Monday, 13 December 2010

The Clyde 19/24 foot Class

19/24 foot class yacht Susette
Here is an image of the Susette, designed by Alfred Mylne and built in 1903 by Robertsons of Sandbank for John Thom. Mr Thom was a mechanical engineer who started his career in the drawing office of the Barrow Shipbuilding Company and thereafter worked as a consultant engineer and naval architect, co-operating with George Lennox Watson in designing engines for the latter's steam yachts before acquiring a pump-making business and taking it forward as Thom, Lamont & Co. Although highly successful in his own name his claim to fame in yachting circles may be that he was the father of John Herbert Thom, who was arguably the most successful racing helmsman of all time. The year of Susette's launching also saw young Herbert winning his first race at the helm of the Royal Clyde Yacht Club's Rose.

Herbert Thom and professional hand A Rankin
Susette was a successful boat and it's safe to assume that Herbert acquired his competitive spirit aboard her.

Susette in 1903
Herbert was later to recall that at the age of ten he was sent up the mast to clear the winning flags that had got tangled, but returned to deck quickly in tears when his father gybed the boat. He was told to stop filling the boat with water.

Susette's winning flags
Astonishingly Herbert took a break of seventeen years from yacht racing when his father became ill in 1908, in order to master the family business. Susette was sold after his father died in September 1909 and when he eventually returned to racing in 1925 it was in his own 19/24, Sunbeam.

I'm not going to write any more about the 19/24s, as they have an excellent website of their own, here. I will simply add a few more images of these lovely, powerful yachts.

Sunbeam, Tringa and Shireen in a breeze

Sunbeam, Tringa and Shireen reaching
Sunbeam reaching, 1927
Sunbeam again 1928

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The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water