Moondog of Jersey was built in 1977 by Dennis Henstridge of St Aubin, Jersey. The yacht was first named Silver Jay and built to the then IOR quarter ton rule with a rated length of 18 feet to a design by Stephen Jones.

Construction was of five layers of cold moulded mahogany with frames of laminated cedar and a laminated mahogany hog. She was the lightest and longest quarter tonner of her time measuring 28 feet ten inches LOA by 10 foot beam with an IOR displacement of under 1100 kgs.

The yacht was bought by June Clarke in 1978 who renamed her Moondog. She raced extensively under IOR winning the 1978 British Level Rating Quarter Ton Championship, according to the press report ‘slow in light winds but won going away in decent breezes’. She also won class 6 in that year’s ISC Round the Island race. The yacht raced in the Quarter Ton Worlds in Japan suffering a split hull forward and presumably failed to gain a series result.

The yacht was subsequently strengthened by additional skin laminations forward of the mast and additional framing between the original frames.

The 1978 autumn ORC rule changes moved the IOR rated length up to over 21 feet making the yacht uncompetitive under the IOR rule. The changes introduced in late 1978 penalised long aft overhang, light displacement and low stability, the very design characteristics of Moondog.

From then until 1982 the yacht had little use, as far as I am aware, until it was brought out of storage in a potato shed in Jersey to compete in the 1982 Round Britain and Ireland race sailed by June Clarke and Vicki De Trafford. Use of Moondog was a last minute decision after the non availability of a more suitable vessel. A report of Moondog’s exploits appeared in Yacht’s and Yachting and June Clarke received the JOG Yachtsman of The Year Award for completing the trip.

Some time after the ’82 Round Britain race the yacht was bought by Miles Mitchell but sailed little until bought by myself in 1987. At that time the interior was the same as described by June Clarke in the article on the Round Britain race, two pipe cots, bucket and chuck it, netting under the deckhead for storage and a single burner meths stove.

Moondog then sat on a cradle behind my house waiting for funds and an older family before being refurbished. Refurbishment started in 1993 with the new look yacht being launched in July 1994. The interior now boast double berth aft plus one original pipe cot and two pilot berths in main cabin plus seating below the pilot berths. Cooker and sink have been added and a pump out heads forward of the mast. A small varnished mahogany coach roof was added to give light and headroom for family use. Rig and sail were then as original. She was also renamed Moondog of Jersey.

The original rig was used for a couple of years competing in JOG inshore races, Medina Mariners and Cowes Cruiser racing.

More sail area was needed to improve the light weather performance so a second hand set of sails from a later quarter tonner were purchased. To fit, the mast was moved to deck stepped, the boom extended and spreaders made swept back. Performance is better however rating appears penal compared to the heavy half tonners and similar where Moondog has to give time.

Some successes have been achieved as can be seen from the results however most of these are from occasional tactical cunning rather than from boat speed. The search for the two continues.

Many people have commented on having heard of or known of Moondog over the years. Reports suggest that Moondog once came ashore on the south of the Isle of Wight, subsequently towed to safety only to have some transom planks damaged by the lifeboat and then sinking on the mooring overnight.

Under current ownership she has also suffered some damage, once by giving East Bay racing mark a heafty swipe in a strong tide and uncontrollable luff, another time the hull was holed and rudder damaged when she fell off the cradle whilst being launched.

Moondog currently races the JOG inshore series, the Royal Southampton Two Handed, the ISC Round the Island and some JOG category 3 races and is often used for family holidays to France and the Channel Islands. A return to Jersey always feels special especially the turn of heads from people on the St Helier Yacht Club veranda whenever we arrive.