First of all I want to thank all those kind fellow Vertue enthusiasts who have been in touch with news and updates from all four corners of the globe once again. I can’t do this without you, it’s as simple as that! Meanwhile, as you can see when you search the BOATS section on the toolbar above, we have now updated the boat descriptions right up to the low V130’s: real progress, at last!
The Adriatic Fleet of Vertues in Trieste
This Newsletter is the third consecutive ‘Quarterly’ edition and I’m planning to continue this pattern. We have a little more on the South African boats, an update on the two Steel Vertues, the Italian ‘Adriatic Fleet‘ again, and news about all the boats that are actually ‘On the market‘, or with owners who are looking for good homes for their pride and joy.
Back in December last year we were able to report on some of the better known Vertues that have been based in South Africa. Since then I have been trying to verify the details of one of the most famous Vertue myths. The tale goes that ‘many years ago’ there was a notice pinned up in the Harbour Master’s office in Durban, to the effect that:
In winds above Force 7, no yacht may leave this harbour without my authority: unless she is a Vertue. By order, The Harbour Master.
Reviewing the evidence, it is clear that those Vertues that were known on this east African coast, with it’s notorious Agulhas Current running south just offshore, often suffered from some horrendous weather. Both Westerly and Vertue Carina limped into Durban after surviving extreme conditions on different occasions; but perhaps it was Henry Vink with Aldebaran who cruised the area for many years, and Sekyd under Ron Atkinson’s command, who also cruised and raced from Cape Town to Mozambique that established this local Vertue reputation. I’m hoping to be able to bring you more about the legend in future Newsletters. Sekyd, named after her original owner Mr. Dykes, is now called Zingella, and is for sale, as described below.
Zingella is for Sale
Ben Deveson’s steel Virtue.
I am very grateful to Ben Deveson for providing some really interesting photographs and information about the two welded steel Vertues built by Hitters-Proost in the early 1950’s. Ben produces a delightful blog about his ownership of Virtue, V61 which he keeps in the Netherlands, see: vertue61.wordpress.com and I recommend having a look. It includes some interesting documentation about the history of the Hitters-Proost boatyard. When I was completing the update of Virtue‘s details recently, Ben kindly sent over some fascinating pictures of one of the steel Vertues under construction as well as more recent photographs of both Virtue and her sister-ship Sarcelle V 64. Please look at my notes on both the boats under the Boats heading above.
A welded steel Vertue in build at Hitters-Proost in the 1950’s.
The second steel Vertue was Sarcelle
I have mentioned before about the select fleet of Vertues that base themselves in the sparkling waters of the northern Adriatic. Tiho Trnovski owns the Cheoy Lee built Jan Gilda and has been filling me in with a great deal of information whilst being ‘locked down’ on the west coast of Scotland. He keeps the boat on the beautiful Croatian island of Murter but sails up to Trieste to join the rest of the fleet for the annual Barcolana regatta in October. He sent me the lovely photograph of the ‘Fleet’ moored together at the head of this Newsletter. Amongst the dozen or so Vertues in the area no less than five are Cheoy Lee built. Bettina is the earliest and, unusually for these boats, was given the shorter doghouse, pre-dating my father’s boat Hoitak in this respect by several years. The only other Cheoy Lee boat I have come across with this earlier configuration is Aries II, that was shipped to the west coast of the US in 1956. Bettina’s owner, Enea Riboldi, is a fantastic graphic artist and I am hoping to post up some of his work in future Newsletters. His depictions of Bettina in various whimsical settings are a treat to behold.
Tiho aboard the beautiful Cheoy Lee Vertue Jan Gilda
Also based in the northern Adriatic are two John Perry built boats, Dolly and Tanera, and they display the outstanding craftsmanship for which he was well-known. After serving an apprenticeship with legendary Harry Feltham, John built a number of Folkboats and Vertues and was most well known as a prolific builder of Victory class racing keelboats in Portsmouth. Perhaps the most famous of the Italian Vertue fleet is Vertue xxxv but the oldest is the pre-war Monie, which is based near the west coast port of La Spezia.
The lovely Cheoy Lee built Bettina with her short doghouse and long cockpit.
Both Vertue Voyager and Contessina have now found new, appreciative, owners and the easing of restrictions has brought several more Vertues onto the market. Some, like Icebird, seem to have been for sale for a while, even though her asking price is only £12,950.
Stelda in Lymington before her single-handed trans-Atlantic passage in 1969.
I am told by several owners that they are ‘thinking of selling’. Of these, perhaps Stelda, Peter Woolass’ old Cheoy Lee built boat is probably the most celebrated. She has been in the same ownership for twenty years with gentle use and the kind of care and attention that most boats can only dream about. Another famous boat, Salmo, over on the west coast of the USA, is also looking for a new home. Nearby in southern California, the ‘ocean’ Vertue, Northam Vertue is still actively for sale. In Norway, ‘the Vertue with the counter stern’ Lotus, is for sale near Trondheim, and we are trying to verify her history. More about this in future, we hope.
I have described the gaff cutter rigged Fionn in recent Newsletters and Steve Wood tells me that he would accept £9,000 for her, which seems to be very reasonable for one of the rarest Vertues in existence. Although she has the ‘ocean’ Vertue deck structure and layout below, her gaff cutter rig is reportedly very powerful, and she must be closer to the original Andrillot concept than almost any other Vertue.
The gaff cutter rigged Vertue Fionn
Meanwhile, Peter Enticknap has recently told me that he has sadly decided to pass on Zingella V 131 to anyone who is prepared to pay £5,000 for her as she lies, in Hayling Island. A marina berth has already been paid for. Zingella was built by Robertsons of Woodbridge, as Sekyd, and was sailed out to Durban in 1968 by John Ryley, as mentioned earlier. She was based there for many years, before being shipped back to the UK in the early 1980’s, since when she has had a fairly easy life. This is an exceptionally reasonable asking price for such a well-found Vertue.
Here is Zingella being maintained on Hayling Island
Zingella is a well-travelled Vertue
Sadly, no one has yet appeared to take on the major restoration of Blue Jenny which was described in the March Newsletter.
Finally, Jack Bassett has decided to part with his exquisite boat Flying Fish V230 which he launched in 2010. Perhaps the most perfectly constructed Vertue in existence, Flying Fish has completed an Atlantic circuit from her home waters on the east coast of the USA. The asking price is $100, 000, but try building a new Vertue for that price……… Jack and Carolyn run their excellent website at flyingfishadventure.wordpress.com
Flying Fish is for Sale
I have no intention of taking on any formal brokerage work but if anyone wishes to learn more about any of these boats please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass them on to the boats’ owners.
As ever, I need to end with an appeal for even more photographs and stories about Vertues from the vast network of Vertue enthusiasts that clearly exists. As promised, I am working up the basic database of ‘known’ boats in the class, and with a fair wind this might even get completed this year. I am keeping the details fairly concise, initially, in order to get the basic list completed but I’m always open to more information, news, stories and anecdotes, for the next Newsletter in September: so please keep them coming.