The history of Huff
The first owner was Douglas Heard, an ex-RAF pilot and friend to Uffa Fox. Uffa designed and build at least one International 14' for Mr.Heard who was a keen racer. Commissioning the design of a yacht was a serious undertaking both for Douglas Heard than for Uffa since the design had to be just like a flying 15’ but bigger and with enough room inside the cabin to accommodate a crew of 6 people. All Douglas Heard’s boats that Uffa designed where given names such as “Huffisk” “Huffling” etc. However the name “Huff of Arklow” was co-opted by the following equation: the design was three-quaters Uffa and one quarter Heard (quote from "To Sail the Crested Sea" by W.M.Nixon). Douglas Heard was adamant on his choice of boatbuilding yard, it had to be Jack Tyrrell’s & Son based in Arklow.
A lovely memory is here revealed by Bill Weldon, a retired Chaplein of the Navy, originally from Dun Laoghaire in Ireland where Huff used to be moored by the Royal St. George Yacht Club. Douglas Heard was Commodore of the St.George during the period 1960-66, therefore Huff used to be the Commodore's boat and would be first on the mooring line. In the period 1956-57 Bill used to be part of Huff's racing crew as a fifteen years old teenager keen to be out on the water.
"After school and a quick lunch on a Saturday, my elder brother Bruce and I, plus several chums would cycle the few miles to the Royal St George to wait patiently for Douglas and more permanent members of his crew to arrive. We formed a pool of lads whom skippers could invite to race with them. If one of us was fortunate to race on board Huff, we would hope for a good blow. Huff needed plenty of wind to fill either her no 1 or 2 genoa as well as her huge spinnaker. Courses of 10 to 15 miles "Round the cans" in Dublin Bay was so exciting we could n`t wait for the area club Regattas in the summer holidays when the courses would be longer and include rounding the Kish Bank lightship followed by a long beat back to Dun Laoghaire harbour. Being the largest in Class 1, conditions permitting, we would often see the smoke and hear the crack of the gun as we crossed the finish line. What could be more fun for boys with the sea coursing through their veins - my great grand father sailed the seven seas with the Holt Line out of Liverpool."
Huff was built without an engine but soon afterwards a single petrol engine was added. Douglas Heard mentions an engine in his famous logs which won him the "Faulkner Cup" twice, in 1960 and 1964. The logs will be available to download in this section in the near future.
There is an obscure period between early 70s when, at some point, Mr.Heard sold Huff, and the late 70s or early 80s, when Huff was arsoned and abandoned. Here we need to wait whilst more information is sourced on this period. Luckly Marian Foster remembers this period and she is currently writing a book about her adventure on Huff with the then third owner, Mr.J.Sharples. We look forward to reading Marian's work.
In the late 1970s Huff of Arklow was the victim of an arson attack. Her new owner, Chris Allen was told by experts that she would never sail again. In fact he bought the boat for one pound. However he was determined to restore her and get her sailing once again. Many companies became involved in her restoration supplying the equipment and materials that made it possible. Once the restoration was completed she was made available for chartered pleasure cruises, but Chris also ensured that while not chartering she was made available to underprivileged children for character building sail training voyages.