The life of small boat designer recalled

The life of small boat designer Ian Proctor who died in 1992 aged 74 and his outstanding designs were celebrated with a reception for friends and family at the Maritime Museum, Falmouth.

His sons, Roger and Keith along with some old employees including Ian Proctor’s secretary and draughtsman, as well as legendary endurance dinghy sailors, Frank and Margaret Dye, enjoyed an evening of appreciation and recognition of this great designer’s work.

Ian Proctor’s innovative designs and ideas modernised the whole concept of small boat sailing, making a vital contribution to the popularisation of the sport.  He designed over 100 different boats and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Royal Designer for Industry.

Andy Wyke, Boat Collection Manager at the Museum, explained: ‘It’s fair to say he’s probably done more to influence small boat design and small boat sailing than any other designer. His Topper design has been responsible for ensuring the sport of sailing appeals to a much wider group of people.’

Despite a permanent paralysis of his right arm from polio, contracted during wartime service, Proctor became one of the country’s leading small boat helmsmen. He won many victories, most notably in the National 12 and Merlin Rocket classes.

Find out more about this accomplished yachtsman and prolific designer in the Museum’s new Study Boat Area. See a state of the art brand new Topper dinghy, loaned to the Museum by Topper International, and the first fibre glass International Tempest, Tempestuous, on show until December.