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Iolaire for Sale

Iolaire is for sale - the reason is that I have owned her for 52 years. As each year goes by the mast gets taller, the anchor gets heavier and the winches get smaller. Also, I have sailed her everywhere I want to sail her. We have criss crossed the entire Caribbean, putting her in to every nook and cranny where there is 7 1/2 feet of water. I have cruised her off the east coast of the States, Canada, the Irish coast, the coast of England, the coast of France, the east coast of Norway, the west coast of Sweden, the east coast of Sweden, the coast of Findland as far east as Helsinki, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, the Kiel canal. We have sailed in the Mediterranean, Sardinia, Majorca, France, Spain —basically everywhere I want to sail her.

For further detailed information and photographs on both 'Iolaire' and the Dragon 'Fafner' please follow the link to Iolaire on the menu above
Under her previous owner R.H. "Bobby" Sommerset, founding member of the R.O.R.C. and winner of the CCA Blue Water Medal for rescuing the cew of Ariadne in the 1933 Bermuda Race - she sailed as far north as North Cape; as far east as Eastern Turkey and as far west as Jamaica.
She needs a new owner, someone who will take good care of her, sail her and has enough money to keep her in good shape.
Despite the fact that she is 98 years old she is in as good shape as boats that are only 4 or 5 years old. In 1995 she received a major refit: new deck, deck beams, beam shelf. Any frames in the least bit suspicious were replaced, any planking that was in the least bit suspicious was replaced.
The original bulkheads were non-structural partitions. They have all been replaced by structural ¾" marine plywood bulkheads bolted to frames and deck beams. Through the years when broken frames were discovered they were replaced by laminated Iroko frames 3½" X 4 inches, and the frames refastened in with 3-inch No. 18 silicon bronze screws.
The job was done my Mike "Shortfuse" Jarrold of Lilymaid who served his seven year apprenticeship in Campers in the late 1950s-early 1960s when Campers was considered one of the top
wooden yacht yards in the entire world. He wanted to do the job so much that he sailed is own Lily Maid (one year older than Iolaire) from Madagascar to Venezuela to do the rebuild.
The new deck beams and beam shelf that was installed with pitch pine salvaged out of old warehouses built in England in the 1840s and 1850s. Any planking and any frames on Iolaire that were the least bit suspicious were removed and replaced.
The deck is not a skin job. There are two layers of ½" plywood epoxy glued together with 7/8" teak, screw fastened through the plywood and into the deck beams.
The teak was the driest Mick had ever seen as much of it came from a 23-ft 12X12 log that had been lying in Grenadian Yacht Services for fifteen years. The remainder of the teak, Trinidadian Teak, bought in Trinidad was air dried, stacked and sticked, for three years in the top of a tropical warehouse. There are relatively few butts visible on the deck as Mick had my son Richard, mark out on the deck the location of all deck fittings and as much as possible located the butts under the fittings. The iron floors in the deep part of the bilge which had given trouble over the years were pulled out and replaced with stainless steel and secured with bronze bolts. Two keels bolts were pulled and checked. It was decided they were perfect and they were reinstalled. Through the years all the bolts on the centre line stem and stem post bolts have been replaced with bronze. The rebuild used approximately 6,000 man hours. Since the rebuild Iolaire has sailed roughly 20,000 miles. There was one problem with the stem (an area we did not work on), which was cured when she was hauled in Gibraltar at Shepherds in April 1996.
Iolaire is in such good shape that I am willing to put 20% of the sale price in Escrow for 12 months.
If the new owner discovers any structural fault that the surveyor missed, that influences the safety or integrity of the boat, the costs to repair that deficiency can come out of the Escrow fund.
If the purchaser keeps the present rig and succeeds in blowing the rig out of the boat, in the first 24 months of ownership, I will pay the insurance deductible.

Never before has a boat been offered under these terms and conditions. Iolaire is one of the most distinctive boats in the entire world, as she is 98 years old, but unlike most of the other boats of her age she has not spent a large portion of her life sitting laid up in a mud bank to be pulled of and rebuilt. Iolaire has beenin continuous commission since she was built with the exception of the period during World War II, 1939 - 1944 when she was laid up in a mud bank.
She actually sailed all through World War I as she was owned and moored in Ireland, where they continued to race and cruise throughout the war.
She is distinctive also, in that she has been owned by founding and senior members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club; Major P. T. Rose-Richards; R. H. Bobby Sommerset; Colonel Alston; and just before the war was owned by Owen Edmunds who in World War I flew spies behind the German lines, landing at night to drop them off and then flew back in, at night, to pick them up and take them home - and lived to tell the tale. In World War II he said he did his greatest service for the R.O.R.C. as he kept the R.O.R.C. in booze during the war as he worked for Booths Gin!

Iolaire has been 12 times across the Atlantic. Five of those crossings were previous to my ownership, seven times under my ownership. She has made some very distinctive transAtlantic passages—all without an engine:
Halifax to Ireland in 1975 averaging 160 miles a day
Gran Canaria to Antigua in 1975 - in 18 1/2 days
Three trips from the Cape Verdes to the islands; The first in 1949 under gaff rig; The second and third under her present rig in 1985 and 1989. All three passages were fourteen days and hours. Meaning an average of over 160 miles a day.
When you add up the number of miles she has sailed, there are very few other boats that have sailed as great a distance. I am sure I have sailed her over 200,000 miles. She undoubtedly sailed 50,000 or more miles before I bought her. So she has sailed about the equivalent of ten times around the world, and she is still going strong.
Many people think the correct way for Iolaire to continue her career would be to convert her back to her original Gaff Rig. Then she would enjoy racing in the Classic Regatta circuit in the Mediterranean. This conversion would be easily done as the mast is still in the same place. All the deck structures are in their original positions. All you would have to do is to take off the present hatches, and drop into place the traditional (but usually leaky) skylights. Then pull up the cockpit coaming, which is easily done as it is secured to the deck from underneath; unbolt the winches, and you will end up withIolaire exactly as she was when she came out from the builders yard in 1905.
Iolaire has a fast hull. She was in the prize money under gaff rig, under 7/8 double headsail rigged cutter, (she won the R.O.R.C. points championships under R. H. Bobby Sommerset in 1953), and she has won many many trophies under her present rig as a double headsail yawl.
Under gaff rig racing in the Mediterranean she would come out with a good rating because of points given for originality.
Her deck layout would be the same, and the rig would be the same as she was originally. Below decks her layout is practically the same and could easily be changed back to be exactly the same as she was in 1905. If properly sailed everyone is sure she would be regularly in the prize money.
If someone wanted to buy Iolaire and convert her back to her original rig, I would most happy to supervise the conversion at a very reasonable cost. In fact I am willing to sell the boat, converted to the gaff rig, on condition that if 2/3 of the purchase price were put up to purchase the boat, and the last 1/3 paid after the conversion was satisfactorily completed.

Regarding her lack of engine. If it was decided that an engine was necessary it could be installed without disturbing the internal accommodations or the fore and aft trim. By using diesel electric drive the motor, which is fairly small, could be mounted under the navigators seat, the diesel generator could be mounted in the foc's'le. With a proper exhaust system, and sound box, you would not even know the engine was running when sitting back aft in the cockpit.
Then, when underway you need only let the shaft to freewheel
for a few hours a day, and the generator would generate the electricity needed for lights, refrigeration etc. The only time you would need to run the engine would be entering and leaving port, or in flat calm or when in port to rechargethe batteries
if there is no on shore power. Again, if this installation is considered necessary by any new purchaser, I would be willing to undertake the installation of this drive system at a very
reasonable rate.
Iolaire is for sale, but the sale it is not imperative that I sell her in a hurry. She is lying in Lime House Basin,
London. She makes a very good pied a terre for me while I am in London. My insurance office is no more than twenty minutes from where she is lying. The amount of money I save by being able to stay on Iolaire rather than in the R.O.R.C. pays 2/3 of the dockage bill. The Cruising Association is right
there with it's wonderful library, restaurant and friendly bar. Also, one of my crew who sail with me each year lives in a narrow boat in Lime House Basin, and helps out when necessary. Another friend who sails regularly with me, on his days off happily comes to work on Iolaire.
If someone where to buy her right now, and states they wish to sail her around the world, within one month to six weeks maximum I can have all the gear back on board, and have her completely ready. I can say with confidence you could kick off around the world, Iolaire is all prepared.
If the buyer wishes to convert her to gaff rig, I have done a lot of research as to where to find the correct materials at the right price. How long the actually conversion would take I am not quite sure. But again, I would be most happy to supervise the conversion.
For anyone seriously interested in purchasing Iolaire you can contact me via this website at my email address: For further detailed information and photographs on both Iolaire and the Dragon 'Fafner'please follow the link for Iolaire on the blue menu above