The Frostbite story began in the frigid waters of Long Island Sound in January 1932 when the first Frostbite regatta was sailed in rain, hail and snow, and was reported in the New York Herald Tribune.
The Larchmont Interclub Dinghy formed the basis of the New Zealand Frostbite Dinghy which was designed by Jack Brooke in 1937, with the first being launched in 1938.
The Frostbite Dinghy was designed to serve as the main class for the Wakatere Boating Club, and the class was elevated to National status in 1946. It was adopted for secondary school competition in 1951 and retained that status till 1975, when it was replaced by the Sunburst dinghy, also designed by Jack Brooke.
In 1950 there were 220 Frostbites registered in Auckland alone, and in 1967 60 competed in the Anniversary Day regatta, making it the largest class in the City.
The first Frostbites were of clinker construction, and there are still some wooden boats sailing today, though fibreglass was permitted in the mid-1970s.
The Frostbite tradition now lives on at the Taikata Sailing Club at Te Atatu, and club days draw around 20 boats for keenly fought competition. A success of the class has been to allow modern materials, such as fibreglass hulls, aluminium masts and state-of-the-art sail materials whilst retaining the key elements of the original design.
Taikata is planning a two day regatta over the weekend of 2/3 March along with socialising and displays on the Friday evening and a 75th Anniversary lunch on the Saturday. The children of Jack Brooke (all now in their 70s) still take an active interest in the class, and are intending to join the celebrations over the weekend. There will also be the opportunity for past Frostbite sailors to try their hands again in the sheltered waters immediately in front of the Taikata clubhouse
March 1—3, 2013
Taikata Sailing Club,
Te Atatu Pennisula,
3 Race Regatta