Paula Farquharson

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Partridge: From Rags to Riches

How a letter from 'Uncle Peter' led to a Victorian cutter being found and restored

It took several years just to dry her out completely. Over the next 18 years she was painstakingly and exquisitely restored by Laird, whose passion combined with, by this stage, experienced craftsmanship restored her to her original glory including her mast, rigging, and bronze details as well as her straight stem, which always distinguishes her from the rest of the old fleet on the classic yachting circuit.

How Did You and Partridge End Up in the South of France?
“By the time she was restored, Uncle Peter had moved to Monaco and we realized that all the major classic races take place on the Riviera. At about the same time, Butch Dalrymple-Smith, whom I met racing on Partridge, asked me to join him in the south of France on a restoration project. We now co-own Classic Works in La Ciotat where Partridge is moored. We restore classic yachts with authenticity and employ the best craftsmen. It’s a dream come true and all thanks to Partridge.” Classic Work’s excellent reputation has meant that the company has grown – they now employ 50 people – and curiously, according to Laird, a new trend is emerging.
   
“The world is fast running out of the original classics to restore and so clients are now searching the museums or the archives for old yacht designs and asking us to replicate them with all the authentic details. However, one possible advantage of starting from scratch is that you can incorporate all the modern technologies and comfortable luxuries that a client desires. Personally, I am a bit of a purist and prefer to stick to the original designs throughout, although nowadays an engine is pretty much essential. That was the beauty of Partridge – renovating her was mine and Peter’s passion and I was able to indulge in all the authentic details without outside interference from a less sensitive captain or owner”
 
Is Partridge Available for Charter?
“Partridge is only chartered for racing as she is not a cruising vessel. She accommodates six people but needs a crew of 15 to race her.”

Not So High Maintenance Lady
Partridge is now for sale. Her asking price: 800,000 euro. A refit was completed last May, at a cost of 50,000 euro, so she is looking extremely good for her years. Her performance at the classic yacht regattas defy her age. The cost to create an authentic-looking interior would cost approximately 100,000 euro.
   
You can see Partridge racing this summer on the Mediterranean. Perhaps you may even be tempted to acquire her and become the owner of one of the most famous classic yachts. Or maybe you prefer a beautiful replica. Either way, Laird is your man. Thanks to Uncle Peter!

Features
There is no interior, which is very convenient for racing as the crew can lay the foresails on the cabin sole in stops and hoist them through the fore hatch when needed. The hull planking, the keelson, and the bilge stringer are all original, but the deck and the rig were renewed when the restoration was undertaken. On the hull planking the original adze marks of the shipwrights who built her in 1884 are visible. Winches were only invented a few years after she was built, so she has none and manpower is required. To sail her, a minimum crew of 7 is needed and for racing she needs 15. Her racing success is thanks to her architect John Beavor-Webb, who built the double challenger yachts, Genesta and Galatea, for the America’s Cup at the same time as Partridge, who inherited many of their design features including their speed. Her CIM rating AMP is 178.


Classic Works
Classic Works specializes in classic yacht restoration. It is situated in the Chantier Naval in La Ciotat between Toulon and Marseille in the south of France. The immense shipyard complex was closed down just over 15 years ago and is being slowly reborn as a center of classic yacht restoration, super yacht maintenance, and other yachting activities. With a sophisticated infrastructure already in place, including cranes with a lifting capacity of 1000 tons, its plentiful space and excellent facilities, the Chantier Naval of La Ciotat is an ideal location for yacht restoration and construction.

Yachts also visit the Chantier for refits and repairs. Well-known names like Adix, Velsheda, Ranger and Mirabella V are just a few examples.
Classic Works Chantier Naval
www.classicworks.fr

More Stories By Paula Farquharson

Paula Farquharson is an editor of The Riviera Times newspaper. Originally
from Ireland, she worked in New York and is now based in Nice, France,
where she learned to sail.

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