Seal – a lady’s dinghy delight
This single handed sailing dinghy was designed and built by the well known Norfolk boat builders William Starling and Sons of Blakeney in 1929 for Miss Patience Hardcastle of Godalming in Surrey. She had been taught to sail by Mr. Starling whilst on holiday in Norfolk and had initially sailed in the family’s heavy boat, Teal, helmed by a local boatman, but had wanted to be more independent and to sail single handed so Seal was built for her.
Miss Hardcastle continued in the habit of visiting North Norfolk for her summer holidays every year so, with the exception of two of the war years 1939-1945, Seal was sailed by her every summer until 1980 when, at the age of 80 she no longer felt able to handle the dinghy single handed. Miss Hardcastle considered Seal a superb broad beamed heavy weather boat in which she could sail with confidence in the kind of winds that were causing others to capsize. The hull is built in clinker construction and is a typical Norfolk design with a large balanced lug rig and small bow sprit.