The Pen Duick yacht


1898, Ireland

The Pen Duick yachts are ocean racing yachts of the 1960s and 1970s made famous by French yachtsman Eric Tabarly.

Currently known as Pen Duick, the yacht was launched in 1898 by Gridiron & Works (Ireland) under the name of Yum. The Yum was designed by William Fife III as a 36-rater ocean racing yacht.

The gaff-rigged cutter was quickly noted as a successful racer in Irish, British and French waters. Her first racing season was successful; she arrived in fourth place at her first regatta of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in 1899. Afterwards, she always arrived first or second.

From 1900 she had several private owners while still having a very successful racing career. She was bought by French André Hachette in 1902 and renamed her Griseldis. She went on to other owner and was known as Magda (1908), Cora V (1919), Astarté (1922), Panurge (1931) and Buttergly (1933). In 1935 she was then bought by the Lebec brothers who gave her name of Pen Duick. The Pen Duick was brought to Bénodet in 1940 where she remained for five years. She barely escaped the fate of many yachts whose lead ballast was requisitioned by the Wehrmacht.

Eric Tabarly’s father acquired her so that the boy could learn to sail on her. After World War II, she was put on sale, but finding no takers, Eric convinced his father in giving her to him in 1952. Her wooden hull was completely rotten and her restoration would have been too expensive, so Tabarly decided to make a mould of her hull to create a polyester hull; it was the largest of its kind. With the help of his friends, Tabarly managed after several years of hard work to make her seaworthy again. Due to her longer and lighter hull, she was fitted with a loftier rig. In the night of 12 to 13 June 1998, Eric Tabarly fell overboard and was lost in the Irish sea while sailing the hundred year old cutter to the Fife Regatta in Largs, Scotland.

To this day, the Pen Duick remains the property of the Tabarly family and still races in classic events.