Len Morris

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The following are actual (gif) image copies of an original document typed by Len Morris
around 1963 on International Moth Class History.

Moth History Summary

The International Moth holds the current world
record for the furthest south a sailing craft has ever ventured.
A photo of the Moth, designed by Hal Wagstaff and built by
his brother Gary in Wellington NZ, hangs even today in the
Antartic base at McMurdo Sound. The King of Siam once sailed
the Thai Moth he built and designed himself, in a Moth regatta
in the UK.

It all began in 1928 when the late Len Morris built a cat
rigged (single sail) flat bottomed scow to sail on Andersons’
Inlet at Inverloch, a seaside resort, 130km from Melbourne
in Australia. She was hard chined, was eleven foot long, and
carried 80 sq ft in single mainsail. The craft was named “Olive”
after his wife. The constuction was timber with an internal
construction somewhat like Hargreave’s box kite.

“Olive’s” performance was so outstanding, that
a similar boat “Whoopee” was built. Len Morris then
sold “Olive”, and built another boat called “Flutterby”,
and with those three boats, the Inverloch Yacht Club was formed.
Restrictions for the class know as the Inverloch Eleven Foot
class were then drawn up.

This is the first Moth ever
built called Olive. It currently resides hanging up
inside the doorway of Albert Park Yacht Club in Victoria,
Australia. It has been fully restored by the Old Wooden
Boat Assocation of Victoria.

At much the same time, 1930 in fact, the American Moth Class
was started by captain Van Sant of Atlantic city. The American
Moth, so it turned out, was of similar dimensions to the Australian
Inverloch class. News of the American boat came to Australia
in 1933 when it appeared in the American yachting magazine
“Rudder”. The name for the American boat seemed
appropriate, so the name of the Inverloch Eleven Class was
changed to Moth Class.

In 1936 the Victorian Moth Class Association was formed,
but it was not until after WWII, that the NSW Moth Class Sailing
Association was formed with foundation members coming from
Seaforth Moth Club and Woolahra Sailing Club. During this
time Australian Moths were using pre-bent and wing masts in
the 1950s.

From 1956 to 1961 all other states formed Moth Associations
and in 1962 the Australian Yachting Federation (AYF) recognised
the Australian Moth class as a national class, the FIRST small
boat class in Australia to be granted national status.

In 1966-67, The King of Siam was also involved in the building
of three Moths and sailed them on the pond at Chitrlada Palace.
The King raced for almost 20 years on his second moth called
‘Super Mod’ until his design and construction efforts were
cut short by the ‘press of royal duties’. click
here for more…

Over much the same period as the Moth class was becoming
established in Australia, the International Moth spread from
the USA to England and Europe. Modications to align both the
Australian Moth and the overseas Moth were made over a period
of time culminating with the establishment of the International
Moth Class Assocation (IMCA) by the IYRU in 1972 bound by
the restrictions of the class (with metric measurement conversions)
operating today.

The one-design offshoot of the International
Moth, now known as the Europe Dinghy, was selected as the
womens’ class for the Olympics. The International Moth was
also selected as an official training class for the Japanese
Olympic sailing team, to hone their balance skills. Marie
Claud Faroux was the first woman skipper to win a World dinghy
racing title – in Moths in 1967.


Len Morris building Flutterby, #3 Moth at a local milk depot.


Len in Flutterby.