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The mystery of the Flying Fifteen hull shape unwrapped

The Flying Fifteen/The Flying Fifteen mould
A record of a conversation between Roy Windebank in conversation with Sara Flower and Ray Sebo (FFI Chief Measurer). How has the hull shape developed since its design by Uffa Fox in the 1940s?

The mystery of the Flying Fifteen hull shape unwrapped

Roy Windebank in conversation with Sara Flower and Ray Sebo.

Mould I

I used the fine shaped Souter boat as the basis for a plug. The first boat was FF 1824 in 1975.

Mould II

The II was very flat in the rocker, and I think it was the best reaching boat though it suffered a bit from lack of buoyancy (they were too V’ed at the bow, and perhaps a little too V’ed at the stern). This made a very good boat for fetching….it just seemed to get in a tramline and go, though it may have lacked a bit of feel to windward”. The first boat from this mould was FF 2200 in 1977. The mould eventually went to Wyche and Coppock who built about three boats from it.

Mould II ½

Sometimes called the Kiwi mould (after the boat of that name owned and sailed by Ken Chappell and Roy), and was characterized by the ‘stepped ‘foredeck. “This was very slightly altered from the Mould II, made slightly fuller in the bows, and a little bit towards the stern. They went very well.

Six boats were built in the UK before the mould was transferred Ian Anderson’s Marineworld in Western Australia in 1982, where 12 boats were produced. Then in 1986 Bill Shand of Victoria purchased it, and after some fairing up, has since been known as the “Shandebank” mould. Minor changes were made in 1992 to allow the hulls to measure to the new 1993 hull rules. Shand produced 35 boats from the mould, and successes included one World Title and 10 National titles. The original mould was retired in 1996 at which time a replacement was built with some subtle changes aft of section 5, and a new deck configuration. Fourteen boats have been built from this new mould which is still in production.

Mould III

This was based on the II½, but made finer above the waterline. “This was reasonably successful” (euphemism for winning the 1980 Worlds as well as national titles – ed.),” but some went very well and some didn’t and I don’t know why”. First boats in 1980, in the 2600’s.

Mould IV

After the Mould III I had been looking for a completely different shape, and with the IV I went the whole hog (compared with the III) and rounded the bow and aft sections. This gives more buoyancy and gives a drier boat. The IV went very well….incredible wasn’t it….it won everything in all conditions.” (including the ’84 Worlds, and six British Championships). The first boats were built in 1982 in the 2700’s. So successful was it that other moulds were reproduced and sent to Ireland, South Africa, and new moulds made by Amos and Gale & Rimmington (Victoria, Australia). In Australia, G&R produced boats from 1987 to 1992 and then it was purchased (and modified to conform with the 1993 rule changes) by Carson of Ballarat. This mould is still in occasional production.

Sadly, the original mould was destroyed in a fire at Roy’s workshop in 1989.

Mould V

This came out in time for the Hong Kong Worlds (1986 and the early 3100’s), where the Mould V boat ‘Sniffer’ was second in Phil Morrison’s hands and then taken to New Zealand to form the basis of the successful ‘Wiggibank’ mould. This continued to produce NZ boats through to 1996, when the mould was retired. Roy’s original mould was subsequently acquired by Naylor Boats. Another mould was taken from the V by Brett Dingwall who, after modifications at section 3 to accommodate the 1993 rule changes, produced boats from this mould until 2005, when a new mould was built and the original one retired. Successes include the 2001 Worlds and 5 British Nationals.

Moulds VI and VII don’t exist : These are ‘spare numbers’.
Mould IX

New in 1988 and had immediate success, winning the 1988 Worlds at Lowestoft. It was based on the mould V, but with a little more buoyancy aft of section 6.

After building about a dozen boats Roy passed the mould to Dave Ovington who three years later fully refaired it and it became known as the ‘Ovington Smoothie’. This mould was the basis from which the Class re-drew the lines drawings and tightened construction tolerances in 1993. After a further ten years of production the mould was replaced with a new one, now known as the Ovington Mk 10.

In New Zealand following the retirement of the mould V, Dick Ingham (Lifestyle Enterprises) produced a new mould from a Mould IX plug in 2000. It is known locally as the ‘Jaffa’ mould and is currently in production.

In excess of 270 boats have been built from the mould IX and its derivatives, and through sheer weight of numbers have amassed 7 World and 20 National titles.

Mould X

Built in 1989, with the first boats in the 3200′s. Based on the IX it was slightly fuller in the bow forward of section 2 and narrower above the waterline aft of section 8. Ten boats were produced by Roy until 1993 when the mould was transferred to Sailpower Marine in Western Australia. The hull mould was subsequently refaired in 1994, and in 2001 a new re-shaped deck mould fitted. 35 boats have been built from this mould which is still in production. Successes include the 2005 World title and 5 Nationals.

Mould VIII

Before despatching the Mould X to Australia, I decided I should retain something to play with myself in retirement so I made a replica of this mould and called it the ‘Mould VIII’ (which was a spare number) and built 10 boats before retiring in 1997”

This mould was transferred to Belgium in 2001 as a production mould.


Editor’s note – The register shows that Roy personally built 252 flying fifteens up to his retirement in 1997 (all of which were constructed using polyester resins).

Our thanks to Sara Flower, Ray Sebo, Grant Alderson, Bill Shand , Mark Rimmington, Graeme Robinson and, of course, Roy Windebank.

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