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UFFA: Yachting's Eccentric Genius

Uffa Fox was the most influential designer in yacht racing history. His ‘planing’ dinghies and keel boats were infinitely faster and more seaworthy than the older, heavier boats which had dominated the sport since the late nineteenth century. Always much more than a naval architect, he was an irrepressible extrovert and original thinker, as well as a singer, musician, journalist, author, painter, sportsman, campaigner, controversial businessman and friend of royalty. This new biography, the first for fifty years, shows how a carpenter’s son from East Cowes not only transformed his sport but also created an international legacy which thrives to this day.

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1 April 2023




256 Pages


100 Illustrations

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It's a surprise more hasn't been written about Uffa Fox. Yet this is the first biography of the polymath, irrepressible extrovert and original thinker to be published in fifty years. Author Malcolm Turner gained the cooperation of many of Uffa’s friends, acquaintances and former employees. The book casts new light on his life and many achievements and contains many previously unpublished images.

-- Rupert Homes ― Practical Boat Owner

The friendship between Fox, the Duke and his closest aide Commander Michael Parker included off-the-water carousing with a whiff of scandal, as well as impressive racing successes. Fox praises the Duke’s ‘ability to take the boat across the tide with a free wind’ and explains why this matters. His clear analysis reflects his own brilliance as a racing sailor as well as a designer.

-- Julia Jones ― Yachting Monthly

... a working-class legend who transformed dinghy sailing through his visionary designs and fine craftsmanship. A fearless renegade who took on the establishment and poked fun at social norms... Fox makes a compelling subject and his life is packed with good stories... I do agree with the book's subtitle. Uffa certainly was eccentric and he was, by most measures, a genius.

--Nic Compton ― WoodenBoat Magazine

One of the delights of reviewing books is the unexpected gem that grips you. This is one such book! I found myself chuckling out loud at Uffa's childhood exploits, and becoming more curious about his odd mix of skills. Of particular amusement was the details of his floating workshop in Cowes: how it was made, how the old features were reused, the finishing touches his wife added, and how council tax was avoided! I really feel the pace is kept going at all times in this book. Apparently this is what life with Uffa was actually like! His is a fascinating story, well worth reading. The book is printed on very high quality gloss paper. Consequently the photos have more chance to shine, compared to most books of this genre.

-- Magnus Smith ― Yachts and Yachting

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