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C/O GIACOMO DE STEFANO


C/O GIACOMO DE STEFANO TONY STEVENSON


TRADING KETCH IRENE From Bordeaux with claret


A 90ft (27.4m) grey ketch, moored in the shadow of London’s Tower Bridge, was drawing much attention after its arrival on 18 May carrying more than 9,000 bottles of Bordeaux claret. The boat was none other than the


1907 West Country trading ketch Irene – bought and restored by owner Dr Leslie Morrish in 1965; and restored again after a fire in 2003 (CB259). She had arrived, with Morrish as


skipper, all the way from where the wine was grown at Le Chai au Quai in Bordeaux, a patchwork of vineyards


by the River Dordogne. It was also in 1965 that an impoverished student, working those vineyards as a bottle washer, brought his first cargo of wine back to Britain in a van. Today, Tony Laithwaite owns the biggest direct-supply wine merchant in the world and it was he who chartered Irene to sail the wine to Britain, the third such trip he’s organised. In 1975 he chartered sail-trainer


Marquesa, and in 1992, Astrid. Said Tony, a keen dinghy sailor, “Claret and Britain have a shared tradition


Above: The classic combination –Irene (left), claret, and Tony Laithwaite


going back hundreds of years. This glorious traditional trade should never be forgotten.”


“Claret and Britain have a shared tradition”


NEW ZEALAND


Gaffer joins modern fleet in 120-mile race


Jason Prew, owner of the recently restored 1905 Arch Logan gaff cutter Wairiki, decided it was time to relive his yacht’s earlier racing exploits and join the modern fleet racing to Tauranga this April, writes Chad Thompson. This 120-mile race is one of


EUROPE London to Istanbul by sail and oar


After waiting over a year since the start of his epic river voyage from London to Istanbul, 44-year-old Venetian sailor Giacomo de Stefano, with new crewmate Bruno Porto, finally celebrated crossing the Channel this 4 May – from Ramsgate to Gravelines in nine hours. As we went to press, they were well on their way into France, with following winds enabling them to sail on the canals and cover up to 30 miles a day. Giacomo has had to wait a long time


to feel the wind in his sails: after starting the 3,200-mile voyage through eight nations to highlight the plight of


Europe’s rivers last spring, he succumbed to a serious bout of pneumonia that saw him hospitalised in Britain and Venice, and the trip suspended. Giacomo and Bruno aim to reach


Istanbul in six months, sleeping under a boom tent at night. Giacomo’s dinghy, Clodia, is a 19ft Ian Oughtred-designed Ness Yawl. They are being followed in a launch by Josephine Schaumburg, trip photographer and logistical support. See www.manontheriver.com. In answer to the many who ask, yes, Giacomo has read The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow, which tells of a similar voyage in a Mirror.


CLASSIC BOAT JULY 2011 21


the more perilous with the latter half of the race in completely open waters as the fleet crosses the Bay of Plenty to Tauranga. The end of April with winter


approaching can bring squally northwesters and southwesterlies or light to moderate airs from the


east and north. Fortunately the latter prevailed and after 31 hours at sea Wairiki crossed the finish line ahead of five modern yachts to great applause. Highlights of the race for


Jason were charging towards the top of the Coromandel Peninsular with the leeward deck awash with phosphorescence and surfing down the 8ft (2.5m) swells across the Bay of Plenty. In the late 1920s, Wairiki


dominated the race, winning in 1926, 28, 29 and 30.


The voyage took 11 days with Tony joining for the Cowes to Ramsgate leg. “Biscay did, to a point, live up to its reputation,” reflected Morrish. “Not much wind but a lot of sea.” The voyage was made to promote the wine of Le Chai au Quai and to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support by auction, the day after, of some fine old wines donated by their French growers. It raised £12,600.


C/O LAITHWAITES


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