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10 - MkIV: Proctor Family Tale

Webmaster - note this piece originally appeared in the December 2005 edition of the Class magazine and was contributed by Roger Proctor. Copyright 2005 Osprey Class Association

The Osprey is without doubt one of my father's greatest boats.

The Osprey was designed to be a contender for an Olympic Class in the early 1950s. At the trials it was pipped at the post by the Flying Dutchman. Ironically, I believe my father had previously been asked to 'clean up' the lines on the Dutchman! However, it was a close run thing. The Osprey was one of the very first trapeze boats, if not the first.

My father decided to enter this revolutionary design in the Round the Island race that was open to all comers for the Coronation Year. Sailing three up with himself, Cliff Norbury (British Olympic Coach in the 70’s and 80’s) and John Oakley (Olympic Squad member in the 70’s), they won by a matter of seconds in a dramatic all-day race. (Their closest rival was a Jack Holt design, I forget the name.) It was made all the more memorable by the very fact that my father was disabled through polio during the war, which meant he had only one good arm, his left, and couldn't breathe if he fell in cold water! We are now the proud possessors of the only Round the Island Race cup that has been able to be kept by the winner. It really put my father on the dinghy design map and established him as one of the UK's three leading dinghy designers. We are therefore very proud of the Osprey.

I first met Richard Hartley 10 years ago. I was immediately struck by his enthusiasm, tenacity and passion for boats. His particular feeling for my father's designs is especially gratifying. Starting from nothing he did a superb job on upgrading the Kestrel. He has now embarked on a new and even more daunting project with the Osprey. Initial difficulties were overcome and now the Osprey has a chance for a new and rejuvenated life. By all accounts it is a wonderful boat.

We, the Proctor family, are delighted that the Osprey has found a new beginning and look forward to seeing the final product. We wish you, the Class, well, and we are delighted that this great design will continue to give great pleasure to all who sail her.

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