The International One Design (IOD) is a classic racing sloop with strong representation across the globe and has become synonymous with Bermuda. There are currently nine active fleets spanning five countries, featuring national clubs in Maine, Massachusetts, New York and California, as well as international clubs in Norway, Scotland and Sweden.
In 1935, while racing in Bermuda, Cornelius Shields saw Eldon Trimingham’s 6-Meter yacht “Saga”. He was so taken with the boat that he had her designer Bjarne Aas from Fredrikstad, Norway, design a similar boat, although slightly lighter and with a taller rig, with the intention of starting a class of true international one-design boats.
In 1936, Shields brought the first IOD, “Aileen”, to Long Island where he started a fleet. The next summer saw 25 IOD boats racing on Long Island Sound. Other fleets would emerge in Bermuda, Marblehead Massachusetts, Northeast Harbour Maine, San Francisco California, Fisher Island New York, Norway, Sweden and Scotland.
As the IOD came to life, World War II was in its beginning stages. Four years would pass between when “Aileen” hit the water, and the German invasion of Denmark and Norway, but Aas was prepared. Aas buried the IOD molds during the German occupation to ensure their survival. He was successful, and the same molds were later used to produce a “plug” for fibreglass IODs, which are prevalent in the 10 active IOD fleets in five countries today.
The IOD Class was the first ever to achieve International Classic Yacht status with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).