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About the founders of

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Ian Gray

Ian's sailing background.....I come from a family sailing background, so my first sailing experience at the age of four was in my father's sailing tender, generally messing about in boats and cruising.

By the age of nine I changed cruising for racing, first in West Wight Scows then in Cadets.


I sailed my way through Shearwater Catamarans, Hornets, Fireballs, Tornados and Sonatas, picking up nine National &

one European Championship on the way. I was a member of the UK Olympic Squad

between 1984 & 1988 leading up to the games in Korea.

By 1993 I was sailing cruiser racers with successes in various boats.

By 2000 I was back in one-designs, sailing a Cork 1720.

I am currently campaigning a Dragon however since the granting of a Squib licence to Lonton and Gray,

it seems a good idea to race a Squib!

I first met Dick in 1970 when I joined Holts in London. At that time Dick was running the Holts Sail Loft & we worked closely together, improving & developing the sails for the current classes. I transferred to the Holt Sail loft in 1986 in order to concentrate on sail development and marketing. In February 1997

Dick and I decided to 'push the boat out' & Lonton and Gray was formed.

Dick Lonton

Dick's sailing background...

Sailing 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 & 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 18ft Scow and then Fireballs. The first was Mishap (277) & 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) & many other successful helms in other classes from

whom I learnt my sailing.

Offshore experience came from crewing - including the Round the Island race & the Fastnet!

After this came racing on the Crouch in Squibs - then Sonatas, Impalas and Sigmas (with the Page family) offshore & 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 & the cut.

I worked with Gowens, Gail Heard, Holts, Cranfields & 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 & I when we decided to go it alone.

Lonton & Gray was launched and with premises right in the heart of Burnham-on-Crouch.

Both Dick & Ian owned a scow at one time....

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Unit A
2 Springfield Industrial Estate
Springfield Road

+44 (0)1621 786200

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