Mermaid is a wooden gaff cutter yacht built and designed, in 1860, by ALFRED PAYNE, for racing in The Solent. 156 years later she took part in the Falmouth Classics' Parade of Sail. Two years later she was racing again with a sail configuration similar to those used in 1860, wooden mast, but with modern sail cloth and Harken winches. In Friday's race she came 6th in her class when the weather was breezy. In Saturday's race with light airs Mermaid was awared first place in her class. The photo below shows Mermaid sailing on the Helford River in Augst 2016 in light winds. Mermaid has moved to Gweek Classic Boatyard, for storage on shore, and has been sold.
Mermaid's restoration began in 1997 and is now close to completion, soon she will be the oldest classic wooden sailing racing yacht in use. Currently she is at Port Pendennis Marina,
Falmouth, having been moved from The Ocean Yacht Company, Penpol, Cornwall.
The photo above shows Mermaid at low water taking the ground with her new sails on 14th October 2009. On September 18th this is the message Brian sent us "She is in, Engine run, up gear box's superb, plenty of power. Will require about 3 tons of lead ballast."
Above are the photos Brian took. There are many more pictures in the photo gallery and a current description.
Nineteen years ago we we're searching for an old sailing boat to restore and a letter from Patsy Pope that was published in the Classic Boat Magazine lead us to Mermaid. We found her lying in a derelict state at Weir Quay Boatyard.
Weir Quay has also undergone a transformation since 1997 as can been seen from their web site. Weir Quay Boatyard is a traditional boatyard set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It offers 120 sheltered swinging moorings on the River Tamar - just 6 miles from Plymouth Sound and in the centre of England's finest cruising waters.
This web site is the tale of Mermaid's restoration and her history. We hope you enjoy learning about her and our journey of discovery. She is sailing again with her new mast and spars fitted and looking much more like the 1860's painting by Barlow Moore below, than the 1997 photo. She endured several different mast and sail configurations during her life - there are photos showing this in the section entitled owners.
If you have any queries please contact us at