The Droleen, a 12′ lapstrake catboat, was designed in 1896 by W. Ogilvy of Bray, a town on the east coast of Ireland. It was intended to be launched off a stony beach and to be sailed “in any weather, plenty of wind and sea—not infrequently encountered off the coast of Bray,” according to H.C. Folkard’s 1906 book, Sailing Boats from Around the World.Eight boats were built—some, if not at all, by Mr. Foley of Ringsend, Dublin—but it is thought that the development of the class was hampered when some of the original owners, who were in the British Army, were called away to fight in the Boer War (1899–1902) in South Africa. There was, however, some class racing up until the First World War, after which the boats gradually disappeared. None survive today.

Photographs by the author

The trailing edge of the 3/16″ galvanized steel centerplate is fully exposed when retracted in the open-topped trunk.

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