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Mr Mormon's Land Yacht c1964

Reading from left to right) Mike Walder, Chris Kane, Longs, Ted at the back, Rupert Carder, (Chris or possibly Keith) Vynall, Dave Allen, Trevor (Rocky) Rockliffe, Keith Cronin, Me (Aff)
From the private collection of Arthur David

Questions about the design

From the beginning, I had a misgiving about the design. I must have somehow known what was to come. Firstly, there were no brakes. Well not too bad, as Mr Mormon said when asked, just turn into the wind. This worked well, excepting that the front steering wheel came off the ground, and gained height with both increase of speed and weight of occupant; I was not fat, but bigger than average. In answer to my concerns, I was told to just let the sail go, the speed would decrease and the front wheel would come down. Still not too bad we supposed.

Manual dexterity needed

There was a double wheel arrangement; the one to the farthest from the driver/sailer was for steering the front wheel and was probably taken from an old car. The second, home made wheel, was closest to the boy at the controls, controlled the main sail sheet; only one sail. So with a bit of manual dexterity, one hand controlling steering and the other the sail, it worked well.

Do you remember the yacht? Please share your memories by posting a comment below

One windy evening

I was at the controls one windy evening after school; I was going at a good speed and the front wheel was of course airborne. Having what I thought was plenty of room for manoeuvres, I let the main sheet go, in order to get that front wheel down. The boom flew rapidly to starboard but was stopped by the starboard shroud (rigging that holds the mast up on the right hand side). To my dismay, more speed was gained, and the all important front wheel gained additional distance from the ground.

No soft landing available

After valuable moments were lost wondering what to do, I tried drawing the sheet in, thinking that I might lose some speed if I could instead get the boom around about midships. All too late I am afraid. The school field had been made level by cutting into the ground on one side and building it up on the other. As luck would have it, I was pointing to the edge of the middle point of the field, where there was no bank and no bushes, just a nice clear run into the solid flint wall.

An embarrassing experience

The cockpit was too tight to bail out of in a hurry. The impact I believe wrecked the poor old yacht for good; I hope it was resurrected at some stage though. The fashion, at least for me, at the time was for very tight trousers. In the accident my inside leg seam was split from calf via crutch to calf. I was cut and bruised extensively but the embarrassment of going home on the bus, with what amounted to ragged chaps where trousers should have been was worse. The land yacht was a truly wonderful experience, and I am sorry for Mr Mormon and my mates that it was me at the controls at it’s demise.

Comments about this page

  • I remember Mr Mormon from my days at Fitzherbert in the 50s. I learnt many good lessons from him in woodwork and metalwork classes. I remember to this day his “always cut on the waste wood side of the line” advice. I often think of him when in my workshop doing things. He always had some project or other going.

    By Mick Peirson (19/12/2015)
  • Mick do you remember his father having the bike shop in George St, Brighton? It is now a cafe.

    By John eaton (04/02/2016)
  • Black shirt! Yes I always had to be different even back then. Nice to see some of my contemporaries again. Just goes to show how easy it is to lose contact with people over the years. Where are all of you now? The land yacht, yes it was good fun to work on but even more fun trying to keep it on all three wheels. We also had a car club with the help of the metalwork teacher, until we tore up the playing field doing wheelies. Does Alf have any more pics of us all? It would be nice also to see some of the girls from our class.

    By Rupert (09/06/2016)
  • I have always remembered the land-yacht but it is amazing to see an actual picture. Oddly enough I have done a bit of sailing myself – around Sweden, the Canaries and the Caribbean.

    By Paul (Max) McAlinden 1966-1970 (16/09/2016)
  • Mr Moreman (correct spelling!) was my uncle. He died in early 2017. He was a great inspiration to me – always having a go at new things. He also taught my brother Chris, at Fitzherbert.

    By Bob Eager (15/02/2017)
  • What terrific memories. Amazing to see familiar faces. Unfortunately I didn’t get to do either woodwork or metalwork as I did domestic science with girls and a very pretty teacher !! Went on to do professional catering and cooking.
    Whatever happened to the band of villains above?

    By Tadeusz Piotrowski (Ted) (25/06/2019)
  • I remember going on a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme with a canoe made in Mr Moremans woodwork class it was a bit chunky but it did the job just about.

    By Roger Provost (20/11/2021)

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