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061 St Davids Light

St Davids LightSt David’s Light was built for De Forest Trimmingham in 1963 as a one off ocean racer. The Trimmingham family owned the largest department store on Bermuda and commissioned several fine yachts over the years. This is why she has a Bermudan sail number. The design by Illingworth and Primrose, who later designed Gypsy Moth IV for Francis Chichester, was optimized for the Bermuda race. The name comes from a lighthouse on Bermuda.

Construction is cold moulded, eight layers of mahogany over rock elm frames, supplemented by laminated mahogany frames. In 1963 the strength of cold moulded hulls was not known and the framing was distinctly over engineered. This feature is shared with another BCYC boat - Outlaw, which had the same designers and construction, and was built alongside St David’s Light at Souters in Cowes. The interior is rather luxurious by modern racing boat standards, being mahogany, inlaid with sycamore.

St Davids LighsMy wife, Chris, and I first saw the boat on a mooring at Aldeburgh when we were storm bound for two days. Every time we looked out we saw this yacht with stunning lines, totally unaffected by the terrible weather.

The next winter we were looking for a new boat, and discovered we were comparing everything we saw with St David’s Light, and finding it wanting. Eventually we found the owner, and made him an offer.
The first season was spent rebuilding the ex London taxi British Leyland diesel back to new specification and replacing the galley.

St Davids LightSubsequent years saw the complete rewiring of the boat, new sail wardrobe from Quantum, the gutting and rebuild of the fore cabin to match the saloon, and the installation of the only fully chromed Baby Blake I have seen. Full Simrad IS15 instruments replaced the original analogue Brooks and Gatehouse.

We raced her in the Classic class at Burnham Week each year, and cruised to France, Holland, Belgium and the South Coast.

Over this period our experience of sailing the boat gave us great confidence in her seaworthiness. Sailing back across the North Sea in the teeth of a force seven did not give her any problems, and another time we saw sixty knots on the wind gauge without grief.

In the spring of 2003 when we had owned the boat eleven years, during fitting out I discovered a shocking condition in the hull. In the early eighties the then owners had sheathed the deck with fibreglass, presumably to reduce maintenance. The edge of the sheathing was not sealed properly however, under the teak toe rail. Over twenty years water had penetrated behind the sheathing, been held against the hull and rotted it from the inside out. The rot affected the entire periphery of the hull along the deck line.

St Davids LightCold moulded boats require very specific skills to repair. I was not sure that the skills still existed, however I was recommended to take her to Peter Wilson’s Yard at Aldeburgh. Chris and I sailed her up there and moored her to the same buoy on the Alde where we had first been smitten. As we left in the dinghy we did not know that a recovery was possible and the circularity of the experience was saddening.

The decks were removed to expose the problem, and much scratching of heads took place. Eventually we realised that the framing, which I always thought was redundant, would retain the integrity of the boat even if the hull was completely cut away.

Thus the hull was cut down past the damage all the way round the boat to the same level, leaving the beam shelves and the deck beams supported by the frames. Two thin ply planks were bent round the exposed frame as a base, and successive layers of veneer were laminated over, each layer stepped back into the original hull in order that the glued overlaps would regain the integrity.

St Davids Light BermudaThe transom was removed and renewed. The deck was replaced by new teak on a ply base. It is a tribute to Peter Wilson and his craftsmen that the result was a strong, fair hull with a beautiful swept deck.

I could not put back the original, tired looking deck fittings, so all were replaced, and all the chain plates were remade in polished stainless.

In the spring of 2006 the coach roof windows were renewed.

Future projects include veneering the sides of the coach roof to return her to the finish she had when first built. Perhaps we could go faster with a new rig…………..



Yacht Description


David Orton and Chris Bellamy


Illingworth & Primrose


One Off

Year Designed:


Year Built:



Souters Cowes


12 m

39.6 ft


12 m

xx ft


3.12 m

10.3 ft


1.83 m

6.0 ft


8.63 m

27.6 ft

LOD/LWL Ratio:



7.15 tonnes

Thames Measurement:

12 Tons

Hull Material:


Hull Construction:

Steamed Laminated Frames

Hull Frames:

Cold Moulded


Keel Hung

Sail Material:

Woven Laminate

Deck & Superstructure:

Timber ply laid deck

Superstructure Profile:

Coach Roof


Classic Cruising




Aft Sloping


Masthead Sloop

Engine Make:


Engine HP:


Engine Mounted:




Propeller Blades:


Mast Material:


Mast Configuration:

2 spreaders

Keel Configuration:


Keel Material: