National 12s race at Plymouth, 1955

This Pathé Archive brings lively footage of National 12 dinghy racing at Plymouth  in 1955. The film opens with a shot of Sir Francis Drake as the commentator remarks on the naval traditions of the English west country being similar to those of the ‘new breed of amateur seamen’.

Contestants get their boats into the water including ‘Sonda’, ‘Can Can girl’ and ‘Typhoo’. The race starts with 130 National 12s drawn from all over the country competing for the ‘Sir William Burton Cup’.

London yachtsman Roland Boissevain in his dinghy ‘Chuckle’ is shown, and ‘Privulus’ rounds the first buoy in good style. The National 12 was designed by Uffa Fox and first launched in 1936 with the stipulation that new boats must cost no more than £137 10s 0d.

Created at the beginning of the 20th Century by the Pathé brothers, the newsreel was the world’s first televised news platform. Pioneering the technology and methods of cinema, British Pathé stayed at the forefront of filmed news for decades. Releasing three newsreels a week during that period, British Pathé was the way the people of Britain experienced world events until the advent of television.

Find out more about the development of the National 12, with a documentary video, here.