National 12 - find out more...

The designs

National 12 designs go back to the 1936 and there have been substantial developments in hull shape, construction methods, materials and rig since then. Typically there has been a paradigm shift every decade or so. There are four main classifications in the fleet; double-bottomed, foilers, admiral's cuppers and vintage. There are often prizes for these different classifications at the major events.Within these classifications there are hundreds of designs. Some of these were particularly popular and are described on the list below. You can read about all the N12 designs on the boat database.

Year Design Picture Summary . . . Price guide (=400-1k, =1k-2k, =2k-4k, 4k+)
Light weight = Good for light weights, Heavy weights= Good for heavier crews
2012 Hijack Hijack Designed by Dave Hollom and manufactured by Composite Craft, launched mid 2012 and has showed good pace particularly in strong winds. The design won the Burton Cup in 2018
2009 Dead Cat Bounce Dead Cat Bounce Another innovative design from Jo Richards which has proven itself at Burton week since 2009. Jo designed the boat around the rudder foil. It has low free-board and a pronounced bustle in the rear sections of the hull. This would normally generate a large stern wave but with the foil this produces a pack that has low wetted surface area and a small stern wave.
2008 Paradigm2 Paradigm2 A development of the experimental Paradigm design by Gavin Willis. The Paradigm 2 has a more conventional rig but still sports a winged rudder and higher side decks than standard. Several production runs were made of this design.

Heavy weights
2003 Paradigm Paradigm An experimental design from Gavin Willis. The original included flaps in the bow a aero-foiled foredeck for extra lift. It also sports a winged rudder for better control.
Heavy weights
2003 Paradox N12 Bim Daser's third in the series which started with the Feeling Foolish. The Paradox has maximum width decks from the shrouds to the transom providing the helm and crew with maximum leverage when hiking giving it more power in a blow. The rounded hull also means the Paradox is easily driven in light airs if care is taken to avoid dunking the wider decks
2001 Numinous
N12 Developed from the Feeling Foolish by Bim Daser. The Numinous is a rounded very low drag design which is great in light winds and surprisingly good in restricted waters. Performance in windy conditions is equal to the Feeling Foolish.

Light weight
2000 Annie Apple N12 Annie Apple has been designed to minimise drag (surface and wave making) and maximise righting moment and lift. Designed by Dave Greening & built by Nigel Waller.
1998 Big Issue N12 Designed by Phil Morrison with high speed off wind performance in mind. The hull design was influenced by Phil's design work on International 14s.
1995 Feeling Foolish
N12 Designed in 1995, this design is an excellent all-rounder. The Feeling Foolish has a rounded hull with a small chine which makes it easily driven in light winds whilst maintaining great pace on open waters and has outstanding down wind performance in a blow. Bim describes the Feeling Foolish to Yachts & Yachting
1993 Wild Front Ear
N12 A subtle "Vee" hull provides increased speed on the transition to planing, it surfs well.

1991 Freak out
N12 A modified Crusader with better planing performance, and a drop-dead-gorgeous figure! The freak out has a low wetted surface area hull so is easily driven in light winds. They also have a wide deck giving them power in a blow.

Light weight
1989 Designer soap dish N12 The first "almost self draining" N12
1987 Radical posture
  Blistering speed in a blow, however its flat rocker and full sections make it hard to sail in light winds
1987 Design 8
N12 A modified Crusader made in "off-the-shelf" GRP. It is a good well behaved all-rounder and performs successfully in all conditions An excellent boat to get started in the class.
1987 Final Chapter
N12 The Chapter has been campaigned by heavier crews with great success. If you and your crew are over 22 stone this could be the boat for you. In recent years light crews have had good results showing the design isn't just for heavy weights. Also a number of boats have had rudder foils retro-fitted and have proven to be highly competitive.
Heavy weights
1981 Crusader
N12 A fine all rounder with good sea performance. It has a powerful hull with less rocker than its contemporaries.
1981 Baggy Trousers
N12 A wide, powerful hull which is at its best on the sea in a breeze. This is very fast on the plane and is not for the faint hearted!
Light weight
1981 Baggy II
  A Baggy Trousers development with even more speed! If that is possible!
Light weight
1980 Rough Diamond
N12 Good all rounder with a round bilge giving it an edge in light airs. Now superseded by the Trouble Shooter.
1980 Tigress
N12 Round bilged Tiger, another good all rounder.
1979 Punkarella N12 Punkarella was a one-off boat, which was ahead of its time and paved the way for the wide, fast designs
1979 Street Legal
  The Street Legal has a very wide hull which is a bit stick and so  difficult to make go in light winds, but watch it go in a force 4.
Light weight
1978 Tiger
N12 The Tiger is a modified Cheshire Cat with flatter sections making it faster on the sea. In the right hands they are still seen at the front of the fleet.
1977 Scooter
  A "beamy" four plank development that was produced in GRP and showed lots of promise in the late 70s
1977 Bouncer
N12 Bouncer was a pioneering wide and flat design, still very fast on open water.
1976 Pipedream
N12 You will not be out-pointed with this one. An easily driven hull with very fine bows makes it excellent inland and to windward.
1975 Wind-Fall
  This has an inverted garboard which reduces the wetted area and makes it fast in sub-planing conditions
1973 Cheshire Cat
N12 The most successful design of the 1970s. Now superseded on the sea, but still a good all round inland boat for restricted waters.
1972 Paper Dart
N12 Indestructible GRP development of the China Doll (1967) and Whisper (1970). Many are still doing well in the hands of club racers.


There have been many designs since 1936. Here is a quick summary of some of these clinker boats. Many of the descriptions and pictures come from Robin Steavenson's "History of the National 12s". As this area develops, you should be able to click on the design for more details and pictures. Wherever possible pictures have been credited to their sources. If anyone who has rights to any picture objects to its use here, please let us know, and we will remove it, or credit it more formally. 

Year Design Mug shot Description
1970 Whisper N12 Won the Nationals in 1970. Designer: Phil Morrison
1967 China Doll N12 Phil Morrison's first National 12. The last clinker boat was number 3009, a China Doll. Designer: Phil Morrison
1967 Mr Jones N12 Flaring out to a maximum beam of approx. 6'3" combined with a fine entry, narrow transom and relatively flat rocker, the design had a reputation for being difficult to sail, with the helm regularly being washed out the back on a fast plane by the stern wave!
1966 Mark XIIII   Proctor's last 12 design, a further development of the Mk12. Designer: Ian Proctor
1965 Lucky Number N12 Sharp bows, flat aft run, and flared out to maximum allowed beam of 5 ft 11 in. Designer: Patrick Pym
1964 Mark XII N12 A cross between a Mk8 and a Mk11, with reduced waterline beam. Some were built without decking. Designer: Ian Proctor
1962 Mark XI & XIa   A shallower hull than earlier Proctor designs, with a more even keel rocker. Designer: Ian Proctor
1962 March Hare N12 An almost hard chine design with very sharp bilges. Very slim bows and very flat aft, giving a good planing platform, but also reduced wetted area when heeled in light winds. Designer: Mike Jackson
1962 Finesse   A powerful hull with high bilges, and with the mast & centreboard further aft than usual. Designer: David Mathias
1962 Sparklet N12  Similar to the Smuggler, but designed to reduce wetted area and improve light wind performance. Cost 190 at the 1962 Boat Show! Designer: Leslie Landamore
1961 Starfish N12 A wide dinghy with fine bows and a long, flat run aft Designer: Mike Noakes
1960 Mark X N12 Development of the Mk8, with slightly flatter sections and wider bilges. Designer: Ian Proctor
1959 Squid N12 Fine entry, flat floors and a fairly hard bilge, with less rocker than contemporary designs. Designer: Richard Rouse
1959 Smuggler N12 Fine entry, flat floors and a wide veed transom. Designer: Uffa Fox
1959 Mark IX   More rounded sections than the Mk8, making a more buoyant but less stable boat. An excellent light wind and river boat. Designer: Ian Proctor
1957 Mark VIII N12 Fine bowed, deep chested and with a straight, wide aft run.
1957 Mark VII   Never built. Designer: Ian Proctor
1954 Chimp   Chimp series had a more powerful hull than the contemporary Proctor designs  Designer: Jack Holt
1956 Mark VI N12 Similar to the Mk2 below water, but more flared above to increase beam and sitting out power, good inland.
1954 Mark V   Designed to carry weight, more V sectioned with more rocker than the IVs. Good inland, but hairy in high winds.
1954 Sunrise   Finer entry & shoulders than the Sunshine.
1954 Mark IV & IVa   Finer bows to improve windward performance in waves, and wider with more flared topsides. Self bailers allowed the IVa to have a lower freeboard.
1953 Mark III   Flatter floors and more topside flare than the MK2.
1952 Daphne   Stable, flat floored boat, with wide spray deflecting gunwales.
1952 Mark II N12 More freeboard and a flatter aft run than the Mk1. The first three glued plywood clinker boats were Wyche & Coppock Mk2s, including N1153 owned by Robin Steavenson.
1951 Mark I   Narrow bows, fuller & flatter mid & aft sections, a good all round dinghy.
1950 Little John   Full bows, with a flat, wide rear run good for planing. Good on smooth water, slower in waves.
1947 Fillet   Experimental glued clinker boat using thin pine planking.
1947 Gnome N12 Designed for rivers, with a narrow U shape hull and lots of keel rocker.
1947 Morgan Giles   A wide, wedge shape dinghy, with a very wide transom.
1946 500 series N12 (Other Holt designs), Designed for the Thames, but a good all-rounder, with a wide transom.
1939 Sunshine   Wider, with less keel rocker, a narrow bow and flatter mid & rear sections, this design was still able to win the Burton Cup in 1952.
1938 Wrath N12 More stable, flatter floored & less V sectioned, more ready to plane.
1936 Uffa King N12 N1 (link to N1 page). The original, with a narrow V section hull. N1 is now in the ISCA Maritime Museum at Oulton Broad, Lowestoft.

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