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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Wooden twin screw pleasure yacht

An update on the recent Bursledon Blog  post about motor yacht Vagabond,

It was almost exactly a year ago that I spotted Vagabond ashore in a local yard while I was out for my morning run, I could see she was rather special, but the crowded marina and weather didn't do any favours when it came to taking picture.

Several google searches later reveal that there is a VAGABOND on the Historic Ship register, described as a wooden twin screw pleasure yacht, built by Saunders-Roe Ltd. at Cowes in 1937.

 She was registered at Cowes and her official number is 164825. She is made of teak on rock elm frames and has twin steering positions. She entered service on 3 May 1937. Prior to 1995, she was owned by Helen Jane Morris of 2 Cannon Hill Gardens, Shrivenham, Wiltshire and was extensively rebuilt in the 1990s with new beam shelves, deck beams, laid decks, s/s tanks etc. She currently has an internal combustion engine, with 104 kilowatts, made by the Gray Marine Motor Co.

Her hull was faired and repainted in 2006, the wheel house roof was epoxy sheathed and all points were addressed on a full survey.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Jay Benford Cruising Dory, Badger

In 1978, Jay Benford expanded on his cruising experience in the 34 foot topsail ketch, Sunrise, to create a dory hulled cruising boat. There were naysayers then, as now, about the capacity of a sailing dory to weather off-shore conditions.

 Annie and Pete Hill made the Badger famous and proved Mr Benford's design by sailing their dory over 100,000 nautical miles. Since then, we find Benford Badgers being built everywhere. It is a cruising yacht designed for the home builder.

Annie, of course, loved her plywood dory and had this to say in her book Voyaging on a Small Income:
"Badger can be built simply and for very little money. Sheathed in cloth and epoxy, she is easy to maintain and can be kept up to standard at very little expense - an essential prerequisite for a boat that is sailed on a small income." 
The Badger was originally designed with a cutter sail rig, but most builders prefer a fully battened schooner junk configuration, which has been touted as possibly the best short-handed cruising rig ever devised.

In Ullapool, Scotland we find a recently launched Badger setting out for it's first cruise. Dan Johnson is the happy builder of Hester. He and his wife Charlotte Watters have spent several years exploring northern Atlantic venues, so for their first cruise on Hester, will be heading south.

Dan, with occasional help from friends, built Hester in two years. An impressive schedule for readying an open-ocean cruiser and a testament to Annie's claim about simplicity of build, also to the commitment of the builder.

Dan and Charlotte have been impressed with the boat's handling, as documented in Dan's log:

"...we had made it down to Oban where we left Hestur for a week. After that, Charlotte and I returned to sail north again back to Ullapool. Of course we were hit by five days of northeast winds (absolutely our direction of travel) This would really show us how Junks go to windward - they do."

"Heading north we decided to go inside Mull then outside Skye taking in the Outer Hebridies. This proved to be a good plan as the Minch provides a great seaway for tacking against northerly winds! Heading west across the Minch towards Barra we experienced our first largish sea and strongish wind aboard Hestur - F6 with 10 foot crashers. She performed perfectly with nothing unexpected and we were broad reaching at 6+ knots with two panels up on the foresail and three in the main. Very easy sailing with no deck work - all reefing done from cockpit"

"When sailing on the wind she will sail herself if you balance the sails - we often leave the helm quite literally for hours and hours, not even lashed. This surprises me as she is a fin keeler - I think it must be the substantial skeg arrangement."

Being a dory sailor myself, I find this account impressive and would like to offer congratulations to Dan and Charlotte. May they find many happy miles at sea!

Thank you, John McIntyre and Chris Perkins of Ullapool for the photos of Hester.


Friday, 19 October 2012

Sacré Cinquo! – is the 505 really French?

Amazingly the 505 dinghy, still one of the most exciting performance boats in the world, is close to celebrating its 60th birthday. Is it French or British in its origins? It's a long story – but one that's worth telling in the full version.

Certainly the 505 was designed by British naval architect, John Westell, and equally certainly most of the early hulls were built by Fairey Marine at Hamble Point, but the 505 was not, in fact, the boat that John Westell originally set out to design, and it would never have seen the light of day had it not been for a group of enthusiastic French dinghy sailors.

In 1952 the IYRU announced a competition to select a two man dinghy class to be given International, and Olympic, status. The sailing trials held on a lake at Loodsdrecht in Holland were won by the Flying Dutchman, but the national sailing associations of Britain and France were not happy with the choice, arguing that the FD was too heavy and powerful a boat for crews of average size and weight, especially in the open waters around the French and UK coasts.

The objections were heard, and new trials were organised at La Baule, in France, in 1953. Among the new prototypes competing was an attractive 18 footer with a cold moulded hull. This was John Westell's Coronet design, and it was the talk of the event, not just because of its revolutionary lines and good looks, but also because of its sparkling performance.

John Westell's Coronet No. 1
The Coronet was an 18 foot boat with almost 200 sq. ft of sail area. It caught the eye of many of the world's top dinghy sailors at La Baule, partly because of its beautiful cold moulded hull, relatively narrow waterline beam, and built-in buoyancy side tanks, but mostly because of its wide flaring topsides, which gave it a futuristic speedboat-like look, quite unlike any of the other boats present.

It was said afterwards that the trials were weighted in favour of the 20 ft Flying Dutchman. Only the FD had two boats present, while all the other classes were represented by a single example. This meant that the FDs could split at the start, to sail different sides of the course, while the rest of the fleet had to guess which side would pay best. It was quickly apparent that the Dutchman had only one rival. The FDs are said to have had a slight boatspeed advantage on the beat, but the Coronet, with its lighter weight, smaller genoa, and lower wetted surface was quicker to tack and accelerate, so windward honours were divided. The Coronet planed more easily and was faster downwind, however. The two Dutchman crews had the advantage of being able to team race against the rest of the fleet, and, in particular, their only real rival, the Coronet. Whether this was fair or not, the 2 FDs finished the trials with a combined total of more wins and places than any other class, but the Coronet was, by a comfortable margin, the leading individual boat, and, in fact, dominated the series convincingly.  

The Flying Dutchman once again got the nod from the IYRU committee. Westell was informed the Coronet could apply for International status once 100 examples had been built, but no further Coronets were ever built and the sole example was sold to an East African sailor.

This could have been the end of the story, but for the enthusiasm of some of France's top dinghy sailors who recognised a good thing when they saw it.

This is said to be 505 No. 1 (probably K1).  Notice the flat topped side tanks and transom mainsheet
Soon after the trials, a group of French helmsmen from the French Caneton (Duckling) class which had been represented but seriously outclassed on the water, got together to discuss the outcome and found themselves unamimously in admiration of the looks and performance of the Coronet. The Caneton was a hotly contested development class in France, with some of the country's best helmsmen, and relatively free rules on construction techniques and hull form. There was a general consensus that a shorter version of the Coronet could make an excellent, more restricted, one-design version of the Caneton class, so the President of the Caneton Association, Alain Cettier, approached John Westell to ask if the Coronet design could be made to fit the Caneton rule. Westell quickly produced plans for a modified Coronet, to fit the 5 metre +1% maximum overall Caneton gauge.  

The plans were accepted by a Caneton technical committee meeting at the end of 1953, and the Caneton 505 became an official French National class before a single boat had been built!

Within weeks the first 505 was under construction in a workshop at the back of a photographer's studio in Paris.  The builders, Messieurs Bigoin and Labourdette, both Caneton sailors, managed to scrounge the wood and tools, but the hull turned out to be slightly too wide to go through the workshop door, so the doorframe and some masonry had to be removed before the 505 could emerge! Caneton 505 Number 1 was launched on the Seine at Meulan at Easter in 1954, and tested by several of France's top sailors. At the end of the holiday weekend Cettier found himself with orders for 10 boats!

The original Coronet had been built by John Chamier's Tormentor yard at Warsash on the Hamble river, but Cettier found that Fairey Marine, across the river at Hamble Point, could produce the hulls cheaper and more quickly, using their hot moulding process in which the hulls were “baked” in a large autoclave oven to cure their advanced aeronautical glues.

These first bare hulls were nested together and delivered to France where they were finished by the Sampson yard at Sartrouville and by Mallard at Les Mureaux, both on the River Seine.  

Meanwhile, Fairey were turning out their own finished version of the “Five-O” for sale in Britain, as well as other bare hulls to be finished by customers or by other yards, in particular Tormentor just a few yards away across the Hamble River. By August there were enough 505s sailing to hold a Franco-British challenge regatta at Ouistreham in Normandy.

505 No 8 (France) Note the rolled tanks and cutout transom
The early French boats did not feature the characteristic rolled side tanks that we associate with the 505, but certainly some of the very earliest boats finished by Fairey had them, and in time they became a trademark feature of the class. These, and the characteristic flared topsides make the Five-O a relatively comfortable boat to sail, as there is no sharp edge to dig into the crews' legs, and spray, or at least some of it, is deflected away from the boat and the crew.

The first boats had wooden masts, but the class rules allowed for all kinds of development in the areas of construction materials, interior layout, running rigging, shaping of foils, etc., and the top boats in the class on both sides of the channel were soon sporting Proctor alloy spars, open transoms, centre sheeting, and other innovations. The astonishing performance of the 505 soon brought it to the attention of sailors all over Europe and the World, so the class spread quickly as new racers took up the class, and new builders took on construction.

Notice the class burgee?  It carries both the Coronet and Caneton insignia
By 1955 with over 100 boats sailing, the 505 bcame an International class in its own right. The first fibreglass hulls started to appear in the latter part of the 1950s, initially composite boats with wooden decks, transoms and side tanks, later, builders like Lanaverre in France and Parker in Britain would produce hundreds of all-plastic boats.

Since the class rules allow all kinds of materials, provided essential hull dimension and minimum weight limits are adhered to, the 505 has always been in the forefront of construction technology. Nowadays hulls and spars are of carbon fibre, and stiff hydrodynamically profiled foils promote planing even to windward, but even with all their scarily modern equipment, the modern 505 is still recognisably the same boat as the one that Parisian photographer's door had to be knocked down for in 1954.

Some bullet points:
  • Both the Coronet and 505 were designed from the start for a two man crew with a trapeze.
  • John Westell sailed the Coronet in the IYRU La Baule trials and one of the 505s in the first 505 class regatta at Ouistreham.
  • The International 505 Association burgee still carries the Coronet and Caneton insignia in recognition of the origins of the class
  • More than 9000 boats to the 505 design have now been registered
  • The magazine "Cahiers du Yachting" donated the wood for the first boat
  • Daniel Mazo was the photographer whose doorway in the Boulevard Saint-Martin had to be “modified”
  • The 505 is known in France as the “Cinquo”
  • The first 505 originally carried the Caneton sail insignia with the class number 1701
  • The topsides flare from 1.24m beam at the waterline to 1.88 at the gunwhale, increasing vastly the power of the trapeze while keeping wetted surface area low at non-planing speeds.
  • Fairey Marine built more than 200 hot-moulded wooden 505 hulls.
  • The 505, with all its spars, rigging and racing equipment, can be towed by a Citroen 2CV!

International 505 Racing Dinghy, "Le Roi du Dériveur "

Designer:  John Westell
Length:   5.05 meters  
Beam:    1.88 meters  
Weight:  127.4 kilos  

Sail Area:
Main  12,30 sq. m.  
Jib  4,94 sq. m  
Spinnaker  27 sq. m. (originally 20 sq.m) 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Aile - a pretty pre-war keelboat

A modern Aile in GRP, built by ACCF of Pont L'Abbe, Brittany 
The Aile is a one-design keelboat, built originally by the Finnish Abö yard. It was adopted by the Parisian yacht club, Cercle Nautique de Chatou (now the Yacht Club Ile de France – YCIF) in 1936, when the club's previous one-design keelboat racer proved to be unsuitable for the new waters to which the club had moved.

The club committee had originally intended to adopt the Star class, and to import as many as 100, but on discovering that a rival Parisian yacht club, the Cercle de la Voile de Paris, already had the French monopoly on this design, as well as the sole rights to organise regattas for it, they moved swiftly to look for an alternative.

Restored 1937 Aile "Aquarelle"
The Aile is, in the view of many, a far better and prettier boat than the Star, which is notorious for its ugly coffin-style hull, difficult handling, and ridiculously flimsy and unbalanced looking rig. Within a few years the YCIF had 160 of its Aile class based at Meulan on the Seine downstream of Paris, and there were additional fleets at Ouistreham in Normandy as well as on France's Mediterranean coast.

Aile sailing on the Seine (photo: YCIF archive) 
A strange peculiarity of the original Finnish built Aile was its hard chine construction in “Masonite”, a type of hardboard made from processed woodchips, invented by an American in the 1920s. The waste material from sawmills was boiled and blasted under pressure into sheets which were then pressed to form smooth flat boards. No glue or resin was used in the process, and although Masonite had excellent mechanical qualities for many construction and furnishing uses, it may have lacked somewhat in resistance to long-term exposure to water – not an ideal characteristic in a boat-building material.

On the plus side, however, it allowed the Aile to be constructed and sold in France at a lower price than the Star, and no doubt this advantage, together with the boat's good looks, excellent sailing performance and reputation for ease of handling helped the class to grow rapidly.

During the war the Luftwaffe bombed the YCIF's storage sheds, thinking they were aircraft hangars, and many of the boats were destroyed. Later, the Allied forces made the same mistake and bombarded the ruins again, finishing off many more of the boats. What had been one of France's most popular keelboat classes was suddenly a casualty of war, and reduced to a fraction of its former numbers.

Fortunately, after the war, the class recovered some of its strength, and the class association published plans for DIY home building in marine ply, although the 200kg keel, with its fin of cast iron and lead bulb would obviously have to be fabricated by professionals.

Nowadays few of the original boats survive, but you can find some pages dedicated to a restored 1937 boat at the Association Verguillon site.  

It is now possible to buy an Aile built with a GRP hull, plywood deck, alloy mast and with lots of nice varnished mahogany on show - or you could always build your own in marine ply.  Sail numbers are at over 300, and according to the class association 20 new boats are currently on order.

Aile class:

Designer: Iarl Linblöm (Finland)

LOA: 7 m 10
LWL: 5 m 90
Beam: 1 m 58
Draft: 1 m 04
Hull weight: 450 kg exc. rig
Ballast keel: 200 kg

Sail area (upwind) : 18.7m2
Spinnaker: 27m2

Links and acknowledgements:
YCIF (photo)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Columbia 43: a classic Tripp racer

The Columbia 43 is a big, muscular boat made for long ocean races. The boat is largely forgotten now because its birth coincided with the death of the rating rule it was designed to race under.

With a long, flush deck and a low gun-turret house, the boat is easily recognizable as coming from the drafting board of William H. Tripp, Jr., one of the great designers of the Cruising Club of America racing era. Trip designed the Columbia 43 as part of a suite of racing and cruising boats for Columbia Yachts that included two of the largest production boats of the 1960s, the Columbia 50 and the Columbia 57. In fact, the first model of the Columbia 43 had a Columbia 50's deck house.
Columbia 43 hull number 1 with the deck house off a Columbia 50.
The Columbia 43 is a fast boat. In its early years, a 43 finished first-in-class in the Transpac race from San Pedro, Calif., to Honolulu, Hawaii. As the International Offshore Rating rule took over the racing scene, the Columbia 43 was left behind in favor of boats that would rate better under the new rule. With the popularity of sailboat racing under PHRF, the Columbia 43 is again a contender for the silver.

A Mark III recognizable by her small rectangular ports.
Columbia also came out with a Mark III model that was even more competitive as a racer. It had a keel with a shorter chord and lead ballast, a modified rudder, and six additional feet of mast height. Columbia also abandoned it's trademark long, low window on the side of the house for this model and substituted two, rectangular ports on each side giving it a mean, pillbox look.

Tripp's name is synonymous with CCA racers that have centerboards, so, naturally, there is a centerboard version of the boat as well. It has an additional 1,300 pounds of ballast and a minimum draft two feet less than the keel version.

The boat was well laid out for racing with a galley to port and a U-shaped dinette to starboard, a step down takes you to the main saloon with facing settees that convert to four single bunks. Forward of that is a small head to starboard with a large standing chart table and a V-birth in the forepeak, The arrangement is somewhat less desirable as a cruising boat for a couple, but it is still workable. The boat also carried 50 gallons of fuel and 50 gallons of water, about half of what you would want on a cruising boat that size.

Columbia built 153 of the 43s: about a third at its yard in Portsmouth, Va., and the rest in the Costa Mesa, Calif., yard. A smaller number (about six) of the Mark IIIs were built. The longevity of heavy fiberglass construction means most are still sailing.

At least one Columbia 43 has circumnavigated the globe. Other boats ended up scattered across the world in the Mediterranean,Caribbean and the islands of the Pacific as well as in every coastal state. A 43 in Aruba takes out 22 passengers for day sails; a job it's done every day for more than 30 years under two generations of owners. The large deck and 10-foot cockpit comfortably handles all 22 passengers. A tough boat indeed.
Columbia 43 under sail on the Columbia River.
Here's the Columbia 43 by the numbers:
  • Length: 43 feet 3 inches
  • Beam: 12 feet 4 inches
  • Draft: 6 feet 11 inches
  • Waterline Length: 32 feet 8 inches
  • Displacement: 22,200 pounds (one source says 18,900 pounds)
  • Ballast: 9,500 pounds
  • Sail Area: 806 square feet
  • Sail Area/Displacement: 18.24
  • Ballast/Displacement: 50.26 percent
  • Displacement/Length: 257.49
  • Theoretical Hull Speed: 7.5 knots 
  • Vertical Clearance: 58 feet 4 inches
  • Built between 1969 and 1974
  • Number built: 153
  • PHRF number: 102 (Columbia 43 Mark III has a PHRF number of 96)

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Bill Tripp's fast and beautiful boats

Dancer is a Tripp-designed, 55-foot flush deck aluminum cutter built in 1965 by Abeking & Rasmussen.
Copyright by Brandon Ford, 2016.

Dear reader, I posted a profile of Bill Tripp Jr. a couple of years ago here. Since then I've learned so much more about this great designer that I decided to repeal and replace the original post. Hope you enjoy the update.

In the last two decades of the Cruising Club of America (CCA) rating rule, William H. Tripp Jr. became known for winning and weatherly sailboats, including the Columbia 43.

He also designed, what many sailors and yacht designers consider, some of the most beautiful boats ever built in fiberglass. They continue to captivate sailors and command high prices in the used boat market today. In 2014 Cruising World Magazine's readers and editors chose Tripp's Columbia 50 and Hinkley Bermuda 40 as two of the "40 Best Sailboats Ever Made."

The Hinkley Bermuda 40, designed by Tripp, had the longest production run in U.S. history. She is as seaworthy as she is beautiful.
Tripp was a self-taught designer who came up through the ranks working for other designers. He worked with Phil Rhodes and then Sparkman & Stevens before hanging out his own shingle.

His designs were informed by many years of racing Star-class sailboats and other sailboats while growing up. The seaworthiness of his designs owes something to his experience serving in the Coast Guard during World War II. Trip was assigned to the Offshore Patrol out of Greenport, Long Island.

"This very special branch of the service created some enduring legends ...with its all-weather, all-season operations on the lookout for subs approaching our shores in the early days of the war," wrote Bill Robinson in The Great American Yacht Designers.* "With conventional antisubmarine vessels in short supply, sailing yachts were used as lookout posts.... There was no better school for finding out how the hull of a sailing vessel acts in a sea, and Bill found the firsthand encounter a valuable experience."
The Mercer 44 is one of Tripp's most enduring classics even though only 14 were built.

Tripp was a prolific designer. In addition to providing custom racing and cruising designs for many clients, he designed production boats for Seafarer, Hinckley, Pearson, Columbia and others. An early advocate of fiberglass, he became known for flush-deck race boats with his distinctive gun-turret dog houses.

As a teenager in the 1960s, Seattle-based yacht designer Bob Perry considered Tripp his favorite designer. "Tripp’s boats had a very distinctive look, with proud sweeping spoon bows, bold sheer springs, long concave counters terminating in almost vertical transoms, and sexy and svelte cabin trunks," Perry wrote in the November/December 2011 issue of Good Old Boat Magazine.** "You would never mistake a Tripp design for an S&S design. They just seemed to my young eye to have a strength and boldness, kind of an 'in your face' quality. Plus, his boats were consistent race winners."

Burgoo, the Tripp-designed Pearson 37-foot Invicta centerboard yawl, won the Bermuda race in 1964. At that time it was the smallest fiberglass boat to ever win the race. "[I]t had all the Tripp trademark design features and it was a very sexy-looking little boat," Perry wrote. "In fact, and I could be wrong, this may be the first Tripp design to have the “gun turret” cabin trunk."
Ondine, a 57-foot aluminum yawl designed by Tripp, is arguably the most successful racing yacht in history. 
In the same race, the Class A winner was another Tripp design, Ondine, a 57-foot aluminum yawl built in 1960 and owned by Sumner A "Huey" Long. Ondine was one of the most successful racing yachts in history, according to Robinson. "With her wide beam and low center of gravity, she was designed for great sail-carrying ability and passage performance and became one of the most successful yachts in history in this respect, under an owner eager to campaign her in all oceans of the world.... she placed on the prize list of over 60 percent of the contests she entered and garnered many top trophies," Robinson wrote.

"Bill was the first to put portlights in the topsides as well as opening ports in cockpit sides to improve air circulation and communication below," said Ted Jones,*** who worked with Tripp before becoming a boating magazine editor. "He popularized flush decks on small boats (Galaxy, Medalist, Invicta, Mercer 44), and set high standards in hull and rigging scantlings that have been proven over time. He designed boats to stay together under the most difficult circumstances. I cannot recall one of his designs ever being dismasted or suffering structural damage at sea."

Columbia President Dick Valdes and designer
 Bill Tripp look at plans circa 1965.
By the mid-1960s, Columbia, America's leading builder of fiberglass yachts at the time, approached Tripp to design a fifty footer. He produced a true classic in the Columbia 50. When the Columbia 50 was built in 1965 it was the largest production fiberglass boat ever built by a large margin. It was the first and maybe the best loved of the Columbia boats Tripp designed.

In the next six years, he produced thirteen Columbia yachts, including the Columbia 26 MkII, Columbia 34, Columbia 39, Columbia 43, Columbia 45, Columbia 50, and the Columbia 57. The boats are vintage Tripp, but with the innovation of fin keels and spade rudders.

The C-50 attracted a strong following and still has an active owners association. For years they raced as a one-design class in California, in addition to racing in handicap events. "The Columbia 50 was a big elegant-looking boat with the same bubble house and long flush deck (of many other Tripp designs)," Perry wrote. "It was a very good-looking boat and it was fast. Seattle’s racing scene was dominated for years by a Columbia 50 called Six Pack while the smallest class was dominated by a Columbia 26 called Miller’s High Life."
Grundoon, a Columbia 50, in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race.
In 1969, Columbia was the world's largest fiberglass sailboat manufacturer and Tripp designed a 57 footer, which became the largest production fiberglass boat. It displayed several of Tripp's trademark features: an unusually-long and effective waterline, high-aspect ratio sail plan, dual-surface steering system with a keel-mounted trim tab as well as a balanced spade rudder aft. Speed was derived partially from an absolute minimum of wetted surface area, and from the high prismatic coefficient hull design.
Encore, a Columbia 43, on her way to winning her class in Transpac. She was eighth overall in the fleet that year.
In the same year, Columbia came out with the 43, which was an immediate racing success. Columbia wanted a great race boat when it commissioned Tripp to design what became the Columbia 43. Specifically, the company bosses wanted a boat that could win the Transpac race, which starts in Long Beach, Calif., and ends in Honolulu, Hi. That's exactly what they got. In 1971, Encore, won her class in Transpac, and was eighth overall in the fleet.

The design also dominated other big yacht races, like in the Ocean Racing Class of the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. In 1970 it was the world's largest ocean race at the time with 539 boats competing. Blue Norther, Columbia 43 hull number seven, was the overall winner.

In 1971, the racing community adopted the International Offshore Rule (IOR). Tripp fought hard against the change, but designed a 30 and 52-foot IOR boat for Columbia and was looking forward to developing more of his ideas on the new rule. A few months later, a drunk driver lost control of his car, hurtled over the divider on the Connecticut Turnpike and smashed into Tripp's Jaguar, killing him instantly. He was 51.

Tripp's legacy endures in his beautiful boats - many of which are still sailing today. His son, William H. Tripp, III is also a yacht designer with many large and beautiful yachts to his credit, including an update of his dad's famous Bermuda 40. Hinkley commissioned Tripp III to design the Bermuda 50, which was launched in 2015.
The newest Hinkley sailboat is the Bermuda 50 designed by Bill Tripp III.
*The Great American Yacht Designers by Bill Robinson, Alfred A. Knopf, 1974
**The Legacy of Bill Tripp By Robert Perry, Good Old Boat Magazine, November/December 2011 pages 14-17
*** Bill Tripp's Boats by Ted Jones, Professional BoatBuilder, February/March 2007, pages 56 - 77

Friday, 29 June 2012

Fairey Duckling

Hugh Coryn wrote to say that he had recently acquired a Fairey Duckling, built 1962 still varnished complete with her original suit of Williams sails.

Although still usable Hugh's intention is make whatever restoration is necessary to bring her back to as near original as possible.

In the post war years Fairey produced sailing dinghies utilising techniques that had been employed in the construction of wartime aircraft. Fairey Marine output included the Firefly, Albacore, Falcon, Swordfish, Jollyboat, Flying Fifteen, 505 and International 14's along with the much smaller Dinky and of course the Duckling which was designed by Uffa Fox.

The hot moulding process was an adaptation to post war boat building of the method originally developed by de Havillands in the 1930′s for “stressed skin” wooden aircraft production, using layers of agba sandwiched together with glue over a male mould and “cooked” in a large oven called an “autoclave” By using true mass-production techniques, Fairey Marine were able to turn out vast numbers of identical boats at an unprecedented quality and price.

As you can see Hugh's boat is a Hamble native.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Fairey Atalanta

Decked out for the Royal Jubilee this Fairy Atalanta has it's origin if not precisely in the Coronation year 1953 but is certainly a product of that post war period of English enthusiasm and innovation.

Fairey Marine applied hot moulded wooden construction developed in wartime, to production boat building, the technique enabled light weight and strong construction in the days before GRP became ubiquitous.

History recalls the Atalanta came about through the collaboration between Allen Vines a senior Fariey Marine executive and designer Uffa Fox, the Atalanta was conceived as a trailable shallow draft performance cruiser with the sea keeping capabilities and safety of a fin keel yacht.

There were three variants of the Atalanta, a 26ft (8.1m) hull with a slightly shorter cockpit and more headroom called the Titania (named after another Fairey flying boat), a larger version the Atalanta 31 (9.45m) and the Fulmar a 20ft(6.1m) version with a single lifting keel.

In 1955, Fox designed a 24ft (7.32m) prototype based on some of the concepts demonstrated by Vines in a development of the company's Albacore and after extensive trials the first 26ft (7.92m) Atalanta class boats were launched in June 1956. By 1968, when production ceased, some 291 Atalanta variants had been built at Fairey’s Hamble Point yard.

The Atlanta has a double berth cabin aft and a two-berth cabin, galley and heads forward. The self-draining cockpit has room for six, the unconventional but practical whipstaff tiller allows the maximum space to be utilised. Control lines, and halyards are handled from the cockpit and the headsails and anchor can be deployed by standing in the forehatch. The relatively modest rig and sail area needed to drive the lightweight hull make for easy sail handling as well as lower capital cost, with the additional benefit that the short mast is easily rigged or lowered for towing.

Many of these craft are still sailing and there is an active owners association plus you can follow Atalanta owner and fellow blogger Roy Woolley for first hand insight.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


We had an interesting letter from Francesco Tomei who describes himself as " proud italian owner of the wonderful Brigand 7,50 - Nonnopio."

The Brigand was built in Italy by C.I.M.A. shipyard during the 1970's to a design by Charles Nicholson of Camper & Nicholson. Other than several examples for sale Google failed to come up with any more information on the Brigand, it's an interesting connection as I believe that C&N also sold the 303 under license in Italy which was a Ron Holland designed IOR half tonner made infamous by the 1979 Fastnet disaster.

Francesco completely restored Nonnopio in 2006 at his yard in Viareggio, he writes "this amazing little jewel deserve to be on the list of your 1001 boats, and on a good ranking position too! In my opinion, looking at the designer, at the shape and at the marine qualities she could be on the same level of boats like Muscadet and Ecume de Mer."

He continues, "
these last 2 models are probably much more famous because in France, as well as in Great Britain there is a much deeper and bigger sailing tradition than in Italy.

Brigand really deservse your attention, because she still holds the market very well, as much as the sea itself, in the harbour of my city (Viareggio) there are at least 10 of theese boats, and much more in Italy, and in regatas she often wins against younger and bigger boats.... also in real time."

"with friends or by myself, with any kind of weather She always took me home... ok, I've never faced an hurricane, but I've sailed from Calvi to Capraia Island in 7 hours and 30 minutes with a Mistral at 53 knots, and I've faced the Sea more than one time."

Having sailed the Mediterranean and experienced the sudden force of the Tramontana, a wind similar to the Mistral in the south western parts of France and Spain I know that Francesco's description speaks of a good sea boat.

Thanks to Francesco for bringing Brigand to our attention and providing insight about the boat. A Google search doesn't provide much information so if any readers know more about Brigand wed be delighted to hear from you.