Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Herbert McWilliams, the designer of the Sprog

My thanks to Frans for sharing this with us, what a fascinating story!
Hallo Roy,

You might find this of interest.

It is a drawing done by Herbert McWilliams in 1945.

Herbert McWilliams was an architect in Port Elizabeth and also the designer of the Sprog and Extra dinghy (plus a few other dingies which never reached class status). Going by memory, the first Sprog was launched circa 1947 and first Extra circa 1962.

Anyway, McWilliams and his life partner lived a very upmarket life in a huge house in Amsterdamhoek, right at the mouth of the Zwartkops River. As a kid, I can remember the Rolls and Bentley standing in front of the house. The house was loaded with valuable art from Europe. Unfortunately everything was lost in a fire which destroyed the house sometime in the 70 or 80's.

After both McWilliams and his partner had passed away there was an auction of their substantial properties and remaining loose goods in PE, including the Rolls. My wife went to the auction and I asked her to buy me whatever  yachty item came up. The only yachty item was this drawing. She paid more for the drawing of this dinghy in 1995 than what my dad paid for my second hand Sprog in 1972.

So much for my bit of sailing history.