Autumn 2023 – AOD returns to Coniston Water

Iain Morison, owner of the most recent addition to the fleet (Avocet No.26), recalls his earlier experiences with an Axe One Design. Iain purchased his original AOD No.6 from a member of the Axe Yacht Club in 1971. During his period of ownership he was living in Blackpool, and frequently sailed the boat on Coniston Water during the early 1970’s. The photo below shows the boat on Coniston Water during that time.

No.6 had distinctive pale blue sails, whilst the rest of the fleet had white sails (except for Gemini which had dark blue). He also recalls that the standing rigging was rather ‘springy’, which resembled something like piano wire!

On his return to West Devon, he sailed the boat from Plymouth, largely out in the Sound, but also excursions up the Tamar estuary. He kept the boat until 1977, but eventually decided to sell her at the Cherry & Cherry Boat Auctions, traditionally held on the beach at Shaldon. Looking back, Iain says selling the boat was one of his biggest regrets, and got practically nothing for it! However, having moved back to East Devon he now has a worthy replacement in AOD No. 26 Avocet, built in 2022.

So, to complete the circle, Iain and Pip returned to Coniston Water last autumn with No.26, fulfilling Iain’s ambition to once again sail an AOD on the lake!

Regarding Iain’s old boat No.6, we shall probably never know for certain whether or not she is the current No.6 Swallow? Having been recovered and restored in 2004, Swallow was allocated the number six. She was identified as being from the original batch of nine boats, and since at the time she was the sixth boat in the fleet, it was deemed appropriate to allocate her number six; was this coincidence?

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