Never a Contender

Our February 10 installment of One-Design Friday on Facebook showcased the failed experiment of sailboat racing's most noted legend. Perhaps this one-design's demise was trying to do too much with too little.

Sailing World

Elvstrom Trapez

Sailing World Archives

The documents on file in our “Trapez” folder are tissue thin, tattered, and dated “22.12.65”

“The Trapez series is now ready for production after 2 years of thorough testing,” reads the promotional copy. “Every little detail has been most thoughtfully constructed and produced in order to fulfill the extremely strict requirements originally made, as to price, weight, speed, safety, size and simplicity.

“A mono dinghy where sail, aluminum mast and boom, prestretched stainless rigging and all fittings of polished stainless steel at a price of D.Kr. 4,750, —(equivalent to US$695) is really a sensation to-day.”

The Trapez, from Elvström Boats in Rungsted, Denmark, was a one-hull-four-rig offering, and at 16 feet and 230 pounds fully rigged, the boat, according to some historical accounts, was plenty powered up in the sail area department and quick to plane. The Trapez, in its singlehanded version, had 112 square feet of sail area, and other versions simply piled on more sail area. As technical as it was at the time, it was short lived and did not stack up against other popular dinghies of the day. This much was revealed at the International Yacht Racing Union’s 1965 selection trials in Weymouth (seeking a singlehanded dinghy), which ultimately selected the Contender, now 45 years old (and hosting its world championship in Florida in April). There’s an excellent account of the 1965 IYRU trials at ica.contenderworld.de.