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Camper & Nicholsons Archive
June 2022 Newsletter

Charles Nicholson and Barbara

The 1920’s and ‘30’s marked the heyday for Charles Ernest Nicholson's designs and his Gosport shipyard. Racing yachts of all classes were launched, including several huge J-Class (C&N Newsletter N°8), as well as large luxury sailing and motor yachts. Some of these are among the most important ever built: the three-masted schooners Sonia II, Ailee, and of course Vira which we will write about in an upcoming newsletter.

Ailee and Sonia II racing in light wind
Ailee e Sonia II. Both yachts were owned by famous yachtswomen: Ailee by Virginie Heriot and Sonia II by Marion Carstairs
But even in such a favourable period, full of important commissions, C.E. did not disdain designing and building medium-sized racing cruisers suitable for family use and enthusiastic yachtsmen. These projects were always built with high quality materials and technology, and thanks to both his genius and his vast experience acquired in the study of robust structures, fast hulls and seaworthy shapes, they were never commonplace.
The yawl Barbara (YN 318) is a perfect example. She was built in 1923 with an innovative Marconi rig and Bermudian sails while most cruising yachts of the time were still gaff-rigged. Her particularly slender and light mainmast was, however, strongly supported by standing rigging, clearly showing it’s origin as an elongated mast for a gaff-rig.

Length on deck: 15.60 m
Length over all: 18 m
Length water line: 11 m
Max beam: 3.3 m
Displacement: 20 T
Barbara was built for her first owner, Herbert Hines, who kept her until 1926 when according to Lloyd's records he sold her to Harold F. Edwards, a well-known English yachtsman and successful racer. (Harold F. Edwards and his family of very keen yachtsmen continue to own C&N designs to this day, among them Sardonyx and Sardonyx IV!)
More owners associated with the yard were later owners of Barbara. It was her next owner, Count Jean de Vogues, who brought Barbara to the Mediterranean, sailing her out of Cannes. General Manager of the Moët and Chandon brand, he developed an outstanding marketing policy and in 1936 created the most famous of the Champagne brands, Dom Pérignon. After Barbara he owned two new C&N designs: the 70' (length on deck) ketch Eryx, which he bought in 1959, followed by the 84’ schooner Eryx II in 1964.
Her rigging plan is an interesting document to keep on file:
Barbara: a very nice model by Guido Fioresi
Barbara’s present Italian owner bought her when in dire need of restoration, and after a major three year restoration involving the collaboration of C&N yacht experts and the Cantiere Francesco Del Carlo, Barbara has been sailing since May, 2018.
Barbara’s new teak deck
And in a fairytale ending, winner of a nomination at the Classic Boat Awards 2019, Classic Boat magazine featured Barbara with a very nice article by Nigel Sharp and the cover of the February 2019 issue.
Although we have taken the utmost efforts to determine who the authors of the images in our database are, it is not always possible to discover who they might be. If you have any information regarding an image’s author, please contact us so that we may rectify the situation

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cnyachting · Borgo Santi Apostoli 29 · Firenze, FI 50123 · Italy

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