An Interview with Malcolm Goodwin

Notes of an interview with Malcolm Goodwin made by Nicholas Butler in the mid 1980s

These are the notes made by Nicholas Butler who interviewed Malcolm Goodwin (M J Goodwin and Mrs J Goodwin partners) in the mid 1980s as part of the research for his book “The Story of Wivenhoe”.   These notes have been re-typed by Ann Jones from Nicholas Butler’s original notes and posted here by Frances Belsham.

About Malcolm Goodwin

Mr Goodwin lives in St Johns Rd. Wivenhoe. Self taught boat-builder, been boat building as an amateur since I was 12.   Moved to Wivenhoe when I was 9.   Mother is Mrs Riley who lives on the Quay.   Before boat building was a teacher for 12 years, at St Helenas School.  

What Mr Goodwin told Nick Butler

About Boat Building

Started boat-building business on 1st January 1978 in a small garage/workshop at home.   Successful Hornet design formed the basis for the business in the first 3 or 4 years, have produced about 70 and although demand has reduced recently, we are still producing them.  Our Hornet dinghies have so far won 23 National, World or European Championships.

Reason I was able to get into boat-building was because I had sailed. Built about 12 different types of boat as an amateur culminating in the success of the Hornet class dinghy evolution in 1972.  Built a number of boats including a Hornet dinghy in which I won a number of events.   That produced a marketable item.  I built about 70 Hornets but haven’t built one for 3 years.

Hornet: 16’ two-man racing dinghy.   Designed by John Holt in 1952.

The boat under construction in the loft was a Fireball.

One Design: the shape of the boat and almost certainly the said plan and mast height and the weight are the same.   Within tiny building tolerances.

Fireball: Designed in 1962 by Peter Milne.   Bigger class now than the Hornet.   Built one or two International Fireball class dinghies (production of more then one a year is not permitted without a licence)   Have recently been granted a licence to build Fireball class by the International Yacht Racing Union following the success of Tim Rush at the European Championships in a boat built for him in early 1984.

I have also been designing and producing a range of three traditionally inspired boats with modern materials.

I moved to larger purpose built premises in November 1983 and currently have 6 classes in production 3 racing boats and 3 traditional.

I send my boats all over the world.   Can go in crates or they can be taken away on trailers.   Half of the ones to go abroad go in crates.   Shipped out 20 to 25 a year.

I have built 220 boats in 10 years.   Make the sails as well.   A partnership of two, myself and my wife, with one part-timer.

The custom-built premises were built in 1983.

This is a specialised thing I am in, if these could be produced in fibreglass to go as quickly, we would be out of a job.   Wood gives a racing edge.

Of the 220, 60 have been kits.   Another side for wooden building, not so easy to produce a cheap kit from fibreglass.

Production boats:

National Hornet racing dinghy

International 505 racing dinghy

International Fireball racing dinghy

“Nutshell” dinghy – 9ft traditional lugsail dinghy – for children and adults.

“Waterat” dayboat 13ft 6ins family dayboat also in traditional lines

“Toad” pram dinghy 7ft 8ins yacht tender.

My boats have gone to Malta, the Falkland Islands, South of France.



This page was added on 01/11/2016.

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