Undina

Thought originally to have been launched as ‘Impeccable’, Undina was designed by Phillip L Rhodes as sister ship to Josephine (BCYC-C001).   Although these two yachts share the same interesting drop keel design, they were built by different yards. Josephine by H Heidtmann in Hamburg, 1954; Undina at Abeking & Rasmussen in 1953.

The Trimmingham family of Bermuda, who owned a large number of lovely yachts over the years, owned Undina for some time. In 1984 however, as Undina, she came into the ownership of Ross Gannon who, with Nat Benjamin, founded the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway, which has become the renowned wooden boat yard on Martha’s Vineyard.   Ross owned Undina for nine years, and although she was in a dilapidated state when he found her, her original structural design and cosmetic make up was sound.   The only alteration he made was the conversion of her rig from a 7/8 fractional to masthead sloop.  Whilst living on board, Ross advertised her for sale through Berthon International and her seductive shape caught the eye of Tim Blackman, who eighteen months previously had owned Bettine and was yearning to get back on the water.

A joint venture arrangement between Tim and his old school friend, Mart Coad, resulted in the purchase of Undina in early 1993. Ross prepared her for the voyage and an amateur crew from the UK flew over to sail her back.  After a twenty-eight day crossing she was in Lymington, but with the recession biting hard the decision was made to put the boat on the market in 1994.   John Swansborough bought and kept her on the East coast where he maintained her fine condition.

In 2001 she was up for sale once more and, with the direction of his local marina at Ipswich, Griff Rhys-Jones’ family were introduced to Undina.    After hunting for a classic yacht up and down the East Coast Griff looked at every wooden yacht available, but saw nothing to match Undina – so a deal was done.   The Staley yard at Faversham was commissioned to give her a complete refit over the winter of 2001 and in the early summer she emerged from the shed in beautiful condition. Griff sailed Undina across the North Sea and through the Kiel Canal to the Flensburg Classic Regatta, where she was the only British yacht participating, before cruising through the Baltic to St Petersburgh and finally back to Helsinki.

Information courtesy of Waseem

The yacht also plays a part in Griff Rhys-Jones’ book ‘To The Baltic With Bob’.   She has since been seen participating in the classic regattas of the Mediterranean.

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