[taken for the Osprey Class magazine of July 1984]

Born 1918.

Ian started sailing at the age of 13, and owned his first boat (a 12ft Australian Vacleuse Sharpie) at the age of 17. Not being satisfied with the way she was rigged, he proceeded to design a new rig and with the new design proceeded to win every race in which she sailed. Thereafter followed a period of trying out the development classes of the day, owning International 14’s “Flying Fox” and “Huffer”, whilst in 1939, at the ripe old age of 21, he went on to win two races in the Burton Cup (National 2) in “Mimulus”

The war brought an abrupt stop to dinghy racing, but the sea still played an important part of his life, spending his service years as cox’n on a variety of high speed air/sea rescue launches, moving on to command a 63ft Miami launch in North Africa. A two-year stint in hospital ended in Ian being invalided out of the RAF, but not before he had successfully brought a fleet of nine German yachts, taken from the Luftwaffe, home to Britain. Incidentally, four of these turned out to be Dutch yachts stolen by the Luftwaffe, and were subsequently returned to Holland.

It was shortly after this that Ian turned his attention to literature, well perhaps journalism is more appropriate, whilst Managing Director of Gosport Yacht Company, he wrote his first book “Racing Dinghy Handling” followed soon after by “Racing Dingy Maintenance” and became joint editor of “Yachtsman” magazine in 1951. He became Daily Telegraph Yachting Correspondent and retained this position for 13 years, during which time he wrote “Sailing: Wind and Current” (now retitled “Sailing Strategy”).
Boat design had not really been a serious occupation until 1950, but soon his designs were to be seen at the front of most of the major designs of the period. Ian Proctor designed Nation Merlin-Rockets have won the Championship 15 times, National 12’s 10 times, International 14’s 3 times and the International Canoes 3 times. Quite an impressive record in itself, but if you consider that Ian now has 101designs to his credit from which 46,00 boats have been produced, including, of course, the Osprey. Amongst his other designs you will find the Wayfarer, Gull, Kestrel, Bosun, International Tempest, Topper, Wanderer, Minsail,, Blue Peter, and a few cruisers, such as Prelude, Pirate, Eclipse, Nimrod, Seagull and Seamew.

A very impressive record which has justifiably been rewarded on a number of occasions, “Yachtsman of the Year” in 1966, Council of Industrial Design Award in 1967, and Design Council Awards in 1977 and 1979, in addition to being appointed “Royal Designer for Industry” in 1967.

Ian is perhaps known better for now being the designer of the first one-piece extruded aluminium alloy mast for dinghies in 1953, and for Proctor masts, started in 1955. He remained chairman of the company until 1975 when he retired, only to be re-elected in 1982.

For a man with so much experience of boat design and theory it is perhaps understandable to see a list of personal sailing triumphs nearly as long as his list of designs. Placed in first four I Nationals 12’s “Burton Trophy” on four occasions, in the first three in the Merlin-Rockets four times, won the Osprey Championship once and was second three times, he won the Wayfarer Championships and the Coronation Round the Island Race for dinghies in 1953.

Still very active in the sport, Ian can these days be found in his 19ft Prelude around the Dart estuary, or dashing about, at what he insists are shameful speeds in a Fjord 828 24ft cruiser.

[ Editors note - Ian Proctor died in July 1992. An obituary can be seen at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-ian-proctor-1536011.html and another profile at https://nmmc.co.uk/object/people/ian-proctor/ ]