Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Pictures from the archives

Above is an image of the 1921 Fife gaff cutter Clio with William Fife III at the helm. When I scanned it from the Thom archive I thought I had found a rare treat, but in fact the picture had a fairly wide distribution. At present I don't know the identity of the photographer. I'm not at all sure why no less than three of the crew have left the safety of the cockpit in what looks like a nasty squall.

The so-called Scottish  Maritime Museum is not distinguished for the quality of its maritime research, but I was amazed to see that this image is described by them on flickr as of the famous designer on board his "twin-screw yacht."

Clio was WF III's personal yacht. As Sheevra she was found by Donn Costanzo and friends in the Mediterranean and restored. Renamed Clio once again she is now based in the United States. I had a chance to view her fine condition when her owners brought her across for the 2003 Fife Regatta.


Next is the 1928 Fife 8 metre yacht Cluaran, well reefed down, on another of those dirty Clyde days that give sailing in Scotland its distinctive quality. This yacht also survives today, as Miguell IV.

Now for a more peaceful scene. Here is the Islander Bernera getting close to the royal yacht Britannia in the Holy Loch during Clyde Fortnight, sometime in the early 1930s. As we all know Britannia went to the bottom after the King died, but now has several reincarnations worldwide. Bernera of course survives, like almost all of the Islanders. Their story can be read on my other blog http://www.scottishislandsclass.blogspot.com


  1. It's debatable whose hand is on the tiller. Looks like there's two, one up and one down; perhaps through press of wind the white-sweatered man to leeward decided to give WF III a helping hand, or is it the other way around? Fabulous shot though. Amazing how far those metre boats could be pressed, but then again, look at the weather helm...

  2. I thought Archie MacMillan jnr and possibly his father were aboard in this photo. When I met the former he told me he crewed for E S Parker on his six metres.

  3. I also met Archie Junior, in fact knew him quite well in the late 1970s. I wouldn't be surprised if they were aboard.

    You have inspired me to do a post about Knots, Splices and Fancy Work, a fine book in my library that features Archie Senior.


The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water