FIFE ONE DESIGN CLASS
In 1926 Messrs. W. and R. B. Fife of Fairlie were asked to draw up plans for a new class suitable for the waters of the Conway estuary and the Menai Strait. The waterline length to be limited to 16ft. and the maximum draught to 3ft.3ins. This was done; the length overall being 24ft.4ins., with a beam of 6ft.6ins. and an 18cwt. lead keel. 15 wood yachts were built by Messrs. A.M. Dickie & Sons of Bangor, and all but one are still in existence today. In 1933 the cost was £275 complete which included a £5 royalty to William Fife. 22 G.R.P. Fifes have been added to the fleet.
MENAI STRAIT ONE DESIGN CLASS
The Menai Strait One Design Sloop was specially designed for the Strait waters by Mr. W. H. Rowland M.I.M.E. of Deganwy, for the builders Morris & Leavett of Gallows Point, Beaumaris, who had received orders for a 20ft sloop with a lifting centre plate which could be sailed at any state of the tide.
Four M.S.O.D’s were built in 1937 and four in 1938, also by this year the boat owners had organised weekly racing in Portdinorwic, where two boats were moored and off Gallows Point, Beaumaris, where a local poacher used his twelvebore shotgun to start the racing.
In August 1938 the owners decided to form their own club which would exclude paid hands (professional helmsmen) which was the format of other local clubs. One guinea subscription fee was collected from the owners and five shillings from associates. The CLUB was registered with the R.Y.A. in November 1938.
Two more M.SO.D’s were built in 1939, when the club decided that the letters MS be put on the mainsail, to help identification. This was why they were called the Marks & Spencers boat. A levy of ten shillings was also made on each member to contribute to the launch service. Racing Regulations were also made that each boat had to carry all gear supplied by the boat builders, which is still in force to this day with only a few minor exceptions.
After World War II, the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club invited all local clubs to join them in reinstating racing in the Strait. Since then the Menai Strait One Design Class has sailed under the R.A.Y.C. Burgee, however it has always maintained its club status.
Between the years of 1945 and 1952 the class was brought up to seventeen in number. H.M.S Conway recognised the M.S.O.D. as the ideal training boat for youngsters and used four M.S’s for 17 years and Beaumaris Sea Scouts had one for 6 years.
Over the next years some of the boats were taken away, five had engines put in and taken out, one has had a cabin built on, centre keel and bilge keels fitted, all since taken off. Of the seventeen built ALL are back in the North Wales area, being refurbished by new enthusiastic owners, who are restoring the M.S’s back to the original specifications.