Seattle sailing history: the Ted Geary-designed Flattie

Flattie sailing in 1931, Seattle, WA. Roy W. Corbett at the helm.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

The flattie was originally not a one-design class but rather a boat that kids built to sail. These little floaters were all cross-planked on the bottom and all flat bottomed, thus the name. They were gaff-rigged and had bowsprits. Ted Geary designed the first one-designed flattie in 1927. It carried a jib that added sail power forward, as well as a Marconi main, an improvement of the balance over the jibless catboat.

In January 1928 leading spirits among members of the Seattle Yacht Club realized the need for an inexpensive sailing class to create interest on the part of the younger generation in yachting. A city-wide meeting was called at the Clubhouse with a request for plans and suggestions. Over seventy young folks and their parents attended. After much discussion of at least a dozen different plans, the flattie, as designed by Ted Geary, was accepted and orders for five were placed that evening. N. J. Blanchard promised to deliver the first ten at a cost of $150 each. After that the cost would be $200.

The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club also began assembling a fleet of flatties in 1928. Newspaper headlines right after the above meeting said “Here’s a Flattie––unsinkable sailboat provided for junior yachtsmen this year.” The sail plan of the flattie was prominently pictured with comments: “Fourteen youthful enthusiasts, one of these a girl, announced their intention of securing the flattie as designed L. E. Ted Geary.”

Read the full post on Saltwater People Log.


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