Length on Deck:
41ft / 12.5m
Loaded Waterline Length:
38ft / 11.5m
Length Over All:
60ft / 18m
Design and build
These photos show the extreme design of the hull.
Very deep, very narrow. no bilge and a full length keel 8 feet deep.
This was the normal design for inshore racing yachts in the late 19th century to optimise the Thames measurement racing rules. Fife and GL Watson designed many hulls like this, kept upright by internal lead ballast (Aeolus has 6 tons) and driven by huge sailplans.
But the rules were changed in 1880 and designs changed.
In the USA, CP Kunhardt continued to favour narrow cutters and clearly influenced the unknown designer (or just the shipwright) to build Aeolus in 1904 in California as a gentleman’s day sailing yacht, 41 feet on deck but only 9 feet in the beam, she had a vast mainsail on a boom that stuck out 10 feet behind the transom and would not allow the yacht to sail in balance.
In 2003, Aeolus was imported to Britain but not sailed until Anthony bought her in late 2008. The lead ingots were moved to clean the bilges and revealed a hull in good condition, but could she be made to sail well and so be worth restoring? Anthony did some experimental sailing with Tom Richardson (Elephant Boatyard) and took the lines of the hull . Tom concluded she could sail well with the right sails.
The late Ed Burnett redesigned the sailplan with a shorter boom and produced a boat which sails beautifully: as soon as she feels the breeze on her bow, she heels over 30 degrees and the helm can keep her in the groove with fingertips. Success, Aeolus now sailed beautifully!
Anthony renewed the rigging but in keeping with an Edwardian boat: brown ropes, belaying pins to make off sheets and halyards, deadeyes to hold the shrouds, and blocks and tackles instead of winches. Aeolus was sailing again, but was not equipped for even a one-night passage. Anthony spent evenings and weekends for seven years building an interior, piece by piece, at his home in London. He designed each item of furniture first in plywood to test its size and placement in the boat, and then created the finished article in varnished mahogany. By the spring of 2015, Aeolus had eight berths, a heads, a galley with a brass hand pump, and a chart table with a cabinet of individual flag lockers.
Anthony completed six years of work to restore a traditional rig above deck and build an interior for a crew of eight while still sailing her every year.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Aeolus was the Keeper of the Winds who gave Odysseus a bag trapping all the unfavourable winds which would stop him sailing home. His crew opened the bag and unleashed a hurricane, the start of a long journey home (replicated in the restoration). The large symbol on Aeolus’s mainsail represents the winds escaping which now blow to sail Aeolus to the delight of crew and envious spectators.
To learn more about Aeolus
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