Stroma is one of the Scottish Islands Class One Design yachts, which were introduced to provide competitive racing on the Firth of Clyde and safe, short cruising on our West coast and inner islands. They are powerful boats for their length, but incredibly well-behaved and nimble, being fast and light and responsive on the helm.
Regular readers of this blog will know that there's a great deal of history and lore about these historic boats here. If you're visiting the blog for the first time please enjoy the posts and allow yourself to become immersed in part of our yachting heritage.
Over the years the shapes of yachts have changed a bit, with the older ones designed by craftsman engineers and modern ones by computer nut accountants. One thing that hasn't changed is the sea and a lovely traditional yacht will perform just as sweetly today as when she was built.
Stroma is a registered British ship, Official Number 161770 at Greenock, with the sail number 4.
Her registered details are:-
Tonnage 2.96 registered, 3.21 gross, 4 TM (about 3,200 kg)
Length OA 28.0 ft, WL 20.0 ft (8.53 m, 6.1 m)
Breadth 7.0ft, Draft 4.5 ft (2.1 m, 1.4 m)
Sail Area 418 sq ft (39 sq m)
Stroma currently has no engine, as I prefer to sail without one and declined to instal one during her restoration. These yachts did have an engine originally, so a new owner could have one if desired.
Elsewhere in this blog I have recorded much of the history of the various Scottish Islands Class yachts and the people associated with them. They include the legendary Herbert Thom, possibly the most successful racing helm of all time, whose skills were undoubtedly honed by the very close racing these yachts provided. The new owner will be joining an extremely interesting and diverse band.
My ownership started in 1976, when I was looking for a fast, stylish traditional yacht for weekending and light cruising. For the next thirteen years I kept her mainly in Argyll and visited numerous anchorages up to the far North of Scotland and islands such as Skye, Eigg, Coll, Mull, Jura and Gigha, usually sailing with one or two friends. We took part in various inshore races and regattas, always ending up at or near the front.
By 1989 it was clear that Stroma, then aged sixty, was getting tired and I was contacted by a museum, which was looking for traditional yachts as exhibits and offered to restore her, so I agreed to lend her to them. Unfortunately the museum failed to keep their side of the bargain. They simply displayed her afloat until she deteriorated, then took her out of the water and stored ashore, while they looked for funds. Her condition then got even worse, until there were doubts about her survival.
In late 1995 I cancelled the loan and removed the yacht to a shipyard, where she was comprehensively restored by me, with help from a number of friends and professional boat-builders. The hull planking was in great condition but many of the large structural components, for example her wood keel, stem, sternpost, transom etcetera were found to be rotten and had to be replaced. As this removed the main obstacle to a modern hull coating I took the opportunity to protect the hull with a woven-cloth/epoxy treatment and then had it faired and finished professionally. Full details of all the work done can be provided.
I commissioned a new set of spars, the mast being specially designed and built by Alastair Garland, and sails from the Tollesbury master, Gayle Heard. These are all still in excellent condition.
Since she was relaunched in 2003 Stroma has been used mainly for day-sailing and short cruises, some of which I have written about on this blog, and also on my scottishboating blog. She took part in West Highland Week in 2004, winning several races and coming third in her class and in 2006 she won the Royal Highland Yacht Club's 125th anniversary regatta, beating 62 other yachts. She has been at most of the Crinan Classic regattas, usually winning in her class.
Stroma has proved incredibly stiff and fast and time has shown that the restoration work has been a complete success. In recent years maintenance has been limited to touching up the brightwork, antifouling etc. This year I noticed that her topside paint, which had never been refinished, was becoming faded and she has recently been given a fresh treatment professionally.
I have not regretted my decision not to put the engine back after Stroma was restored. Personally I prefer the challenge of pure sailing and do not like to share my space with a nasty, expensive piece of machinery. Some of Stroma's sisters have small diesel units, but since the technology for electric propulsion units is now well advanced this should be considered by a new owner.
In common with all traditional racing yachts space below is limited. I gave a lot of thought to the internal layout and ended up with two full-length "Pullman type" berths in the main cabin with bench seating below. During the day the berths are folded up, keeping bedding out of the way and the benches give full sitting headroom. I've posted about this in detail, here:- Keeping comfortable
There is the possibility for a third berth for one person or two close friends under the foredeck.
On the original drawings Alfred Mylne shows lockers under the cockpit seats entered from the rear of the cabin and I duly reconstructed these. They give plenty of storage for cooking and other equipment. There's also a drawer for navigational materials and a food storage bin.
My main concern is to ensure that this lovely yacht passes into the hands of someone who appreciates her qualities, fast, exciting sailing, a lovely yacht that turns heads wherever she goes, a piece of yachting heritage with, thanks to her restoration, a very limited schedule of annual maintenance. The classic yacht scene is now very international in character and I have absolutely no concerns about seeing her go to one of our friendly European neighbours.
It's incredibly difficult to know what a yacht like this is worth, given that she's already been restored at considerable cost. I'm asking £23,000, that's about 28,500 Euros at current rates, which I hope is about right and certainly should be to the appropriate person.
Stroma is currently ashore at Kilmelford, Argyll, where I live. You can contact me by email here:- firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on +44 (0) 1852 200261