Uffa Fox was born on the Isle of Wight and was raised in East Cowes
He was responsible for many of the developments which have contributed to the modern popularity of Dinghy sailing. He first introduced the technique of planing to dinghy racing, and was influential in the introduction of trapezing.
In about 1943 he designed a 27 ft lifeboat to be dropped from Vickers Warwick aircraft when rescuing downed aircrew or mariners. An example of this craft and of others built and/or designed by Fox are in the collections of the Classic Boat Museum at East Cowes, Isle of Wight. These boats could be released from under the aeroplane retarded by six 32 ft diameter parachutes. Although initially adapted for the Warwick, the lifeboat was subsequently also carried by Air-Sea Rescue Lancasters and B-17 Flying Fortresses.
Apart from having a highly successful racing, cruising and sailing career, he ran successful boat design and boatbuilding businesses in the south of England. He designed many of the significant classes of boats around today, including the planing International 14, the Foxcub and Super Foxcub, the Flying Fifteen, the Flying Ten, the National 12, the National 18, the Albacore, the Firefly, the Javelin, the Pegasus Dinghy, the Jollyboat and the Day Sailer. Many of his designs exploited the wartime developments of moulded plywood, extruded aluminium, Tufnol etc.
In addition to dinghies he designed several keel boats all loosely based on the same concept as the flying fifteen, with separate fin keel and rudder. They were very light weight compared with other boats of the era. Huff of Arklow for Douglas Heard was 30'-0" on the waterline and Flying Fox for Fred Brownlee was 35'-0" waterline length.
Uffa Fox designed the Britannia rowboat, used by John Fairfax, used for the first solo-rowing expedition across the Atlantic Ocean in 1969.The Britannia was described as "the Rolls-Royce of rowboats, made of mahogany." It was self-righting, self-bailing and partly covered. He also designed Britannia II , used by John Fairfax and Sylvia Cook to row across the Pacific Ocean in 1971 through 1972.
His character is perhaps best indicated by an escapade whereby he led a group of Sea Scouts, without their parents' consent (they thought it was a weekend sailing camp), across the English Channel and up the Seine to within a few kilometres of Paris in a 25 ft open boat.
Quotes from this book
"When to the age of forty, we come
The men go to belly and the women to bum."
"Because the earth is growing small with each country dependant upon the other, no one wins a war these days. Everyone loses,.....
I have sailed across the Atlantic three times. I have sailed in America, in the Mediterranean , off Spain and Portugal, the west coast of France, and the Irish and Scottish waters, in the Fiords of Norway, I have raced in the Baltic and sailed in Holland, Denmark, Sweden and on the German Lakes and though each and every place has a charm of its own, none can compare with Cowes for sailing races.............
Talking about the 'Fairley Fox'. "She is the most useful because she can tow water skiers, lifting them out of the water and running them along steadily......it is the first time to my knowledge that a sail boat has been used for water ski-ing" .