Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Red lives again

Great news for lovers of small boats everywhere comes from Britanny.

Chantier Hubert Stagnol has established a reputation for building replicas of classic designs, including Seabird and Fyne, both originally drawn by William Fife III in 1889. For his latest project Mr Stagnol is building a copy of Red, one of the first ever one-design class in the world. By a happy coincidence I recently wrote about the class and its descendants and my post can be viewed by clicking here:- The Clyde 17/19 foot class

At present I don't know what construction method has been chosen for the new Red, but Mr Stagnol's previous efforts have made good use of new technologies. The great thing about a rebuild of an old design is that by using modern materials and glues incredible strength can be built into the structure, ensuring longevity beyond the dreams of the designer. We know that our old masters were quick to embrace whatever technology was available, for example by incorporating metal frames and bracing in composite construction, and we can assume they would have seized the possibilities inherent in strip plank and epoxy construction. Despite their best efforts it remained the case that an owner who wished to remain competitive would have to commission a new yacht every couple of years, because his existing boat would have lost her rigidity. I've written about these issues in some detail on my other blog, www.scottishislandsclass.blogspot.com.

Looking at the half model, above, I suggest that Messrs G L Watson and Chantier Hubert Stagnol have come up with a winner. The hull looks very powerful and seaworthy, and it will need to be to carry that massive rig of the old Clyde luggers.

Of course the great thing about a one-design class has always been that the designer is liberated from a rating rule. As it happens I've also posted about this already, here:-  The designer unconstrained

It seems that nine of these boats were built originally, but none survive. Red seems exactly right for the sort of economical and social sailing that is coming into vogue these days, with classic meetings around the coasts and a general move away from plastic ugliness. It will be great if she soon has some sisters. In case you're tempted I've added both G L Watson and Chantier Hubert Stagnol to my links section.

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The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water