Racing Dinghies

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ToY 117

January 3rd, 2008 by neil · 25 Comments

ToY 117  

Having sold our racing boat, Rocket Flare (a Flare 25), we ended up down sizing to a Flying Fifteen. I decided to get back into dinghy sailing after an absence of 15 years.

I looked at the crop of current single handers (and got confused with the choice) and decided I was too old for a trapeze boat such as the Contender, too heavy for a Laser, and to unfit to sail a Finn. Having always fancied an International Canoe (one day I promised myself) the idea of a sliding seat seemed to appeal.

A quick browse of the classified ads saw me on my way to Evesham railway station where a handfull of cash was exchanged for ToY 117. After a repaint I got my first ducking from a major wipeout from an out of control ToY.

The ToY was designed by Tony Allen (of Holt-Allen fame) in 1964 for the IYRU trails to find a a successor to the Finn as the Olympic single handed dinghy.

The name ToY comes from Tony’s Own Yacht. The hull is hard chine, narrow with a foredeck and very narrow side decks. She has an open transom and is fitted with a sliding seat.The rig is fully battened.

LOA: 4.57m
Beam: 1.22m
Draft: 1.07m
Sail Area: 10.2m2

Having the ToY was a baptism of fire, at my first CVRDA event I managed to capsize it on the beach (very embarrassing), fallen of the end of the seat at full speed (and it hurts) and managed to capsize 12 times in a row.

It’s very easy to get the boat caught head to wind, and the boat is very unstable in this condition. Despite the ToY being a challenging boat to sail, it’s also one that’s fun to sail. For a couple of hundred pounds I think it was money well spent.

Moving to the International Canoe was relatively easy after sailing the ToY, but as an introduction to the sliding seat it was an ideal boat to have. This ToY is now in Scotland where she has been rebuilt and no doubt giving her new owner a good time.

Tags: Previous Boats · ToY 117

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ken Howard // Jan 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I owned toy 18 (dynki) excuse the pun- for eight years sailing at Clacton,and Brightlingsea ( where it was built) Burnham on Crouch(Burnham week) and numerous regattas in the south of the country.See Noble Marine web site Toy Class photo taken off Clacton in a good force 4/5. I managed 4th in the nationals at Brightlingsea out of 42 boats. I did become a much better swimmer in those eight years. Does anyone know ofToy 18 whereabouts now.?

  • 2 Mike Hankins // Mar 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Hi ex class chairman here . Not sure of Toy 18 whereabouts,I owned Nos 6 ,9 , 140 and 240. 6 and 9 were excel built, 140 was the famous Cuckoo built by Tiptree and 240 was a reject hull comleted by myself.

    Nos. 6 and 240 were the wooden deck versions and easier to gybe. No. 9 was fast upwind, 140 didnt like going up wind but very fast just off.

    Was chairman when we went from Solo sail to the 11o sq.sail. Went out of class and and modified the new sail. The class allowed me to race providing I allowed my sail to be measured and copied. That is my sail in your pics as Dick Lonton of Holts copied.

    Would love to hear from old stalwarts of Toys.

    Ie. Trevor Preston, Pete Clayton, John Saker, Sue Last, Perham Harding, Spencer Pope etc

  • 3 Dick Lonton // May 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I had the pleasure of sailing one of the early boats at Brightlinsea.
    just loved it!!

  • 4 Andy Hobden // May 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Hi, I rebuilt a Toy about 40 years ago, when still at school. I think the hull came from ‘Snagglepuss ‘ (no 32?) and Tiptree Marine sold it with a new deck. I rejoined the hull and deck, built the seat etc and scrounged an old bent mast which i had straightened. I took over the sail number of no 34 as that had been written off .
    I still have the plans Tiptree M gave me somewhere.
    Sue Last is alive and well and still around Brightlingsea. Rumour has it that she has the ‘Toy’ moulds.


  • 5 aart vd stigchel // Jun 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    we imported the Toy in Holland and sailed many regattas with many of the above mentioned names, pics of all people wearing a toy-shirt still here!, if any of you have email adresses, we’ll scan it for forwarding
    a year ago I saw our old 192 for sale,
    kind regards, Aart

  • 6 Kevin Dowley // Jul 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    l have just come across this website and read with interest. Then l saw the names at the bottom – Trevor Preston, Pete Clayton and Spencer Pope. l remember sailing with them all at Hoo Ness Yacht Club back in the 70’s. Other ‘TOY’ sailors were Graham Hemington and one l can’t remember his name, he was a butcher – called his ‘Sir Loin’.

  • 7 jordy o mahony // Jul 27, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    hi there
    i have a toy 177 i have had it for about 6 years and have tried to research them before and found nothing
    i love to boat its fast fun and there is no other boat that compares with it i was wandering if you could tell me when they were taken out of production as i have no idea of the age of it i think it could be a very early boat as my sails are very worn i also have the two sails i think maybe i have mike hankins sails and the sails used before his ones the older of the two is slightly smaller.. i was considering modifying it to fit a wayfarer jib as it doesn’t point very well at all and a trapeze as the sliding seat is having issues on the weight side of things of course if i do this i wont be able to race it i would love to know your thoughts on the matter. and also how can i find more info on the boats im slightly confused is the number in my case 177 the actual boat or are the different to say the 18

  • 8 ray oconnell // Oct 2, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Hi Mike
    used to sail toy 198 with you at hayling.
    how you and your brother keeping

  • 9 rayoconnell // Oct 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    hi mike
    I used to sail Toy198 at hayling with you and your brother and john ross. how are you keeping

    Ray OConnell

  • 10 rayoconnell // Oct 3, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    hi mike
    sailed toy 198 at hayling with you

  • 11 Steve Taylor // Oct 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Hello. I bought 140 in about 1982 from a guy in Euxton Lancashire. Renamed her Hunting Girl, sailed and raced at Crosby S.C. and Glasson S.C. Sold her to someone at Bough Beech sailing club in 1984.

  • 12 Spencer Pope (toy 58) // Oct 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Mike,
    The old ones are the best they never give up,yes i am still about and remember what great times we had sailing Toys.
    I am still sailing but something more stable and dry a Mirage 28. I wonder if my old boat 58 “Wet pants” is still about ?.

  • 13 Rod Harpham // Nov 15, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Toy 117.
    i was they owner who sold it at Eavsham railway station. the boat had been found in a farm stack yard in Leicestershire in poor condition, it was sailed a few times by a club member before i bought it from him. i had found another in the boat yard at Whitwell on Rutland water and bought that, sold the trailer, but used the rigging and and parts to do up 117. i had great fun sail in the races on my club water and other boats kept clear as i came flying though almost out of control. it was to big for the waters and was difficult to point, definatly a reaching boat. finaly i decided to sell it, but before i had to have go on a big water so took it to Rutland water, there one could be on a beat of reach for twenty mins. there i launched fledw across to the church at edeth Weston. it was fantastic and was begining to regret selling but on my return up wind realised it was the right thing to do, by the time i had reach the slip i had little strenght left to pull it out after the many capsizses, good luck to its new owner, i hope he can master a very exiting boat she need taming.

  • 14 Rod Harpham // Nov 15, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I have just remembered that toy117 had been fitted with a small jib to aid tacking i found it easy to use but not too effective , it was an interesting addition

  • 15 Bill Robinson // Nov 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I owned Toy 117 for about 18 years and sailed with the people you mention ;Trevor etc. Went to the 21st birthday party of the Toy run by Peter Clayton in London.
    Raced the boat at Scammonden Water near Huddersfield, the Glasson Dock at Lancaster- my clubs. Raced it at meetings Medway, Brightlingsea etc.
    Took the boat to the Europeans in Holland with Geoff Woodhall Tot 51.

  • 16 Stu Anderson // Nov 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I used to sail a Toy out of Sutton Harbour in Plymouth in the late 80s as a teenager. I loved the boat- can’t remember what number it was- what a shame. It was well set up and used to absolutely fly on a reach. I remember first sailing it and trying to get used to the seat- but once mastered a loved it, sitting right on the end at speed, great fun. I often look for any Toy’s for sale as I would have another like a shot. Not really sure why I sold my old one!

  • 17 nigel // May 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    just bought toy number 144 needs alot of work anybody have photos of toys ?

  • 18 Stu Anderson // Jun 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I used to sail a Toy out of Plymouth- I can’t for the life of me remember the number-Red hull, blue and white sails called ‘Venom’.

    I loved the boat with a passion- being quite a big bloke, I used to take ii out in strong winds and really have some fun.

    I would love to get hold of another one- are there any still about?

  • 19 Matt Long // Jul 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Mike
    I was part of the Gunfleet Sailing Club fleet from 79 – 89 and owned 73 (Excel built) and 223 which was a rather lightweight hull built by Reg White at his Brightlingsea works at the time he was chasing the Laser build contract.
    Other big fleets at Brightlingsea, Hoo Ness in Kent and Glasson Dock in Lancs

    Remember sailing against Trevor, Pete, John and Sue

    Didn’t know they went as far as 240, thought 224 built by Kelvin Morton was the last?

  • 20 Rob scovell // Aug 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I had cuckoo twice in the eighties. Finished second in 1982 Nats at hayling behind Colin Jex. Lovely boat and very friendly people
    Rob scovell

  • 21 stigchel // Aug 15, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    my dad imported the ToY in the 60’s in Holland, he joined many races also in the 70’s, still have pic’s and won prices !
    “we” (I with kg’s of lead around me) sailed no 27, 136, 188, 192 and one more wich I don’t remember
    I’am looking for a good example, could you tell where I should look ?

  • 22 guy monty // Apr 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Raced toy 25 from about 66 (I think) onwards till early 70s. Raced at anzio, Italy” one of a kind” in 66(?). no wind, no result. John Partridge ran it then, alongside being a dentist. Top man. Best was 5th in nationals at Brightlingsea, can’t remember when tho’. Huge fun to sail. Raced against Perham a few times then bumped into him in the City later on.

  • 23 Phil Hammond // May 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I owned TOY 3 which was wooden decked and had a cockpit before the open transom came into the design. Many happy memories as a young lad sailing in Brightlingsea and Wivenhoe. I doubt TOY 3 is around anymore but would love to hear of her whereabouts if she is.

  • 24 Johnny Prescott // Jun 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    For your information – I owned Cuckoo Toy No 14o in around 1979. She had a red hull but can’t remember whether GRP or not.
    I sailed her up in Coniston and at Glasson Dock for about 3 years. I actually bought her from a guy on Hayling Island and had my fair share of thrills and spills sailing her. Having had previous experience of sailing Hornets with sliding seats and also a Minisail Sprint, I had no trouble adapting to the Toy- she did give me one or two very hairy sails with my time with her and I took a ducking or two which was par for the course anyway . I have fond memories of Cuckoo -a jolly good boat in my view. She had a little brass plate screwed to the centreboard case which read” When the going gets tough- the tough get going” You needed to be tough to sail her well- particularly in a blow ! I wonder where she is now??? I sold her eventually and bought a Fireball, the class of which I still sail today at the age of 69. Must be crazy- it’s what Toys do to you!!

  • 25 Sue Last // Sep 24, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    How wonderful to hear from so many friends!
    What fun it was – especially when I was the right way up.
    I’m threatening to take Glenn Bacon’s ToY out now!!!

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