Crew: 2 man crew.
Class: Restricted (hull shape remains the same from year to year)
Characteristics: Durable and exciting to sail.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
The redwing dinghy is a traditional one design clinker built racing dinghy sailed by a crew of two. It was designed by Uffa Fox in the late 1930’s on the basis that it would be cheap to build and seaworthy enough to cope with the rough and tumble of seas off the South Cornwall coast. Although the class is small there are still nationals every year and boats are still being built by the Goodwood boat company.
By the 1950's the Redwing's reputation as a good seaboat had spread and fleets became establised all over the Westcountry and Pembrokeshire in West Wales. In 1954 jurisdiction for the class was handed over to the Yacht Racing Association (Now the Royal Yachting Association) and the Redwing became a "National" class.
Over the years there have been a few, mostly minor and sympathetic changes to the rules governing the class. These have generally been to encompass the developments in sailing rigs i.e. the adoption of aluminium alloy spars and synthetic sails. However the hull remains unchanged and new boats are still built exactly as the original plans. Of these changes the most major came in 1966 when it was decided to allow the use of a wooden centreboard in place of the original iron centreplate. This caused a furore at the time but now it is an accepted feature of the boat. Naturally the Redwing became a lot less stable without the benefit of the ballasting effect of 125 pounds of iron and hence a trapeze was tried and adopted in the 1970's.
Around this time was the low point of the class with competition from dozens of other classes of more modern construction methods. However the enthusiasm of people who have fallen in love with the Redwing as a boat, coupled with the durability of the clinker construction, meaning that 30 and 40 year old boats can still win races, has won through. Since 1988 there has been a resurgence in new Redwings being built both in Cornwall and also North America. Redwing Number 1 now approaching 60 years old is still sailing near her birthplace in Cornwall.