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016 Mikado

MikadoMikado was built for Sir William Corry and was one of two Fifes, designed and built as contributions to the new Clyde Linear 30 class in 1904. Four other yachts of her kind were designed by Mylne and built in this first year including her sister ship Armyne and Corrie. (The 1908 Corrie (BCYC: C020) was built for Mr W C Collins to replace the original 1904 Corrie - contemporary of Mikado. On 28 September 1903 the Clyde Club Conference passed a motion for the new class of the 30 footers, which took over from the 23 footers. 

Until the 1920's Mikado retained her original format as a day racer with two cockpits and a large gaff cutter rig, set on a pole mast with a short bowsprit. Accounts of the 30 footer races conjure up a wonderful image of summer afternoon racing on the Upper Firth, and although the class appears to have enjoyed close and evenly matched racing in their first three seasons, with no clear winner overall, the Fairlie boats are certainly a favourite. "The majority of both first and second prizes have gone to the new Fairlie 30 footers in the last four of five races", reported on 23 June 1904 in 'The Yachtsman'. In her second season Mikado achieved a total of 6 firsts, 3 seconds and thirds out of 36 starts, placing her third place overall out eight 30 footers. 

This success changed, however, when in 1907 the launch of three new designs to the same restricted rule spoilt the class by being considerably faster. Interestingly, one of the 1907 boats who entered the Clyde Linear 30 Class was Corrie, (BCYC: C020), and, over half a century on, these two classics still enjoy the very close occasional match racing, Corrie being longer, but Mikado more heavily rigged. 

Mikado retained her original rig and deck layout but was then converted in the 1920s, like so many gaff rigs, to a cruiser racer with a Bermudan rig. There is a Fife drawing of Mikado with a sloop rig but photos in the 1930's show that she in fact remained a cutter, retaining an enormous boom, short bowsprit, no fixed backstay and two or maybe three small headsails. 

MikadoAfter a varied life lying on the Clyde, in Ireland and on the East Coast of the Medway, Mikado was acquired by Chris Cracknell and restored between 1990 and 1995 after she was found in a sad dilapidated condition in Exeter. Fortunately much of her frames and planking survived, and amazingly so has her 1938 mast, but she has endured extensive work to restore her, including new floors and straps, new deck, new bronze and metal fittings (most made by Chris), a new Dolphin petrol engine, new interior and coach roof. 

The object of the restoration was to re-create her cruiser-racer period but with a wider coach roof loosely modelled on Fife's own Clio of 1921. The interior is oak panelled, with minimal modern intrusion, and the result is a two to three berth cruiser racer, well able to compete on the ISC rating without age allowance in light to moderate winds.  

Mikado has a higher aspect ratio with her Bermudan cutter rig than in the 1920-30's, which is achieved by losing her bowsprit and overhanging boom, the addition of a large masthead yankee, a fixed back stay with runners, a masthead spinnaker and, with her mast never moved back from its gaff rigged position, a very large mainsail area. Her aspect ratio is still low by modern standards, and by International Rule standards, as comparison with Corrie's sloop rig show. Nonetheless Mikado has awesome power in light weather, as witness her second place in Class 8 at Cowes week 2002, with three firsts and four line honours.

Yacht Description


Michael & Beverley Briggs


W Fife III



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W Fife Fairlie


xxx m

42 ft


xxx m

xx ft


xxx m

8.6 ft


xxx m

6.6 ft


xxx m

30 ft

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7 3/4 tonnes

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Mahogany and Pitch Pine

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Bermudan Cutter

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xxx spreaders

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