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Coral of Cowes XL
Based on a photograph by Nic Compton
Medium: acrylic on linen canvas. Pewter-coloured frame and white inner slip.
Size: 47.25 x 31.5 inches (120 cm x 80 cm)
About the Coral of Cowes
Built in 1902 by White Brothers of Southampton (to Lloyds +100A1 standards) and designed by Fred Shepherd, Coral of Cowes is a fine sailing yacht of solid construction, elegant lines and proven sea worthiness. Not only were the best materials used, but every design detail checked against those stringent requirements at all stages of construction. Her massive construction was indeed unusual for a yacht designed to be raced in the Solent. However, that very high standard, and resultant strength, have undoubtedly contributed to her remarkable state of preservation: as during the pre-war years she was routinely dry docked for the winter. She has a Length of 80 ft (24.4 m), her beam is 15 ft (4.6 m), and her draft is 10 ft (3 m). Her original owner was Dr. J. MacMahon of Cork, Ireland. He apparently named her Bamba III. Then, in 1923, she was purchased by a Sir Hugh Drummond, who was the Chairman of the South Western Railway in England. He renamed her Coral. She was sold again, this time to a Mr. Frank Chaplin.
Coral was registered in Cowes and spent the first thirty-six years of her life racing under the Royal Yacht Squadron burgee. Her real heyday came with some maturity at around thirty years old and her much coveted trophies include Winner of the King’s Cup in 1926 and 1928. She came 3rd in the 1932 Queen Mary’s Cup then going on to win it in 1934. During the Second World War Coral was laid up so that her twenty-five ton lead keel could be removed for the metal, essential to the war effort. Since then, she has been lived on and cared for at Souter’s boatyard, in Cowes. Forty years as a house boat in Cowes, and therefore not sailing in the immediate post-war years, provides a strong clue to Coral's remarkable condition today.
Coral was meticulously rebuilt in 2005 and refitted in 2011 with sympathy to her classic features, conserving most of her original accommodation and restoring her joinery work and panelling throughout. The original construction was of two-inch-thick Rangoon teak planks laid over five-inch square English oak frames, with bronze fastenings. While still original above the waterline, it must be noted that in restoring her lead keel, her timbers below were also renewed, the teak planks replaced with Keroin, a Malaysian hardwood, which have been laid over new frames of laminated Iroko and with silicon bronze fastenings. Her new teak decks, laid to the original kingplank, toe rail and original superstructure survive in excellent condition. Her main, fore masts (2004), bowsprit and spars are all of Oregon pine; and she has standing rigging of galvanized steel (2004) with stainless steel forestay; and all sails by Doyle in cream Dacron (from 2002): Jib topsail, working jib, staysail, fore main, main, fore main topsail, main topsail.