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On trial

To choose their new class, the IYRU held a set of trials at Weymouth in the autumn of 1965. The International Canoe was there, despite having been told in advance that even if it were to win the Trial Series, that it would not be selected.

The Finn was there, as a benchmark of performance.  Solos, OKs and single handed Fireballs were sailed, along with a host of new designs. There was some consternation at Weymouth when Paul Elvstrøm turned up with his new Trapez dinghy, which as it utilised the trapeze, was clearly outside of the design remit. With four consecutive gold medals in the Finn, sailing in a boat that was hi-tech when compared with most of the other entries and that he knew very well, Elvstrøm was expected to race away with the nomination, but only if he was allowed to compete.

Faced with prospect of turning away the biggest name in dinghy racing, the organisers relented. Elvstrøm raced, but although he quickly proved the potential of racing a dinghy from the trapeze, his performances were far from the expected horizon job. As the series progressed, it was the Canoe out in front, race after race, followed by the Trapez. Behind these two came the star turn of the series, David Thomas in his own designed ‘Unit’ dinghy.

The IYRU now had a problem, as the Unit had a very valid claim, that having been the best of the correctly designed boats, that it should be rewarded with International status. The response of the IYRU was to call for a second set of Trials, this time to be held at La Baule.

Elvstrøm practising in his Trapez dinghy at
Lymington, on the South Coast of England.
The rig was incredibly complex, with two sets of diamonds that Elvstrøm could adjust whilst sailing.
The boat also featured some novel features, such as a one piece moulded rudder and tiller.