Peter Chilvers

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Peter Chilvers was an inventor, engineer and promoter of sailing and windsurfing. He is credited with an early version of a sail powered surfboard. He died from lung cancer on 26 February 2015.[1]


Collected press cuttings of Peter Chilvers

Chilvers had been an engineer for Lotus and founded a sailing and windsurfing centre in London. Chilvers is credited with inventing the Windsurfer while living on Hayling Island in 1958.

The windsurfing centre in London's East End was founded by Chilvers[2] as a philanthropic venture to promote sailing and windsurfing amongst underprivileged children of the East End in the 1970s. He created and maintained the centre for over 25 years.[citation needed]

Chilvers headed the bid for a £40 million sailing and windsurfing centre on Hayling Island to regenerate the area and recognise it as the place where Windsurfing was invented and where he grew up.[3]

Claim of previous invention in windsurfing patent case[edit]

Chilvers came into the public eye in the 1980s as the result of patent infringement lawsuit brought by Windsurfing International, Inc. against Tabur Marine, a competing manufacturer. Tabur disputed the validity of the patent, and presented to the courts evidence of a creation by Chilvers, who, in 1958, on Hayling Island, assembled a board powered by a freesail system 10 years before Windsurfing International filed for its patent for the Windsurfer. Although the Chilvers Sailboard differed in some respects from the Windsurfer it had all the elements of a modern Windsurfer. The court ruled for Tabur.[4] This case set important precedents for patent law in the United Kingdom, originating the well-known Windsurfer Test regarding the steps of inventiveness and non-obviousness.

The case, Chilvers, Hayling, and a replica of Chilvers' original board, were featured on an episode of The One Show in 2009.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Peter Chilvers | UK Windsurfing Association".
  2. ^ "LDCC Water Use Strategy".; LDDC - London Docklands Development Corporation. Mentions Chilvers Windsurfing usage. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  3. ^ "Destination Hayling Island. Project Summary". Havant Borough Council lists Chilvers as involved. Archived from the original 2007-03-02.
  4. ^ "Windsurfing International Inc. v Tabur Marine (GB) Ltd. (1985) RPC 59". SLCC - Scots Law Courseware. The University of Strathclyde. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  5. ^ Simon Bornhoft (June 2009). "The One Show 7pm BBC1 Friday 5th June!". Simon Bornhoft's WindWise. Retrieved 20 June 2010.