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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    5

    Default West Eleven Dinghy

    Very occasionally the West Eleven Dinghy has been mentioned on this site, I was hoping to enlist the help of members who may have sailed one of these dinghies in the past in a bid to put together an informational website on this boat at http://west-eleven-dinghy.siterubix.com/

    The site will focus on the boat and cruising as it makes a great cruising dinghy. I do however understand that there are still one or two racing in Mirror fleets at club level in some places.

    I recently purchased one of these 1970's GRP dinghies No. 1356. but was unable to find any information through the normal google or other searches so thought someone should put together whatever is found into one place. So I have started.

    I made a similar request for information on the dinghy cruising association site, and with members help have found some material, but it is still a very slim package. I am aware that many people started sailing in a Mirror dinghy, the West Eleven is a Mirror clone which at first glance could be mistaken for a Mirror, but has less decking and was made of GRP when I believe all Mirrors were of ply. It is 5" longer than a Mirror, but sports the same red sails.

    So if you have any information at all on the West Eleven Dinghy, no matter how small I would be very please to receive it. You can add comments directly on the site at http://west-eleven-dinghy.siterubix.com/ or email at west.eleven.contact@gmail.com absolutely anything is welcome including pictures of your boat if you still have one.

    Thank you in anticipation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    West Sussex / Hants
    Posts
    28,771

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Hi Bobb3,

    I've only just seen your post, sorry.

    I have an original Shepherds West Eleven brochure if that's any interest; it's only one double sided glossy page with black & white photo's, black text with ' West Eleven ' in bold green.

    The boat in the main photo is 1602.

    From the way it's presented, Shepherds certainly seem to have considered themselves main dealers or even makers.

    I'll have a go at scanning it to you now at the e-mail address given.

    Andy
    Last edited by Seajet; 29-03-16 at 21:30.
    Anderson 22 Owners Association - For info please ask here or PM me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Andy,

    Many thanks for the scan of the 1970's brochure of the West Eleven dinghy it has proved to be very useful and has added tremendously to the information I am collecting about the Dinghy, a link below takes you to todays post on the subject

    http://west-eleven-dinghy.siterubix....even-brochure/

    If anyone has any further information that can help fill the gaps in the history of this great little Mirror dinghy clone I would love to hear from them either through the website or email, as far as I can tell there is no other information about this boat on the internet other than a few enquiries by owners or would be owners: the contact email is: West.eleven.contact@gmail.com

    Bob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    UK (Solent)
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Wow that's a blast from the past!

    My parents bought my brothers and I one c1980/81. We had a Mirror, but it was in need of a fair amount of work, so the West Eleven appealed as a ready alternative.
    We bought ours through Shepherds. I'm pretty sure they must have had a stand at the Boat Show, which is most likely how we came across them.
    Ours was yellow, with brown gunwhale cappings, and white interior. Pretty sure the sails were white.

    When the dinghy arrived, my dad discovered some gel damage on the hull, so he phoned Shepherds to let them know, and they said they'd deliver a new hull and collect the original. Well we were out on the day they came to replace the dinghy, but we got back to find two on the lawn! So they never bothered collecting the original one! Fab, we had many happy years with one as a sailing dinghy, and the other as a tender!

    If I can find any photos, I will contact you as requested. I recall we had (maybe still have) the brochure. I think it was the same as the one shown, but if I do come across it, and it is different, I'll scan it and forward it to you.

    Doug

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Doug,

    Thanks for the reply, any information, pictures or brochures will be appreciated. I still have gaping holes in the history of this dinghy so anything that can help fill these would be great. The information I received from Andy (above) described the only original colour scheme available at that time, as the same as my boat of blue and white. I wonder if the 1980's model was an updated version, it might solve the question about the difference between the type one and two which remains outstanding.

    The information I have so far can be found at http://west-eleven-dinghy.siterubix.com/

    Bob

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Boat (now back in) the Clyde
    Posts
    5,639

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Great site.

    We bought an old West Eleven when the kids were young as a pottering about boat. Like hannahman, ours was a (very faded) yellow with white sails (not red as suggested in your original post). Also as the brochure indicates, only an inch or so longer than the genuine Mirror.
    It was a very practical boat with almost zero maintenance (after an initial refurb). It is a clear Mirror design rip-off - don't know how they got away with it. The extra size was almost as if the GRP mould had been taken off the outside of a wooden Mirror.
    The changed deck layout at the front gave a lot more space. We cruised round the Gulf de Morbihan with 5 people, food and kids gear plus a seagull outboard on - try that in a Mirror.
    But it was also very heavy - and tended to absorb water in the hull. It was very heavy lifting onto the car roof - and broke one roof rack until reinforced it.

    Was replaced by a proper modern GRP Mirror - much lighter and easier to lift, but the design with flat panels is not really suited to GRP and the GRP Mirror was much more fragile.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Dunedin

    As far as I can make out there was a fairly lengthy legal battle in the 70's / 80's, as you say it is a blatant mirror copy, I agree in many ways it is an improvement on the mirror, although I would expect the mirror purists to disagree loudly with that view.

    I have a feeling that the outcome of the court case may have brought about the demise of the west eleven, although as yet I have little evidence of that other than one small reference to the case being heard.

    Bob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    West Sussex / Hants
    Posts
    28,771

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Bob,

    that's interesting, so there was a court case then.

    Even as a youngster I wondered how they got away with such a copy and thinking of what we know now about Maxwell ( none of it good ! ) they were brave to try it, but by the standards of the time it seems to have been a mild success, answering a requirement.
    Anderson 22 Owners Association - For info please ask here or PM me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    UK (Solent)
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobb3 View Post
    Doug,

    Thanks for the reply, any information, pictures or brochures will be appreciated. I still have gaping holes in the history of this dinghy so anything that can help fill these would be great. The information I received from Andy (above) described the only original colour scheme available at that time, as the same as my boat of blue and white. I wonder if the 1980's model was an updated version, it might solve the question about the difference between the type one and two which remains outstanding.

    The information I have so far can be found at http://west-eleven-dinghy.siterubix.com/

    Bob
    Cheers Bob,

    At the time (1980 ish) I thought the West Eleven was new to the market, so it was a surprise to discover, all these years later, that they had been around for some time before then.
    I notice in your earlier version the spars, gunwales and thwarts are all wooden. By the time our version came along, all wood had been done away with, with the spars being black alloy as I recall, the thwarts being GRP, and the gunwale capping being brown plastic.

    Interesting to hear dunedin's comments. I wonder whether they were only available in yellow by that time? I recall the Boatshow one we saw was yellow, and I don't recall seeing any other colours around.

    As Seajet mentions, I'm pretty sure Shepherds were both manufactures and distributors. I never saw any other company names associated with them.

    Doug

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: West Eleven Dinghy

    Sorry, Iím coming in very late on this thread. Did that info site ever go live (or perhaps it was live but later closed down)? When I try to follow the link my phone says it canít find the server.

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