The Weekend Watson – Camilla

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Camilla, 30 years their senior, leads the Gareloch One Designs during their 90th anniversary sail past, Gareloch, Scotland, August 2014.
(photo: Don MacLean)

The sweet, varnished gaff cutter Camilla is one of a very special group of surviving yachts designed during the all too short lifetime of Glasgow naval architect and yacht designer, G.L. Watson (1851-1904). The business carrying his name continued – and still does – but pre-1904 vessels are extremely rare.

During the last weekend of August, Camilla led the Gareloch One Design fleet – the “Gareloch Godesses” – across the Scottish loch they are named after, from the site of their birth at Clynder to the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club, Rhu for their 90th anniversary salute.

Camilla racing at the 1995 McGruer Regatta.
(McGruer & Co. Ltd.)

Numbers ending in four are very significant in this story: the Club can trace the Royal Northern YC side of its ancestry back to its foundation in 1824 as the Northern Yacht Club on Belfast Lough ( now Northern) Ireland; Camilla was built by Alexander Robertson and launched at his Sandbank, Holy Loch yard in 1894; the 24ft Gareloch One Designs were designed by Ewing McGruer and built at Clynder by his family boatyard, McGruer & Co., from 1924; and Camilla’s designer died in his prime in 1904, in his 54th year.

Camilla is typical of the smaller Clyde yachts of her time, owing their origins to a fusion of the local inshore fishing boats with the contemporary rapid advances in yacht design. She was commissioned by Samuel Millar of Glasgow about whom we know nothing more at present, except that he chose designer and builder very well.

Arian and Bill Inglis, her present caretakers since 1986, are her 8th doting owners. The pitch pine on oak hull is in remarkable condition, but when they began necessary works to replace a soft deck and unoriginal deckhouse they were fortunate to make contact with an earlier owner whose input, together with the clues visible under the stripped deck, allowed her original pear-shaped coach house design and canvassed deck to be reinstated .

Camilla is believed to be the oldest yacht, and the oldest locally designed and built yacht, regularly in commission on the Firth of Clyde – at least in the seasons when the 1887 William Fife Sr-designed Ayrshire Lass is not in commission.

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The list of believed or known to survive Watson yachts designed up to 1904 is (by design number):

#97 Spartan, cutter, 4 tons, 1885

#140 Beröe, yawl, 8 tons, 1887

#198 Thistle, R Clyde YC 23ft Class, 1890

#206 Volunteer, R Clyde YC 23ft Class, 1890 (based on very old intelligence)

#302 Camilla, cutter, 4 tons, 1894

#317 Peggy Bawn, cutter, 7 tons, 1894

#409 Triton, steam yacht, 1902

#437 Minona, steam yacht, 1906

A very exclusive club.

PBP_daisy

Martin Black’s beautifully illustrated and written biography, G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design, can be purchased online at our website www.peggybawnpress.com, from Amazon UK and Amazon USA, and from the bookstores listed here.

www.peggybawnpress.com

~ Iain McAllister ~

Posted in boatbuilders, boatyards, Clyde yachting, Clydebuilt, Firth of Clyde, G.L. Watson, G.L. Watson & Co., G.L. Watson clients, gift, Glasgow, naval architect, object of desire, other yacht designers, The Weekend Watson, Uncategorized, yacht clubs, yacht design, yacht designer, yacht racing, yachting history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reviews

John Sandoe Books, Chelsea, London. (Mylene Friedrich Rizzo / Clarisse Zanetello Linhares)

John Sandoe Books, Chelsea: how one would want one’s London stockist to look.
(Mylene Friedrich Rizzo / Clarisse Zanetello Linhares)

We’ve recently been enjoying undertaking a long overdue update to the Reviews page at this blog. As the northern hemisphere days shorten – and more often than not darken – it’s often a time to reflect.

This time three years ago, we were approaching the editorial, design and production deadline for Martin Black’s G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design. With the book scheduled to print in Italy during December 2011, and launch at London Boat Show in the first week of January 2012, there’s an intensity to such work that requires a gap in time before one can properly reflect on a job well done.

20140908_121427The reviews gathered here are not the result of a selection process for positives. The only chastening comments we receive are from folk impatient to hear news of the promised second volume of drawings accompanied by a more technical appraisal of Watson’s work. We are just as impatient, and will write about that soon.

Meanwhile we hope you can enjoy with us some excellent writing by readers and reviewers, known and happy to be not known, about Martin Black’s beautifully written and produced biography of the great Scottish yacht designer, G.L. Watson.

And if you are looking for a Christmas present idea for the maritime person in your life, look no further.

Read the reviews at www.peggybawn.wordpress.com/reviews/

Buy the book at www.peggybawnpress.com, or from the list of worldwide stockists here.

~ Iain McAllister ~

 

100th PostPS: Crikey… apparently this was the 100th post to the blog.

There’s a lot of good reading here although I say it myself, or at least interesting subjects. But the real deal, of course, is Martin Black’s biography of yacht designer, G.L. Watson…

 

Posted in America's Cup, Big Class, book, Britannia, Clyde yachting, Clydebuilt, Firth of Clyde, G.L. Watson, G.L. Watson & Co., G.L. Watson & Co. Ltd., Glasgow, Hal Sisk, Irish yachting, leather-bound, Lifeboat, limited edition, Martin Black, naval architect, object of desire, photography, River Clyde, RNLI, rowing, Sail and oar, shipyards, Steam Yacht, tank testing, yacht clubs, yacht design, yacht designer, yacht racing, yachting history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fife dynasty – first family of yacht design

Ayrshire Lass, designed William Fife Sr,1887, dressed overall in the Kyles of Bute during The Fife Regatta, July 2013. (CNN Mainsail)

Ayrshire Lass, designed William Fife Sr, 1887, dressed overall in the Kyles of Bute, Fife Regatta, July 2013.
(CNN Mainsail)

It was our pleasure last year to assist CNN Mainsail’s Richard Simmonds and double Olympic gold medalist, Shirley Robertson, with their superb coverage of The Fife Regatta 2013, now up at YouTube. Their desire for accuracy and attention to detail in honouring beautiful Scottish yachts, and their makers, was right up our street.

In Part One, Shirley sets the scene with the help of Fife family descendant and biographer, May Kohn – who writes as May Fife McCallum – and members of the Peggy Bawn Press team, Iain McAllister and Theo Rye, who took part in the regatta aboard the unique gaff cutter, Ayrshire Lass, designed by William Fife Sr (or “II”), built originally at Fairlie in 1887 as a “24-foot sailing boate” and rebuilt by Peggy Bawn’s restorer, Michael Kennedy, at Dunmore East, County Waterford, Ireland in time for 2008 Fife Regatta.

Part Two follows the superb 1908 cutter, Viola, and her Breton crew on the stormy passage race from Largs to Rothesay.

And the sun came out for Part Three’s scenic cruise up the Kyles of Bute aboard Ross Ryan’s elegant and fast, gaff-rigged 1910 8-Metre, The Truant.

The William Fifes, Sr and Jr, were great friends and rivals of Glasgow yacht designer George Lennox Watson, the subject of Martin Black’s beautifully illustrated biography, G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design, available to purchase online at our website www.peggybawnpress.com, from Amazon UK and Amazon USA, and from the bookstores listed here.

www.peggybawnpress.com

~ Iain McAllister ~

Posted in America's Cup, archives, art, boatyards, book, Clyde yachting, film, Firth of Clyde, G.L. Watson, Glasgow, journalists, naval architect, object of desire, other yacht designers, yacht design, yacht designer, yacht racing, yachting history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The schooner Rainbow: “Design, copyright and exhibition”

Rainbow Dots Turkey Red

Turkey Red rainbow dots design, Archibald Orr Ewing and Co., Vale of Leven, Scotland, c late 1870s.
(National Museum of Scotland)

An inherited fortune from the Turkey Red textile dyeing and printing industry of the Vale of Leven, Scotland, paid for 37-year-old Charles Orr Ewing’s magnificent G.L. Watson-designed schooner Rainbow, launched at Partick, Glasgow in 1898 – and now being replicated in Holland.

Archibald Orr Ewing & Co. was just one of a number of 19th Century textile enterprises to take advantage of the plentiful, clean (at east upriver) waters of the River Leven on their meandering way from Loch Lomond to a brackish merging with the River Clyde via the shipyards and castle rock of Dumbarton. They employed thousands of workers to produce brightly coloured, well-designed and exotic fabrics catering for worldwide demand, and they fiercely backed their intellectual property rights by copyright and litigation.

Hamburg (ex Rainbow) slipping down Kiel Fjord c1910. (© Jorma Rautapää)

Hamburg (ex Rainbow) slipping down Kiel Fjord c1910.
(© Jorma Rautapää)

Read more about the personalities and companies of the Vale of Leven’s textile industry here and here, about the Turkey Red dyeing process and its beautiful products here, about Rainbow’s lively life as Hamburg after Charles Orr Ewing’s death aged 43 in 1903 here and, of course, all about her designer G.L. Watson’s fascinating career and output in Martin Black’s beautifully illustrated and written biography, G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design, available to purchase online at our website www.peggybawnpress.com, from Amazon UK and Amazon USA, and from the bookstores listed here.

[Thanks to Dr Stana Nenadic with Dr Sally Tuckett of the University of Edinburgh, the good folk behind http://www.valeofleven.org.uk, and Jorma Rautapää]

www.peggybawnpress.com

~ Iain McAllister ~

Posted in art, Baltic Germany, Big Class, book, Clyde yachting, Clydebuilt, Firth of Clyde, G.L. Watson, G.L. Watson & Co., G.L. Watson clients, gift, Glasgow, object of desire, photography, replica, River Clyde, shipbuilding, shipyards, Uncategorized, yacht design, yacht designer, yacht racing, yachting history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The launch of the ‘Queen Mary': ship 534

Peggy Bawn Press:

Nothing to do with G.L. Watson. Everything to do with the River Clyde, which made him. A worthy first ever “re-blog”, and reminder of the fabulous collections and work of University of Glasgow Archive Services (GUAS).

To see the larger photo of Queen Mary at anchor at “The Tail o’ the Bank”, click or tap “View original”.

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peggybawnpress.com

Originally posted on University of Glasgow Library:

80 years ago today ship number 534, the Cunard White Star Liner built on the river Clyde by John Brown’s shipyard, was launched and given the name RMS Queen Mary.

(DC101/1481/Q/4/Y7)

(DC101/1481/Q/4/Y7)

The Queen Mary was one of the most celebrated, and largest, ships of its generation and is one of the best known liners to have sailed the seas. The contract for the building of ‘ship number 534’ was signed on 1st December 1930 and the first keel plates were laid on the 27th of that month. Work halted, however, in December 1931 due to the economic depression and did not begin again until April 1934. The structure was finished within six months and she was ready for launch on 26th September 1934.

A ticket to attend the launch (UCS1/107/116)

A ticket to attend the launch (UCS1/107/116)

Here at the University of Glasgow Archive Services we hold many records relating to the Queen Mary in our

View original 733 more words

Posted in archives, Clydebuilt, Firth of Clyde, G.L. Watson, gift, Glasgow, object of desire, River Clyde, ship launch, shipbuilding, shipyards, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Return to the Hebrides

Hard to believe it’s over a year since we last met the long lived G.L. Watson-designed west highlands and islands of Scotland cargo vessel S.S. Hebrides (1898). And incomprehensible that we’ve been watching the “Ealing Comedy” The Maggie (USA: High and Dry) for many more years than that without recognising Hebrides as one of its unsung stars.

In reality, and in model form, Hebrides makes a cameo appearance at Kingston Dock, Glasgow in this clip from the early scenes of an enchanting film, alongside much loved actors of the past, Hubert Gregg (Pusey), Alex Mackenzie (Captain MacTaggart), Geoffrey Keen (Mr Campbell, the shipping agent), James Copeland (the Mate) and Paul Douglas (Calvin B. Marshall – voice only here); not forgetting a real Clyde puffer, either Boer or Inca – they shared the title role. Later in the film, Roddy McMillan makes a brief appearance; he would eventually play Neil Munro’s puffer skipper “Para Handy” in the popular 1960s BBC TV series.

The real S.S. Hebrides appears from 2:28. The site of Kingston dock was immediately to the east of the Kingston motorway bridge, almost in the centre of Glasgow, which rather overshadows the only survivor from the “set” depicted below – the magnificent but nowadays rather lonely Cooperative Wholesale Society Building.

www.peggybawnpress

~ Iain McAllister ~

Hebrides in the Maggie

Posted in Captains, film, G.L. Watson, G.L. Watson & Co., gift, Glasgow, humour, River Clyde | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Macintosh of yacht design”

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The October 2014 issue of Scottish Field magazine (out now) features Scottish sports journalist Roddy Forsyth’s entertaining take on the G.L. Watson story and Martin Black’s biography G.L. WATSON – THE ART and SCIENCE of YACHT DESIGN, likening Watson’s career to that of the renowned Scottish architect Charles Rennie Macintosh.

Glasgow men of the world.

www.peggybawnpress.com

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GLW c1897

G.L. Watson c1897
(Yachting News)

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Charles Rennie Macintosh c1895
(Anne McTaggart MSP)

Posted in America's Cup, art, book, Clydebuilt, Firth of Clyde, G.L. Watson, G.L. Watson & Co., gift, Glasgow, Martin Black, naval architect, object of desire, River Clyde, shipbuilding, shipyards, yacht design, yacht designer, yachting history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment