Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Audacity and Other Small Yachts Designed by Laurent Giles

Audacity for sale in Kent

An Audacity recently sold


'Trekka' at Port Townsend

Once again, Alden has inspired me to jump on my surfboard - this time in search of the Laurent Giles designed Audacity. She’s a 21’ cold-moulded yacht based on Giles’s ‘Trekka’ that was sailed around the world by John Guzzwell between 1955 and 1959.* At that time she was the smallest yacht to do so, and great credit must be given to John for his achievement.

The Audacity was designed as a small, but able cruising yacht for a crew of two, also suitable for JOG events. Unlike ‘Trekka’ with her deep draught keel, Audacity had a lifting keel. Originally built in 1959 by Walter Lawrence and Son Ltd., a few are sailing today - indeed, one is for sale at Faversham, in Kent.**

Jack Laurent Giles designed several other small ocean going yachts, of which the Vertue is probably his most famous. Under Giles’s employ, Colin Moody, a young draughtsman at the time, was asked to draw up plans for a small blue water cruiser for Patrick Ellam who wanted to sail from the UK to New York via the Caribbean. Colin seized the opportunity of crewing for Patrick and they completed their 10,000 mile cruise with ‘Sopranino’.***



**Audacity 21 for Sale £3,300

Cold-Moulded Laurent Giles Audacity for Sale at Faversham

Details of the Above (PDF download)

Audacity Yacht (Sold)

Audacity 21 (Sold) - same boat as above, but more good photos

Audacity (Laurent Giles)

Photos of ‘Trekka’

Other Small Yachts Designed by Laurent Giles


‘Hobbit’, a JOG Boat Designed by Laurent Giles


Barchetta Class

‘Maid of Tessa’ – Vertue 34

The Laurent Giles Archive

Sailboat Designs of Jack Laurent Giles


Alden Smith said...

Bill, I am very glad that you have added the Audacity class to your Parthenon of worthy craft - I think she is a great addition to your fleet.

Although some would say she is not classically beautiful, which I would agree with, there is something very quirky and likeable about her.

In the Adrian Lee / Ruby Philpott book 'Laurent Giles and His Yacht Designs' where the Audacity is featured there is a long quote of Giles where he talks about all the influences that fed into the design of this little yacht. He talks of the design being influenced by yachts (some of which you have featured here in this post) -- such as 'Wapipi' (1939), 'Mousetrap' ("An important forbear" 1956), 'Myth of Malham' (No introduction required there!), 'Theta', 'Sopranino' (1950), 'L'aghulas' and the famous 'Trekka'.

When I look at the Audacity hull I can see the big influence of 'Sopranino' and 'Trekka', she is a fuller, beamer version of this type of hull. Also there is the rounded gunnels / gunwales copying this feature of 'Trekka'.

In the cabin trunk I can see echoes of much larger boats - 'Beyond' and 'Gulvain' to mention two have this rounded treatment of the doghouse with the forward facing windows - a feature suited to the 'Birmabright' aluminium that those two boats were constructed of - and here in Audacity being featured in fiberglass.

For coastal cruising I think she has adequate hull displacement to give her enough gravitus for the rough stuff and enough shoal draft with her folding rudder and centerboard for the creeks and rivers.

I came across a photo of a rather dilapidated Audacity on the web that had had a couple of runners attached either side of the keel (not quite bilge keels) that would be a useful addition, enabling sitting upright on the mud.

As you can see Bill, I rather like this little boat!!

Alden Smith said...

Bill, I may be telling you something you already know but I was thinking today about how nice the original International Dragon is. When first designed it had a little cabin with a couple of bunks and enough space for overnighting / weekend sailing.

I have a book called 'Gerda's Sea Saga' written by Morin Scott who did a couple of long cruises in 1948 in an International dragon in its original build version with cabin and berths. The first cruise was from Clyde to the South Coast of England. The second from Harwich to Holland, through the Kiel canal and as far as Larvik in Norway, returning to Cowes. The little dragon coped very well with a variety of weather, some pretty rough. There are some photographs of one of Morin Scotts crew, one 'Conny' Cornelis van Rietschoten who was the owner skipper of two of the famous Dutch yachts 'Flyer' that won the Whitbread Round the world races in the 1970 / 80s.

If a person who was handy with tools (you and me) wanted a nice fast delight of a boat to sail, what better project than to add a small cabin to an old but sound wooden racing version of the International Dragon.

There is a book you probably know of by Dick Hewitt 'The Royal Dragon' which is a history of Prince Phillips 'Blue Bottle' - There is a nice photograph of her as originally built with a nice little cabin with a couple of ports on either side.

I didn't have much luck on the net looking for cruising version, if you are interested, you may have more luck!

William Serjeant said...

When my brother and I were looking for a suitable boat to enter the 1974 Round Britain Race, we considered a cruising version of the Dragon, but in the end, we elected for a Wessex One Design. The latter had a shorter waterline, and a better handicap advantage. A factor that swayed us against the Dragon was the loss of one at Torbay. She was overwhelmed by a couple of large waves and sank! Had we had chosen a Dragon we would have modified her by converting her to being junk-rigged and with an enclosed cabin similar to that of ‘Jester’.

Alden Smith said...

I have heard of, and seen photographs of the raising of sunken Dragons. I think they should have water tight bulkheads fore and aft.

I think your idea of a 'Jester' scheme for the Dragon is a good idea - but in the scheme of things there are other more suitable yachts of doin't require major modification work.

I always thought that if I was modifying a Dragon for coastal cruising I would raise the topsides by at least 12 inches and then have a cambered treatment al la the Atalanta / Trekka / Audacity. The benefit of doing some time consuming modifications would be that the dragon is a fine, fast little hull.