 Netherlands (NED)
Cornelis Hin
Johan Hin
Frans Hin
 Netherlands (NED)
Arnoud van der Biesen
Petrus Beukers
No further competitors
1928 Amsterdam
 Sweden (SWE)
Sven Thorell
 Norway (NOR)
Henrik Robert
 Finland (FIN)
Bertil Broman

Vintage Yachting Games [7][edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
Event Gold Silver Bronze
Flag of Italy.svg
Lake Como
7–15 July 2012

Cockshott Trophy[8][edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Italy 2 2 0 4
2  Netherlands 0 0 2 2
2 2 2 6
Event Gold Silver Bronze
2009  Italy (ITA)
Giorgio Pizzarello
 Italy (ITA)
Stefano Pizzarello
 Netherlands (NED)
Fred Udo
2010  Italy (ITA)
Uberto Capannoli
 Italy (ITA)
Giorgio Pizzarello
 Netherlands (NED)
Pieter Bleeker
In process
 Netherlands (NED)
Pieter Bleeker
 Italy (ITA)
Uberto Capannoli
 Netherlands (NED)
Duud Dudok Van Heel


  1. ^ Yacht Rating by Peter Johnson (Lymington, 1997)
  2. ^ John Leather's 'What happened to the International 12s'
  3. ^ The Yachting World & Marine motor Journal, 18 October 1924
  4. ^ The Irish Sketch, June 1925
  5. ^ The Irish Sketch, June 1925
  6. ^ Olympic results
  7. ^ Vintage Yachting Games
  8. ^ Cockshott Trophy

External links[edit]