The Mirror Dinghy

The initial idea was raised by a young boy who complained to his father that when the family dinghy was being used he never had the chance to sail because others were always using her.. Normally, that would have been the end of the matter but, in this case, the boy’s father was BBC TV s do-it-yourself expert Barry Bucknell, who was about to build a dinghy to solve the problem.

Barry implemented a system of construction used by Ken Littledyke to make KL canoes by joining adjacent panels with resin and fibreglass tape. When it was completed, it was seen by one of the Daily Mirror writers, Paul Boyle, who knew Barry and chatted to him about the unusual design. At that time, the newspaper’s Publicity department was always ready to look at new ideas for promoting the newspaper and, after a lot of discussions, it was thought that boats with the name “Daily Mirror” would keep the paper’s name in the public’s mind. However, newspapers are very wary of complaints by readers and so the publicity department needed to be certain that any boat with the name of the Daily Mirror must be completely safe.

Jack Holt was involved with the second prototype made by Barry and decided to keep the construction method and the general lines of the boat, yet treat the hull concept as a new design. So the third boat to be manufactured looked quite different to its predecessors and yet boasted the same interesting appearance.

Two of the most interesting changes were suggested by the Daily Mirror Publicity staff. Firstly. the bright red sails to match the paper’s frontpage title and secondly, the design of the insignia on the mirror’s mainsail.

The third prototype, called Mirror dinghy No. 1, was made and it is this boat which the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich decided in 1986, to put on display as an important example of our national sailing history.

To insure your mirror dinghy at very competitive rates, then follow this link for dinghy insurance.

If you are keen to learn more about sailing a mirror dinghy, I can recommend a good book.

Just click on the lefthandside of this page where it states sponsored links –Mirror Dinghy Book.

If you would like to build your own Mirror dinghy then read the following.

Mirror dinghies can still be built from kits. They are so popular as sailing dinghies that people realise the versatility and value for money that these boats offer. Since its inception in 1963 the Mirror dinghy has stood the test of time. It has been the first sailing dinghy for so many families and is still held in great affection.Available in Fibreglass (GRP) and also in kit form. The Mirror is a versatile craft that can be sailed, rowed and motored which means that all sorts of activities can be achieved with the dinghy. She is a very good all rounder, with all the family able to enjoy her. Her high freeboard makes her safe for young ones while they learn how to handle her. The Mirror dinghy is appealing to all ages. Mirror dinghies can be split into two groups – Racing and Cruising. There is a company – Trident – that make a kit version of the Mirror called the Weekender. This cruising Mirror dinghy called the Weekender is car toppable, easy to rig quickly, and is easily stored. The shape of the Mirror makes her very stable – ideal for beginners and young people – she is just the answer for weekends awy and longer holidays. Mirror dinghies offer excellent performance under sail. Rowing and motoring with an outboard motor are also very easy and comfortable. Launching and recovery is also straight forward and easy. Either using a trailer or by using the car roof rack.


Below is a video that will give you an insight into sailing a Mirror dinghy.  You can also access other videos of Mirror dinghies sailing by clicking on the ^ arrow to bring up others to view.


The Mirror dinghy kit from Trident offers a Two piece Alloy mast and boom, rigging, ropes and blocks, rudder and centreboard, tiller and extention together with rowlocks and fittins. A set of sails – mainsail, jib and a sail bag are also included in the kit.

This is a great opportunity to get afloat, cheaply and have great fun with all the family. Remember this small boat can be trailed behind your car or put on your roof rack/bars and transported to anywhere you fancy, to sail and enjoy yourself.


Click on this link to find out more about Mirror dinghy kits

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