Flying Dutchman - Sail1Design (2024)

Flying Dutchman - Sail1Design (1)It was in the late 40’s that the IYRU (now ISAF) instigated a new modern 2-man international dinghy, the Tornado. She was not a success as there was no leap forward compared to the existing pre-war classes.

The Royal Loosdrecht Yacht Club, Conrad Gulcher’s club, obtained half a dozen Tornados and found them very uninspiring to say the least! Conrad had always been very interested in dinghy sailing and had collected any documentation connected with it. Pre-war he had enjoyed some international sailing in Germany and the UK and he had made many friends in the dinghy sailing scene. He imagined that with modern construction methods, moulded ply, a better boat could be constructed.

Being an Insurance Broker and not a designer he enlisted the help of Uus Van Essen, a naval architect and measurer for the Dutch Yacht Federation. They made a preliminary design and early in September 1951 it was sent to 30 top class helmsmen in Europe including Bossom (Z – SUI), John Cahmier (K -GBR), Charles Curry (K – GBR), Manfried Curry (G – GER), Ferry Laagwater (H – NED),Stewart Morris (K – GBR), Morits Skaugen (N – NOR) and Shorty Trimingham (KZB – BER), with the request to comment within two weeks.

The measurements were similar to the 15m2 Wanderjolle of mid-European lakes and popular Flying Fifteen. By the end of September 23 responses had been returned with sufficient new and sound ideas to redesign the boat.

Mr. Loeff, chairman of the CBC, was prepared to discuss the boat at the November meeting of the IYRU, only when he had seen her sail! This was hardly feasible but Conrad had the mould and hull built in one week and the boat finished in another! Complete with the Tornado rig it took to the water against the 12m2 Sharpie and Tornado at Loosdrecht one week before the IYRU meetings and Mr Loeff took the plans to the IYRU for discussion.

Then it was decided to hold trials in the summer of 1952 in Holland and the name the “Flying Dutchman” was born, suggested by Sir Peter Scott, the then president of the IYRU.

The trials were held on the Loodrecht lakes and on the open water of the Zuiderzee at Muiden. 17 boats participated, some especially designed like the Osprey and Typhoon, others were existing classes including Hornet, Caneton, Thistle, Sharpie, Rennjolle etc.

The results were clear and the FD was adopted however with the limitation “for continental lakes only” and another set of trials was set up for 1953 at La Baule on the open sea.

In the mean time the small job was replaced with the Genoa and a trapeze was added.

At La Baule there were again specially designed boats such as the Coronet, a smaller version of which later became the 505. Off the wind the Coronet with her bigger spinnaker and mainsail was faster (this is not just a recent problem!) but on the wind the FD won.

It was clear that the FD did very well on the open sea and the “lakes” limitation was lifted. The Class started to blossom thanks to the promotional activities of Conrad through the Bulletin and a well structured Class Organisation.

By the 60’s there were fleets in all sorts of places such as the Lebanon, 25 in Morocco, 20 in Portuguese East Africa, Argentina, Venezuela, Thailand, apart from those in Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

In 1956 the FD participated (Conrad and Bob Boeschoten) in the cross- channel race from Folkestone to Boulogne and was the fastest two-man dinghy in the race!

In 1957 the FD was selected to replace the Sharpie at the 1960 Olympic Games in Naples. In 1959 The Class President Slotty Dawes was presented a cup for the FD Week. The Week, with its unlimited number of boats were allowed from each country, this proved very successful. The Week was very competitive whilst remaining friendly, competitors lent each other sails! (no equipment limitation in those days!) and was well supported, in 1965 126 boats from 24 nations took part.

The FD rules were tailored to have one design speed factors i.e. hull shape and weight, foil shapes and sails restricted and the rest left open to encourage development. As new ideas have evolved they have often been taken up by other classes e.g. trapeze, spinnaker chute, double floor construction, windows in sails and numerous developments in fittings and even personal sail numbers.

The one design was guaranteed by the very simple, and consequently cheap and easily repeatable measurement system defined by Uss van Essen and born of his experiences as professional KNWV measurer.

Many well known yachtsman have had a spell in the FD for example Mark Bethwaite, the Diesch brothers, Paul Elvstrom, Hans Foch, Ben Lexcen, Cam Lewis, Peder Lunde, Stewart Morris, Keith Musto, Andre Nelis, Yves and Marc Pajot, Rodney Pattison, Ralph Roberts, Bruno Trouble, Ted Turner, Mike Macnamara, John Loveday, Jo Richards, Roger Yeoman, Will Henderson, Peter White, Pat Blake, Jon Turner and David Wilkins to name but a few.

Following the loss of Olympic status soon after the 1992 Olympics, the “Olympic circuit” regattas ceased to be available to FD sailors and there was a decline in the amount of international competitive sailing. However the FD became a realistic option for those without Olympic ambitions and numbers at World and European Championships when held in Europe remain high. At the 1995 FD worlds, 123 FDs raced from the same start line on Lake Garda, a stunning spectacle.

Class website:

Flying Dutchman - Sail1Design (2024)


Who designed the Flying Dutchman? ›

The Flying Dutchman is a Dutch planing sailing dinghy that was designed by Uus Van Essen and Conrad Gülcher as a high performance, one design racer and first built in 1951.

What is the real story of the Flying Dutchman? ›

The Flying Dutchman is a European maritime legend about a phantom ship condemned to sail forever. Dutch folklore designates the captain as Hendrik Vander Decken, whose mission is to find the Cape of Good Hope. However, a freak storm thwarted the captain, and he could reach his destination.

Where did the Flying Dutchman originate? ›

The Flying Dutchman (Dutch: De Vliegende Hollander) is a legendary ghost ship, allegedly never able to make port, but doomed to sail the sea forever. The myths and ghost stories are likely to have originated from the 17th-century Golden Age of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and of Dutch maritime power.

What class is the Flying Dutchman? ›

The Flying Dutchman is a one-design international two-person class with active sailors all over the world. It is one of the most exhilarating dinghies you will ever be in.

Was there a real ship called the Flying Dutchman? ›

The Flying Dutchman's History

Not to be mistaken for the legendary ghost ship The Flying Dutchman that can never make port, doomed to sail the oceans forever within nautical folklore; The Flying Dutchman today is a renamed tall-ship schooner built in 1903 with the original name of “KW33”.

What is the top speed of the Flying Dutchman sailboat? ›

In strong to high winds you are rewarded with top speeds of above 20 knots. Even lighter crews can sail the FD quite fast and successfully, as the pressure of the wind can be regulated and converted into speed by means of the various trimming options, such as the rake.

Who was the Flying Dutchman before he died? ›

In real life the Flying Dutchman was a 17th century Dutch merchantman, captained by Captain Hendrick Van Der Decken, a skilled seaman but one of few scruples, and in 1680 was proceeding from Amsterdam to Batavia in the Dutch East Indies.

What did the Flying Dutchman look like? ›

The Flying Dutchman is said to appear as a ghostly, glowing ship. It will materialise suddenly and then, just as suddenly, vanish. Some claim the ship, doomed to sail the seas forever, will attempt to make contact with other travellers, and that seeing the Flying Dutchman is a sign of horrible misfortune to come.

Why was the Flying Dutchman cursed? ›

The Flying Dutchman was a sea captain who once found himself struggling to round the Cape of Good Hope during a ferocious storm. He swore that he would succeed even if he had to sail until Judgment Day. The Devil heard his oath, and took him up on it; the Dutchman was condemned to stay at sea forever.

Was Black Pearl a real ship? ›

The Black Pearl (formerly known as the Wicked Wench) is a fictional ship in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. In the screenplay, the ship is easily recognized by her distinctive black hull and sails. Captained by Captain Jack Sparrow, the Black Pearl is said to be "nigh uncatchable".

When was the last sighting of the Flying Dutchman? ›

There have been many sightings over the years, although the last reported one was by a Nazi submarine in WWII. Some sightings involved the Flying Dutchman sailing quickly through calm waters while the majority of sailors have spotted it during extremely stormy weather with wind and waves crashing all around.

What was the first appearance of the Flying Dutchman? ›

"Scaredy Pants" marks the first appearance of The Flying Dutchman.

What is Flying Dutchman slang for? ›

Definitions of Flying Dutchman. a phantom ship that is said to appear in storms near the Cape of Good Hope. type of: apparition, fantasm, phantasm, phantasma, phantom, shadow. something existing in perception only.

What happened to the Flying Dutchman after the curse was broken? ›

The end of the curse

As a result, Will's curse was broken and he was finally free of his duty aboard the Dutchman. The Dutchman surfaced near land and Will came ashore, reuniting with his family. The ship's further fate is unknown.

Who is the pirate of the Flying Dutchman? ›

Davy Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean character)
Davy Jones
Voiced byBill Nighy, Robin Atkin Downes
In-universe information
OccupationCaptain of the Flying Dutchman Flagship captain of Beckett's E.I.T.C. Armada (temporarily) Guide for souls lost at sea (abandoned)
6 more rows

Who painted the Flying Dutchman? ›

Albert Pinkham Ryder's painting “Flying Dutchman,” completed in 1887, depicts the story of a Dutch sea captain who swore on a relic of the true cross that no storm could defeat him, even if he sailed until Judgment Day.

Who steered the Flying Dutchman? ›

The cruel, wild, and fearsome Captain Vanderdecken steers his ship on a long voyage to get emeralds from a dealer across the ocean, supposedly in Asia.

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