Townson Dart


Sometimes described as the "square bilge Mistral" Des Townson designed the 11' Dart for Frank Blackburn in Waiuku around 1960. Frank wanted a boat for two boys and built the first eight hulls, either completing them himself or for decking by buyers. Sadly, Frank was killed in a motor vehicle accident in 1969, aged 29.The original Waiuku boats were sold outside the club, which lacked the resources at that stage to promote the class.

John Duff of Waiuku was an early Dart sailor, reporting it as a lovely boat to sail. It is generally thought to have deserved to have done better than it did.

The Dart plans were lost for a while but turned up in the hands of Harold Gratton, a former Dart sailor and Zephyr skipper from Hamilton. He has taken early retirement and moved to Waikawa Bay in the Sounds. He found the plans in his moving "clean out".

There has been some interest in Dart plans, with a couple of sets supplied recently. If you are interested, contact me on It would be great to see a classic two handed youth boat back on the water again!

Dart #53 turned up recently and is now in my possession. It is good order and has been out for a sail.

Dart #22 was recently changed hands and is now in Northland. 

If anyone is looking to dispose of a Dart, please let me know.

Rob Ebert




Copyright to NZMOA 2006