A great sight as classics return to their birthplace to brave wind and rain
After a weekend of grey skies, gusty winds and rain the sun came out on Monday on the 20 classic Fife designs that have gathered to race in Scotland. They have returned to their birthplace on the Clyde, at the Fairlie yard where William Fife III built his most famous yachts between 1890 and the late 1930s.
The fleet comprises some of Fife’s smaller designs, such as the 24ft Conway One Design Coralie to the largest here, such as Kentra a 1923, 102ft gaff-rigged yawl.
Yesterday we cruised from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute to Tighnabruaich, beating up the West Kyle and East Kyle (one always seems to be hard on the wind in the Kyles of Bute no matter how the channel twists or what direction you go). This was the scene aboard Solway Maid, a 54ft Bermudan cutter built in 1938 and the last yacht to have been designed by William Fife III.
The scenery here as you pass Colintraive and dodge through the Burnt Isles is magnificent. Solway Maid’s Swiss skipper Rolf and mate Simone were among many of the first-time visitors overawed by seeing the procession of Fifes tacking back and forth against such an impressive backdrop.
This is us crossing ahead of Saskia, one of Fife’s most beautiful 8 Metres, built in 1931.
And this is Viola, a 41ft gaff cutter that had been to Scotland for the regatta by her enthusiastic French crew.
The fleet was watched by spectators at every headland and accompanied by an assortment of yachts, motorboats and dayboats, shown here at Tighnabruaich.
Among the craft heading the same way was this boat, which I’m sure Scottish sailor, afficionado of seafaring or fan of Neil Munro’s Para Handy stories will doubtless recognise. It’s VIC 32, the last remaining seagoing steam puffer, and a familiar sight around the Clyde and the Crinan Canal.
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