The Timpenny 670 was designed by Colin Thorne. Colin started designing boats at the tender age of 5! In fact he still has his first designed boat. Fran & Colin Thorne decided to build their own boat as they could not afford a production boat. The cheapest was about twice their budget and both Fran & Colin were unhappy with the safety features (or lack of) especially after an incident on another type of boat. Colin was also unhappy with the current rigs of available trailer sailers.
While working on his new creation (out of wood) Colins kids were jumping on the roof which was making a very satisfying booming noise. Deafened Colin yelled out - "Stop, it sounds like an out of control Tympani section". Since the kids names were Tim & Penny, the name Timpenny stuck and the boat was born!
After launching the boat, people kept asking where they could buy one. Colin and Fran decided to start making them. They were so popular that they needed boat builder Jon Simonds to come to the rescue to keep up with demand and he still has the business name Timpenny Yachts. As they say - the rest is history. Improvements to rigs continued and slding hatches and pop top versions were soon developed. Early versions had rotating masts,
a design feature not seen until much later on modern yachts and performance skiffs and dinghies. The boat's relatively light weight and sleek, hydrodynamically efficient hull design made the boat a flyer even though it had smaller sails than its counterparts. Even today the hull shape looks comparatively modern.
Thereafter Colin designed the larger Timpenny 770. The 770 was designed for extended cruising with a larger cabin and more headroom and a seperate toilet. Early models were swing keels only with a small self tacking jib. A Genoa was added to the sail wardrobe to improve the boats winward performance in very light airs. However in the early 80's Colin redesigned the boat and changed the building method to the now commonly used foam sandwhich construction which lightened the boat approximatley two hundred kilos. An improved rig and larger sail wardrobe was added and a thicker drop keel (to stop the water flow stalling) with lower ballast improved the hydrodynamics considerably. This made the 770 much easier to plane downwind (and hence upped the CBH on the drop keel version). In one Marlay point race Colin and John Simonds were able to record a consistent 9 knots over about 12 Nautical miles!
Colin recalled his design innovations in a recent discussion on the quicker 770 drop keel....
"The reason is lighter weight, larger plain sail area, a keel designed for a genoa and the extra stability from lower ballast. I had a pretty flexible mast and was able to do the Julian Bethwaite thing (I did not recognise it at the time) of having very high luff tensions at setup so that until the tension built up to the preset value the mast pretty well stayed put, but above that flattened off. From memory this gained over a minute a mile to windward, though as I say at the time I did not understand the mechanism, just knew it worked."