The Menai Strait One Design sloop (a sail boat with a singular mast) was specifically designed for the waters of the Strait by Mr. W. H. Rowland for the boat makers Morris & Leavett of Gallows Point, Beaumaris.
In 1937, 4 were built with a further 4 built in 1938, by 1938 the owners of the eight boats that had been built had organised weekly racing in Portdinorwic as well as off Gallows pint, where a local poacher used his shotgun to start the racing. In August 1938, the owners decided to form their own club, with a membership fee of 1 guinea (£1.05 in modern money) for owners and 5 shillings ( approximately 25p in Modern money). The club was then registered with the R.Y.A. in November 1938.
Two more were built in 1939, this led to the club deciding to add the letters MS to the sail to aid in identifying them; this lead to them being called Marks & Spencers boats. At this point a 10 shilling (approximately 50p in modern money) fee was made on each member as a contribution to the launch service in addition to this, race regulations were made so that each boat had to carry all gear supplied by the boat builder, which is still in force today but with a few minor exceptions.
After World War Two
The Royal Anglesey Yacht Club (R.A.Y.C) invited all local clubs to join them in reinstating racing in the strait. Since then the M.S.O.D. club has sailed as part of the R.A.Y.C but has always retained it’s own status as a club.
Between the years of 1945 and 1952 the class grew to seventeen boats. Four of which were used by the H.M.S Conway as training boats for cadets, they were used in that capacity for 17 years. Another was owned by the Beaumaris Sea Scouts for 6 years.
Over the years some of the boats were taken away from North Wales, five had engines put in, one had a cabin built on, center keel and bilge keels fitted, all since removed. All 17 M.S.O.Ds built are now back in the North Wales area and are being restored back to M.S. specifications, so hopefully they can all return to racing in the not so distant future.