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Alfred Mylne 40 ft Island Class Gaff Yawl 1911 - Project Completion



Alfred Mylne 40 ft Island Class Gaff Yawl 1911 - Project Completion

Designer Alfred Mylne
Builder John Hilditch, Carrickfergus
Date 1911
Length overall 47 ft 0 in / 14.33 m
Length deck 39 ft 6 in / 12.04 m
Length waterline 27 ft 0 in / 8.23 m
Beam 9 ft 8 in / 2.95 m
Draft 6 ft 0 in / 1.83 m
Displacement 8 Tonnes
Construction Wood, plank on frame
Engine Beta Marine 25hp Diesel 2006
Location United Kingdom
Price GBP 30,000

These details are provisional and may be amended



The Alfred Mylne-designed Island Class may be one of the finest one design classes of all time. These elegant and supremely efficiently rigged yawls represented the final expression of an intense turn of the 19th Century period of one design class development on Belfast Lough during which the concept of the bone fide cruiser racer was born, refined and perfected. What we are left with now is a beautifully proportioned Edwardian yacht of the highest pedigree, her designer being at the height of his race yacht design prowess and the builder with stock of the finest materials, especially her pitch pine bottom planking. FIARA's restoration by highly skilled craftsmen has begun, but requires a new custodian to take the project to completion, to enjoy the fruits of that, and perhaps race against her recently restored sister, TRASNAGH.



On Belfast Lough, the idea of one-design yacht racing in performance cruiser-racers had been well honed over two decades by the time this wonderful class of very efficiently rigged gaff yawls hit the scene in 1911. Typically, owners from both sides of the Lough expected a one design class to have run its course in about five seasons, after which they would try something new. But the designers and builders they commissioned had no concept of expendable boats, despite being squeezed on price by these hard-nosed Belfast industrialists and professionals. So, down the centuries we are left with some wonderful survivors of the Belfast Lough One Design Classes, with the Alfred Mylne-designed Island Class yawls arguably the best of them - holding their own while the International Rule was beginning to gain momentum. An horrific war, that would decimate many of the offspring who might have been expected to move on to an even larger type, resulted in the Islands Class surviving longer together, and gradually modernising after the first world war to Bermudan rig.

FIARA, most probably named after a mythical island in Scottish romantic novelist A.R. Crockett’s popular 1897 book, ‘Lochinvar’, was commissioned by Belfast manufacturer and Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club member, W. Muir McMullan - one of a tranche of five boats John Hilditch built during the winter of 1910-11, with a 6th, TRASNAGH, completed in 1913. Hilditch’s productivity was astounding, especially given the physical constraints of his yard, shoehorned into a corner of the then busy north shore Belfast Lough commercial port of Carrickfergus.

A succession of Northern Irish owners kept FIARA until the late 1930s when she moved to Scotland, cruising the west coast under the ownership of a further succession of custodians. In the late 1950s she moved to the south coast of England and never left. When the classic yacht revival came along she of course began to perform well at UK and French regattas, winning overall at Plymouth Classics in 2009 under present ownership.

Eventually, after a century of often hard sailing and racing, FIARA arrived at Traditional Shipwright Services, Poole, for open heart surgery. Much of the difficult part is now done, but the project requires completion. Her beauty, provenance and performance makes it a very rewarding task.

©2022 Iain McAllister/ Sandeman Yacht Company Ltd.



Work undertaken to date:
- All internal furniture, fittings and engine removed
- Burned off paint and anti-fouling from the outside
- Reefed out below the waterline
- Rudder removed
- Anchor winch removed
- Burned off paint from the inside
- Iron floors removed, sand blasted and re-galvanised
- Pattern for new stainless steel floors original floors didn’t come up to standard
- Garboard planks removed port and stbd
- Repaired damaged section of wood keel on stb side
- Removed unsound frames; fashion and fitted new frames
- New stem formed and fitted including a new mast step
- Some of the new stainless steel floors refitted
- Removed horn timber, fashion and fit a new iroko section
- Make a new rudder trunk and fit a new glass tube inside the trunk
- Fit new sternpost



- Mahogany topsides and pitch pine bottom planking, copper and bronze dump fastened
- Sawn and grown oak frames with 2 x intermediate oak steamed timbers
- Replacement of necessary frames in progress
- New stem to wood keel of laminated iroko
- New sternpost of laminated iroko
- Galvanised iron and steel floors – in process of replacement and repair
- Heavy section beam-shelf
- Oak deck beams and grown oak lodging knees



The teak deck removed during the current project was not original, but the covering boards are thought to be.

Coachroof with 4 x opening bronze ports
- Sliding teak companionway hatch and washboard
- Butterfly skylight
- Grabrails

Deck equipment in store:
- Bronze aft deck cleat
- Galvanised mainsheet horse
- 2 x bronze with teak bar cleats aft side-decks
- 3 x Bronze foredeck cleats
- 2 x Pairs of bronze mooring line fairleads
- Vintage bronze Thomas Reid pattern manual windlass
- Teak forehatch between the windlass and the mast
- Chain hawse and footbrake

Cockpit with raised teak coamings – to be rebuilt
- Antique bronze top-action single speed sheet winches in store

- CQR anchor
- Ample chain
- Long warp
- Mooring warps and fenders



FIARA’s interior has been dismantled with the reusable/ original parts in store. Apart from T & G bulkheads, panelled cabin doors and other furniture, the following equipment is also in store:

- Fine Simpson Lawrence sea toilet with porcelain bowl and chromed fittings
- Stainless steel rectangular sink
- Pressurised water system from stainless steel water tanks forward



The Island Class was originally built with a sloop-headed gaff yawl rig setting a high peaked gaff mainsail on a pole main mast, jib to the end of the bowsprit, topsail on yard and club, with a gunter-rigged mizzen. After the first world war they converted to Bermudan rig. FIARA’s existing main mast has been reinstated to the post first world war length.

Newer, keel stepped, pear-shaped section original height conifer main mast
- Lower steel tube spreaders
- Triple jumper strut/upper spreaders above
- Single bronze halyard winch
- Stainless steel rigging with Norseman terminals
- Stainless steel rigging screws
- Internal galvanised chainplates side bolted to heavy frames below deck.
- Standing backstay
- Running back-stays on bronze Highfield levers to the upper spreaders
- Fore stay from outer end of the bowsprit to upper spreaders

Conifer mizzen mast, horn timber stepped

Conifer roller reefing main boom
- Double galvanised mainsheet boom band

Conifer mizzen boom sheeting to conifer bumpkin
- Mizzen rigging employs soft eyes round thumb cleats on spar

Centreline conifer bowsprit
- Chain roller fitting each side also carries bowsprit guy spreaders
- Dolphin striker low down on the stem lowers the lead of the bob-stay
- Stainless steel bobstay and guys

- Tufnol enclosed by hardwood shells

- Full size mainsail
- Older mainsail to fit older shorter mast length
- Mizzen
- Genoa on roller furling gear
- Working jib



Beta Marine 25hp diesel engine (2006); less than 100hrs
Before removal the installation was thus and is in store:
- Flexibly mounted; twin lever controls
- Beta Marine control panel start button, rev counter, audible temp & oil alarms
- Engine located on centre-line athwartships under the bridge deck
- Hydraulic drive to port off-set prop
- Hydraulic pump is close coupled to engine
- Hydraulic motor/ inner end of the shaft under the engine
- 30 litres fuel in stainless steel tank
- 2 x 12v batteries with change-over switch
- Engine driven alternator.
- Betamarine panel: start button, rev counter, audible alarms on temp and oil pressure



The following is in storage:
- Steering compass clips on the bulkhead
- Sounder
- Autohelm auto-pilot on the tiller
- Garmin 75 GPS
- VHF radio



- Avon inflatable dinghy.
- Honda 2.5hp outboard engine


These particulars have been prepared from information provided by the vendors and are intended as a general guide. The purchaser should confirm details of concern to them by survey or engineers inspection. The purchaser should also ensure that the purchase contract properly reflects their concerns and specifies details on which they wish to rely.


Sandeman Yacht Company

Brokerage Of Classic & Vintage Yachts