Brian Meerloo dies

Brian Meerloo Brian Meerloo set up Cobramold with four other founding directors

Brian Meerloo, industry pioneer and co-founder of the Cobramold boatbuilding brand, has died.

His 30-year career included running the Cobramold brand and producing the popular Leisure 17 trailer sailer.

Born in 1935, Brian entered the business world with an enthusiasm for entrepreneurship after leaving school and studying fibreglass moulding techniques.

By 1959, he had set up Cobramold with four other founding directors and by 1964 the company had moved into boatbuilding and produced the revolutionary 39ft Caribbean Norfolk Broads Cruiser.

Leisure 17

The 17ft Leisure 17 trailer sailer, designed by Arthur Howard, was unveiled at the 1967 London Boat Show and the following year was sailed across the Atlantic single-handedly. The new coachroof of the 17SL was designed later by Brian.

Brian was joined at Cobramold by his brother, Peter, and over the next 12 years, Cobramold expanded and built bigger yachts; the L20, L22, L23/23SL, L27 and finally the L29.

By 1979 Cobramold was exporting yachts all over Europe and a subsidiary company, ‘Leisure GMBH’, was established in Germany. However, due to economic pressures coupled with fraud at the German subsidiary, Cobramold collapsed in 1979/80.

Tom Winyard of Brinecraft took over the production of the L17 and L23 which continued through the 1980's.

From 1967 to 1994, at least 3,400 Leisure 17 and 17SL's were produced. Consequently, the Leisure 17 is believed to be the most successful 17ft trailer sailer ever built in the UK.

Brian continued sailing after the collapse of Cobramold, but now as an owner, in his favourite yacht, the L23SL.

Brian sailed from Rice and Coles yard at Burnham on Crouch along the East and South coast until ill health forced the sale of his boat, Last Minette.

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