Friday, 10 September 2010

Westra, yacht no 1

photo by Ian G Gilchrist

The first five boats were built together at McGruer's yard at Clynder and launched at the end of May 1929.

The first owner of Westra was George Jackson, who possibly carried on business at 14 Royal Exchange Buildings, Glasgow and had joined the Royal Northern Yacht Club in 1919.

In 1934 she was purchased by the legendary J Herbert Thom, whom you can read about in subsequent posts on this blog.  He bought Westra in order to put paid to rumours that his previous and newer yacht Gigha was faster than the others. He proved this with a vengeance, becoming class champion in Westra in 1934, 1935 and 1936, winning 83 flags from 110 starts. By 1938 she is shown as registered to J Buchanan.

She had a varnished hull and thereby hangs a tale, because Herbert Thom preferred his boats to have varnished hulls and came into conflict with the other owners over whether this was allowed by the Class Rules, which required the hulls to have a colour. There was some logic in Thom's preference, because he wanted to avoid the accumulation of layers of heavy paint on the topsides. Many years ago I heard a suggestion that the matter had gone to some form of adjudication, but I don't believe that it extended further than some mild mutterings from some of the other owners.

In the Autumn of 1940 a German bomber that had got lost on its way to blitz Clydebank set fire to Munro's boatyard at Gairletter on Loch Long and Westra was one of the yachts destroyed, along with three Dragons, three Loch Longs and one of the Pleiades. I haven't been able to discover any more details about this, but numerous tales went about and I remember being told of a river of lead from the keels, which seems highly unlikely.

No comments:

Post a Comment