Inspired by ocean racing and the success of FINISTERRE, Charles MacCulloch of Halifax had Sparkman and Stephens design FAIRWYN - then absolutely state of the art – to be built by McGruers of Clynder of the finest materials with no expense spared under the close supervision of Rod Stephens himself. She is essentially a larger version of FINISTERRE, three-time winner of the Newport to Bermuda race in the 1950s.
FAIRWYN’S 50 years could almost be described as a game of two halves; her first in youth as a successful racer, fondly remembered by many former crew members - and then in maturity as a comfortable, safe and versatile cruiser; ever displaying the style and qualities for which her designers and builder are so highly regarded.
Soon to become the Queen of the Halifax racing circuit, FAIRWYN gave good account of herself, racing extensively and notably winning the Prince of Wales Cup in 1959, for which the presentation was made by HM Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.
On acquiring her in 1982, the present owners took her to the West Coast and for the next 25 years or so cruised, rather than raced her over 50,000 miles in the waters of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Then she embarked for the North Cone and Central American coastal waters, cruising therein over some 8 years before returning to Halifax to celebrate her 50th birthday.
FAIRWYN has won a number of awards, plaques for some of which are displayed aboard, including Best Sailboat in Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival 1991 and 1st place for sail boats in the Madison Wooden Boat Festival, Louisiana 2005 among others.
The yacht is presently lying in the Azores and plans are to cruise her in the Mediterranean in the summer of 2009.
Originally double-planked African mahogany and red cedar, fastened with silicon bronze screws she was rebuilt in 1999 with overlapping double planking encapsulated with epoxy and glued together. Thus the bottom is now of a monocoque construction but also screwed to the frames in the traditional way and is immensely strong. Above the waterline the boat retains its original double planking. Frames are of 2 x 2 inch White oak on 10 inch centres. The keel and stem are of white oak. The decks are fibreglass and epoxy-covered marine mahogany marine ply re laid in 1989. The superstructure is of teak.
The cockpit is a conventional well with large lockers for sails, sheets, warps etc on either side. The helm wheel is mounted at the aft end of the well. There are two lazarette hatches aft on either side of the mizzen mast.
Descending the companionway steps for’ard of the cockpit finds the galley to port and the navigation station to starboard either side of the companionway. There is no living space aft of the companionway.
The main saloon has 7 ft settee / berths to port and starboard and a folding table amidships. The two former pipe cots above the main settees have been converted into stowage space, bookshelves etc.
Beyond a bulkhead is the head compartment to port with a large hanging locker opposite.
Next is the for’ard cabin with conventional 7 ft. berths converging Vee and drawers for stowage under. There are hanging lockers on each side.
Far for’ard is a large chain locker in the forepeak with small lockers on each side for miscellaneous items. This compartment also contains a large toolbox athwartships aft.
RIG, SPARS AND SAILS
- Spars are of Sitka spruce
- Rigging: 316 x 19 stainless steel; main new 2008, mizzen new 2007.
- Sails all new in 2006: main, roller furling genoa, mizzen, spinnaker, staysail, storm trysail, mizzen staysail, storm jib.
DECK EQUIPMENT AND GROUND TACKLE
- Anchors: 66