History of the EOA

BACKGROUND

Eventide Eloise

Eventide Eloise

Maurice Griffiths, then Editor of Yachting Monthly magazine, drew the plans for the 24ft Eventide in the autumn of 1956 at Shenfield, Essex. It was first announced as a build-it-yourself design in the January 1957 edition of that magazine. It was an immediate success not only with amateur builders but professional builders of plywood boats at the time also took it up. By the late 60’s it was mainly being built by the amateur who wanted an easily built family cruiser with a proven reputation. Although initially designed at 24ft as demand for the Eventide grew plans were issued for a 26ft version.

It was not long before the Eventide was crossing the oceans of the world. E8 “Borer Bee” was built in Singapore by Lt.-Cdr. E.W. Atkinson R.N. who sailed her to England. Summer cruises from the West Indies to South America, Durban to England, Atlantic crossings and similar voyages soon became fairly common. Probably the longest known voyage by an Eventide was that of the 26ft “Moonbird”, skippered by J. Greenhill with his wife and 4 year old daughter. They left Bosham Quay, England in September 1970 and ended in Hobart, Tasmania in December 1971, earning the Passage Trophy!

THE FORMING OF THE ASSOCIATION

The Eventide Owners Association was formed at an inaugural meeting held at the Great Western Hotel, London, on 27th February 1963. Maurice Griffiths was elected as President and guided and encouraged the Committee in organising and running the Association until his retirement in 1968. As a mark of appreciation at the AGM he was enthusiastically elected as Hon. Life Member.

Much of the formation work was carried out by the Association’s first Secretary, Mr. Haliwell, and his successor, Mr. Wanklin. Both subsequently served as Vice-President with Mr. Wanklin deputising many times for Mr. Griffiths after he retired from “Yachting Monthly” and moved to a remote part of Sussex.

Dr. Richards undertook, as Hon. Editor, to produce a twice-yearly “EOA Bulletin”, with revenue from advertising contributing greatly to the cost of printing and distributing. This publication continues to this day.

The Treasurer for the first five years was Mr. Thornton, after which his place was taken by Mr. Keene. The Association owes much to these first officers and all the other elected committee members over the years who have done so much to organise branches and various meets.

THE MEETS

The first meet was held at Brixham in 1963 and was organised by Dr. Richards. In the following years meets were held regularly around the coast. In addition “Builder’s Meets” were held, at which members gathered for an afternoon around a partly built boat to discuss building methods and problems encountered. These proved very popular.

In practice it was found that only members living within about a 50 mile radius were able to attend meets so to overcome the problem of distance the formation of area branches was encouraged. There was also a system of “Port Officers” established. These were members with good local knowledge willing to offer advice and information to visiting owners.

OTHER YACHTING MONTHLY DESIGNS

About a year after the Association’s establishment it was decided to invite Waterwitch owners to join. The 30ft Waterwitch was also designed by Maurice Griffiths for the Yachting Monthly amateur-build series. Finally it was decided to extend membership to owners of all boats built to the Yachting Monthly designs. Several times it has been suggested that the Association’s name be changed to accommodate the greater variety but in those early days the majority of members were Eventide owners and no more suitable name has ever been put forward. All classes are non-the-less welcome and are encouraged to make use of all the Association has to offer. Class Representatives were established for the different classes of yacht.

The full range of Yachting Monthly designs is:

Class Length Designer
Eventide 24& 26ft Maurice Griffiths GM ARINA
Waterwitch 30ft Maurice Griffiths
Senior 16ft Kenneth Gibbs
Junior 13ft 6ins Kenneth Gibbs
3 Tonner 20ft Alan Buchanan ARINA, ARAES
Wild Duck 19ft Alan Buchanan
Mouette 27ft 6ins John Rowland
Gooseander 23ft Colin Faggetter
Added Later:
Storm 26ft Maurice Griffiths
Riptide 31ft Maurice Griffiths

THE EOA TODAY

The EOA is the official Association, representing the Yachting Monthly designs and as such is affiliated to the RYA. Membership has in recent times been opened up to welcome enthusiasts and owners of other boats designed by Maurice Griffiths, such as the Lone Gull II, Golden Hind and the Barbican 33.

After the retirement of Maurice Griffiths the copyright of the Yachting Monthly designs was donated to the EOA and over the years many copies of the plans have been sold for home build. Maurice also donated two further designs to our portfolio; STORM and RIPTIDE. Plans for the boats are now available free of charge through the EOA, (see our Plans page) and a few continue to be requested. Single sheets from the plans are also available for those people engaged in renovation and refurbishment.

We have an enthusiastic and active core membership and we continue to hold meets, including the occasional Builders/Renovators Meet. Examples of these designs can still be seen all round the coast, lovingly cared for and sailed by enthusiasts, although dwindling numbers in some areas have seen the discontinuation of many of our area branches and Port Officers. Our East Coast and Medway branches, Maurice’s heartland, continue to remain active and there are still a healthy number of YM designs in this Thames Estuary region. We also continue to appoint class representatives who are willing to offer advice and experience to members and potential members. Our AGM, until recently was held at the Cruising Association in London each January continues to be well attended. We are now using a different venue.

The Bulletin continues to be produced twice yearly, in May and November, by the present Hon. Editor, Elizabeth Leaper and is a valuable and informative link for our scattered membership.

TROPHIES

The Association has awarded a number of annual trophies since the early days and these continue to be awarded where appropriate. They include three trophies for the annual Log Competition, The President’s trophy donated by Maurice Griffiths, The Maiden Voyage Trophy and the Passage Trophy donated by Dr. Richards. The winning entries are also published in The Bulletin. Other trophies include the MG Belaying Pin for services to the Association and the Bradwell Trophy awarded at the main Association Meet held at Bradwell, Essex each August Bank Holiday. This was originally awarded to the winner of the Match Race held at the meet but due to dwindling numbers attending is now mostly awarded to the boat sailing the furthest distance to attend the meet.

THE FUTURE

It is a sign of the times that not so many people have the time, space or skills to self-build, especially when mass-production methods and modern materials have brought down the cost of professionally built boats. We are currently looking into ways to modernise some of the designs, to which end a “Stitch & Glue” version of the YM Senior has been recently completed by David Seymour-Jones and this will be exhibited on the EOA stand at the Beale Park Boat Show in June 2009.

The main challenge for the future of the EOA is how to keep the Association relevant to today’s sailors and further interest in these now classic boat designs.

PRESIDENTS OF THE ASSOCIATION

Listed here are Presidents of the EOA from its foundation to date:

Maurice Griffiths, GM, ARINA 1963 – 1967
Lt. Cmdr. E.W. Atkinson 1968 – 1971
R.G. Waterman 1972 – 1976
K. Moss 1977 – 1979
A. Sykes 1980 – 1988
J. Williams 1989 – 1993
M.J. Follows 1994 – 1996
R.J. Eatwell 1997 – 2000
T. McMenamin 2001 – 2003
R.J. Eatwell 2004 – 2008
R.S. Leaper 2009 –