Wind of fortune


"Classic Schooner project" undergoing wind tunnel tests at North Sails New Zealand (North Sails New Zealand)

“Classic Schooner project” undergoing wind tunnel tests for North Sails.
(North Sails New Zealand)

Snippets of news slipping out online more than strongly suggest that one of the most exciting of classic yacht replica projects is well underway: a reincarnation of G.L. Watson’s design for the fabulous and fast schooner Rainbow, later Hamburg, originally built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1898.

If my imagination and enthusiasm haven’t got the better of me, this is something students of yachting history – in particular from a Scottish point of view – have been eagerly anticipating for a very long time; in my case, since the days when such vessels could only be imagined from the monochrome pages of books, and framed Beken photographs.

Speculation began yesterday when North Sails New Zealand posted the image above at their Facebook page: a “Classic Schooner project” undergoing wind tunnel rig testing. By last night it was obvious something big was afoot, with a quick search revealing that yacht builders Holland Jachtbouw, of Zaandam, Holland, are building new halls to accommodate large upcoming projects due to commence construction later this year, with naval architecture by Gerard Dijkstra & Partners of Amsterdam.

One of them is Rainbow II (ex Hamburg)”. Wow.

Presumably the G.L. Watson & Co. Ltd. office is also involved; they hold the original drawings. Their input would hopefully keep things authentic looking on the outside…

Rainbow in her first season, moored off Gourock, Clyde, 1898. (ddff)

Rainbow in her first season, moored (we think off Rothesay*) on the Clyde, 1898.
(Yacht Racing on the Clyde 1898)

Rainbow (154ft/ 46.9m long on deck) was built by D.&W. Henderson of Partick, Glasgow in 1898 for Turkey red dyeing heir, and Member of Parliament for Ayr Burghs, Charles Orr-Ewing. After his death aged 43 from heart failure in December 1903, she was purchased by the German syndicate club, Hamburgische Verein Seefahrt, joined the golden era of schooner racing in the south-western Baltic and came second to Charlie Barr at the helm of the three masted-schooner Atlantic in the 1905 Kaiser’s Cup transatlantic race from New York to The Lizard, in which Atlantic set a 100 year course record.

Hopefully much more will soon be revealed about this fascinating project.

PBP_daisyRainbow is one of the stars of the remarkable 1899 Clyde regatta film footage that can be seen at our web-site here, one of the oldest known moving image clips of yacht racing, filmed at Hunter’s Quay on the Clyde by Belfast whiskey distiller Robert Mitchell, and featuring two of G.L. Watson’s Big Class designs. The web site is also the place to read more about Martin Black’s G.L. Watson biography, G.L. WATSON – THE ART AND SCIENCE OF YACHT DESIGN and to even purchase it securely online.

~ Iain McAllister ~

PBP_daisy[Edit, 30 June 2014: overall length (on deck) corrected from 133ft/ 40.5m to 154ft/ 46.9m]

*[Edit, 6 July 2014: believed location of Rainbow in photo changed from Gourock to Rothesay. Thanks to our Twitter follower @MarineBlast ]

[Update, 27 July 2014: a rendering of Rainbow II from Pity about the boatyard buildings cluttering the view, but you don’t get beautiful yachts without ugly boatyards these days…]

A rendering of Rainbow II at the new Holland Jachtbouw shipyard extension. (

A rendering of Rainbow II and the completed Holland Jachtbouw shipyard extension.


[Update, 8 August 2014: it’s official – Rainbow II build announced. Improved sail plan rendering here and below.]





About Peggy Bawn Press

496pg biography of Scottish yacht designer, George Lennox Watson (1851-1904). Significant book on the history of yacht design & the development of modern yachting. Beautifully illustrated. Many photographs previously unpublished.
This entry was posted in archives, Baltic Germany, Big Class, boatbuilders, boatyards, Captains, Clyde yachting, Clydebuilt, film, Firth of Clyde, G.L. Watson, G.L. Watson & Co., G.L. Watson & Co. Ltd., G.L. Watson clients, gift, Glasgow, leather-bound, Martin Black, naval architect, object of desire, other yacht designers, photography, replica, River Clyde, sailmakers, shipbuilding, shipyards, yacht design, yacht designer, yacht racing, yachting history and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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