Restoring the Managing Director’s McMillan Yacht

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hyde Heritage Sails

Hyde Sails have been manufacturing sails for 51 years and have been involved in every type of sail making from Optimists to Square Riggers, from single handed cruising too full on grand prix yacht racing.

We are now adding to our range of sails “Hyde Heritage Sails” which are bespoke sails from modern materials made using modern techniques but for the Classic Yacht and Spirit of Tradition genre of sailing boats. The aim is to offer to the discerning classic yacht owner fabulous sails that evoke the era of yachting where handmade and hand finished sails graced the wooden spars of the beautiful boats that would have been racing in the Solent and the Cowes Weeks so evocatively captured in those famous Beken of Cowes black and white photos.

We recently bought a yacht to act as the test bed for developing and trailing these sails....but first it needed a little work!

Our original plan was to find a “dayboat”’ that we could cruise up and down the River Orwell and sail from the Royal Harwich YC on the East Coast.  The boat had to be pretty enough to be thought “eye- catching” and have a rig that would be suitable for experimenting, but at a sensible size. A restoration or refurbishment project was deemed suitable as we could get more for our money (in exchange for some elbow grease!) The budget was a humble £10k.

After considerable research on the internet and not a little pacing around the darker corners of many boat yards and marinas, we found what we were looking for at Howard Ford Yacht Brokers in Woodbridge Suffolk. We had visited the pretty Tidemill marina last year and had noticed a pretty wooden yacht with varnished topsides and a distinctive “jaunty” look. So when we walked past Howard’s office and saw the details of it in his window we were inside arranging a viewing instantly.

That afternoon, when the rain was still pouring down, Howard’s efficient and friendly assistant Sharon, pulled back the cockpit cover and the beautiful teak and mahogany woodwork just stunned me. I just knew we had to buy her. I had looked at boats all over the south and east coast, but the best one ever was just on our doorstep. 

Hyde Sails Ltd, Harbour Building Office A, Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4NB

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