Fox, Uffa

SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
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b. 15 January 1898 Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
d. 27 October 1972 Isle of Wight (?), England
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English yacht designer.
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Coming from a family that had originated in East Anglia, his first name was that of an early British king and was to typify his unusual and refreshing zest for life. Fox commenced his professional career as an apprentice with the flying boat and high-speed craft builders Messrs S.E.Saunders, and shortly after the outbreak of the First World War he was conscripted into the Royal Naval Air Service. In 1920 he made his first transatlantic crossing under sail, a much greater adventure then than now, and returned to the United Kingdom as deck-hand on a ship bound for Liverpool. He was to make the crossing under sail twice more. Shortly after his marriage in 1925, he purchased the old Floating Bridge at Cowes and converted it to living accommodation, workshops and drawing offices. By the 1930s his life's work was in full swing, with designs coming off his drawing board for some of the most outstanding mass-produced craft ever built, as well as for some remarkable one-off yachts. His experimentation with every kind of sailing craft, and even with the Eskimo kayak, gave him the knowledge and experience that made his name known worldwide. During the Second World War he designed and produced the world's first airborne parachuted lifeboat. Despite what could be described as a robust lifestyle, coupled with interests in music, art and horseriding, Fox continued to produce great designs and in the late 1940s he introduced the Firefly, followed by the beautiful Flying Fifteen class of racing keel boats. One of his most unusual vessels was Britannia, the 24 ft (7.3 m) waterline craft that John Fairfax was to row across the Atlantic. Later came Britannia II, which Fairfax took across the Pacific!
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
CBE 1959. Royal Designer to Industry (RDI).
Bibliography
Fox produced a series of yachting books, most first published in the late 1930s, and some more lighthearted volumes of reminiscences in the 1960s. Some of the best-known titles are: Sail and Power, Racing and Cruising Design, Uffa Fox's Second Book and The Crest of the Wave.
Further Reading
J.Dixon, 1978, Uffa Fox. A Personal Biography, Brighton: Angus \& Robertson.
FMW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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