Shamrock V 1930

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Shamrock V  half hull wooden hand crafted. Built by Charles E. Nicholson in 1930. Order on line, worldwide delivery.

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$295.00

Hand-crafted plank-on-frame wood hull with shamrock green topsides, white cove stripe and white boot stripe . Varnished stained wood hull.

Hull size: 60cm.

Board size: 75cm X 20cm

Year1930

It had been a highly emotional meeting between Charles E.Nicholson and Nathanael Herreshoff during the Shamrock IV and Resolute measurement operations. The two men did not meet one another until ten years later due to the visit arranged by Harold Vanderbilt.

Nicholson built Shamrock V in 1930. Yet again, he was unable to equal the Americans. Although this time they did not have eight years' experience with the new International Rule, they were out in force; for the 1930 challenge they built 4 J Class. Charles Nicholson had only one chance to exploit the formula to the hull. Moreover the Americans made faster progress than the English with their yacht equipment. Shamrock V was not as fast as she was beautiful . The last challenge of Sir Thomas Lipton concluded with a disastrous defeat against Enterprise.

But his popularity in the United State was such that the public response to a subscription to award him a gold souvenir cup was massive. Overwhelmed, the ordinarily loquacious gentleman was scarcely able to utter a few words, "Although I have always lost, you make me think I have won. But I will try again, yes, I will try again!". "Tommy", as he was affectionately known, was never to keep his promise. He died on October 2nd, 1931, a few months after finally being admitted as a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Sixty years later, Shamrock V was still sailing under an italian flag, having been re-christened Quadrifoglio. She was repurchased in 1986 by the Thomas Lipton Company, given back her original name and is now the property of the Newport Museum of  Yachting, founded by the Company.

Finally Shamrock V has been refitted by the famous yachtlady Elizabeth Meyer and is sailing worldwide for races and charter. One of her recent greatest victory was during the 1999 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, where she raced against  2 other remaining J Boats, Endeavour and Velsheda.

With over 2000 hulls built, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff’s 1914 design for a “Buzzards Bay Boys Boat” – the Herreshoff 12 ½ – has been in production for 113 years and is likely the most popular small yacht ever. Versions include a fiberglass redesign – the Bullseye, from Cape Cod Shipbuilding; exact fiberglass replicas like William Harding’s Doughdish, and Joel White’s Haven 12 ½ – a centerboard design built to sail shallower water. Uncounted copies from custom wooden boat builders also testify to its appeal.

 

With a 12 ½ foot waterline, the H 12 ½ is16 feet long. Proposed as a children’s training boat, it handled the choppy seas and brisk breezes of Massachusetts’ Buzzards Bay with an easy motion and a comforting sense of security. The design is informed by Captain Nat’s critical, innovative eye and long experience building trophy winning sailing yachts. By 1914 he was in his mid-sixties and drawing some of his best-loved designs – the Buzzards Bay 25s, Newport 29s and his own Alerion. Instead of rule-stretching high speed sleds his pen now drew human sized, sweet-sailing and uncomplicated boats that spoke of his deep appreciation for the arts of sailing and naval design.

 

Herreshoff gave the H 12 ½ a short ballast keel for stability and a deep, spacious cockpit to carry multiple kids and/or adults. Sold initially with a gaff and later with a Marconi rig, the sail area is small enough to be handily managed by a boy or girl – steel biceps not required. In experienced hands, however, the rig is big enough to slip along with a bit of a bone in her teeth. Adults have been known to downsize from trophy yacht to H 12 ½ just to relish casual sunset sailing into their golden years. It’s ironic that no one alive sailed on Captain Nat’s masterpiece, Reliance – a brilliantly engineered, extreme racer – but thousands have memories of sailing his “children’s” boat.

 

Particularly popular in Southern New England, H 12 ½ s are found all along North America’s Atlantic coast. In some families they’re handed down through generations, and rarely is one in need of repair not rescued and relaunched. Surprisingly, they have also traveled quite far afield: they sail in Norway, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and many countries far from Bristol, RI. The H 12 ½ truly has a hull shape and history for the ages.

Jeff Silva

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