Phil Rhodes 45-foot centreboard yacht Undina cruising and racing on British TV

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It’s difficult to believe, but there has been even more good boating telly on our screens this week.

Although it featured three comedians well known in the UK, the star of Three Men in Another Boat is Undina, a 45ft centreboard sloop designed by Phil Rhodes, built in Germany in 1953 and owned by British comedian and TV presenter Griff Rhys Jones.

Somehow, when I recently read Jones’ story of a summer’s sailing with friends and family To the Baltic with Bob, I sadly missed the point that his boat Undina was so special. Perhaps I was put off the scent by Jones’ account of being suddenly smitten with lust for another boat he came across in some Baltic port – but having seen Undina on TV I find it difficult to imagine how he could feel that way.

The two-part reality TV show following a voyage from London to Cowes and a race against a very similar yacht, Josephine, is available from the BBC’s new iPlayer, though I’ve heard it doesn’t work if you’re outside the UK.

Here’s some further info on Undina from the British Classic Yacht Club and from Philip Rhodes Classic Sailboat Designs.

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6 thoughts on “Phil Rhodes 45-foot centreboard yacht Undina cruising and racing on British TV”

  1. I agree that the Yacht UNDINA is a beautiful craft and has had much love and attention lavished on her to bring her into the kind of condition that all boat owners would like to see but the reality of slim, sleek wooden sailing yachts is that mostly they are narrow, leaky and offering little accommodation, taking many hours of elbow grease to keep them in condition. For the every day family on an ordinary budget a yacht like UNDINA is unthinkable and as a result many wooden boats end up on the scrap heap. However there are many GRP yachts of a similar ilk to UNDINA that can be bought for about the same kind of money as a reasonable car offering sailing on a much more modest budget and far less in terms of elbow grease. Take a look at the Van Der Stadt Legend 29, The Nicholson 32 or 35, The Rival 32/34 and 36 to name but a few. Most of the above can be acquired in reasonable condition and will provide safe and exhilerating sailing for many years to come. In my view these are all classic yachts whith excellent pedigrees and owning one will provide the opportunity to sail to the far corners of the earth if you have the nerve to try. These and many others should be included in the list of classic yachts!!

  2. Agreed, but I don't think I made the point you're arguing against.

    We sail a plastic 19-footer, and if we had to buy a wooden boat the cost and time involved would prevent us from sailing on the sea very much at all, so as you can see I'm no wooden boat snob.

    I'd also make the point that there are quite a lot of GRP boats on if you look around. From memory, recent examples include a Contessa, and a series on Proctor-designed boats.

    On the other side of the argument, what got me into creating this weblog was a long-standing interest in boat design, and then keeping a boat at Oare. The place is a favourite for people who keep old wooden craft, and I find the boats fascinating.


  3. I can entirely sympathise with G R-J's views on wooden boats – once you have owned one, you can't countenance plastic, however practical and economic this may be.

    Of course it was rather nice to see my own boat as the backdrop to the shot where Griff was discoursing on this point 🙂

  4. Gavin,

    Am watching the Undina episode on tv in Australia… yes only 2 years after it was made. Am interested (after all the comments) to know how much GRJ actually spent on the boat/what is is worth for resale. Does anyone know? (apart from GRJ of course).

    1. I certainly don't! And I'd like to know – and also what she's worth. It's a kind of sick curiosity that I'm quite sure he doesn't want to satisfy anytime soon!

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