Fifty years ago – 1971 quite a dull year by all accounts: the year that the microprocessor was invented and Texas Instruments released the first pocket calculator, Disney World opened Florida, Apollo 14 lands on the Moon. In the UK decimal currency is introduced and Laurent Giles creates ten more magnificent yacht designs.
It had been two years since Jack Giles died – difficult to fill his shoes, however the Partners face the challenge ardently, starting with the diminutive JOG racer the Westerly Jouster, to be quickly followed by Longbow a family cruiser, then Warwick & the innovative Westerly Conway which was conceived as a cruiser racer around the developing International Offshore Rule introduced in the 1960’s. The already successful Seamaster Sailer 23 was joined by her little sister the Seamaster 19.
Although plentiful plastic production boats accounted for a large part of the Giles tonnage built in that year there were also a score of hand built traditional carvel on frame and timber wooden ones: Eight custom built Vertues of which three were in New Zealand, two in Australia and one each in the Solomon islands, Canada and the United Kingdom. Eight of the little light displacement Trekka type Columbia class all of which were constructed by their owners in the same way that John Guzzwell built the original (by the way if you don’t want to rely on GPS, satellite phone, charting software and you are student of Ralf Waldo Emerson Trekka around the world is a really good read), and one tiny Barchetta class sloops built on the lines of Sopranino which gained both (JOG) racing and cruising notoriety in the hands of Patrick Ellam and Colin Mudie.
But it was the larger custom yachts that still kept the yacht design busy – Cadama the Italian built 72’ (22 m) long cold moulded ketch. Of the ten new designs the 70’ (21.4m) cold moulded Durville was the only twin screw motor yacht and she too was built in New Zealand the irony being that the builders went by the name of Steel Yachts.
Via Maris was built by Moody of Swanwick, Southampton her aluminium hull fabricated in Holland by Huisman before Superyachts were a ‘thing’. Moody also built the production Giles 38 and Moody 44 cruiser/racing yachts based on Laurent Giles designs from 1971 – which also happened to be the year that a 17 year old slip of a boy called van Geffen joined the remaining team of Jack Lowis, Vernon Sainsbury, Bill Matthew, Peter Anstey, Arthur Bayzand, Dick Stower, Alan Roy and Mike Conway, armed with a Staedtler Mars clutch pencil, Rotring Isograph pen, Helix compass set with Linex adjustable set square, a slide rule, big bagful of enthusiasm and….. a brand new Texas pocket calculator.
Yes quite a dull year by all accounts.