The 1904 gaff cutter Merrymaid is still going strong after a major refit at SYS

This is Merrymaid, the superb Charles Nicholson-designed gaff cutter originally built by Camper & Nicholsons in 1904 but seen here being re-launched recently at Southampton Yacht Services following a major re-fit.

Having spent years in a mud berth in Essex after the Second World War, like so many vessels of her ilk, she was rescued and started sailing again in the Mediterranean towards the end of the last century.

In her latest re-fit in which Piers Wilson’s team at SYS were able to get to the core of her problems, a special cradle had to be constructed to support the yacht while half the stem, the keelson, the stern knee and the stern post were replaced.

The interior has also been completely restored, a lot of it with new teak joinery and new engineering and electrical systems have been installed. Martins Rigging have attended to her complex rig and and a new suit of sails from Lawrence Sailmakers has been cut. Merrymaid has been undergoing extensive sea trials in the Solent and will soon return to the classic yacht circuit.