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068 Kelpie

KelpieKelpie is a Solent One design, designed by Alfred Mylne in 1903. She was designed as a day racer for the Solent and not to any particular rule. I believe the group of owners who commisioned her were keen to ensure that the boats has sufficient scantlings so that they could reasonably be expected to last ten or fifteen years, compared with the extreme racing yachts at the time, which tended to last not more than one season. Indeed one of the Clyde One design class (a very similar Mylne boat) was named Noyra which was an acronym for "NO Yacht racing Association"

Kelpie was one of eleven Solent One design yachts designed my Mylne,all of which were slightly different, but deigned to race as scratch boats against each other. It would appear that eight of these boats were actually built.

The lines of kelpie follow those of a 52 linear rater of the time very closely, the scantlings are very sililar to those of a First Rule 12 metre (not surprising when you consider that Mylne was one of the three or four leading designers who drew up the Metre Rule in 1907)

Kelpie was built in 1904 by JG Fay & Co Southampton, which is one of the yards which was subsequently taken over by camper & Nicholsons. Kelpie is of a typical

construction of the time, with one sawn frame in oak and two bent frames in elm between each sawn frame at about 13inch centres.

The planking is about an inch and a quarter thick and of pitch pine below the water line and yellow pine above. originally Kelpie would have had a yellow pine deck but this was replaced long ago by a teak laid deck.

I have no details of Kelpie's early racing record. I do know that she was re-rigged in 1923 so that sh could be re-rated as a 12 metre and compete in that class. At that time 12 metres were still gaff rigged with an enormous spread of sail. Kelpie was apparently reasonably succesful fo a year or two but must have been quickly outclassed once the 12 metres moved to a Bermudan rig.

I heard that, some time before the war, there was a fire at the boatyard where most of the Soplent One designs were kept. Most of them were burnt.

I am told that some time in the 60's Kelpie herself suffered from an internal fire during which much of her original interior was destroyed. Apparently sorting out the insurance claim took a year or more during which time further substantial deterioriation of the boat took place.

The boat was restored by Adrian Stone under the ownership of Brian Keelan about 25 years ago. At some stage (I think as part of this restoration) a steel RSJ was inserted as a sort of keelson  in order to strengthen the keel, in particular the stem and the join of the stem to the keel. A more substantial interior was fitted at this time as well, all of which wiighed the boat down well below her marks.

At some stage half a ton was taken off the back of the keel and another half ton from the front in order to lighten her somewhat, however when I acquired her she still weighed circa 19tons compared with her designed weight of 17.5 tons. Some of you BCYC members will have seen Kelpie racing at our Cowes regatta in the strong wings of 2009 and have noticed that a combination of low freeboard, overweight, and lightened keel resulted in Kelpie at times giving a very good impression on a submarine.

The time has come for a major restoration of kelpie, and this has commenced at Fairlie's yard. A new self draining cockpit will be constructed. (to Mylne's original designs circa 1920)  A new rudder,stem and sternpost fitted to replace the existing rotten ones.

A substantial amount of weight has also to be taken out of the boat, the engine and propeller replaced with a lighter one offset and projecting from the quarter to allow the hole in the stern post and rudder to be filled.

I hope to have Kelpie sailing againb in time for the 2010 BCYC Regatta, however sh will be very much work in progress with nothing much having been done to her decks or her spars and sails.

The plan then is to take Kelpie to the Mediterranian for the later CIM classics in ordere to get some idea of her race characteristics and performance before completing the restoration (funds permitting) in the winter of 2010/11.

I would welcome and corrections, or any additional information or contacts which would allow me to build up a fuller picture of Kelpie's past. I can be contacted at



Yacht Description


Mr Pelham Olive


Alfred Mlyne


Solent One Design

Year Designed:


Year Built:



J.G. Fay & Co


xxx m

65 ft


xxx m

57.6 ft


xxx m

10.10 ft


xxx m

7.68 ft


xxx m

38 ft

LOD/LWL Ratio:



17.5 tonnes

Thames Measurement:


Hull Material:


Hull Construction:


Hull Frames:

Steamed Timber


Keel Hung

Sail Material:


Deck & Superstructure:


Superstructure Profile:

Coach Roof


Classic Cruising




Aft Sloping



Engine Make:


Engine HP:


Engine Mounted:




Propeller Blades:


Mast Material:


Mast Configuration:

1 spreaders

Keel Configuration:


Keel Material: