When Fred Meyer, the then Chairman of the International Eight Metre Class Association found Severn, a 1929 Eight Metre designed and built by William Fife III, he decided to restore her. There was only one drawback – her keel was missing! Many yachts laid up during World War II lost their keels to the war effort.
Enquiries to the Scottish Maritime Museum resulted in a blank. There was no keel drawing for Severn. A few months later there was a request for a keel drawing of another 8-Metre. It was a stroke of luck that this plan indicated that it was used for another four 8-Metre yachts and gave the yard numbers. Severn, No. 786, was one of them. Severn was completely restored and returned to the racing circuit.
It is fortunate that the plans were not lost. They had been rescued from a garden shed on the death of Archibald McMillan, the former owner of Fairlie Yacht Slip Co. This yard was formed after World War II when the former Fife yard was purchased by Colin and Ian Parker.
Fred Meyer also had Rita IV restored. She was a 10M designed by William Fife and built by Thornycroft in Copenhagen for the King of Denmark. Both boats were restored by David Viera in his Absolute yard in Portugal.
Notes by May Fife McCallum, Author of Fast and Bonnie: A history of William Fife & Son Yachtbuilders.