Uffa Fox

Planing dinghy designer and builder


Born and raised on the Isle of Wight, Fox (1898-1972) is considered the father of modern planing sailboats. A seven-year apprenticeship with noted boatbuilder A.E. Saunders, a manufacturer of high-powered motorboats, led to a lifetime fascination with planing hulls. At 21, he started his own business and boats began pouring out the door. His successful designs include International 14s, the Albacore, Javelin, Flying Fifteen, and Day Sailer.

His books on sailing written mostly in the mid-to-late 1930s, are classics of the genre and are as valid today as they were then.
During WWII, Fox designed a boat to be carried and dropped from rescue aircraft to survivors of downed aircraft or sunken ships. He regarded these airborne lifeboats his most significant design, although anyone that ever saw the 22-Meter Vigilant might disagree.

Fox was perhaps most famous outside the yachting world for his relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh, with whom he sailed in many regattas on Dragons and 5.5-meter boats.