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William Fife/ Fairlie Yacht Slip 39 ft Bermudan Sloop 1960/2024 - Project Completion - Sold



William Fife/ Fairlie Yacht Slip 39 ft Bermudan Sloop 1960/2024 - Project Completion

Designer Archie McMillan & William Fife III
Builder The Fairlie Yacht Slip Ltd
Date 1960
Length overall 39 ft 0 in / 11.89 m
Length deck 39 ft 0 in / 11.89 m
Length waterline 26 ft 4 in / 8.03 m
Beam 9 ft 0 in / 2.74 m
Draft 6 ft 2 in / 1.88 m
Displacement 7.55 Tonnes
Construction Carvel teak on laminated kauri
Engine Yanmar 3YM30AE 3-cyl 29 hp diesel
Location New Zealand
Price Sold

These details are provisional and may be amended



The restoration work undertaken thus far by Peter Brookes on the William Fife III/ Archie McMillan 39 ft sloop IMPALA is to such a high standard of shipwrighting artistry, and using the most durable of materials, that it almost seems a pity to hide it. But this wonderful product of the post-Fife period at the famous Fairlie yard, that sailed from England to New Zealand in the 1970s, surely deserves to take to the high seas again. IMPALA is available mid-project for a fraction of the cost of the fine work done. She needs a new deck (but all the structural part is done), new accommodation and systems to the next owner’s desires, and ideally a new rig. Peter is very keen to finish what he started, but can also prepare the boat for shipping to a different finishing location. Late period Fife cruiser-racer designs in the handy 35-45 feet range are exceptionally rare; IMPALA presents a wonderful opportunity.



By Brookes Boatbuilders, Auckland, New Zealand
- Awaits new owner to design and fit new interior and rig
- No expense spared: $700,000.00 NZD plus spent to date
- Keel up restoration; better than new
- All iron floors and hanging knees removed and replaced with timber
- Totally re-framed (laminated) and refastened
- New transom
- New mast step
- New engine beds
- New planking where needed
- Keel off and refitted with bronze keel bolts
- Bilge stringers refitted
- New Yanmar 3YM30AE diesel fitted
- New GORI 3 blade bronze folding propeller purchased
- New rudder made
- Bronze rudder fittings cast
- Hull was splined from original and is now totally re-splined
- New kauri beam shelf, deck beams, carlins, and blocking, made, fitted and pre-varnished
- (ready for new deck)
- Cabin sides and cabin top made
- New cast bronze fittings below made polished and fitted:
- bow roller fitting
- chainplates
- runner fittings
- backstay fitting




When long time Fife clients the Parker family of Fairlie and Little Cumbrae island (seen in the 1958 photo above) formed The Fairlie Yacht Slip Ltd to purchase the Fife yard after the Second World War - to prevent it becoming a furniture factory, William Fife III having passed away in 1944 - Archibald McMillan was installed as yard manager. Archie had begun working in the yard, age 13, in 1911, eventually as a draughtsman, so he was very familiar with Fife’s drawings and their 'eye/aye sweet' lines. For a further quarter century ‘The Fairlie Yacht Slip, Successors to William Fife & Son’ continued to launch beautiful yachts with unmistakable Fife provenance in their hulls.

IMPALA (the ‘M’ in her official name has always been solely for registration purposes) was built for structural steel engineer and erector 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 Firth of Clyde. From McFadden’s Newton Mearns home in Glasgow’s fashionable southwestern suburbs, following the build at Fairlie would have been an easy commute and made sense.

IMPALA’s lines are a meeting place between the Fife 34 ft canoe-stern yawls such as NYATONGA and NYACHILWA that they continued to launch until 1973, and the 48 ft cutter MADRIGAL II, of 1951 but designed by William Fife III in 1938.

McFadden wasn’t initially much of a racer, but by 1965 he’d caught the bug and IMPALA was competing in the handicap classes of Clyde Week. The 8-Metre Cruiser-Racers were Firth of Clyde’s hot cruiser-racer division of that time, and eventually Bertie McFadden decided to join in, commissioning SUNBURST from David Boyd and Robertson of Sandbank in 1966.

IMPALA was sold in 1967 to Glasgow stockbroker Samuel W. Park who in turn sold her to director of the Anchor Line and Runciman Shipping Donald J. Haley of Helensburgh, son of the recently retired Editor of The Times newspaper Sir William Haley, who between 1944 and 1952 had been Director General of the BBC.

In the summer of 1973 Haley grabbed the opportunity to purchase the Fife/ Fairlie Yacht Slip 48ft cutter MADRIGAL II and would own IMPALA’s big sister into the 1980s. IMPALA moved south briefly in 1973 in the ownership of turbine engineer Adrian Lloyd of Taunton, but by 1974 she was off on a big adventure when new owners Alex and Olga Stuart sailed her home to New Zealand.

From 1978 IMPALA then passed through various New Zealand ownerships, eventually falling on hard times by the early 2000s when Alex Stuart bought her back, presumably for old time’s sake, and handed her to a restoration school that in turn fell on hard times.

Thankfully, IMPALA’s Burma teak planking and stout Fairlie construction could stand a long period of neglect and she was saved by antipodean wooden boat fanatic Jay Lowry who found a new owner prepared to pay for the superb work to date by Peter Brookes. IMPALA’s amazing story is nothing more than paused.

©2024 Iain McAllister/ Sandeman Yacht Company Ltd.



- Originally built under Lloyd's supervision to Lloyd's ✠100A1 Classification
- All Kauri is New Zealand Ancient Kauri
- Carvel ⅞ in / 22 mm teak planking
- Large frames laminated Kauri 2½ in x 2 in / 63 mm x 50 mm
- 2½ in / 63 mm x #14 Bronze screw fastened
- Small laminated Kauri 'timbers' 1¼ in x 1 in / 32 mm x 25 mm
- Copper rivetted
- All new Kauri beamshelf and decking structure ready for new deck
- Kauri bilge stringer
- Kauri engine beds
- Iroko mast step
- Mahogany bulkheads



- Ready for new deck to be fitted
- Mahogany coach roof sides with ports
- New cast aluminium bronze chainplates fitted
- New cast aluminium bronze backstay and runner fittings in place
- New cast aluminium bronze forestay fitting in place



- Only bulkheads currently fitted
- Interior can be to next owner's desire



Ideally, IMPALA's high quality restoration would be complimented by a new rig; either a masthead cruising setup similar to the original design, or a fractional racing rig. However, the original aluminium mast and boom are also available.



- Yanmar 3YM30AE 3-cyl 29 hp diesel (new)
- New GORI 3-blade bronze folding propeller


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