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David Boyd International 8-Metre Cruiser Racer 1967



David Boyd International 8-Metre Cruiser Racer 1967

Designer David Boyd
Builder Alex Robertson & Sons, Sandbank, Scotland
Date 1967
Length overall 43 ft 4 in / 13.2 m
Length deck 43 ft 4 in / 13.2 m
Length waterline 27 ft 3 in / 8.3 m
Beam 10 ft 0 in / 3.05 m
Draft 6 ft 1 in / 1.86 m
Displacement 8 Tonnes
Construction Carvel mahogany on laminated mahogany & steamed oak
Engine Beta Marine 25 hp diesel
Location United Kingdom
Price GBP 92,500

These details are provisional and may be amended



SUNBURST’s strikingly beautiful lines, her ‘retrousse’ stern, and fine construction say everything about her designer, David Boyd. He had worked closely under William Fife III, before becoming in-house designer with her builder Alexander Robertson of Sandbank, Argyll, where he designed and they built three America’s Cup 12-Metres, SCEPTRE, SOVEREIGN and KURREWA V. SUNBURST is the sum of all this: perhaps the most beautiful yacht of this type built in the UK during the last days of wooden yacht building as the norm, technically benefiting from Boyd’s America’s Cup tank testing work, and aesthetically from his artistry, and renowned Robertson build and finish quality. This yacht has been maintained as close to her original specification as possible having enjoyed few and long ownerships. In the right hands she will not disappoint at classic events, and with her deep cockpit and spacious, well-appointed accommodation, she’s an impressive all-rounder - definitely a class act!




Irrespective of the inevitable failure of his America’s Cup Challenger 12-Metres SCEPTRE (1958) and SOVEREIGN (1964) to recover the America’s Cup from the New York Yacht Club, Robertson of Sandbank in-house designer David Boyd, who had previously worked under William Fife Jr ('III'), was by far the UK’s most successful and productive designer to the International Rule from the late 1930s through the 1950s. And when given the opportunity, he'd designed some seriously seductive fast cruisers. Therefore it remains something of a mystery that SUNBURST was his first go at the IYRU’s Cruiser/Racer Rule, increasingly popular 1950s to 1960s on Boyd’s Firth of Clyde home waters.

In fact the march of the IOR Rule, plastic boatbuilding, and the late 1960s/ early 1970s younger generation revival of interest in racing 'Straight Eights' on the Clyde meant that SUNBURST became the last yacht built to the 8mCR Rule, at least in UK. SUNBURST was also Boyd’s penultimate built design, and the last wooden yacht to be launched by Robertsons.

Boyd's biographer, the late Euan Ross wrote in 'The Piper Calls the Tune':

"David Boyd's 'cruiser eight' design benefited from his tank testing at the Stephens Institute [USA] and the practical lessons of the 12 Metre campaigns. She was big for the class, being almost two feet longer and slightly wider and heavier than DEBBIE, the last of the McGruer boats. With her fine ends, she looked more like an IOR yacht than a metre-boat. The locals were not really convinced; we were more used to the 'homely' curves of James McGruer... But when you look at SUNBURST's lines now, she is absolutely superb..."

SUNBURST's commissioning owner was structural steel man Bertie McFadden whose money was made at Rutherglen in Glasgow's industrial east end, and his pleasure taken from the Royal Gourock Yacht Club on the south bank of the upper the Firth of Clyde. McFadden hadn't previously been the owner of a hot cruiser racer, but his previous yacht, IMPALA M, a Fife influenced, Archie Macmillan-designed 39-footer launched in 1960 by The Fairlie Yacht Slip, was no slouch.

SUNBURST was beautifully built - it was the only way the Robertson craftsmen knew - and expensively specified, with winches imported from Australia and the USA, and aerofoil rod rigging. The yard bill was reputedly £30,000, a huge sum in 1967. McFadden wanted the best: he got it, and it still shows. Previewing her debut, the Glasgow Herald's George Findlay commented on her greater length, beam and displacement compared to the McGruer boats - and, something you never get from the drawings, that her saloon settees were upholstered in McLean of Lochbuie tartan.

She joined an incredibly competitive class of owner and peer pressure-driven 40-footers that raced hell for leather in all the conditions a West of Scotland summer could throw at them. In 1965, the almost exclusively James McGruer designed fleet had been spiced up by Peter Wilson's Sparkman & Stephens designed NAN OF GARE, by 1967 up to pace (she took some tweaking...), and generally at the top of the class along with 1957 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Ninian Sanderson who had smoothly transferred his winning attitude to yachting at the helm of the McGruer DEBBIE, and the Macmillan/ Fairlie Yacht Slip SALEDOUZAINE (built as CHARM OF RHU).

McFadden had enjoyed six seasons of handicap racing with IMPALA M, but had no experience of racing against closely matched boats and this may have worked against getting SUNBURST up to pace immediately. But by her 2nd season she certainly was, winning West Highland Week overall, and by the end of the season the Glasgow Herald reported that her potential was now being realised.

The 'Cruiser Eights' continued to have a class start on the Clyde until 1975, but in 1973 SUNBURST was sold to Manchester-based Jack Barker, a Royal Ocean Racing Club and Royal Highland Yacht Club member who raced her competitively from Holyhead on the Irish Sea ISORA circuit and participated in the 1975 Fastnet Race.

From the early 1980s SUNBURST's third owner, John Histon, occasionally participated in ISORA events, but mostly club raced and family cruised. He took her back to the Clyde for an early 1990s refit at McGruers, and at the 2007 Meter Rule Regatta at Cowes she competed really well against 'Straight Eights.

Since 2018, SUNBURST has been sailed out of Falmouth, Cornwall in current ownership.

©2024 Iain McAllister/ Sandeman Yacht Company Ltd.



- Built to Lloyds ✠100A1
- Carvel African mahogany planking
- Screw fastened to laminated African mahogany frames
- Copper rove fastened to 2 x intermediate oak bent and laminated timbers
- Larch beam shelves, bilge stringers and deck beams
- African mahogany backbone
- Lead ballast keel
- Teak laid deck over marine ply sub deck
- Teak trunk cabin with laid teak roof on marine plywood



- Laid teak deck on marine plywood
- Varnished toe rail, king planks and covering boards
- Stainless steel pushpit, pulpit and stanchions
- Adjustable Barton backstay
- Chromed mooring fairleads, wood cleats port and stbd
- Chromed mushroom vent over lazarette

- Helm position with lifting seat access to lazarette
- Hamble helm wheel
- Laminated granny bar
- Plastimo steering compass
- Lewmar main sheet traveller and Tufnol blocks
- Traveller divides helm position from forward area
- Engine and autopilot controls with navigation instrument repeaters
- Deep forward cockpit
- Seats port and starboard
- Starboard seat lid access to under side deck locker
- Varnished grated teak table
- Winches and wooden cleats for each mounted each side outboard of coamings
- 2 x Barlow 28 primaries
- 2 x Barlow 24 secondaries

- Jib tracks on toe rails each side
- Varnished chocs each side for spinnaker and jockey poles

- Varnished teak elevations; teak laid roof on marine plywood
- 5 x window ports each side
- Lifting washboard and sliding hatch access to main cabin
- Barlow 24 winch for reefing pennant port side of sliding hatch
- Barlow 17 winch for spinnaker pole downhaul / fore guy and boom vang
- Alloy and acrylic hatch over saloon
- 2 x Vent cowls on varnished dorade boxes
- Raw teak hand rails port and stbd and on centreline fwd over coach roof

- Varnished teak fo'c'sle hatch
- Bower anchor stowage
- Wood mooring cleats port and starboard
- Chromed fairleads both sides
- Bow roller

- 1 x 45 lb CQR anchor on chocs aft foredeck
- Length of galvanised 3/8th in / 9 mm chain
- Simpson Lawrence manual anchor windlass



- Sleeps 5 in 2 x cabins plus fold down pilot berth in main cabin
- 2 x steps down over engine box
- Mahogany and teak carpentry
- Grab handles port and starboard at companionway
- Trunk length carlin grabrail
- Beta engine panel

- Quarter berth aft
- Signal flag stowage
- Half size size chart table
- Navigation and communications equipment
- Drawers under; shelves outboard
- Deckhead light
- Grabrail at carlin

- Small seat aft
- Ship's fuse/ breaker box
- Grab pillar
- Techimpex 2 x burner hob with oven
- Top surface
- Stainless steel sink with matching cover
- Pressure water tap
- Drawers and lockers under and outboard
- Crockery rack outboard
- Deckhead light

- Grab pillars port and starboard

- Settee berth to port
- Stowage under and outboard
- Fold down pilot berth
- Sideboard forward to port
- Lockers under and outboard
- 'L' settee berth to starboard
- Stowage under and outboard
- Fold down pilot berth
- Taylors parffin cabin hearer forward to starboard
- Drop and folding leaf saloon table
- Table has deep fiddles when folded
- 2 x Deckhead lights
- Gimballed oil lamp
- Plexiglass light in deckhead hatch

Hanging Locker to Port
WC Compartment to Starboard
- Jabsco manual WC
- Mahogany top
- Stainless inset steel basin
- Pressure water tap
- Lockers under and outboard
- Mirror

- Single berths port and starboard with trotter boxes
- Stowage under
- Lee cloths
- 2 x Reading lights
- Seat with drawers on centre
- Bulkhead with door to fo'c'sle
- Hatch to foredeck



Proctor anodised aluminium
- Single spreader mast
- Older halyard winch
- Newer Harken self tailing halyard winch
- 2 x Spinnaker pole cups on adjustable tracks
- Boom
- Spinnaker pole
- Jockey pole
- Stainless steel rod rigging (Hamble Yacht Services 2008)
- Stainless steel chain plates U bolted

- Working jib
- Storm jib
- Large light genoa
- Large intermediate genoa
- Large heavy genoa
- Main
- Tri radial spinnaker
- Radial head spinnaker
Ratsey & Lapthornsail
- Working jib
- Storm jib
- Large light genoa
- Large intermediate genoa
- Large heavy genoa
- Staysail
- Large main
- Reduced main
- Tri radial spinnaker

- Mainsail boom cover
- Spray hood (Penrose c.2020)



- Beta Marine 25 hp diesel
- 2-Blade Flexofold propeller

- Alternator on engine
- 12 V DC Electrical circuit
- 2 x 100 Ah Domestic batteries
- 1 x 110 Ah Engine start battery
- 240 V Shore power to Sterling DC charger only

- 2 x Stainless steel fuel tanks total c 14 gallons / 65 litres (35 hours cruising)
- 1 x Stainless steel fresh water tank c 120 gallons
- 2 x Calor gas bottles in vented locker in lazarette



- Plastimo steering compass
- Raymarine sat nav and chart plotter
- Raymarine ST6000 Plus autopilot and repeater
- ST 60 plus Tri data and repeater
- Clock and barometer

- Kelvin Hughes Husun VHF radio



- 4-person life raft in valise (service date unknown)
- Coastal flare pack (expiry date unknown)
- 2 x Life lines
- 2 x Jack stays
- 6 x Blow inflate lifejackets (service date unknown)
- 2 x Auto inflate lifejackets (service date unknown)
- Whale Gusher single diaphragm bilge pump
- Electric bilge pump
- 2 x Dry powder fire extinguishers (service date unknown)
- 2 x Fire blankets
- 2 x Horseshoe life rings


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