July / August 2020


Passing the torch

The 25′3″ ANDRILLOT was designed by Laurent Giles and launched by Moody’s of Swanwick, England, in the spring of
1936. She was the first of what would become the diminutive, world-roaming Vertue class.

Tim Stevenson had just  nished university when he and his father, Peter, decided to buy a boat together. The Stevenson family had grown up sailing a 32′ Barbary ketch, a berglass cruising yacht that Peter had fitted out himself. The boat had bags of room for the family but was a bit cumbersome now the children had left home. Peter had decided to sell her for something more manageable (and pretty) and had homed in on the Vertue class, which was famous for its elegant lines, diminutive size, and excellent seagoing abilities. They particularly liked the early Vertues, which have lower cabin trunks and wider side decks than the later ones.

In autumn 1981, Peter heard there was an early Vertue for sale in Yarmouth, England, on the Isle of Wight. He took a ferry across The Solent to have a look. After inspecting the boat, he rang Tim to share some exciting news. “You’ll never believe it,” he said. “It’s No. 1!” She was ANDRILLOT, the yacht that Humphrey Barton had famously sailed from Lymington to Concarneau, France, and back in 23 days. The voyage had earned him the 1937 Royal Cruisng Club Founder’s Cup, and ANDRILLOT became the prototype of the Vertue class. She was in a dilapidated state, but Peter and Tim purchased her anyhow.

They had to tow her across The Solent and then had her transported to a hay barn on the family farm near Lyndhurst. There, over the next two years, they restored her, first gutting the interior and stripping the hull back to bare wood and then replacing the bulwarks, sistering several frames with laminated iroko, and replacing the old Stuart Turner engine with an 8-hp Bukh. They also  fitted a new plywood deck sheathed with Cascover—a Nylon scrim impregnated with Cascamite resin glue—because, as Tim puts, “If there was one thing my father hated, it was water dripping on his head at night!”

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