See more from Don at our events page
DON STREET’S STORIES OF CLASSIC BOATS
Fifty years ago, on the morning of Friday the 13 of May 1966, I arrived in Ireland. That afternoon I pushed an engagement ring on Trich Boucher’s finger. She did not throw it on the floor and we are still married. Trich was flying with Aer Lingus as an air hostess. While she was away I borrowed her car and went exploring, visiting the yacht clubs in Dun Laoghire, where I saw boats hauled in the old coal yard.
Exploring the yard, my eye caught a small plumb stemmed Watson cutter whose owner told me she had been built by Fife back in the late 1880’s. I also spotted a nice little clipper bowed cutter, Peggy Bawn. I found a ladder, and climbed aboard to inspect her.
Below decks the construction amazed me. Not only were all the main frames tied into the keel via galvanized iron floors, but also the intermediate steamed timbers, all of them tied into the keel with galvanized floors. I discovered the builder’s plate, Hilditch 1893 (only his second boat), and later learned the designer was G.L Watson. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that Hild itch of Carrighfergus was one of the finest yacht builders in the world, equal to, and perhaps better than, the well-known yards of Fife or Camper and Nicholsons. Hilditch stopped building in 1914 when the yard was destroyed by a meteorite. After two failed attempts to restore her, Hal Sisk bought her, and in 2005 completed a superb restoration, bringing her back to ‘as new’ condition. In the restoration Hal went to great effort to find the same type of timber as was used in her original construction. The full story is available in the book ‘Peggy Bawn’ by Hal Sisk.