Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tilly Whim

Remember that fabric I showed you that I'd saved all those years? The boat in the middle in the above photo is the boat that it came from. She was Tilly Whim, a Laurent Giles design, built in 1947. She had a unique type of construction with huge longitudinal stringers, but very light steam bent oak frames and iron floor straps. She looked rather like an airplane underneath her traditional cabinetry. She had several interesting features like roller reefing on the mainsail, low wide decks that were often awash, and the pilothouse-looking cabintop. She was quite fast and even sailed in the Fastnet Race. She was a joy to sail and moved in the slightest breeze. And she was beautiful and never failed to elicit comments wherever we took her.

Above you can see the Lord of the Manor eating lunch in the tiny salon. (Look how red his hair was then!) The interior cabinetry was beautiful old mahogany which the Lord of the Manor refinished. He made the drop-leaf table to match. And there's the fabric on the settee cushions.

How Tilly Whim came to San Francisco is anyone's guess, but we bought her from an old gentleman who had raced her on the Bay for many years. That was back in 1982. She was white and red when we bought her and we repainted her cream with green accents. That's why the upholstery fabric had green in it.

We did a total refit on her: all new mechanical systems, new galley, new rigging, new electronics, new sails and covers. We intended to sail away, but alas, we could never cure the garboard plank leak. So we finally sold her and that was the end of our cruising days. And just last year after neglectful owners let her sink, she was hauled out and CUT UP. So very sad. I almost cry thinking about it. But we have a few mementos, and I asked the boatyard owner for the mooring bitts when the boat was cut up. And now we have the fabric in the cottage to remind us once again of those magical times aboard Tilly Whim.


Stickhorsecowgirls said...

It was a beautiful boat! Sad that it did not work out for you, but glad you have that little piece of memorabilia! C

JC said...

Sounds like it was a grand old sailboat.

We are on our 3rd boat. Each one has lovely memories ...

Dawn said...

What a lovely post. I don't know anything about boats but it's obvious you loved this one. I'm glad you have such sweet memories of her.

Neabear said...

I see why the fabric is special to you. Wonderful memories!

Paul Hunter said...

Interesting to see a picture of Tilly Whim. My parents bought her in 1950 from someone in Poole, England. They kept her on the River Yealm, South Devon, England, until the late 50's. She was raced a lot, certainly on the Wolf Rock race, but my mother thinks it's unlikely that she did the Fastnet with my father.
My mother remembers her as being of 'not particularly durable build' and thinks she was built from material left over during motor torpedo boat construction during the war. She thinks that may have been at Newman's Yard, Poole.
I think we have other photos, one of her racing the Wolf Rock race hangs in the hallway.