The Maritime Museum in Falmouth to feature vintage Fireball - Allèz 8/5/07

A special feature of the Fireball class at tje Maritime Museum in Falmouth will include special exhibit Allèz for the next two months.

Designed by Peter Milne in 1962, the International Fireball is a one-design high performance sailing dinghy. The idea behind the boat was to design something cheap, simple to build and maintain, with a unique appearance, which gave an exciting performance for the price. Usually sailed by a crew of two, it has a trapeze and a symmetric spinnaker. The hull, designed for planing at low speeds, is scow-shaped, and has a single chine.

First reviewed by Yachts and Yachting in March 1962, the Fireball was an immediate success and by May of that year, 73 sets of plans had been sold for self- build, and at least one company was selling complete boats for £188.

The Fireball on show is Allèz, K24, and was built in 1963 by Jack Chippendale. From 1978 she was owned by Alistair Tatton until he donated her to the Museum in 2005. Its trapeze was probably supplied when the boat was new, as the rules were changed to allow them in 1963.

When he realised the accent was the wrong way round on the letter “e” of the boat’s name, Alistair decided to leave it so as to make her more distinctive: thus she became Allèz. Alistair kept a comprehensive log, charting his sailing experiences and boat modifications to Allèz, from 1978 until September 1991. The boat, extracts from Alistair’s log, and further information on the class, can be seen in the Museum’s Study Boat Zone from 1 May to 30 June.

Andy Wyke, Boat Collection Manager, commented: “Very few successful, long-lasting dinghy designs happen by accident. The Fireball is no exception and was designed by Peter Milne to meet a need: to bridge the gap between small family-type centre boarders and the larger, more expensive classes. The fact that 15,000 or so of these boats have been built is a testament to their popularity and competitiveness.”