Willi Dehler’s boats that is….honestly, you people !
The third part of ‘D’ for design.
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When i was writing the ‘D’ for design series i automatically thought about the Dehler 25 trailer-sailer that we went to view in Essex and i also remembered racing against a Dehler quarter-tonner way back in the Menai straits. This post could almost be part of a much later boat design one because many of the designs come from the same office : E.G. Van de Stadt ; as do many other small boat designs. Dehler though did have a good reputation for well engineered and well detailed boats and they did start with a very successful small cruising boat which i have seen on the continent and is one of the most successful designs, in terms of numbers produced, ever built in GRP.
I think the small Dehler that i raced against must have been either the ‘Sprinta‘ or Sprinta Sport design at around quarter-ton : i was crewing on a David Thomas designed Bolero driven by a very good dinghy sailor and the Dehler was definitely faster downwind in the strong breeze we had that day.
The famous Dehler, at least to me, was the very fast three-quarter ton design , the DB1 which did very well in the IOR fleet at the time. It may have been the fastest production 3/4 tonner ever and i noticed one going very cheap on Ebay recently : problem being that the refit to race would be very expensive as with all IOR boats it would need a lot of sails in the cupboard.
The unfortunate Dehler DBI is the one i remember the most and that was ‘Luv’ which pitchpoled coming over the Salcombe bar in a strong wind against tide situation : Luv was completely destroyed on the breaking bar, if i remember the ‘Seahorse’ magazine properly then their leader was “head over heels in Luv” !.
The Dehler that i got very interested in briefly for my own sailing was the Dehler 25 trailer sailer that i thought would make a very good boat for the kind of sailing that i do as it has a lifting keel and rudder , and it would be a faster and more powerful boat than my Hunter Liberty. We did go a long way to see that boat…..Essex as usual….and neither of us liked the boat at all once we were inside. It was in nice condition and Dehler had put a lot of work and detail into the design but i just didn’t like it somehow.