Firth of Clyde welcomes fleet of spectacular wooden sailing yachts built by Ayrshire's William Fife
The 3rd Fife regatta of the modern era got underway over the weekend, in the Firth of Clyde with a 20 strong fleet of spectacular traditional wooden sailing yachts, averaging 90yrs old and all built a mile from the start line by Ayrshire’s famous boat builder William Fife.
The yachts – resplendent in gleaming varnish work and polished brass – gathered from all over Europe to celebrate the 100th birthday of Viola, the seventh yacht now over 100years old.
On Saturday in class 1, The Lady Anne prevailed over the mighty Moonbeam III (105 years old). Class 2 saw a victory for the 104yr old Mikado with Solway Maid (68 yrs old) in second, and the venerable 98yr old The Truant taking third place.
On Sunday, Race 2 must have been something of a relief for owners and insurers alike as the anticipated strong winds and rain did not materialize. In front of a reduced crowd, the fleet made a stately procession up the Firth of Clyde under full sail. With a running start from Largs the small boats leading the procession were soon mingling with the largest: Altair, Mariette, Maraquita and Moonbeam.
The forecast for the coming week suggests that the big boats will dominate the passage race to Helensburgh. The boats can be seen racing in the upper firth Sun and sailing down to Rothesay on Tuesday. Thursday they will race around Bute and return to Largs with a grand finale starting from Largs up and down the Firth on the grandly titled King’s Course.
For anyone with the remotest interest in Scotland’s maritime history or indeed a simple appreciation of beautiful things, this is a must see spectacle.