I took some up close photos as the 72ft Fife ketch Eilean finally gets under sail after a painstaking restoration

Gorgeous, isn’t she?

I had the privilege of sailing on the beautiful Eilean on a flying visit to Antibes. The 72ft Fife design, built at Fairlie in 1936, was rescued in 2006 in state of disrepair in Antigua and this summer marks the beginning of a new sailing career after a long and painstaking restoration that has taken three-and-a-half years.

Eilean was bought by watchmaker Panerai, which sponsors some of the biggest classics regattas, and taken to Viareggio in Italy for the gargantuan refit. What a credit she is to the exquisite craftsmanship lavished on her.

Moored up beside other pristine Fifes such as Halloween, Cambria and Moonbeam IV, mustered for the Panerai Les Voiles d’Antibes she is a fantastic addition to the Fife pantheon.

Skipper Andrew Cully and his crew took us out for a spin. For a while we hung out with a couple of other Fifes limbering up for the racing. Here is Eilean in full flight – main, mizzen, staysail, jib and jib top all pulling in pursuit of fellow Fife designs Moonbeam IV and Cambria.

We’ll be running the full story in our August issue but for now here are a few of my snaps to give you the flavour.

Hard on the wind in a light breeze off Antibes

 

 Eilean sailing

Neat storage for the dorade vents when underway above the main companionway hatch

Dorades

 

Bosun’s locker to starboard of the main mast

Bosun's locker

Main boom end fitting, an original casting

Boom fitting

Eilean’s wheel and huge binnacle, both original

Binnacle

The saloon, with new wood panelling and a set of specially made Panerai instruments on the bulkhead

Saloon

Measuring up – or trying to – against a bigger Fife-designed relative, the magnificent Cambria

Cambria