A 110-year-old classic boat that was built in Clyde Dockyards at the height of the town’s shipbuilding history has arrived in Wester Ross after more than 50 years abroad.
Its new owners are paving the way to make it a destination for wealthy tourists.
The classic 50ft yacht was built in 1910 by the famous shipyard of William Fife and Sons on the River Clyde in Glasgow.
Designed by Norwegian architect Christian Dekke, the boat embarked on an 886-mile journey from its former home in Brest, France to Aultbea on the west coast of Scotland. She arrived in Portsmouth on Wednesday from France where she was transported by road to her new home where she will begin a major restoration to restore her to her former glory.
Once the restoration is complete, she will be rented out to holidaymakers around the world who want to enjoy Scotland’s magnificent coastline. An awareness project will also offer young people from the region the opportunity to learn to sail.
The yacht, which is re-registered under its original number and name, Gannet, was purchased by Sam McAdam, a businessman who lives and works in Aberdeen and grew up in the Highlands.
He hopes Gannet’s return to Scotland will help develop the North West of Scotland into a yachting destination and plans to set up a yachting business in the area, creating jobs for locals.
Sam said: “I have spent the past two years researching the right yacht to buy and restore so that we can create a unique yachting experience off the west coast of Scotland. When I met Gannet, I knew she would be perfect. It was an amazing experience to already know her current owner and learn all about her fascinating history and I look forward to us being able to welcome guests on board and share this with them.
“An extremely important part of our activity will be to provide at least two weeks of outreach to young people in the local community. The program will be a great way to engage the younger generation and I can’t wait to see it come to life. Sailing is a fantastic way to develop independence and key skills, in a fun environment.
Although the yacht retains nearly all of her original features, an 18-month restoration program by local traditional boat craftsman Alasdair Grant will restore her to her former glory.
“The Northern Gannet is just the beginning. We hope she will be the first of several classic yachts we are bringing to the area for restoration and charter. It has been a particularly difficult time for the tourism industry, especially in rural areas over the past two years.
“I am committed through Gannet and as the business grows we will be able to not only attract more visitors to the area but also create employment opportunities. This is one of the reasons why I am so delighted to work with Alasdair and why I am delighted to partner with local community members and organizations to ensure we can create something truly positive together. for the region,” added Sam.
Gannet was originally built for a member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club by William Fife and Sons who were internationally respected for the speed, safety and attractive design of their boats. The yacht has had many owners over her lifetime and has spent much of her life cruising the coasts of continental Europe.
She spent the last 12 years in the French port city of Brest and was previously owned by Michel Pierrot, who sadly died in 2018. Mr Pierrot’s son, Matthieu Pierrot, said: “Dad had many happy times at sailing the yacht – sailing in the Mediterranean and across Britain and Ireland. Although it is sad to part with her, I am happy to know that she will be fully restored and back on the water where it belongs, enjoyed by many Scottish visitors.
Gannet has now arrived at Aultbea and after a brief visit will be moved to the Isle of Ewe for restoration.