Morgan Giles Estuary Class One-Design

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A GRP version of the 18ft, classically-lined 'Essex One-Design' dinghy that was originally designed by Morgan Giles for use in the the rough waters of the Thames estuary. This design shares many features seen in other designs of the 1920-30 era such as a cast iron centreplate weighing approx. 225lbs, and commodious cockpit to accommodate a crew be able to sit within, rather than necessarily on the side-decks, while also - in an effort to avoid the complexities associated with the carrying of a spinnaker - being fitted with deck arrangements to be able to pull round (or swing) the jib's luff to windward of the centre-line to present as much sail area to a following wind.

A fabulous family boat for cruising, racing or camping.

She will float in about 10 inches of water with the centre plate up and, because of the weight of her centreboard, will happily weather strong winds if left on a mooring. The current owner frequently sails the boat on his own, using the shorter mast.

Class Background and Construction

To quote from the 'Yachting World and Motor Boating Journal', published in May 1936 ..."The design itself shows a fast hull, somewhat full in the bow, but this very fullness .... gives them powerful shoulders and accounts for their ability in the short seas of the Thames Estuary.

The boats have ample free-board, and, as they only draw about a foot they take the ground upright and float safely, even when the wind is at gale force.

They carry a crew of three, and it is only in very strong winds that the crew have to perform acrobatic antics to keep the boats sufficiently upright to show their paces. When they are knocked down they spill the wind and recover."

By the mid-1960s the cost of building new wooden boats had become prohibitive. A new glass reinforced plastic (GRP) design was commissioned, based on the old wooden hull plan but cheaper to build, lighter and with modern fittings and buoyancy. This design remains largely unchanged today – a dependably strong but fast hull and a powerful rig with a 30 foot high mast.

By going to the following website address you will find more background and copy of the Thames Marine brochure for the design.

Sails and Spars

Two different masts are included in the package:

  • The original, taller mast as used for competitive 'class racing'.
  • A shorter mast (approx. 5' shorter), used for family pottering and cruising and deck-stepped to facilitate more convenient mast raising/lowering when trailing.

Three main sails (one to fit the shorter mast; two to fit the racing mast), two Jibs - all described as being in very good condition are included. The jibs are designed to be roller furled and the mainsails may be either rolled in the older way, or [in the case of the shorter rig] slab reefed in a more 'cruising' mode.

Deck Arrangements and Gear

Although there are built-in buoyancy tanks at either end of the hull, beneath the for'deck and aft decks, additional buoyancy bags are fitted beneath the side decks too.

Full-sized and well finished sole boards are fitted within the bottom areas and this fact combined with a cutaway centreboard housing makes for minimal intrusion at the forward end of the cockpit and eases the crew's ability to move from side to side.

There are two transverse thwarts for comfort when sailing and/or picnicking.

Two deck-mounted bilge pumps are fitted - for operation of whichever is conveniently to hand when heeled.

Two rudders (one lifting, the other fixed)

A pair of oars is included - as is a Mercury outboard motor.

A boom crutch mounts within moulded dogs within the aft deck to support the boom on moorings or for camping and a boom-supported camping tent (new 2021).

Anchor, fenders and warps.




A substantial and reliable trailer is included; fitted with new suspension, bearings and wheels and notably carries the hull above the wheels (rather than between them), thereby minimising the space required in which to store the boat.

The hull is supported by and runs on a wheeled bed and a check post at its forward end enables a block and tackle to be used in raising/lowering the boat's rig.

Note: The wheels in the picture are of 8" diameter for convenience in launching and there are also new 10" wheels for road use so they don't get salted. 

Contact Information

Contact us at the Barbican Yacht Agency on 01752 228855 in the first instance, this yacht is located ashore in a boatyard away from our office, so prior arrangement needs to be made for a viewing.

The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.

Contact The Seller

General Information

New or used
United Kingdom



Length overall (m)
Length waterline (m)
Beam (m)
Draft (m)
Displacement (kg)


About The Seller

Barbican Yacht Agency

Sutton Harbour Marina




United Kingdom

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