Paris – At the official Retromobile auction to be held on 5 February 2016, Artcurial will present for sale « the Rolls-Royce of the sea », the iconic classic yacht, Moonbeam of Fife III.
Designed and launched in April 1903 by William Fife III, Moonbeam III was ordered by the London lawyer, Charles Plumtree Johnson, a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Thames Yacht Club, to take part in regatta on the east coast of England. It is the third of four yachts carrying this name, launched between 1858 and 1920. Constructed with teak planking on an elm frame, it was initially designed with a yawl rig (2 masts) but is presented today with a gaff cutter rig.
A faithful representative of a line of yachts combining elegance and performance, it was the first in a series of fast yawls designed by Fife in line with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) measurements revised in 1900. The brilliant designer, who ran the family business in Fairlie, at the mouth of the river Clyde in Scotland, was at the height of his skills. The yacht was designed with a large sail and a generous mahogany and quilted leather interior to match.
Having had several owners, the yacht took to the Mediterranean, winning the “Course Croisière Méditerranée” in 1927 and 1928, under the name « Elbis ». It was then acquired by Félix Amiot, an aviation pioneer, who stored it on dry land in Cherbourg for 24 years. Following this period, it was sent to Southampton on the other side of the channel in 1970, to be restored in a project that took ten years, carried out at the Camper & Nicholson yard.
Sold at auction in 1989, the yacht returned to Saint-Tropez, its home port, and since that time has participated in many major events for classic yachts. This has included the event at Bénodet in 1998 celebrating 100 years of Pen Duick (Eric Tabarly), at Cowes in 2001 for the Jubilee of the America’s Cup and Fairlie in Scotland for the Fife Regatta in 2008. The yacht has also competed in the round of classic regatta in the mediterranean, running in the the Period Auric or Big Boat class. Easily recognisable with its sail number 88, it has distinguished itself with excellent results and by the professionalism of its crew.
Moonbeam III had a complete refit in 2004 carried out in the Monaco Marine yard, in which the interior was re-done by Fairlie Restorations in England in 2006, in keeping with the original design.