Class: MG43

There were seven MG43s in all. Being originally naval yachts, they formed classes, with class names. Five were based in Dartmouth (BRNC): Pegasus (not Petrel, though she may of course been renamed), Leopard, Gryphis, Martlet and Wyvern (think Heraldry) and two in Plymouth (Manadon): Galahad and Gawaine (think Round Table). At Dartmouth, each yacht was attached to a division, the divisions being named after Admirals from the past. Being naval, they also flew the White Ensign, which suited them rather well. The Navy hung on to the names, so if the yacht is on Part I, the name will have some addition (Spirit of Gawaine, Leopard of Avon, then Falmouth etc).

They were designed and built to be the ultimate West Channel Sail Training Craft, to replace the ‘Windfall’ (war reparations) yachts, which were not so well suited to West Country waters. Originally with no engines, and huge fractional rigs to compensate, they ended up with engines (Sabb 2HGs by the end of their time with the Navy) and after an incident in the late 1960s in the North Sea (a cadet lost overboard), their rigs were cut down to a more manageable size. This is why seen beam on the rig – now masthead – appears to be a bit far forward – it is. The original masts had another approx 11ft, and the boom approx 3ft, so quite a big slab was taken off the leach of the main. The Navy sold the yachts sometime around the early 1980s.

While looking for a MG43, I came across and/or saw Leopard, Pegasus, Martlet, Wyvern, Galahad and Gawaine (the latter was not built by Morgan Giles but Taylors of Shoreham, with minor differences to the MG yachts). It is said on reasonable authority that Gryphis had been lost in the Red Sea – so if Gryphis is in Chichester that will be quite an achievement!

Information courtesy of Chris Sinclair

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Boat List: Galahad
Leopard of Falmouth