Victorian racing yacht Germaine relaunched after many years at the IBTC

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The 1882 Nicholson racing yacht Germaine has been relaunched following a long restoration at the International Boatbuilding Training Centre at Lowestoft.

Once she is fully rigged and has her new suit of sails she will sail to her new home in Brittany.

Germaine was designed by Ben Nicholson for a prominent racer, Mr FW Leybourne Popham.

After being photographed by Beken, she sailed to the Med in December 1882 and returned in the spring of 1883, passed to Mr Harvey A Dixon, who rigged her as a cutter. She was later made into a yawl again, and passed through further changes of ownership – later owners were Major Middleton Robinson and Mr HW Whittingham of Goodmayes, Essex. In the early 60s she was found on the banks of the Blackwater by Ann and Peter Christgau, who refloated and cleaned her, and sold her in the mid-1960s.

Eventually she returned to the Camper and Nicholson yard, where she was to be repaired ready for the yard’s bicentenary celebrations. Sadly the yard got into financial difficulties and the project had to be abandoned.

Germaine’s cause was then taken up by Patrick Bigand, who acquired her and transported her to the IBTC in 1997 for restoration.

The restoration took quite some time, and I gather that she leaves quite a space in the College’s premises, having been there for two decades, but it must be wonderful for the staff and students to see her back on the water.

PS – Donan Raven points out that there’s some good material about Germaine here – and that it includes a set of lines, two Beken photos and some shots of the IBTC restoration. Thanks Donan!

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