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William Fife III 52ft Bermudan Cutter 1940/2013



William Fife III 52ft Bermudan Cutter 1940/2013

Designer William Fife III
Builder William Fife & Son Fairlie
Date 1940
Length overall 52 ft 1 in / 15.87 m
Length deck 52 ft 1 in / 15.87 m
Length waterline 35 ft 5 in / 10.8 m
Beam 10 ft 10 in / 3.3 m
Draft 7 ft 6 in / 2.29 m
Displacement 15.5 Tonnes
Construction Wood part-composite
Engine Yanmar 4-JHE 44hp Diesel
Location Malta
Price GBP 395,000

These details are provisional and may be amended



The last yacht launched by the famous Fairlie yard during the lifetime of her designer William Fife III, SOLWAY MAID has only ever had two owners, and it shows in the remarkable level of her authenticity. Conceived and built speculatively as a "stock boat" - and thereby incorporating everything Fife thought best in such a yacht, unsullied by rating rules and owners' wishes - she was advertised during the months leading up to the Second World War as a "Fast cruiser suitable for ocean racing"; it's hard to think of a better description. Mediterranean based since the mid 1990s, she offers the unique opportunity to become only the 3rd owner of The Last Fife; of an absolute gem; of a yacht that will always look after you; that's fast enough to win you prizes if you wish, and extremely cool enough to instil strong envy.



In the dusk of an October evening in 1940, in a world which had gone mad, on a river which had run to war and where every ship was painted the dullest shade of grey, the quiet, unceremonious launching of a sleek, white hulled, 52 ft yacht at the celebrated slipways of William Fife & Son would have passed off with little fuss.

And yet it must have been a most poignant moment for her creator, William Fife Junior. He was in his 84th year, last of the line – the third and final generation of a Scottish yacht-building dynasty founded in the early 19th Century by his grandfather on the shallow beach at Fairlie on the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. His yard had been requisitioned by the British Admiralty and, by the time the war clouds had cleared, Fife had already taken his final departure, passing away at the age of 88 in 1944. Thus, the final launching by William Fife & Son: yard number 825 became SOLWAY MAID, named after the cruising grounds of the south coast of Scotland beloved of her purchaser, Carlisle flour miller F. Ivan Carr.

Just two days after launching, her deck of lustrous yellow pine hidden by a coat of grey camouflage paint and the identification “A32” written boldly on her still-white topsides, she set sail on her maiden voyage to the Solway Firth port of Kirkcudbright (pronounced Kir-koo-bree and still carved in her shapely counter) which was to be her home port until hostilities ceased.

As it turned out, her wartime lay up was shorter than expected and SOLWAY MAID began her sailing career in 1944 as the training vessel for Carlisle Sea Cadets, sailing out of Silloth, Cumbria. It was the beginning of 30 years of cruising with friends in Scottish, Norwegian, Irish, Welsh, English and French waters for Carr, until he sadly died in 1974.

There followed a period of 14 years indoors layup until she was purchased in Scotland by her present and only the second owner in 1987. The 1988 and '89 seasons were spent gently cruising the Clyde in 1974 condition, then she emerged from a major refit in 1990 looking like the yacht Fife launched in 1940. After a 50th birthday party at Kirkcudbright, on the Solway Firth, her life as a fast cruiser began once again, interspersed with attendance and many podium places at classic yacht regattas: from the Clyde in Scotland to Spetses in Greece - including overall wins at the Conde de Barcelona Regatta, Palma de Mallorca, and at the first Fife Regatta - while clocking up thousands of passagemaking miles. In fact she attended the first four Fife Regattas: 1998; 2003; 2008; 2013; and is the perfect yacht to take to the next one, possibly in 2027. In subsequent years her beautiful, long overhangs and relatively narrow beam compared with American designs hindered her Mediterranean CIM rule regatta results, but the recent success of her big sister HALLOWE'EN shows how much the rule has been refined in recent years to become more inclusive. There is no doubt that this delightfully responsive and fast yacht has more podium places in her.

Her present owner has now had the pleasure of her company for longer than Ivan Carr did. Who will be the third custodian of the last testament of William Fife.

©2024 Iain McAllister/ Sandeman Yacht Company Ltd.



Crewed and maintained professionally since 1990, SOLWAY MAID has gone through three major refit periods in her lifetime. The first, 1988-1991 in Scotland, whilst always sailing by summer, involved structural work, major paint and varnish stripping and refinishing from keel up externally and internally and mast and spars, re-engining, rewiring, refitted galley - in particular to incorporate a refrigerator - new rigging and new sails.

In the winter of 1998-1999, Cantiere Navale dell'Argentario replaced her galvanised steel floors with stainless steel in way of the 8 ton lead keel, two of her original bronze keelbolts and the associated lower planking.

The next major period of restoration was 2011-2013 at Imperia, Italy, where damage repairs from a collision incurred during Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez evolved into a major structural and cosmetic restoration, always keeping her as authentic as possible. 90% of her steel and American rock elm frames were replaced at this time, the steel with stainless steel, and the elm with oak. The result is a yacht that looks still exactly as drawn by William Fife.



- Mahogany carvel planking
- On a backbone of mahogany and oak
- With alternate stainless steel and oak frames
- Mahogany rails, coamings and coachroof
- Yellow pine (Pinus strobus) original deck



- Yellow pine (Pinus strobus) original laid deck
- Mahogany king planks, covering boards, rail and capping
- Mahogany coamings and margin boards
- Mahogany trunk sides
- Plywood and mahogany (as original) trunk roof
- Mahogany skylights and hatches
- Stainless steel stanchion bases, stanchions and guardrails
- 3 x Rectangular house side chromed bronze port lights port and starboard
- 4 x Stainless steel framed port lights in house roof

From aft
- Mahogany taffrail and fashioned counter block
- 2 x Stainless steel mooring fairleads with rollers
- Stainless steel pasarelle/ ensign staff socket
- Stainless steel standing backstay chainplate
- 1 x Chromed bronze and teak bar “Clyde” mooring cleat
- Painted galvanised mainsheet horse, leathered double ash block and padeyes
- 2 x Leathered ash mainsheet cheek blocks
- 3 x Ash mainsheet blocks at boom (2 x on spans)
- Stainless steel J.S. Highfield levers for runners
- 2 x Fife pattern Galvanised runner standing hooks
- 2 x Fife pattern runner turning sheaves
- 4 x Chromed bronze and teak bar "Clyde" headsail sheet cleats
- Well type self-draining cockpit with mahogany grating
- Brass cowl ventilator
- Engine controls and instruments locker starboard aft
- Lazarette and steering access locker port aft
- 2 x Lights let in to aft cockpit well bulkhead
- 2 x Bullseye prisms in cockpit well sides
- Cockpit sides shaped around steering pedestal
- 2 x Barient 27-48 bronze self-tailing sheet handling winches
- 2 x Gibb 52 bronze self-tailing sheet handling winches
- Well type self-draining cockpit with mahogany grating
- 2 x Lights let in to aft cockpit well bulkhead
- 2 x Bullseye prisms in cockpit well sides
- Cockpit sides shaped around steering pedestal
- Alloy Thomas Reid steering pedestal/ binnacle (c1947)
- Original Sestrel “Deadbeat” compass
- Replica lid of binnacle fitted for Garmin chart plotter and instrument
- Mahogany engine space access hatch at bridge deck
- Stowage bins under
- Bronze opening vents port and starboard of companionway hatch
- Raised and raked companionway sliding hatch
- Fittings for “pram-hood” sprayhood
- Butterfly skylight over saloon
- Chromed bronze stove chimney spigot to port
- Mast - padeyes and Ivan Carr quick release halyard hook
- Chromed bronze deck threaded sockets
- for padeyes/ "nun's cape" fairleads
- Butterfly skylight over galley
- Forehatch access to forepeak
- Removable inner forestay Highfield type lever
- Maxwell 1500 vertical drum anchor windlass and warping drum
- Spare chromed bronze chain pipe re-purposed as 12V socket
- Outer, masthead forestay chainplate
- 2 x Fife pattern galvanised bollards
- 2 x Chromed bronze and teak bar “Clyde” mooring cleats
- Chromed bronze mooring fairleads at port and starboard knights heads
- Bow rollers with stowage for 35lb CQR anchor
- Spare 15kg Bruce anchor in forpeak
- Stainless steel hoop over with bronze side rollers



2 x sets of 4 x steps down over engine box down to aft cabin
Interior joinery is lightweight Honduras cedar

- True, wide sea bunks port and starboard
- Port bunk is semi quarter berth
- Drawer/ stowage under and at head
- Sideboard and hanging locker at head of port bunk
- Drawer and stowage under
- Ships breaker panel at foot of starboard berth
- Electronic 'black boxes' locker behind (aft)
- Access to above also from engine space
- Large chart drawer under starboard bunk
- Portable chart table stowed at starboard bunk deckhead
- Bookshelf to starboard with drop down door access radar display
- Folding door access forward to saloon
- 2 x Davey brass and glass shade reading lamps
- Steps are hinged as door access to engine space
- 2 x Fiddled shelves at half step
- Main battery switch in locker to stbd of lower steps

- Stainless steel solid fuel stove to port
- Chimney with drying hangers
- Tiled baffle protects port settee
- 2 x Oil lamps & heat shields port and starboard at aft bulkheads
- Ivan Carr ashtray at aft starboard bulkhead
- Settees port and starboard
- Fiddled shelves outboard
- Stowage outboard and under
- Single door width sideboard to port forward
- Stowage under and outboard
- Car hi-fi in outboard locker
- Bulkhead bookshelf to starboard of mast
- 2 x Davey brass and glass shade reading lamps
- Small shelves port and starboard
- Butterfly skylight over with JS Highfield catches

Forward to galley

- Double door width sideboard/ work surface to port
- Deckhead light
- Ivan Carr ashtray
- Lockers under and outboard
- To starboard
- Double sink with stowage under
- Pressure cold water supply
- Salt water hand pump supply
- Electric pump discharge
- Extending drying board from port
- Dometic Origo 3000 2-burner spirit hob
- Vitrifrigio 75L Refrigerator with remote Danfoss compressor
- Butterfly skylight over with JS Highfield catches

Forward to forepeak

- Sail bin to port
- Jabsco 37010-0090 12V Electric WC to starboard
- Pipe cot forward
- Chain locker



- Original Fife hollow mast
- Masthead cutter rig
- Inner forest chainplate is fastened through stem
- 2 x Bronze self-tailing halyard winches
- 2 x sets of stainless steel spreaders
- Separate trysail track to port
- Bronze track by Harry Spencer fwd for spinnaker pole
- Custom Harry Spencer pole socket
- Removable Garmin radar dome
- Original Fife hollow boom
- Stainless Steel Ivan Carr reefing winch on boom
- Stainless steel rigging
- Dynema running rigging
- Harry Spencer spinaker pole (1998)

SAILS (full inventory tbc)
- Mainsail
- 2 x Genoa
- 2 x Yankee
- 2 x Staysail
- Spinnaker
- Asymmetric
- 3rd reef size trysail - uses separate track

- Companionway "pram" sprayood
- Covers for
- Cockpit
- Coachroof
- Skylights
- Sheet winches
- Sun awnings



- Yanmar 4-JHE 44hp Diesel (1990 - top end overhauls 1999 and 2013)
- Stainless steel propeller shaft offset to starboard with A-bracket
- Offset 18 in 3-blade Bruntons 'Auto Prop'
- Thomas Reid bronze rack and pinion steering quadrant

- 220V Shore power charging & 12V system
- Dolphin 40A charger
- 2 x House and 1 x engine starting batteries
- Pressure cold water pump to galley
- Galley sink discharge pump
- 220V sockets in saloon and aft cabin

- 55 Gallons/ 250L Fresh water tank under saloon
- 35 Gallons/ 160L Diesel tank under aft cabin



- Sestrel “Deadbeat” steering compass in binnacle
- Garmin autopilot with hydraulic ram to quadrant
- Garmin GPS Map 5012 chart plotter/ radar display at nav space
- Garmin GPS Map 5008 at helm
- Garmin GMI10 instrument repeater at helm
- Garmin radar
- Garmin 300i VHF Radio with GHS10i ship's handset
- 12V Navigation lights



- Electric, and Jabsco Amazon Warrior double action manual, bilge pumps
- Lifebuoy with drogue
- ACR 'Satellite 2' 406 EPIRB at port quarter berth
- Emergency tiller
- Fire blanket
- Fire extinguishers



- Clinker tender
- Mahogany and spruce folding pasarelle


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