Troy number 28 Red Beryl built by Marcus Lewis is launched at Fowey

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The launch of Troy number 28 at Fowey

Red Beryl is a new Troy class yacht, built at Fowey in Cornwall by Marcus Lewis for a customer on the other side of the river in Polruan.

Marcus has been boatbuilding in Fowey since he left school 25 years ago, and has been working in his own own workshop for six years, during which time he has built four Troys – hull numbers 23, 25, 27, and now number 28 has been named  Red Beryl.

The 18ft Troys are an important part of local sailing in Fowey, and this year they celebrate their 80th anniversary as a class. There’s a nice gallery of photos by Phil Egerton at the website, and also a history of the boats. It seems the first Troys were built for racing on Fowey Harbour in the very late 1920s and that most of the early boats are still kept in racing condition. I gather also that Troys can often be seen racing on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons in the season.

The Troy name comes from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch’s Troy Town series of novels, which are based on Fowey. Built using traditional carvel construction, they have 30ft masts supporting nearly 300sqft of sail intended to catch light winds on the estuary, which is surrounding by sheltering hills. They must to be built on the estuary in order to conform to class rules.

Marcus Lewis is based at Fowey and can be contacted on 07973 420 568.

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Legendary 12 Metre racing yacht Flica restoration project now online

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Low-speed wind-tunnel testing during the development of
Flica (thanks to the Fairey Collection)

Cockpit view including Fairey and Nicholson (Fairey Collection),
Flica sailing in 1932 (Beken)

Flica with Hugh Goodson at the helm (Goodson collection)

Richard Smith, owner of Flica rang the other day to say that a web page devoted to the legendary 12 Metre is now on line.

Her story began in 1928, when aviation pioneer Sir Richard Fairey and yacht designer Charles Nicholson came together to develop a new 12 Metre, based on an extensive programme of research including tank and wind low-speed wind tunnel testing.

The engineering and scientific element of the project was very advanced for its time, and eventually produced a winning yacht – from 1932, I gather, Flica became the 12 Metre yacht to beat. During 1932 she won 39 flags in 35 races and in 1933 49 flags in 55 races.

The development work continued, Flica’s performance steadily improved and Fairey hoped to challenge for the America’s Cup – but the committee behind the Auld Mug decided the battle that year should be fought between J-Class yachts, not 12 Metres. That decision put paid to Flica’s chances of an America’s Cup win, and Fairey sold the boat to Hugh Goodson, who went on to have a distinguished sailing career racing in both the 12 Metre class and the America’s Cup.

There’s a lot more to know about the stories of Flica, Fairey and Goodson, and I recommend you check out the Flica Project pages at the Americas Cup Masters website. The Flica Project itself aims to re-commission the old boat, and I believe the Flica Project will chart it’s progress, so it should be well worth visiting repeatedly over time.