Not a girly thing! A 100 year old lady circumnavigates the World

Life is full of extraordinary stories and there is no better example of this than the story of the sailing yacht “Merrymaid”.  She has been on a truly remarkable voyage since launching in 1904 and there is no end in sight.

When the gaff cutter “Merrymaid” was built at the quintessentially English boatyard Camper & Nicholson more than a century ago, it immediately impressed the sailing milieu with its combination of speed and comfort. As a top racing yacht she participated in numerous regattas, where she joined the likes of other legendary ships such as the schooner yacht “Meteor” of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and won the prestigious King‘s Cup in the presence of King Edward VII in the very year it was built.

However, the days of glory for this elegant racing yacht would not last forever.  In 1945, after changing hands several times down the years, she fell into neglect, ending up on a mud bank in the Blackwater River in the English county of Essex. Its fate, like that of so many other legendary sailing yachts, seemed sealed. Although later owners prevented its total ruin, genuine salvation first came with the new millennium. In 2005, the “Merrymaid” was brought to Southampton Yacht Service for extensive refitting and restored from top to bottom in just over three years.  The goal was not only to restore the gaff cutter to its previous splendour, but also to prepare it for a most unusual voyage.

MerrymaidCompletely restored and once again in tip top condition, the “Merrymaid” prepared to undertake a voyage around the world. Along the way she would visit some of the most astonishing and remote parts of the globe. This would clearly be no easy undertaking, with the wooden yacht travelling from socialist Cuba, around Cape Horn, through the glaciered landscape of Patagonia, all the way to the Galapagos Islands and the lonely archipelagos of the South Sea, and then finally on to exotic Papua-New Guinea and finishing in Singapore.

This voyage would raise many questions! Was this an uncertain gamble or the fulfilment of a dream adventure, allowing freedom from the restraints of an increasingly restrained society and a chance to view unspoiled nature at its best? Björn Burkert, Key Account Manager Luxury Yachts at the yacht insurance experts Pantaenius assures us that this classic vessel is more than capable of such a feat. “Unusual and remarkable, but surely not incalculable and rash…It is already impressive to see how professionally and methodically this project has been organised, from the concept to the restoration, all the way through to the preparation and implementation.”

Pantaenius has been assisting the voyage of the “Merrymaid” for three years and thousands of sea miles as their insurance partner – and it should be mentioned, without any damage claims to date. The yacht is in the hands of a highly-qualified crew, which prepares each leg of the journey in meticulous detail so as not to run any unforeseen risks. “There is no question but that pros are at work here, they know what they’re doing. This makes it an extremely pleasant and professional partnership for us.” This combination of professionalism and dedication has forged an enviable partnership that will continue for some time to come. “The story of the ‘Merrymaid’ is simply magnificent and we at Pantaenius wish the ship and its crew in any case the continuation of a carefree, yet exciting time.”  

Accompany the “Merrymaid” on its voyage and find out more about its tumultuous story at www.merrymaid.sy.