IYRU A & B Catamaran Trials at Sheppey, 1967

In 1967, the then International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU, now World Sailing) decided to run a week long series of trials (August 5-12) to determine the best “A” and “B” classes of catamaran design to be selected for International status. The trials were held at the Catamaran Yacht Club, Isle of Sheppey (a small island in the Thames Estuary, 40 miles to the east of London), Kent, UK.

Australis was chosen in the “A” class, and Tornado selected in the “B” class.

In 2012, ISAF uploaded this excellent original footage of the 1967 trials (https://youtu.be/v_uL4LilMWI): 

“A” Class Results:

Pos Name Country Designer Helmsman Points
1 Australis  Australia Johnston Graham E. Johnston 20.7
2 Bambi  UK Prout Coster N. T. Coster 25.4
3 Catalina  Denmark Smitt L. Wagner-Smitt 34.0
4 Unicorn  UK Mazzotti J. Mazzotti 35.1
5 Sail Fast  UK Hubbard R. J. Osborn 49.4
6 Miss Rothmans  New Zealand Stanton Cooke Bros. G. B. Stanton 49.7
7 Lo-Ka  USA Karcher R. F. Lostrom 68.4
8 Iolanthe II  UK Butcher P. Butcher 78.7

Australis won 3 of 7 races.
Bambi, Catalina, Unicorn & Sail Fast won a race each.

“B” Class Results:

Pos Name Country Designer Helmsman Points
1 Tornado I  UK Rodney March Reg White 8.7
2 Mehitabel  Australia Cunningham Blaxland P. Blaxland 25.7
3 Thai-Foon  UK MacAlpine-Downie K. L. Sanger 69.1
4 Vivace  UK Mazzotti A. G. J. Smith 70.7
5 Yankee B (B-Lion)  USA Hubbard Mark Smith 76.7
6 Roton Pointer  USA G. W. Patterson J. Bonney 82.4
7 Ready Steady Gone  UK Prout R. G. Prout 83.1
8 Pacific Cat  USA Newport Boats R. Baker 85.7
9 Tornado II  UK Rodney March T. K. Pearce 91.0
10 Centennial  Canada Perry/Carter G. S. Percy 104.0
11 Yellow Bird(Shearwater III)  UK Prout F. Prout 113.7

The B Class was easily won by Tornado 1 sailed by Reg White and Bob Fisher, who took six first places out of nine races. Tornado II used an experimental wing mast.
The Tornado went on to be used for the Olympics from 1976 onwards. Nearly 50 years later, the Tornado is still the highest performance B Class catamaran.

Images of the trials (available to buy through PPL Media Ltd):

‘Australis’ the A-class catamaran sailed by Australian Graham Johnston which won the IYRU A-class trials off the Isle of Sheppey, UK.


Reg White sailing the ‘original’ Tornado catamaran in the International Yacht Union (IYRU) trials off Sheppey, UK.


Reg White sailing the ‘original’ Tornado catamaran  sail number K1 in the IYRU trials off Sheppey.


Flag icons courtesy of IconDrawer.com