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Thread: Fife designs

  1. #1
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    Default Fife designs

    I was just looking at a pictorial spread on the Fife cutter "Moonbeam". It stimulated a desire to see more of Fife's work. I thought of the many excellent books I have cataloging various designer's works, Alden, Crocker, Garden, as well as the many anthologies of works such as the 50, 40, 30, "plans" books our hosts publish. Is there such a work showcasing Fife's designs? I like nothing more than pouring over lines drawings and specs on fine designs, and pics of built examples are a bonus.
    Chuck Hancock

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    "Nada" 6 meter at Antigua classic last spring

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    "William Fife: Master of the Classic Yacht" by William Collier, Franco Pace, and Eric Tabarly. Published by Adlard Coles (and at one time by our hosts here at Woodenboat I think). Expensive but lots of photos.

    "Fast and Bonnie, History of William Fife and Sons, Yacht Builders" by May Fife McCallum. Not many drawings or large photos, but an extensive history

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    There was an article in WB in the last year or so as well. At least I think it was the last year....

    Actually, I just checked the online index. Must be 20 or so articles!

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    one of my favorite articles in WB, 15 or so yrs ago was the restoration of a AUS or NZ (I think) cutter with a cliper bow, fife or logan design I think, black topsides white below, really striking, beautiful

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Was it RONA? She's a nice one for sure.

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    one of my favorite articles in WB, 15 or so yrs ago was the restoration of a AUS or NZ (I think) cutter with a cliper bow, fife or logan design I think, black topsides white below, really striking, beautiful
    "Waitangi" - Logan
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Sorry gentlemen, I lost track of this thread. Thanks for the leads. "Fast and Bonnie" looks promising as there are some lines drawings on the dust jacket. "...Master of the Classic..." also looks like a good book, though it's more of a pictorial overview than a comprehensive catalog. I recall reading that the Fife yard was victim to at least one major fire that consumed a portion of their plans and records. That's an unfortunately common bummer for many a good yard.
    Chuck Hancock

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    Was it RONA? She's a nice one for sure.
    Yes

    I read the article 5+ times, great photos. wonderfully proportioned yacht

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    contact Fairlie restorations, they have almost all the original fife plans, Its not on an order basis, but more of a negotiation as they are very valuable to them.

    http://fairlierestorations.com
    There's one rich man onboard and there's twentyfive poor men and they enjoy it more then the rich man does -Jim Kilroy when asked if yacht racing is a rich mans sport.

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    You know, Mike, that's a very sensible notion. To that end, I e-mailed Fairlie Restorations and expressed to them my notion that a design catalog would be a benefit to mankind the world over. Not much of a mandate, but hey, it's like voting; complain all you want, but if you don't do anything, you don't "exist" at all. I feel so satisfied....
    Chuck Hancock

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    for some reason "fife" is like the elite of elite, Herreshoff is utmost nothing in comparison to that Fife name.
    I am a true Herreshoff Fan myself, maybe if there are no replicas of fifes then the original will hold their value more?!

    in the "Fast and Bonnie" book did you not that Herreshoff was only briefly mentioned and the author could not even write the His name correctly?

    I still love the Fifes in all their beauty but in the long run I did not see any Fifes kick any Herreshoffs around the americas cup circut in the old days!
    There's one rich man onboard and there's twentyfive poor men and they enjoy it more then the rich man does -Jim Kilroy when asked if yacht racing is a rich mans sport.

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Funny you should mention it; I was recently thinking that I couldn't remember a single Fife reproduction. I'm sure there are some, but you're right in that it's an uncommon thing if it exists. Is it a lack of available plans? Maybe the asking price for a set/permission is too dear. I don't know. I hate to imagine that we humans would be so foolish as to think there's merit in trying to stack the market toward enhancing a Fife's "collectable value". Then again, this is America. Maybe Herreshoff's designs are more reproduced because he just had a better marketing agent.
    Chuck Hancock

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Or because he designed American yachts in America for Americans, whereas Fifes are from across the pond?

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Well, being from attention hungry America doesn't hurt, but look at Camper and Nicholson, Laurent Giles, Kim Holman, even the (comparatively) limited portfolio of Albert Strange. Repeat examples of designs from these eminently worthy designers abound. No, I don't think being 'Merican is the answer. Here's a thought; building an example of a Giles Vertue class sloop, or a Hess cutter is one thing, but any of the Fifes I can think of are, uh, larger. Just doing a repop of, say, Altair, isn't a do-it-in-your-garage undertaking. Did the Fifes design much for the small pleasure market?
    Chuck Hancock

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    There's an article in Classic Boat Nov. 2008 about a Fife reproduction done in France apparently it is the second design of Fife's that they have done. The first was a smaller one and sold fairly well. The second was a 40' and is really beautiful but didn't sell. Last I saw the yard was in receivership and they were trying to sell the boat.
    Hubert Stagnol was the builder, coldmoulded, but very traditional in every other detail.

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    There are a couple of videos at this site of Seabird one of the Stagnol reproductions.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/ClassicYacht

    She is a really beautiful boat

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Quote Originally Posted by Gold Rock View Post
    Did the Fifes design much for the small pleasure market?
    Their smaller boats tended to be fairly extreme (not just for their time, but would be today as well) racing boats, very much to be produced in relatively small number and optimised for a specific location. Some of these are still in existence in small fleets and are probably subject to the permission to build a reproduction being held by the specific class association.

    Other boats at the smaller end of their portfolio would be "gentlemens cruisers", stunningly beautiful gaff cutters and the like - which to build today would be very expensive for the amount of accomodation, and resultant lack of "practicality", etc., compared to a similar length of boat from other designers.

    The same could be said for William Fife III's contemporary and fellow Scottish designer - Alfred Mylne.

    In the UK, in the early 20th century, I don't think there really was the same type of smaller boat (daysailers, "knockabout" sloops, small crusiers) being designed nationally in the same way as Herreshoff, Crowninsheild etc., that you had there in the US. Alfred Westmacott for instance designed some well known (but local to the UK South Coast) beautiful racing keel boats and countless other designers would produce local designs of all types for their estuary etc. all over the UK, but perhaps without being that well known.

    You mention C & N, Laurent Giles and Kim Holman - all designers that crossed over more into both camps - racing and cruising. But possibly because this was a bit later, towards the middle of the 20th century particulary Giles and Holman, some of their more famous designs had an eye to practicality and affordability as well as performance/appearance. Maybe this is why they make a much more "sensible" basis for a reproduction?
    Last edited by kiwil; 12-03-2010 at 10:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Both of the Stagnol Reproductions are obviously racers or day sailors.
    Fyne the bigger one is 42' 7" LOA but only 7' beam with a draught of 7' 2".

    Really beautiful for what she was designed for but definitely not a cruiser!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Well stated thoughts, Kiwil. The video of "Seabird" is lovely. A beautiful boat (Oh! that counter!), but definately not the practical "all 'rounder" for sure. Interesting. The world's sure a nicer place for having "Seabird" and all like her in it though.
    Chuck Hancock

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    FYI, I just recieved a very nice and timely response from Duncan Walker at Fairly Restorations. He quite honestly explained that the publication of a work such as I described is dubious from a profit potential standpoint. Too true. However, if any of us hit the powerball lottery, they'd probably be open to talks. Good news, bad news...
    Chuck Hancock

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Theres a Fife boat in storage at Fairlie on the Clyde at the moment (or at least was last time I was in the yard a couple of months ago!). Been there a while, asking a lot of $$$$$ for her!! If I remember correctly Fairlie restorations have been trying to sell her for a couple of years. Simply stunning looking boat up close. I done a short course a few years back with a chap related to the Fairlie foreman, he turned up with his father in laws tool box to use on some of his own work?? Never did manage to get him to part with some of bits n bobs outa that tool box. I also know the story of Fairlie restorations getting the archive/plans from the yard long after it shut down. You would kick yourself if u knew it!!! theres still a few of the smaller boats kicking about on the Clyde and West coast, but not many come up for sale very often.
    regards
    Shug
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    This one is awaiting restoration here in BC:

    http://www.markwallaceshipwright.com/fintra.html

    Alex

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Alex, that's a nice looking boat, but isn't 96000 lb. displacement a typo? That's a lotta weight for a 36 footer!
    Chuck Hancock

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Indeed... I think it should read 9,600

    Alex

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Rona was the Fife restored in Wellington which was featured in Woodenboat. Waitangi was restored around the same time, in Australia, though now she's back in NZ. Another Fife built by the Logans is lurking around somewhere, a 1/2 rater with a fin and bulb keel built in 1898. See http://www.wcyt.org.nz/abode/getProd...tegoryId__4589

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    My recollection is that Rona is a Watson design , built by Robt Logan Snr.

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    My good boatbuilder friend, Adrian Wombwell, has just restored a couple of Fifes here in our village. The first was an open day boat of very early design - the Pierrette - and the second the 50 foot Kismet that had been lying unused in a mudberth for 50 years. He had to extend his shed for that one!

    I watched the restoration of both as I pass the boatshed often and Adrian is always happy to let interested visitors root around and pseter him with questions. The Pierrette is a classic Victorian yacht - low freeboard, flattish sheer, long boom, half decked. The Kismet last sailed in 1949, but is now doing well in regattas locally and further afield. I believe she was in the Med last summer, where Adrian went to sail in her. There he came across my beloved Irina VII - built by Fife in 1935, but designed by Mylne - another great designer of that era. 54 foot bermuda rigged cutter. 40 years ago I was earning my living as mate aboard that lovely vessel.
    "Mozart is the heart's touchstone" (Edwin Fischer)

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Peter Belenky

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Have a look at my blog, www.scottishboating.blogspot.com. I've posted quite a bit about the Fife boats and will be posting some more when I get the time.

    And, downthecreek, I met Adrian at the 2003 Fife Regatta and had forgotten his boat was Pierette. I've just posted about Yvette, her sister ship. It's a very small world, the boating one.
    Ewan G Kennedy

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Yes, Rona is a Watson design. My favorite yacht.

    I must say though that the photos of the Fifes I have seen have bowled me over. That small Seabird is exquisite.
    Gerard>
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    The Fifes were boatbuilders, they were interested in building, not in selling designs, and a lot of the value in a Fife is in the workmanship.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    smaller Fife designs

    look in the book about the Fife Yard "Fast and Bonnie" isbn 0 85976 566 0
    there is a list off all the boats with specs.......


    hmm lets see
    volga 1878 37 ft
    cyprus 1879 30ft
    ayrshire lass 1887 24ft
    nova 1887 33ft
    -ok lets zip into the 1900's
    i see, 21ft,24,36,30,12!,30,29,32

    so yes smaller Fifes did exist.
    There's one rich man onboard and there's twentyfive poor men and they enjoy it more then the rich man does -Jim Kilroy when asked if yacht racing is a rich mans sport.

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    There is a Fife dayboat class near where I grew up. 24 feet long 3 foot draught, they sail at the Royal Anglesey Yacht club, some are wood and some are glass, built by Dickies of Bangor.


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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Ayrshire Lass is my favorite small Fife, from 1887:


    She carries quite the rig for a small boat:



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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Seems we may be talking about two designers here WF III was also known as WF junior and his father WF II. I think (and I'm not sure) the father designed Ayreshire Lass

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    W. Fife III, (jr) was born in 1857 so he was 30 when Ayrshire Lass was built. But the Wikipedia article says he opened his yard in 1890. So he may have been involved.



    Steven

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    to find some drawings of William Fife just look through old yacht books like chapelle or sciarelli.





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    Default Re: Fife designs

    check this, sailed past it a few times.

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Mo...-349967037.htm
    whatever rocks your boat

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    Or because he designed American yachts in America for Americans, whereas Fifes are from across the pond?
    There is also the fact that LFH was a very effective self publicist, whereas Fife worked to produce designs for his yard only ( with a very few exceptions)

    It has always seemed to me that very often the successful designers are those who can write well,

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    John, you put you foot in your mouth there! Im just saying yes, those who can write and choose to get published are going to get further.
    If you get published, people will refer to you or what you wrote that they read about-which adds credibility. So If the writer does his homework, and does not claim something that is criticized as being false or unsound he will do ok!
    John, we met back in Maryland long ago and I still have your catalog. Flemming,s pathfinder turned out great and is now in Romania with it.
    There's one rich man onboard and there's twentyfive poor men and they enjoy it more then the rich man does -Jim Kilroy when asked if yacht racing is a rich mans sport.

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Hi my great uncle owed Pierrette in the 1920s she was based in plymouth then.Ive got pictures of her in 1928 sporting a burmudian rig sailing in plymouth sound.I would love to get in touch with the present owners.Send them to them. Cheers Andy Wallis. in Plymouth

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    I was thinking about this thread and thought I'd bump it.

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Fife designs

    You can find a listing of all the yachts designed by the Mylne design office here http://www.mylne.com/media/pdfs/Myln..._List_2012.pdf

    Three of these were built by the famous Fife yard, and Mylne and Fife were great friends - evidenced by the "Keepsake" trophy (a model of William Fife's last ever 12m design given to Alfred Mylne as a keepsake - unbuilt due to the outbreak of war, and now a major prize for Classic Yacht Racing in Scotland).

    A new register of the Mylne yachts and updated design list will be out this year.

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    Default Re: Fife designs

    Hi David..good to see you here..I thought you might be interested in this :http://www.woodenships.co.uk/small-c...-class-sloop/I had no idea that any of these had survived...described by Folkard as 'capital little boats, fast weatherly and comfortable..' In general i don't think the smaller designs of Mylne (or Fife) are that well known...I was surprised myself at the number of 'Small Cruisers' in the Mylne archive when you had it up on line, (I particularly liked #208 "Lea's" and #403 " "Toussoum Primlea".. ) Are there any plans to put the scans back up online..or pay a registration fee to browse around?

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