Lulworth (yacht)

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Tuiga (D3) and Lulworth (2) in race. France, 2006
Career  United Kingdom
Name: Lulworth
Namesake: Lulworth Castle
Port of registry: Guernsey
Builder: White Brothers (1920)
Classic Yacht Darsena (2006)
Christened: Terpsichore (1920)
Lulworth (1924)
Homeport: Le Grazie, Italy (2006)
Yacht designer: Herbert William White (1919)
Fairlie Restorations (2001)
Burgee: Royal Yacht Squadron (1920)
Yacht Club de Monaco (2006)
General characteristics
Class and type: British Big Class gaff-rigged cutter
Displacement: 188 t (185 long tons) (2006)
Length: 46.3 m (151 ft 11 in) o/a
36.87 m (121 ft 0 in) on deck (rating)
28.64 m (94 ft 0 in) w/l (rating)
Beam: 6.6 m (21 ft 8 in)
Draught: 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in)
Sail plan: Spars:
52 m (171 ft) spruce mast
27.60 m (90.6 ft) spruce boom
20 m (66 ft) sitka spinnaker pole
Mainsail 465 m2 (5,005.2 sq ft)
Marconi topsail 133 m2 (1,431.6 sq ft)
Staysail 114 m2 (1,227.1 sq ft)
Jib 69.5 m2 (748.1 sq ft)
Jib topsail 46.5 m2 (500.5 sq ft)
Spinnaker 500 m2 (5,382 sq ft)
Build: Composite (mahogany on steel)

The sailing yacht Lulworth is a gaff-rigged cutter that was built in Southampton in 1920.

The Big Class

The boat's name comes from Lulworth Castle, which belonged to her second owner, Herbert Weld, whose grandfather was a charter-member of the Royal Yacht Squadron.[1] S/Y Lulworth (1920) was built by the White Brothers' Yard for Richard H. Lee, who wanted a racing boat to compete in the premier yachting league in Europe: the British "Big Class".

Because of premium spruce shortages after World War I, Lulworth's original lower-mast was made of steel instead of wood: this constraint handicapped Lulworth greatly, leaving her in the chase of older, more famous Big Class racers like Thomas Benjamin Frederick Davis's Herreshoff-designed schooner Westward (1910), HMY Britannia I (1893) and Sir Thomas J. Lipton's Fife-designed 23mR Shamrock (1908).

Her sail plan was updated several times to no avail, until America's Cup naval architect Charles Ernest Nicholson redesigned the rig with a wooden lower-mast and adjusted the keel balance. By 1924, Lulworth's flaws were corrected and she became an accomplished racer in all consecutive seasons of the Big Class: from 1920 to 1930, she partook in 258 regattas, taking 59 first places, 47 of which after 1924.[2]

Obsolescence and Revival

When the Fifteenth America's Cup was contested in 1930, it saw the offspringing of the innovative J-Class designs which made all gaff-rigged racers obsolete. Despite S/Y Lulworth's early successes against the J-Class Shamrock V (1930) before the America's Cup, handicapping rules in the Big Class were terminated and Lulworth's career was ended. In 1947 Lulworth was saved from the scrap yard by Richard Lucas and his wife Rene. She was taken to Whites Shipyard for restoration and mud-berthed in the River Hamble where she served as a houseboat.

In 1990 her hull was shipped to Italy in the hope of a refit. A meticulous renovation was started in 2002 which saved 70% of her furnishings and 80% of her steel frames. The sail plan from 1926 was replicated to recreate Lulworth's rig, which features the world's tallest wooden mast. Thus rebuilt to Lloyd's Classification, she was relaunched in 2006. She immediately entered racing competition and subsequently won Boat International Magazine's World Superyacht Awards 2007: "Best refit of 2006"[3]. S/Y Lulworth is currently the world's largest race cutter.


  • François Chevalier (2008). "Lulworth". Classic Yachts. Thomas Reed Publications. ISBN 9781408105184. 
  • Andrew Rogers (2007). Lulworth. Writewell Publications. ISBN 9789090217826. 
External links
See also