The story of the Pandora starts way back in 1962, when the renowned Dutch Yacht Designer E. G. 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 and its own website www.rko.nl.
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 call a “Trotter-Pandora” and was very popular and successful on the Continent, with about 200 boats being sold. In addition the boat was also licensed to be produced in the USA , Australia and Japan.
In 1967 Grimsby Plastics, who built no more than 20 boats, introduced the Trotter-Pandora (link broken) 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 latter 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 in line with the then current IOR fashion. 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 meters (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.
Purchasers of all boats had the choice of a Fin keel, Twin keel or Centreplate configuration (the mark 1 also had a triple-keel option).
Since the demise of Rydgeway Marine, no further Pandoras have been built and the total 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.
From the racing returns submitted to the R.Y.A. it appears that there is only one Pandora Fleet consistently racing throughout the season; this fleet is situated at Abersoch, sailing under the burgee of the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club (S.C.Y.C.).