She's not racing but the 95ft, 1929-built Bermudan ketch is turning more than a few heads 7/8/07

It may not be racing but the 95ft, 1929-built Bermudan ketch Halcyon is turning more than a few heads here at Skandia Cowes Week. This historic, classic owned by geologist, Andrew Armour, has recently completed an extensive re-fit programme ready for this year’s charter season. Armour bought the boat 18 months ago and following the 11-month refit at T. Nielsen & Co in Gloucester and then sailed the boat to Norway. She’s now being used for corporate charter here in Cowes.

Commenting on this stunning boat Armour said: She was built originally for a Lancashire industrialist, Sir Sam Turner by Thornycroft. It was an in-house design built of oak on teak frames. The frames were in tip-top condition but we needed to do a total refit. The deck was replaced in 1964 by Camper and Nicholson but we’ve since had quite a lot of work to do on the deck to stop it leaking.”

According to Armour, another really interesting part of Halcyon’s history is that for 30 years she was used as a sail training ship at the Nautical School at Warsash on the River Hamble, training merchant navy seamen cadets in navigation. Apparently during that time they used to have 12 cadets in the foc’sle stacked in pipe cots, three high, five officers and two more officers in the lazerette. Armour continued: “It takes usually 24-hours in a port before some old boy comes up and says: ‘I remember Halcyon in 1964 coming down the Irish sea doing 13.8kts’. It’s wonderful. We’ve also managed to get some original photos of her during that time which we have down below in the saloon.”

Halcyon is now available for crewed sailing charter, sailing holidays, corporate yacht charter and corporate entertaining in the West Coast of Scotland, the Isles of Scilly, Ireland, Pembrokeshire in Wales, Western Norway and Northern European waters. Halcyon can accommodate up to 8 guests for cruises, or up to 12 guests for corporate entertaining.

Armour continued: “Corporate day sails are very popular particularly for events like Cowes Week. For a week in the very high season for eight people we’re talking £12,000 which includes all food. For day sails the cost is between £3-4,000 for 12 guests and the good thing is we’re virtually fully booked for the whole week.”

Although this boat has been restored to the highest quality she is far from just a museum piece. Those who are fortunate enough to get a chance to go aboard soon realize that because most of the original mechanics of the boat have been retained a lot of manpower is needed to sail her properly. “There are just two winches to hoist the sails and that’s it,” concluded Armour, “we can, however, get away with five-six crewmembers to sail the boat properly but of course the more hands that get involved the better, so we really do encourage guest participation.”

For more information on Halcyon charter go to: 

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