The Gull sailing dinghy was designed by Ian Proctor in 1956.
Much smaller than any of the other boats Proctor would design later in his career, he built the first prototype boat (named the Jolly Roger) to teach his children how to sail.
Capable of carrying only a couple of crew members at most, it can be seen as a direct antecedent to the popular Topper design that still enjoys a popular competitive scene around the world.
The original MK1 boat was produced as a kit by Smallcraft of Blockley.
The MK1 originally had a Gunter rig and was made entirely of wood. It was designed as a frameless double chine dinghy with two buoyancy tanks built in, one in the bow and one in the stern. The mast had two positions, one for sailing with a mainsail and jib and one for single handed jib less sailing.
A GRP version of the MK1 was produced in 1966, but as this was an exact copy of the wooden boat it was difficult to build.
A MK2 was introduced as a cheaper more easily manufactured GRP version.
It didn’t have a permanent fore deck, instead having a canvas cover that could be removed. The MK2 was never very popular and the MK1 continued being produced as a timber kit.
The MK3 made an appearance in 1971.
It was a radical redesign having a round bilge hull, greater beam (by 6 inches) and side decks making her more comfortable to sail in a blow. The second mast point was removed meaning that it had to be sailed with main and jib. The MK3 reintroduced the deck but lost the fixed stern storage area, though allowance was made for a removable storage area, large enough to store an outboard when not in use.