Wanderer - Island Class Sailing Dinghy

During the early 1930s the Island Sailing Club (Isle of Wight), conducted a series of trials to determine the best design for their needs, resulting in the adoption of what was to become known as the ‘Island Class,’ a one-design 14 ft. dinghy.

Two celebrated designers came together for this boat.  Charles Nicholson designed the hull while the rig and sail plan was produced by Uffa Fox.  It was said that such a combination of skill and experience was bound to produce a design of excellence.

The new boats sailed frequently from Cowes, and were watched with no small degree of envy by the Royal Air Force Yacht Club at Calshot, such that the club made application to the ISC to use the boat design, with modifications, as the official sailing dinghy of the air force.  This was agreed, and thus the original boat became the Island Class dinghy, in recognition of the Island Sailing Club, while the forces boat, rapidly adopted by the navy as well as the air force, became known as the RNSA (Royal Navy Sailing Association) 14.  The primary differences between the two boats was that the RNSA 14 was Gunter rigged and lost the foredeck, in order that boats could be stacked for easy transportation.

Wanderer is currently displayed on Main Road with the sail set as an advertising banner for the Boathouse 4 restaurant. She is thought to have been built by one William Atkins, who was a shipwright serving in Portsmouth dockyard.  It is believed that he built her in his garage in Tangiers Road, Portsmouth, during the late 1950s, and intended her to be an exhibition boat.

Boat Stats

Length Overall





Oars and sail.


Clinker with copper nails

Date Built


Boat Yard

William Atkin, Tangiers Road, Portsmouth (not confirmed).

Supported by:

Supported by Regional Growth Fund