Yacht "Swift"

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Swiftlady, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Swiftlady
    Joined: Sep 2008
    Posts: 2
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    Location: Wales

    Swiftlady New Member

    Merry meet! - Shwmae! - Hello!

    I am the Lady of Yacht Swift - a beautiful gaff rig cutter 30ft, 1931 teak built out of Plymouth, a working boat but with the most beautiful lines.

    I first met Swift in 1988 when I visited my best friend John the Sailor in Plymouth to take her on her virgin sail since refitting with him as new owner. I stayed on board with him in great comfort with Swift's warm stove keeping me cosy.
    John was about to sail her to the Hebrides with his girlfriend who had just gone up there ahead of John.
    Being mischievous I played up locally as his "second lady," which I was not in any way; fussing over him royally, and delighting in the small wave of scandal that resulted. John's male standing was much enhanced needless to say.

    On her virgin sail with us (which was my virgin sail too) I was utterly captivated by the experience. Words still fail me for that first day becoming part of a mighty wooden person who was in turn part of massive water and skies and air pressures.
    Unfortunately John didn't realise how delicate my face was so didn't warn me to wear a sunhat or block. I have ever since been less a pale rose and more a ruddy one as my pic shows!

    The joke of playing up as my captain's 'second lady' was very much a joke on us though as slightly less than a year later I became the first and only Lady for John and Swift. A huge surprise as neither of us thought of each other like that at all. But apparently the lady Swift has a history of love stories.
    I spent my honeymoon sailing the Hebrides to bring Swift home to Wales, including the Corrie Brechan and Crinan canal - never will I forget throwing string up 20ft canal walls! - and me a city girl too!

    Returning to Plymouth some years later with our baby boy, John went to the boatyard and chatted with the blokes there without me - they remembered him well. Much talk of Swift of course but eventually John mentioned he'd married. Ah they asked ... which one? The second one said my John. Mmmm they said. Thought you'd end up with her, best thing that.
    I was highly flattered to hear it.

    We were 40 when we got together so I came to sailing late. I remember making drawings of Swift to understand her better solemnly labelling her bits like a map so I knew their names.
    Sadly we both had long illnesses that stopped us sailing for many years and poor Swift has been much neglected. Her mast has gone and there are some small patches of rot, though thank goodness wet not dry.

    But at last as we turn 60 we're getting her much overdue restoration going. Her lovely teak is to be stripped back and oiled, and a solid Scandinavian pine mast crafted just as she had originally pre war, plus new engine, etc etc. Having been burned by the likes of Humphrey Poulson in the past on a "professional" refit, we are doing almost all this third refit ourselves.

    Our strong young son - now almost grown up - has been sailing with dad on smaller boats as he's grown up, including some day sails with the ICC, but not on Swift herself since he was too young to remember it now. To him poor Swift is a looming structure in a boatyard with a tall ladder to climb up to reach her. But Swift is definitely now waking up again.

    Our greatest dream is to sail Swift together once again, and to share her with our son as a young man. That won't be till 2010 - there's a lot to do, but I'll keep you posted.
  2. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 2,204
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    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    You ought to snap a picture of her.
  3. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 2,043
    Likes: 120, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1818
    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    Good story !!!

    keep up the good work

    and PLEASE post pictures - a small cheap digital camera works well
  4. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    nice to hear a humane story
    i was out biking today
    I met this ole geezer, abt 72 who had sailed around the world on his Nicholsen 48, he had been simply EVERYwhere
    He got here, Mooloolaba Au and she died
    he is so lonely now, sold the boat, so I invited him to dinner
    Cruising folk, generally make interesting company, their children end up being well rounded, lively, and fun
    I started sailing too late too, I was 13, thats why I was not world champ!!
    I bought a P for my sons at early age, they ignored it, and sit by pc all day
  5. aliwoo
    Joined: Jun 2014
    Posts: 1
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    Location: Hebden

    aliwoo New Member

    Ken Borland directed me to this post as he has been recounting the trip he made. I am "the girlfriend" !! I have often wondered how Swift fared over the years. I am so pleased to hear that she is being restored as she is a superb boat. I have just come back from NW Scotland and fondly remembered sailing her around the islands.
  6. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    All raise their glass to salute "Girlfriend". A charming and generous attitude about the boat and distant past experience.

  7. bother54
    Joined: Aug 2014
    Posts: 2
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    Location: Singapore

    bother54 New Member

    oh. This one is Interesting. Could you please post some Pictures? Thanks.
  8. telepix
    Joined: Feb 2015
    Posts: 2
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    Location: USA

    telepix New Member

    Swift in June, 1988

    Swift was a beautiful boat. I sailed with John from Cork County, Ireland to Stornoway in June, 1988. It was my first "big boat" experience, 10 days of sailing, and one that I will never forget.

  9. telepix
    Joined: Feb 2015
    Posts: 2
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    Location: USA

    telepix New Member

    Sailboat Swift

    Photo of Swift, June 1988, anchored off of Stornoway.

    Attached Files:

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