One of the greatest surviving sailing yachts of the 20th Century has come up for sale. Whoever takes her on next will have a passion for sailing perfection second to none.
One of the greatest classic yacht reconstructions of the past century, the gorgeous cutter Lulworth has come up for sale through Camper & Nicholsons International (CNI). She’s such an iconic vessel that when we saw her listing, we felt it was time to lavish this beauty with another dose of the spotlight. It’s not hard to see why.
Lulworth has been a consistent highlight of the regatta scene since her 2006 re-introduction after an extensive, expensive and loving rebuild by her owner, Dutch businessman Johan JM van den Bruele, with project management by Giuseppe and Elisabetta Longo - the team now working on the restoration of King George's yacht Britannia.
Mark Hilpern of CNI is selling the yacht for the owner, and would love to see a new generation of yachtsman join the ranks of classic yacht owners. “It’s not for the faint-hearted, financially, but it’s super-fun, a nod to the past, and girls love it. What more do you want?”
Although for the majority of his career Hilpern has focused on building large motoryachts for his clients, he has a passion for classic sailing yachts and so he is well suited to finding Lulworth her next owner.
In her 1930s heyday, just prior to the introduction of the original J-Class yachts, Lulworth was one of the most successful racers on the circuit. To this day the world’s largest gaff-rigged cutter, she is the sole survivor of the Big Five of the 1920s (including Shamrock, White Heather II, Britannia and Westward). After her sailing days ended, she was lived in and cared for as a houseboat on the Hamble River in England, which meant that much of the most important deck fittings and interior paneling and furniture are original.
During the rebuild, van den Bruele was meticulous in his dedication to historical accuracy, reportedly even taking on a historian for the project. The owner has kept the installation of machinery to a minimum, with the main engine staying as small as allowable, no installation of air conditioning or audio-visual systems, no separate navigation area other than the main salon, and just a plug-and-play radar included, if only to meet safety regulations when on passage. She has a single generator with a battery bank and a water maker. She is authentic, in pristine condition, and mightily loved by those who sail in her.
This was always destined to be a yacht for a passionate sailor, keen to own a piece of history. She runs with her 1926 sail plan on a 52m spruce mast and 28m spruce boom. The yacht’s captain remains with the yacht for the new owner, as does a core crew.
Eight guests can be accommodated in her elegant original cabins, while up to 12 race crew have the use of the open bunked area forward of the salon.
Classic sailing regattas can rightly be seen as perhaps the finest gathering of yachting enthusiasts; it's an affiliation completely without compare anywhere in the world. Since her reintroduction, Lulworth has earned herself and her owner much admiration. Along with others in the classic fleet, Lulworth's participation enriches events like Les Voiles de St. Barth (April), Panerai British Classic Week (July) and Les Voiles de Saint Tropez (September).
“You have to be passionate about this yacht to own her,” Hilpern says. “You can’t enter into owning this yacht with a venal attitude. Money’s not got much to do with it: It’s about perfection and being in pursuit of excellence.”