The Pandora was designed by the renowned yacht designer E. G. Van de Stadt and can be traced back to 1962 when Van de Stadt devised the “Randmeer”, a dayboat with a low freeboard. The Randmeer is still raced today in the Netherlands with a very active class association.
Later developments of the Randmeer included adding a deck with a cabin thereby converting the boat into a cruiser, which was then renamed “Trotter”. The Trotter was handicapped with its low freeboard, so Van de Stadt designed a new faster hull with higher freeboard but still using the Trotter deck. The new boat was called a “Trotter-Pandora” and was very popular and successful on the Continent, with about 200 boats being sold. In addition the boat was also licenced to be produced in the USA, Australia and Japan.
In 1967 Grimsby Plastics, who built no more than 20 boats, introduced the Trotter-Pandora to England. Rydgeway Marine Ltd. of Lowestoft Suffolk then succeeded them in 1970 by acquiring the moulds and marketed the same boat but under a new name “Pandora”. This Pandora became known as the “Mark 1”.
In 1971 Ridgeway made two very minor modifications to the original Trotter deck. However, it was not until circa 1973 that a major redesign/modernisation was undertaken, with the introduction of the “International”.
The International had a deeper, higher aspect ratio fin keel and the rig was modified. This consisted of a higher mast and a shorter boom. In 1976 the last modernisation was undertaken with the introduction of the “700”. The 700 had now stretched to 7.01 metres (hence its name) with the introduction of a retousse stern and associated inboard rudder and an even taller mast and shorter boom. Production of the 700 ceased in October 1991.
Since the demise of Rydgeway Marine, no further Pandoras have been built and the total number of yachts produced is estimated to be in the region of between 850 to 900 (including the 200 Continental Trotter-Pandoras). Van de Stadt’s later developments of this design include the Splinter – built by SOS – and the Spirit 24.
Despite its relatively small size, it’s an extremely sea worthy boat whose ability matches many larger craft, particularly the fin keeled versions. The boat is noted for being responsive and light on the helm.
There are two versions of the Pandora, the MK1 and MKII and both models feature a choice of keel – fin, ballasted twin, twin with central ballasted keel or a centreboard which retracts into a stub keel.
The interior is an open plan design comprising four berths plus a GRP moulded galley unit comprising a sink and gimballed cooker. Headroom is generous at around 4′ 8″. The cockpit is over 7′ long accommodating three crew with ease.
The Pandora association is based in Abersoch, Wales and actively races Pandora yachts.
I have just bought a boat that had no title or hull number and it was hearsay that it was a “Trotter”. This boat does appear to be a “Trotter-Pandora”. If there is a hull number on these boats and anyone out there knows where a person can find it I would sure appreciate it. I am looking forward to a great time with it after reading its history. Thanks.
I bought a new Trotter (drop-keel) in 1964 or thereabouts, and named her “Boomalakka”. The Trotter was later redeveloped as a Pandora, but the original one had a 3/4 forestay, the Pandora I think masthead. The boat sailed beautifully, but had a low aspect ratio main that looked odd by today’s standards.
What a fantastic choice of picture to choose to show a Pandora at its best – it’s my boat ‘Panic’ an International racing in the Pandora Welsh Open. There is a fleet of Pandora’s regularly racing out of South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club at Abersoch, N. Wales. See the SCYC web site or the pandora web site above for more details.