Jack Holt (dinghy designer)

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Jack Holt, OBE (1912–1995) 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[21]

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[1]. The companies now trade separately as Holt Marine Ltd [2] and Allen Brothers (Fittings) Ltd [3]


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.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Moore, Beecher (16 November 1995). "Obituary: Jack Holt". The Independent. 
  2. ^ Cook, Peter (15 November 1996). "Obituary: Beecher Moore". The Independent. 
  3. ^ Wraysbury Lake SC has large fleets of Enterprise and Solo dinghies
  4. ^ London Corininthian SC Club History
  5. ^ a b Commissioned by Yachting World
  6. ^ "Y.W. Diamond (Yachting World Diamond) (ex Yachting World Keelboat)". Retrieved 2009-08-16. Editors of Yachting World approach Jack Holt. The resultant boat is known as the Yachting World Keelboat. 
  7. ^ Originally the News Chronicle Enterprise. € the first dinghty sponsored by a national paper
  8. ^ Also for Yachting World
  9. ^ East Antrim Boat Club
  10. ^ Quest was designed and built by JH
  11. ^ the International 14 is a development class. JH is among many designers
  12. ^ The Lazy E was one of several dinghies trialled by the Admiralty for sailing by the Royal Navy. The Ian Proctor designed Bosun was selected
  13. ^ Jack collaborated with Beecher Moore in the design of the first Merlin Rocket Holt - About us
  14. ^ Designed by JH and Barry Bucknell
  15. ^ Designed by JH as a larger version of the Mirror dinghy
  16. ^ A development class, Holt had some very successful river designs
  17. ^ The National E is 5m and uses a mainsail, jib, spinnaker and trapeze
  18. ^ Some later boats designed by JH
  19. ^ History of the Pacer Class
  20. ^ Description and pictures of the boat repair
  21. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the International Albacore Association held on July 28, July 29, and July 31, 1997 - Status of Boat Builders - Worldwide