The Graduate Dinghy

The Graduate Dinghy was designed by Dick Wyche of Wyche and Coppock, boatbuilders, of Nottingham, England in 1952.  She is 12’6” long and has a beam of 4’8” and draws 4’0” with her centreboard down.  Her sail area-main and jib (she does not set a spinnaker) is 90 square feet.  The design has undergone several modifications over its 60 years of life and the latest version, the Rooster Grad, has attracted much favourable comment and caused a minor renaissance in the class.  There was a fairly strong class at Durban in the fifties – 25 or 30 boats – but they dispersed and so far as is known “Moonflower” is the only Graduate in South Africa.

“Moonflower” was built on the stoep of his house in Plumstead, Cape Town, by Tony Rendell in 1964/65.  She was launched in Simon’s Bay in March 1965, and sailed hard in the boisterous winds of that stretch of water.  She was sold in 1981 when Tony concentrated on keel boats and he re-purchased “Moonflower” in a near-derelict condition on his retirement in 1990.  She then underwent a restoration bordering on a rebuild and has been sailed intermittently since then.  She is a delightful boat to sail, being particularly quick on her helm.  However, she is rather tender because Withenshaws, who shaped the mast, would not hollow it out as much as the plans indicated.

She was built to the original 1952 plans, has wooden spars and her sails were made by Jekells of Wroxham, Norfolk, in 1965.  “Moonflower” is an interesting little boat, being in some ways a time capsule of boat building half a century ago.