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Charles E Nicholson 99ft Gaff Cutter 1904/2008



Charles E Nicholson 99ft Gaff Cutter 1904/2008

Designer Charles E Nicholson
Builder Camper & Nicholsons, Gosport
Date 1904
Length overall 111 ft 11 in / 34.1 m
Length deck 98 ft 6 in / 30.03 m
Length waterline 68 ft 11 in / 21 m
Beam 17 ft 10 in / 5.44 m
Draft 12 ft 6 in / 3.8 m
Displacement 90 Tonnes
Construction Teak on oak
Gross Tonnage 87.82 Tonnes
Engine Perkins Sabre M265TI 6-Cyl 265 hp Diesel
Location Spain
Price EUR 4,950,000

These details are provisional and may be amended



A beautiful and remarkable living link to Victorian and Edwardian yachting's 'Golden Era', MERRYMAID is surely the most accomplished, thoroughly well-proven restored large classic yacht of our time. Restoration in two phases 2002-2008, latterly at Southampton Yacht Services, has been followed by a - truly epic for any yacht - period of circumnavigation and voyaging, including in 2016 becoming probably the first gaff-rigged classic yacht to navigate the Northwest Passage. Such adventure would have been unimaginable to her 20th Century owners, but Charles E. Nicholson well knew what a capable, comfortable and fast vessel he'd conceived. MERRYMAID offers a rare opportunity to experience and be part of yachting history.



- 2010 - Refit, Southampton Yacht Services, Southampton, England
- 2006-2008 - Restoration, Southampton Yacht Services, Southampton, England
- 2003-2005 - Restoration, Saint-Mandrier-Sur-Mer, France



Camper & Nicholsons Yard No. 167

The commission for MERRYMAID secured for Charles E. Nicholson's his long-awaited entrée to The Big Class which since 1893 had been dominated by designs from William Fife III, G.L. Watson and very few others. MERRYMAID is a remarkable and very important survivor from yachting’s gilded age.

The client, Thomas A. Hardcastle of Leicestershire and London was a gentleman of independent means whose father made his fortune in the Lancashire textile industry, then bought the complete Leicestershire village of Horninghold and, as his retirement project, rebuilt it to his own tastes. Nicholson could be a most persuasive salesman, and one wonders if a smaller - unbuilt - cutter design just one yard number before MERRYMAID (yard no. 166), with Hardcastle named as client, reveals a particularly successful deal closing by the 35-year-old designer. It certainly began a chain that would bring even more Big Class business to the Gosport yard.

Though MERRYMAID seems to have been his first yacht, contemporary reports credit Hardcastle with a penchant for sturdy construction. With her 2¼ in (57 mm), apparently up to 59 ft (18 m) long teak planking on a frame of elm and oak, and iron ring frames at the mast, this is exactly what Hardcastle got. It is a specification well proven by the test of time - and a two-year circumnavigation at the beginning of her second century with much of that teak planking still in place.

MERRYMAID began her racing career with the Royal Thames YC's Nore to Dover Race on 11 June 1904 under the command of professional Captain Jack Carter of Rowedge. Her Class 1 competitors were among the most famous names of the time: BRYNHILD (Nicholson yawl); VALDORA (Fife yawl); BONA (GL Watson/ D & W Henderson yawl); WHITE HEATHER (Fife/ Fay yawl); CLARA (Soper/ Fay schooner). As was the pattern through the first half of the 20th Century, her season would see her taking part in regattas from the Thames to the Clyde and back to Cowes by August.

After only one season Hardcastle took a yachting hiatus and sold MERRYMAID back to her builders who transferred ownership to a prospective client Nicholson knew to have desires on a larger Big Class cutter (and was trying to woo away from his great rival William Fife Jr.). Glasgow-born, London-based stockbroker Robert W.N. Young would also own MERRYMAID for just a season before commissioning the 80ft waterline first class cutter NYRIA from Nicholson (instead of Fife!) – but what a season it was, including competing in the Royal London Yacht Club’s “Ocean Race” from Cowes to the Clyde in June, taking in the Clyde Fortnight, and racing back to Cowes in time to race in Cowes Week. Both Hardcastle and NYRIA will return to our story…

In 1906, ownership in MERRYMAID transferred to another London stockbroker and Royal London YC member, James E. Terry who continued to campaign MERRYMAID on the British regatta circuit before she was bought back by Hardcastle who had a 6-cylinder Maudsley Motor Company petrol auxiliary motor installed, and in 1911 converted her to ketch rig.

MERRYMAID seems to have spent the First World War laid up in Norway, but according to her next owner’s family lore was inspected at her builders’ yard in Gosport in 1919 and purchased there by Mrs Elizabeth R. Workman; in bloodline and marriage from a family of Ulster/ Scottish shipbuilders and ship owners with the strongest of yachting pedigrees - in particular on her father, James A. Allan’s side - as serial clients of Fife and Watson. Mrs Workman, of Mayfair and Hayling Island, was a collector of the very finest art, including works by Degas, Gauguin, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and van Gogh – and her taste in yachts was pretty good too. By 1920 she was the owner of both MERRYMAID and NYRIA.

But by 1921 MERRYMAID’s ownership had returned to Lancashire textile roots. The gardens of Royal Anglesey and Royal Clyde Yacht Clubs member Fred Burton’s home, Gwaenynog Hall, near Denbigh in North Wales, had been the inspiration for his aunt, the author Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale of The Flopsy Bunnies’, featuring Peter Rabbit, Mr McGregor and his potting shed. One likes to believe the famous author perhaps cruised to Scottish waters with her nephew aboard MERRYMAID.

After a short ownership from 1927 to 1929 by Royal Yacht Squadron member Captain Cecil W.P. Slade, fellow Squadron member and chairman of the Cunard Line 1922 to 1930 Sir Thomas Royden became the last owner to sail MERRYMAID in commission until her present owner in 2008.

Laid up on the outbreak of the Second World War, in 1943 her lead keel was removed to contribute to the war effort and MERRYMAID began 50 years of mudberth houseboat life at Tollesbury, Essex, initially under the joint ownership of 'yacht agent' Arthur G. Hempstead (who had similarly dismantled and converted the Fife 19-Metre MARIQUITA and other famous yachts of a certain age) and Lt.-Col. C. G. Mangles, M.C. In 1948, ownership transferred to retired leather manufacturer John Blott of Howbridge Hall, Witham, Essex.

In 1963 MERRYMAID was acquired as a family holiday houseboat by Roy Squire who honourably maintained her always with a view to stabilising the hull in the hope that she would one day receive a well-funded restoration. It would be forty years before this dream would come true.

In 1994 she was moved to Heybridge Basin, Essex, kept afloat there for sale as a restoration project, and purchased in 2001 by the then owner of the Fife gaff cutter MOONBEAM OF FIFE (MOONBEAM III) the late Didier Waechter and his skipper Philippe le Chevalier. She was towed to Sheerness and shipped to the south of France by Dockwise in February 2002 and by spring 2002 restoration had begun at their own ‘yard’ within International Marine Services, Saint-Mandiere-sur-Mer, near Toulon.

Sadly Waechter died before he could realise his dream. MERRYMAID went on display in her centenary year at the 2004 edition of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, but did not sail. The Waechter family subsequently sold her into present ownership, and in 2006 she returned to England for completion of the restoration at Southampton Yacht Services with much of the original hull planking and some other elements retained but with 21st century systems for comfort and safety.

A legendary - truly epic for a classic yacht - period of circumnavigation and voyaging followed from 2008 and 2016 with periods of yard work interspersed. The 2016 passages are particularly noteworthy when she became most probably the first gaff-rigged classic yacht to navigate the Northwest Passage.

These 21st Century voyages would have been unimaginable to her 20th Century owners, but her designer Charles E. Nicholson knew full well what a capable vessel he'd conceived, and it’s been more than proven.

©2021 Iain McAllister/ Sandeman Yacht Company Ltd



- 2¼ in Teak planking on oak frame
- High percentage of planking is original
- Teak superstructure
- Teak swept deck on plywood substrate
- Lead keel
- Steel ring frames in way of mast



- Cockpit with folding table seating 4 to 6 guests
- Helm pedestal/ binnacle with helm angle indicator
- Thomas Reid hydraulic windlass with double gypsy DC 24 V
- 2 x Self-tailing aft warping capstans
- Bronze Fisherman Anchor 140 kg
- CQR Anchor 108 kg
- 14 mm Stud link anchor chain, 140 m and 60 m



The accommodation throughout MERRYMAID, done to an exceptional standard by the craftsmen at Southampton Yacht Services, is either original and restored, or a faithful copy of the original

- 6 x Guests in 3 cabins
- 6 x Crew in 3 cabins (bunks)

- Large master cabin aft
- Medium-size double bed
- Sofa
- Skylight in deckhead
- En-suite bathroom.

- Port and starboard guest cabins
- Each fitted with 2 x bunks and en-suite bathroom

- Large comfortable saloon with two sofas and skylight
- Table can be lifted to create a dining table
- Fire place in the salon running with gas, so it can be switched off anytime

- Captain cabin: 1 x bunk with possibility to add hammock over
- First mate/ engineer cabin (2 x bunks)
- Third crew cabin in bow
- Separate head and shower room
- Spacious crew mess with galley

- 1 x Frigoboat Refrigerator
- 2 x Deep freezers, custom made
- 2 x Frigomatic compressors
- 1 x Oven
- 1 x Stove with 3 hobs
- 1 x Microwave BOSCH
- 1 x Icemaker Isotherm
- 1 x Washing/Dryer Miele WT2780



- Gaff Cutter rig with stepped topmast
- Spars by Harry Spencer, Gilbert Pasqui
- 2010 Spar modifications by Collars
- Mast, topmast, boom and bowsprit: Columbian pine
- Gaff: sitka spruce
- Spreaders: ash

- Contender Dacron, mostly 2014
- Total 953m2 / Working 483m2
- Mainsail 220.50m2 (2013)
- 2 x Reef points
- Spinnaker (MPS) 252.8m2
- Trysail 72.5m2
- Staysail 57.3m2
- Storm staysail 30.0m2
- Jib (Yankee) 87.1m2
- Jib (Working) 48.1m2
- Jib Top (Large) 61.9m2
- Jib Top (Small) 27.9m2
- Topsail (Large) 55.8m2
- Topsail (Working) 39.5m2

- 4 x Meissner electric CMB 36
- 4 x Meissner manual CMBH
- 2 x Meissner 28-STB-47 self-tailing

- Full awnings, in 2 parts, forward and aft of mast
- Sail boom covers




Main Engine:
- 1 x 6 Cylinder Perkins Sabre M265TI 265hp diesel engine
- Serviced to 0-hours 2016; light use since
- PRM 1000 Gearbox
- Cardan shaft to Aqua Drive CVB-32-30 thrust bearing; deep sea seal
- Fixed 3-bladed propeller

- Maximum speed: 10 knots
- Cruising speed: 8.5 knots

Fuel consumption:
- 8 L/ h @ 1,200 rpm
- 10 L/ h @ 1,400 rpm
- 27 L/ h @ 2,000 rpm

- 1,120 nm @ 1,400 rpm

- Onan 17.5kVA - 80 amps max – 2016
- 170 hours (2017)
- Consumption 3.4 L/h @ 40 amps

- Direct geared steering to quadrant
- Original rudder angle indicator


- AC 230 V / DC 24 V 50Hz

- Engine driven alternator 100 amp (installed)
- Engine driven alternator 150 amp (lazarette)
- 3 x Mastervolt 100 A

- 12 x Dryfit A600 2v Gel cells with 1500 Ah/ 20 hr
- Engine/Service separated and with parallel switch
- 24v separate DC bank for the NAV & COM with parallel switch

- Mastervolt inverter 2.5 kVA


- 1,300 L / 343 US Gal - in 2 x tanks

Fuel Separator:
- Duplex Racor filter to engine
- Simplex Racor filter to generator
- Flexible armoured hose for all pipe work
- Manually operated fuel cut offs to feeds and returns

Fresh Water:
- 800 L / 211 US Gal- in 2 x tanks

Black Water:
- 50 L / 13 US Gal - Aft
- 250 L / 66 US Gal - Forward


Air Conditioning:
- AC unit 200 litres per hour
- PTO Hydraulic 200 litres per hour (DCC)

- Webasto 2 x DBW 2010

Water Maker:
- 2 x Sea Fresh water makers

- 2 x C-Warm CWB78-VTC @ 78 L each
- Twin coils and double heater elements

Toilet system:
- 4 x Heads
- Hamann chlorine waste system



- B & G system (2015)
- 3 x Chart plotters
- B&G H3000 wind instruments with XDR fins, wind speed & direction (2015)
- B&G H3000 Auto Pilot (2015)
- Furuno GPS backup
- Radar
- Depth sounder
- Forward looking sonar
- Magnetic steering compass
- Full catalogue of world charts, paper and electronic
- NavNet 3D Navtex system,
- SAT C, Radar with ARPA
- Max Sea Weather Routing Software
- Log
- AIS Fleet 33 BGAN

- 2 x VHF DSC fixed units with independent aerials
- VHF hand held radios
- Telephone exchange
- 2 x Iridium Motorola 9505A Satphones
- Fleet 33 BGAN broadband internet
- Printer / fax HP Hewlett Packard

- Samsung TV with DVD player in the saloon
- SONOS sound system



- EPIRB MacMurdo 406GHz EPIRB with GPS, 2 x S.A.R.T.
- Iridium remote distress alarm
- 12 x MOB locator beacons (Mobilalarm V100) with EPIRB and onboard alarm
- 2 x Zodiac 8 man life rafts with A Pack
- Life jackets: 12 x ‘Kru’ , self-inflating life jackets with harnesses
- 2 x 2” Fire hydrants in the covering boards forward and aft
- FE-227 manually operated extinguisher in the engine space
- Machinery space intake/exhaust ventilation with manual/automatic shutdown
- Exhaust ventilation with automatic shutdown
- Heat and smoke detectors in machinery space, lazarette and galley
- 1 x 2 kg Co2 extinguisher in galley/crew area
- 8 x Handheld extinguishers located throughout vessel
- Gas alarms below galley, saloon, galley bilge and aft bilge
- 220v Bilge and main fire 1 ½” pump
- 24v Auxiliary fire 1 ¼” pump with deck outlets fore & aft
- Manual deck mounted bilge pump
- 2 x automatic ‘Rule 2000’ in main bilge space with alarms
- PTO clutch pump running off the engine
- Crash pump 3” petrol driven (storage)
- Ship’s Medicine Chest w/ Rx 3.0
- First Responder Kit w/ Rx 3.0 x 2
- Philips FRX Defibrillator



- Carbon fibre passerelle
- Starboard side boarding ladder
- Zodiac Pro 7-person tender, 4.30m
- Yamaha 60 hp 4-stroke outboard motor
- Classic Sailing Dinghy built by Butler and Co (2009)
- 2 x Scuba Sets with Bauer Junior II compressor and accessories


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