Etain was Laurent Giles’ second commission designed after Marcel Bar’s much admired 52 ft gaff yawl Clymene. In reality, upon referring to Jack Giles’ original hand written calculation book it becomes apparent that the very first sketches and preliminary calculations for Etain were undertaken more than a year after those of Clymene, and although she may have been the second of Jack’s designs to be built she was in fact the seventh design to be commissioned. Earlier in March 1927 he had started the rudimentary design work on a 15 m S. K.K. cruiser, in August a 10 metre cruiser and later at the request of Mr Schwop a 132 ton 25 m schooner.
Before the first calculations were penciled in January 1929 he had also lifted the lines of Jolie Breeze, but more fascinatingly he had already started the design processes to create his own pretty 8 metre motorboat Kanga, aforementioned Clymene, a 14 metre 24 tonner for P de Groot Bersere, and an 11 metre for George Gill.
Etain was designed for a lady client, Miss Marjorie Goodson, who had very specific ideas for the type of yacht she wanted. Etain was to be based loosely on the International Yacht Racing Rule 8-Metre Class, but she was to be a yacht for cruising rather than racing. Jack produced a seagoing 8-Metreyacht with good accommodation but which maintained the fast easily handling characteristics of the class.
Not surprisingly Etain proved to be well balanced and could sail herself, both features being essential for single-handed sailing, one of the main requirements of the commission since Miss Goodson often sailed alone or with few crew.
Etain was traditionally constructed; Jack explored and compared different sets of hull scantlings: the A Class rating rule and the lighter R Class rule. He settled on something between the two aiming for a 1 1/16” hull plank thickness on 2 1/16” x 2 5/16” framing, finally selecting a system using grown frames on approximately 21” spacing, with two smaller steam-bent timbers between.
Conspicuously one important feature of this yacht was her deck works; she had a skylight and doghouse which extend over a large area of the deck, a new and revolutionary innovation for the time. Styled to blend in with the overall appearance of the yacht with no detail overlooked as the style of the windows also complemented the geometry of the doghouse and improved her looks, as well as increasing the amount of light internally.
The whole arrangement was found to be most beneficial and provided additional headroom maximising the amount of useable space below decks.
Etain’s unique superstructure was to set the trend for small cruising yachts. The coach roof and doghouse were to destined to appear in later Giles designs, where they evolved into a wide variety of styles enabling the designer to experiment with the arrangement of the interior and improve the overall accommodation.

A significant defining moment for design and indeed one of the designers as enchantingly Jack’s Partner, George Gill married Marjorie Goodson shortly after the boat was completed.

Search Etain for drawings list and study notes

Clymene - the very start, January 1928

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