Jack Holt (dinghy designer)

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Jack Holt, OBE (8 April 1912 – 14 November 1995) was a prolific designer of sailing dinghies. His pioneering designs of dinghies using plywood did much to popularise the sport of sailing in the period immediately following World War II.[1]

Born in Hammersmith, London near the River Thames Holt designed more than 40 boats, many of which are listed below. He worked for many years with fellow sailing enthusiast and businessman Beecher Moore.[2]

Jack Holt was awarded an OBE in 1979 for his services to sailing.

Sailing Clubs[edit]

Jack Holt has been associated with several sailing clubs. His premises were next door to Ranelagh Sailing Club, and he designed the Merlin Rocket and his National 12 designs there.

In 1956 he was a co-founder of Wraysbury Lake Sailing Club.[3]

He was closely associated with the London Corinthian Sailing Club,[4] very close to his Putney premises.

Jack Holt Designs[edit]

A selection of Jack Holt plans are held in the archives of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.


In addition to designing boats, Jack was also a boatbuilder. His fittings business was in the loft above the boatbuilding workshop. Naturally he built all the boats he designed, but he also built boats designed by others, including the Albacore.[17]

Sailing fittings[edit]

Jack collaborated with Glen and Tony Allen from Essex to manufacture and supply a lightweight range of dinghy fittings, the fittings were known as Holt Allen fittings for 52 years until 2008 when the Allen side decided to distribute the fittings themselves under the brand Allen.[18] The companies now trade separately as Holt Marine Ltd.[19] and Allen Brothers (Fittings) Ltd.[20] Holt Allen also made masts and spars for dinghies and a wide variety of other boat related fittings. Most of the fittings for the Mirror, Miracle, Mirror 14, Mirror 16 and Streaker were all provided by Holt Allen


Sails for early Puffins, those with a puffin silhouette on the main, were deep blue in colour and were made by Jack Holt Sails of Putney, England. Holt sails made sails for a large number of dinghy classes for many years from the 1970s to around the early 2000s


  1. ^ The Cadet was Commissioned by Yachting World
  2. ^ The 'Diamond Keelboat' was Commissioned by Yachting World
  3. ^ The Enterprise was Originally the News Chronicle Enterprise, and was the first dinghy sponsored by a national paper
  4. ^ The International 14 is a development class.[9]
  5. ^ Jack Holt collaborated with Beecher Moore in the design of the first Merlin Rocket [12]
  6. ^ The Mirror was Designed by Jack Holt and Barry Bucknell
  7. ^ The Mirror 16 was designed by Jack Holt as a larger version of the Mirror dinghy
  8. ^ National 12 is a development class, Holt had some very successful river designs

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Moore, Beecher (16 November 1995). "Obituary: Jack Holt". The Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  2. ^ Cook, Peter (15 November 1996). "Obituary: Beecher Moore". The Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  3. ^ "Wraysbury Lake SC has large fleets of Enterprise and Solo dinghies". wlsc.org.uk. Archived 2006-04-27 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ London Corininthian SC Club History Archived 2005-12-23 at the Wayback Machine lcsc.org.uk
  5. ^ "Y.W. Diamond (Yachting World Diamond) (ex Yachting World Keelboat)". Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2009. Editors of Yachting World approach Jack Holt. The resultant boat is known as the Yachting World Keelboat.
  6. ^ "[Explorer] Also for Yachting World". Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  7. ^ Ideal dinghy cvrda.org, accessed 10 December 2018
  8. ^ The International Canoe 'Quest' was designed and built by Jack Holt Archived 2006-02-19 at the Wayback Machine intcanoe.org.uk
  9. ^ Jack Holt is among many International 14 designers international14.org
  10. ^ The National E is 5m and uses a mainsail, jib, spinnaker and trapeze Archived 2006-04-27 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 10 December 2018
  11. ^ The Lazy E was one of several dinghies trialled by the Admiralty for sailing by the Royal Navy sailbosun.freeserve.co.uk Archived 2006-02-07 at the Wayback Machine. The Ian Proctor designed Bosun was selected
  12. ^ Holt - About us[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Some later boats designed by Jack Holt, specifically Jack Holt designed 'Spritely' uffafox.com, accessed 10 December 2018
  14. ^ History of the Pacer Class Archived 2009-09-13 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 10 December 2018 pacersailing.org.au
  15. ^ Description and pictures of the boat repair to the Rambler 'Kumpel' szkutnikamator.pl, accessed 10 December 2018
  16. ^ Vagabond dinghy cvrda.org, accessed 10 December 2018
  17. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the International Albacore Association held on July 28, July 29, and July 31, 1997 Archived August 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine accessed 10 December 2018 - Status of Boat Builders - Worldwide albacore.org
  18. ^ Holt and Allen to split (archived) 29 Jan 2008 Originally at boatingbusiness.com, accessed 10 December 2018
  19. ^ Holt Marine Ltd.-About: HOLT - Inspired design and innovation (archived) holt.eu/about, accessed 10 December 2018
  20. ^ Allen Brothers (Fittings) Ltd.- About us 'The Allen pedigree is unquestionable, the company having been in the marine business since 1956' allenbrothers.co.uk, accessed 10 December 2018