Goblin dinghy 389

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Goblin 389

In October 1999, a friend, Monty, told me that he had a sailing dinghy that had been stored in his garage for 10 years. It belonged to his brother-in-law, Douglas Rankin, and he thought that Douglas might be interested in selling it. After 10 years of storage, it was in a bit of disrepair but everything seemed to be there. I agreed to buy the dinghy.

Douglas said that the dinghy was a Goblin. The sail was made by Jeckells sails in the U.K. and featured the class logo: an upper case G sporting what looks like a jester’s cap (see photos below). To find out more information, I wrote to Jeckells and they were able to tell me that the Goblin was designed by Percy. W. Blandford of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, and was sold in kit form by Light Craft. Jeckells said that the details they hold on file appear to date from the early sixties - the prototype Goblin was completed and tested in Sept. 1961. They were not able to track down when my particular sail was made but, from its serial number, they estimate that it was made during the mid-sixties.

From these sources and from the original plans that Douglas gave me, I found that the Goblin dinghy was constructed with three sheets of 1/4” plywood using a design that was unique at the time: a V-cut is made in the end of a sheet of plywood and the two surfaces of the V are brought together using the stitch and glue method. In bringing the cut together, the shape of the boat is formed. This is the same method that was later used for the very successful Mirror dinghy.

When I received it, the Goblin was painted blue with a grey interior although both colours were hidden under the dirt of 10 years of storage. So the first thing to do when Monty delivered the dinghy was to give everything a good wash! Click on the photo to see a larger version.

After cleaning everything, I began to assess the state of the dinghy. The side seats were constructed as sealed built-in buoyancy. However, they had leaked and so the tops had been removed for storage to dry the compartments and prevent rot. This had resulted in a little bit of damage. Floating the hull on my pond showed that there was quite a serious leak where the daggerboard casing met the keel. Since this required quite a bit of disassembly to effect a proper repair, I engaged a local boatbuilder, Nelson Cutler, to help me fix it. The mainsheet and its blocks were missing and new ones had to be purchased and, finally, the sail battens were missing so I had to make new ones. I wan’t sure about the intended sailplan so I set it up it as a gunter rig. Later, I found out that it should be a balanced lugsail.

Eventually, all this restoration work was complete and I finished up by replacing the yellow polyurethane rope mast stays with stainless steel wire and painting the hull yellow outside and white inside. On the 21st July 2000, it was ready for its first trip on the water and the photo on the left shows it at the water’s edge.

The photo on the right shows the Goblin returning home after a successful sail, although in very light winds. Below it is a photo of the Goblin on the beach, a photo which shows the hull in more detail.

The Goblin has been a good dinghy for puttering around the bay although it is a wet boat when there is any wave action. My Goblin also has pretty strong weather helm but that is likely because I have it gunter rigged instead of rigged as a balanced lugsail. I should try changing it to see what difference it makes.

A search of the Web doesn’t turn up much information about the Goblin but I found some details on the Clark Craft website which shows a photo of Goblin 194. Also, on the Stour Sailing Club website I found a downloadable .pdf file of the Spring 2008 edition of their “Bowsprit” magazine. This contains an article by Martin Pavey called “My first boat” showing the same photo of Goblin 194.

That was the sum total of my knowledge about the Goblin dinghy until I heard from John Christophers...


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