Famed Pen Duick wows the crowds

The famed classic boat Pen Duick is at Cannes for the Regattas Royales this week. The first owner of the boat designed by the Fairlie-based architect in 1898 was Mr Balfour Neil who called her Yum. He sold her four years later in Le Havre to Hachette who re-baptized her Griselidis only to sell her a few months later to another sailor from the same town.

It was then a member of the Cercle de la voile de Paris, Monsieur Mac Henry who bought her and took her up the River Seine to Meulan, on the outskirts of Paris. In the following years the yacht passed from hand to hand, and had many different names.

It is only on July 17th, 1935 that she goes back to the original Pen Duick, which means Coal Tit in Breton. In 1938 she’s discovered by Eric Taberly’s father Guy and taken to Benodet. That is how Taberly became the fourteenth owner and started restoring the boat which was in a very poor state after being in a shed in the Constantini shipyard at La Trinite sur Mer. He decided to make a new hull in polyester, using Pen Duick as a mould.

It took him three years before seeing the William Fife III’s design floating again. In 1959 she took part in the RORC races in the UK. In 1989, the black hulled boat is fitted with an Oregon pinewood deck, and a new set of sails made by Victor Tonnerre and ready to start a new life.

The boat is now owned by Marie, daughter of the famous sailor who disappeared on June 12th 1998. Marie sails her regularly from the Spring through to the Autumn.

Pen Duick
Designer: William Fife III
Builder: N&J Cummins and Bros
Launched on: 1898 in Carrigaloe (Ireland)
Length: 15,10 m
Waterline: 10,04 m
Beam: 2,93 m
Draft: 2,15 m
Displacement: 10 000 kg
Bulb: 6 000 kg
Windward sail area: 160 m2

Photo by James Robinson Taylor, www.jrtphoto.com.