Classic Keelboat Sailing in Norfolk

History of the Rebel One Design

Extracts from ‘The Rebel One Design: A history and reflections of the boats and their owners (2011)’ by A.V. Humphris, President of Horning Sailing Club and a Gentlemen Sailor, and Sue Horne past Fleet Secretary.

A Rebel is a graceful and well mannered boat with a fine spread of gunter rigged canvas, ideally suited to light airs, but able now, with the increasing introduction of running back-stays, to handle a good blow. To see a Rebel sweeping past on an open reach at her hull speed, settled down between bow and stern waves, with a twenty or thirty degree heal, is to see something of elegance.

Rebels now come in both timber and fibre reinforced plastic. The much loved and much maintained varnished wood of the thirteen older ladies of the fleet distinguishes them from the two [three since 2015] new glass boats, in tasteful, if rather rebellious, British Racing Green [R16 in Blue]. The performance of the new boats has been seen to be much the as their forebears. It’s all good for exciting racing.

The Rebel fleet has been sailing at Horning since 1950 – a young class in relation to the ubiquitous white boat, rather larger, a deal heavier, and a shade faster. Senior to the Reedlings and Yeoman, the Rebels have a subtly different characteristic: good pick-up in light airs, more momentum to drift through the lulls, and rather head-strong jibing in a strong breeze….

Alan Buchanan designed the Rebel as an estuary half-decker, commissioned by the original builder, R Moore and Sons of Wrexham, in 1948. By the year 1952 five had been built at a cost of £465 each.

The Rebel was designed for wood construction, for the use on the Norfolk Broads, and the designer, Alan Buchanan remembers “seeing the first boat built, and sailing her on Wroxham Broad in 1950”.

“The boats were planked with mahogany on oak frames and oak centreline. They had a cast iron keel and the gunter rig was finally adopted as the sail plan. This gave relatively short spars, which could easily be handled when the mast was lowered. They had a good spread of sail area and were fast and easily handled”………

The Rebel Fleet in 2016

  • Rebel (R1) built 1950
  • Rebellious Lady (R2) built 1951
  • Rebel Rothay (R3)
  • Rebel Maid (R4)
  • Rebel Jade (R5) built 1953
  • Rebel Breeze (R6) built in 1952
  • Rebel Lion (R7) built in 1953
  • Rebel Sailer (R8) built on 1953
  • Rebel Reveller (R9) built in 1956
  • Valiant Rebel (R10)
  • Rebel Chieftain (R11) built in 1956
  • Rebel Queen (R12) built in 1962
  • Lucky Rebel (R13) built in 1962
  • Rebel ‘H’ (R14) built in 2009
  • Rebel Rascal (R15) built in 2009
  • Rebel Reiver* (R16) built in 2015

*Provisionally accepted into the fleet