Welcome to the Axe One Design website.  The Axe O.D. is a traditional 12 foot clinker built Bermudan rigged dinghy.  The boats were designed in 1951 specifically for members of the Axe Yacht Club, based at Axmouth in South East Devon. The A.O.D. was  principally a two man dinghy, but could be easily sailed single handed. Races for the class were held both in Seaton Bay and on the Axe estuary, launching from the club’s open beach or onto the tidal Axe estuary. The class was designed by amatuer boat builder Jack Drew, who was then Vice Commodore of the A.Y.C.  Jack constructed the first batch of nine boats in the early 1950s. The fleet continued to grow and in the 60s numbered twenty. Sadly most of these boats have disappeared with out trace, but one of the original fleet survived intact- Whimbrel, No.1.  she continued to sail as the sole representative of the class. In 2000 a new A.O.D. was built, rekindling interest in the class. Subsequently four more have been built in Fowey for A.Y.C. members and at the same time two more of the original fleet have been restored and re-commissioned.

Invariably each summer the boats return to Cornwall to sail on the Fowey, Fal and Helford Rivers and attend Fowey Classics. The small fleet of  dinghies invariably attract attention, the sight of varnished dinghies cannot help but draw inquiring and admiring comments.

By coincidence, rather than any specific ruling each of the boats has adopted the same colour scheme – varnished topsides with cream coloured paint below the waterline. This now makes telling them apart somewhat difficult when drawn up on the beach together! Unfortunately, Swallow is the odd one out since it has been impossible to remove all traces of paint from inside her hull, so she is the only A.O.D. with the interior hull painted. The original sails were white, however the class has now adopted cream coloured sails throughout, with the panels cut in half width, reflecting the narrower panels of the old cotton sails.

It is quite remarkable that a class of dinghy which had all but disappeared should  re-emerge. Even more so that after a thirty five year gap a new Axe One Design was built almost exactly 50 years on from its original inception. Now that two more of the original boats have emerged, leads to the question – are there any more surviving out there?

Since 2005 the A.Y.C. has organised a separate class series for the A.O.D.s within the summer River Races. Appropriately the Axe Ones now race for the Jack Drew Cup donated by Jack in 1960. We are indebted to him for his enthusiasm and attention to detail in designing and establishing such an incredibly pretty and pleasurable classic dinghy to sail.

The class continues to expand, No.23 Gannet completed build in July 2009 and subsequent to fitting out was launched in a very chilly January of 2010. Her first sail on the Axe followed in August 2010, with all seven AODs afloat.

2013 saw the Axe One Designs celebrate 60 years, AOD,  No.1 Whimbrel having been launched in 1953.  This has resulted in a biennial regatta to race for the Jubilee Cup presented by Rene Drew to mark the occasion. The 2017 season is almost upon us, the River Race Series starts in early May – wind & tide permitting…

Axe One Design Class Association.