The Mirror dinghy makes friends with the French
The jaunty Mirror dinghy, Britain's most successful small boat, has gone Continental. Frenchmen love it—and so do the French girls. While the dinghy, with its cheery red sail, was stealing the thunder of larger boats at the Boat Show in London, I put one on the roof rack of my car and drove to Paris.
Today the dinghy is on display at the Paris Boat Show, surrounded by a big crowd of admirers. One pretty girl, Gigi Tanguy, an air hostess, told me: "The boat is so becoming. And a man with a pretty boat is so much more attractive than one who has only a fast sports car. With a boat like this, which is so inexpensive, anyone can sail away from it all."
The dinghy was launched only a year ago, but already over 900 have been sold. And that makes it the boat of the year, and the fastest-selling class of dinghy in Britain's sailing history. Now the boat is being made in France, sponsored by a leading French sailing magazine, Nautisme.
The French are keen to have the Mirror dinghy in kit form because a wave of do-it-yourself is sweeping the country. Electric drills are becoming cheaper, and French- men are demanding kits for home construction. M. Guy Valery-Radot, an executive with the French magazine, spotted the dinghy during a visit to London. He was so impressed that he asked the Mirror if he could introduce it into France. At the Paris Boat Show today he told me: "The kit form of the dinghy is so easy to build that I decided it was just the thing to appeal to Frenchmen." And as you can see, —French girls like this little boat, too. It is very appealing. "It was certainly the most interesting dinghy at the Boat Show in London."
And M. Marcel Marhl, who is making the dinghy kit in France, told me: "We consider the British are the best boat-builders in the world, and I am delighted to be given permission to produce the kit. "It seems to me that suddenly everyone at the show wants a kit. " The dinghy will be very successful."
Editors Note: The photo is of 432 - Cassandra and ?51, maybe 551. It's not known where this was taken, maybe the 1963 Nationals.