Dick Lonton
Dick LontonSailing has always held an attraction for me being brought up in a village steeped in yachting tradition. Living in Tollesbury I was privileged not just to sail from a very young age but to hear tales of adventure from the retired yachtsmen who sailed in the J Class boats and also to gain a wealth of knowledge of the water from the local fishermen both young and old. When I left school at 14 years of age I became an apprentice sailmaker with Gowens in their loft at Tollesbury and that is when my career with boats began.

My sailing experiences range widely both in dinghies and offshore boats. I owned an 18 ft Scow and then Fireballs. The first was Mishap (277) and in her I won the first National Championship in 1964 with Bob Fisher. Then I crewed Hornets with John Partridge. I also crewed for Peter Sandy, Peter Bateman (great helmsman) and many other successful helms in other classes from whom I learnt my sailing.

Offshore experience came from crewing - including the Round the Island race and the Fastnet. After this came racing on the Crouch in Squibs - then Sonatas, Impalas and Sigmas (with the Page family) offshore and round the cans. We had successes including winning the Town Cup.

All this time I was earning my living with sails, using my sailing experiences to improve the design and the cut. I worked with Gowens, Gail Heard, Holts, Cranfields and Hydes. Ian came to join me in the Holts Sail Loft and from the start we made a good team. Our wealth of varied sailing experiences meant that we always understood what the helmsman needed, whether for racing or cruising.

1997 was a year of decision for Ian and I when we decided to go it alone. So Lonton and Gray was launched and with premises right in the heart of Burnham we are in a good position to offer our services to you.
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