Charles Ernest Nicholson

Nationality: British
Years: 1868-1954
Charles E Nicholson

Nicholson’s first design of note was the Redwing class. The Bembridge sailing club met in October 1896 to agree the need for a shallow draughted yacht – to allow for the shoal waters of Bembridge Harbour – which could be sailed single-handed, to replace the expensive half raters. Nicholson designed the yacht in ten days, and by 1898 the fleet consisted of 16 boats, all built by the Camper & Nicholsons shipyard.


In the early 1900s Nicholson developed a new powered craft which would enable the owners to come from their “big-boats” before and after the competitions. Named the Gelyce class, the name derived from the combined first and last letter of their respective wives: Gertie, Lucy, and Constance.

In 1912, Nicholson introduced the 15mR design Istria with a Marconi rig, the first yacht in the world with a lightweight, laminated wood construction. This led to further developments and growing expertise in the use of lightweight materials which saw its fruition in the use of plywood in deck construction. This ultimately led to arguably Nicholson’s most beautiful sailing creation, the 1927 commissioned Vita (later Creole) was built on behalf of Alexander Smith Cochran.


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