Orkney Dinghies

Last update 17/6/2023

Below is a listing of Orkney Sailing Dinghies. Included are most of the Holm Snipe fleet, past and present, as well as a selection of boats from the other local clubs. Sailing has a long history in the Orkney Islands, from the viking longships to the local skiffs and yoles and then more recently the modern fibreglass racing boats. The Snipe became a significant Orkney class in the 50s when boat plans became available which a number of local folks used. A number of other classes have also been popular in the islands, including the Albacore, 505, Merlin Rocket, Wayfarer, Laser, Topper, Mirror and Enterprise.

For further reading concerning a historical perspective of Orkney Dinghy sailing see the Old boats and boat stories pages.

The Snipe class design originated in 1931, and the class became popular as a home build route to fun on the water. In 1950 the class established itself in Orkney, beginning with wooden home built boats which were then superseded by modern fibreglass boats. In 2014 the UK Snipe National Championships were held in Orkney, with the boats sailing from the Ness in Stromness for racing in the Bay of Ireland. The event was a great success and then the class chose to return to Orkney again in 2017. The 2017 event was run from Kirkwall using the facilities at Hatston (the Hatston slip and the RYA Training centre were used). The event attracted a number of boats from South and a number of local boats also took part.

Other classes have been successful in Orkney as well as in Shetland and the North of Scotland.

The Merlin Rocket was popular for many years, particularly in Kirkwall. Some of the early boats were home built, then in the sixties some more modern boats were brought North from Buckie in England. Dan Grieve moved from the Merlin Rocket to the Albacore and had great success with Mizpah. A number of the Merlin Rocket sailors followed his wake into the one design class (perhaps the Merlin Rocket development class became too costly) and the Albacore became a popular local class. The Albacore is still popular in Shetland, but has largely died in Orkney.

In the early 80s Ian Pole inherited a 505 from Shetland, the attractions of high speed, big sails and trapeze converted a number of other Orcadians and there was soon a class of six active boats. The Wayfarer became popular as a cruising boat in Orkney, and the class was put to good use as a training craft. James Clouston built a fine example which made use of all design latitude allowed in class rules, Smyril was born. Smyril was a legend in her day winning all of the local events and often finishing ahead of 505s.

Yachting World published a design for a wooden home built catamaran. This design proved to be inspirational for a generation of Orkney speed merchants. The first boats were racing way back in 1962. The class eventually gave way to progress and a number of sailors moved on to the more modern Hobie 18 catamaran. The Hobies' popularlity has fluctuated over time and always provides a great spectacle at local regattas with their high speed and coloured sails.

The Laser has attracted a particular type of sailor for many years. The low maintenance, easily rigged simple boat which offers competitive racing as well as high speed off the wind thrills is a perfect combination for many sailors, especially those who have difficulty keeping a regular crew. An additional attraction of the Laser is the Island Games. 

The Enterprise was popular for a time, and a group of Pentland Firth sailors would come to Orkney to race their Enterprises in Orkney in the 60s. Later on John Leslie had some success with his boat Merry Dancer. Westray had an active class of Enterprises for a time, some of which were locally built, and some moved to Kirkwall.

Holm Snipes Stromness Snipes Miscellaneous Dinghies Old Snipes Old Boats

Holm Snipes

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The table below outlines all boats assigned with H numbers, although some of the boats are currently based in clubs other than Holm Sailing Club.

  Boat Name Owner Photos Number Comments
H1 Erma Jack Foubister 1 2 3 4   Wooden boat
H2 Aegir Alan Donaldson     Bought from Mark Holbrook 2017
H3 Wild Goose Michael Foubister 1   Bought from Mark Taylor 2017
H4 Tic-Tac Graeme Bartlett   23981 ex Bonxie
H5 CrewZen Audrey Cameron 1 2 3 4 23626 Bought from Neil Foubister 2010, wooden boat
H6 Skeldro Mark Taylor 1 2 19327 Bought from Raymond Grieve 2012
H7 Kontiki Holm Sailing Club 1 2 3 20639
H8 Fleetwing Fred Johnston 1 2 3   Wooden boat
H9 Still Game Simon Kemp 1 2 3 4 26159 New 2012
H10 Irn Bru Glen Foubister   20352 ex. Red Bull
H11 Topaz Holm Sailing Club 1 21910
H12 Rio Derek Johnstone   ex Aqua Vitae
H13 Last Orders Raymond Grieve 1 2 3 4 26581 ex Witchy Woman, Jaws
H15 Teebro Mairi Fleet   New 2023
H16 No Fear Neil Foubister 1 2 3 4 5 6 21724 New 2008
H17 Cobra Magnus Bain 1 2 28550 Wooden Boat<./td>
H19 Siesta Holm Sailing Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 20349
H21 Fiddlesticks Neil Foubister 1 2 20375
H22 Moonstone Andrew Leslie 1 2 3 4 24152
H23 Hamba Neil Foubister 1 2 3 27330
H24 Aquamania Jack Moodie 1 2 3 4 5 20224 Bought from Malcolm Gordon 2022
H25 Tippy Emma Thomson 1 2 3 4 20690 ex. Go Quickly Red
H26 Il Mostro John Orr   20350 ex. Smurf
H27 Valkyrie Graeme Bartlett   29163 bought 2019

Stromness Snipes

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S Njord Sheena Taylor 1 20351
S Nemo Stromness Sailing Club 1 2 3 4 5 23233
  Scooby Donny Hall 1 24705
S Boreas Ian Johnston 1
S Go Faster Blue Peter Tipler 1 2 3 24704
S Valhalla Gordon Hill 1 2 3    
S Noringa Gordon Hill  
S Vendetta Kenny Holland 1
S Bonxie James Burgon 1 2 3 4 5 20558
S Silver Fern   1 15760  
S2 Jual Scott Tulloch    
S Mercury Too Kenny Holland   20641 Bought from Freddy Johnston 2010
S Hassfang Harvey Dunnett 1 2 3 4 20980 Bought from Alan Donaldson 2008
S Freyr Mark Taylor 1 2 20557  
S Perla Vela Scott Tulloch  
S Mandarino Malcolm Tipler  

Longhope Snipes

L Humdinger    
L Lady Midnight    


Other Orkney Dinghies

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Type Sail Number Boat Name Owner Photos Comments
505 7698 Temeraire David Clouston 1  
505 8816 Dick Dastardly John Orr 1 2  
Albacore   Ginger Nuts Peter Mills 1 2 3  
Albacore 7515 Barbarian Brian Pottinger 1  
Buzz     Sam Craig   new 2015
Enterprise 19754 Duan Barbara Bailey    
Fireball 14499 Nimrod Andrew Leslie   new 2012
Fireball 111 Sonic   1  
Firefly 519 No Regrets Lyndi Birss   ex Presto
Laser     Lewis Burgon    
Laser 96714 Kodiak Graeme Bartlett    
Laser 117289 Shakira Ross Sinclair 1 2 ex. Ian Rushbrook
Laser 108697 Skellum Ann Shearer 1  
Laser 177823 Warspite Andrew Leslie 1 2 3  
Laser 147138 Libertine II Ewan Sinclair 1 ex. Lazy Linda
Laser   Enron Kazia Watson 1 ex. Mark Holbrook
Laser 54573 Pato Joshua Brown 1 2 New 2016
Laser 113665 Gwyn Erlend Bailey    
Laser 47396 Moonshadow Barbara Bailey    
Laser 167778   Neil Brown    
Laser     Stromness Sailing Club    
Laser     Charlotte Wallhead   bought from Willie Brown
Laser   St. George Jonathan Walters 1  
Laser EPS 111 Muttley John Orr    
Laser 4000   Deep Blue Laura Johnstone  
Laser 4000     Lee Sinclair  
Merlin Rocket 1203 Ella Harcus Hutchison 1 2 3 4 5  
Merlin Rocket 1320 Rural Girl Brian Kent 1  
Merlin Rocket   Auk Robert Hutchison
Merlin Rocket 2777 Leviathan   1 Longhope, ex Raymond Grieve
Mirror 46608 Pink Panther Isla Dowell    
National 12 2090 Pussy Willow Nathan Omand 1 2  
Optimist   Alfonso Filip Meszka 1
Phantom   Skeiron Lee Thomson  
Snipe   Aegir Alan Donaldson 1
Wayfarer 7676 Smyril Jimmy Clouston    
Wayfarer 4550 Andante Micheal Miller 1 2  
Wayfarer   Fair Dinkum Simon Butcher    
Wayfarer 7336 Eclipse Steve Bunning 1 ex. Donnie Sinclair


Old Snipes

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  Boat Name Owner Photos Number
H1 Zephyr Jock Simpson    
H3 Gallinago Holm Sailing Club   284
H4 I'm Alone Willie Alan 1  
H6 Parsnip Lindy Birss   15559
H6 Firewood Sinclair Muir 1  
H7 Kontiki Norman Johnston 1 20639
H9 Tyro L. Johnston    
H10 Valhalla J. Foubister    
H11 La Rocca Raymond Aim 1  
H12 Sceptre Leslie Johnston    
H14 Teeack E. McLennan 1  
H15 Margarita Jim MacDonald 1 15481
H18 Snoopy   1 22471 scrapped 2012
S Vendetta Kenny Holland   19327
H13 Water Music Alastair Tullock    


Old Orkney Dinghies

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Type Sail Number Boat Name Owner Photos Comments
470   Zendik Donald Glue    
505 8457 Best Kens David Sabiston 1 2 3 4 also Leslie Tait
505   Lintie Ian Pole    
505   Abra Leslie Tait   also David Sabiston
Albacore 629 Vanity Dick Percival 1
Albacore 2006 Mizpah Dan Grieve 1 2
Albacore   Samara Donald Glue 1 also Bruce Dunnett
Albacore   Galatea Tom Flett 1
Albacore 5689 Moonshadow Raymond Grieve    
Albacore   Corona Raymond Grieve    
Alto   Aegir David Sabiston    
Enterprise   Myrlin J. P. Drever    
Enterprise   Ella Norman Cooper    
Enterprise   El Diablo Billy Brown    
Enterprise 12275 Merry Dancer John Leslie 1  
Enterprise 12243 Diana J. Burgher 1  
Laser EPS   Defiant Brian Kynoch    
Laser 155890 Cracklin Rosie Neil Burgess   sold 2010
Laser   Little Gem Michal Meszka 1 2 3  
Merlin Rocket 407 First Attempt Dan Grieve 1  
Merlin Rocket 817 Freya Ronnie Drever 1 2 3  
Merlin Rocket   Snoopy Ian Eunson 1
Merlin Rocket   Tyste David Kemp 1
Merlin Rocket 740 Rock'n Roll John Tait 1 2 Longhope
Merlin Rocket   Skadi Leslie Tait    
Merlin Rocket   Skidbladnir Leslie Tait    
Merlin Rocket 2077 Vendi Vidi Vici John Skea    
Merlin Rocket 3227 Souper Trouper Alaric Beckingham 1 2 3  
Redwing   Saga Willie Groat 1 Willie Groat died 2013
RS400 1044 Jammie Dodger Peter & Kay Mills   sold 2008
Wayfarer 9120 Das Spoot Alan Hale 1 2  
Westray Skiff   Mizpah William Grieve    


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