Illusion 12 regatta United States

Why an Illusion Yacht?

The hull slips easily through the water, leaving a smooth wake. There is a slight increase in wind; she receives it, considers it, accepts it with the dignity and reserve that only a heavy displacement yacht can muster, and slowly heels in response. “Back-stay in –trim main and genoa–a little cunningham–that’s enough.” As you pull strings, you catch yourself giving orders to ten imaginary crew members who obligingly leap to their stations to perform their duties while this miniature version of a 12-Meter presses the water aside and slowly accelerates, bow and stern waves building up as they would on the real thing. Weight give 12-Meters their special character, their wonderful sensation of power, their ability to carry their way forward when brought head to wind in match race pre-start maneuvers. Those feelings are faithfully reproduced in the Illusion Twelve.

There is no trace of skittishness of a 12’ dinghy; Illusion (that is the name given to the class) responds like a big boat. When you see her out of the water you realize why: She is a scaled-down 12-Meter below as well as above the waterline, with proportionally just a little more beam to accommodate the human body within her elegant shell.


The Illusion is a one-design keel-boat, based on a scaled version of Lionheart, the British 12 Meter Class yacht and designed by Jo Richards and Neil Graham in 1981. These performance single-handed boats offer superb racing in nearly any conditions, by sailors of all weights and ages – with tested racing performance up to Force 6! or between 22-27 knots. Sailing up to 40 knots has been known to happen.

An Easy Sailing Day

Sailing at 20 Knots

Easy Storage


Easy Travel


Regatta Ready


The first National Championship was held as a three day ten race regatta, in August, 1985 in Richardson’s Bay off Sausalito, CA.

World Wide

England, United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia are but a few countries where Illusions sail in fresh or salt.

Adaptive Sailing

The Illusion 12 is a one-design, single-handed keelboat featuring foot pedal steering, using a genoa with roller reefing, full trimming, including a spinnaker. Alterations to the basic designs can be made to ensure easy maneuverability, and safety for physically challenged sailors. Fro example a tiller in front of the seat rather than foot pedals to control the rudder through ropes is one example of a set up for paraplegics without use of their legs.

The Illusion Mk.2 is a one-design, duel-handed keelboat features a foredeck position using a genoa with roller reefing, full trimming, including a spinnaker, and a helmsman position including main sail trimming. No alterations to the basic designs need to be made to ensure easy maneuverability, and safety for physically challenged sailors. The boat can be sailed from the helmsman position minus the spinnaker allowing for an observer in the foredeck position.

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Illusion Yachts USA
57A Snug Harbor Lane
Deltaville, Virginia 23043


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