SHEILA was designed by W. Starling Burgess and built by Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, #861 in 1922 to represent the USA in the British American Cup Series.
She is built from Honduras mahogany and white oak, and all bronze fastenings throughtout. She is in almost original condition and racing with great success. She is the only 6 metre in existence to have been built by Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, a very rare and unique boat indeed.
This past winter she had a major refit and overhaul of her rig converting her from Marconi to gaff rig. So everything above the deck is brand new, all spars are professinally made using high grade sitka spruce, all blocks are wooden and new, much care was taken to keep the appearance of such a classic
She is a fast and exciting boat, and a true piece of maritime history.
Tight seamed carvel planked 3/4" Honduras mahagany, screw fastened to 1"x1 1/4" steamed oak timbers at 6" centres. Oak backbone with bronze through bolts. 3.5 tons lead keel, bronze bolts. Fractional rig on original Herreshoff mast with distinct bend.
Sheila was the first boat built at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company that wasn't designed by Capt Nat Herreshoff. Starling Burgess, an aircraft designer and close friend of Herreshoff designed Sheila for Paul Hammond. She was on the first American team of six-meter boats to race in England in 1921. Her sail number was US4. After the race she remained in England
Iain Rutherford bought Sheila, in August 1933. He wrote a book called "At the Tiller" about his journeys in her around the North West coast and islands of Scotland but also his circumnavigation of Ireland and his trip to Norway.
In 1938 she was sold to A.W. Blair who kept her on the Clyde, converted to a yawl and converted back to her original name, Sheila. She was cruised and raced by him until 1953 when she was sold to Tony Withers. She reverted to sloop rig in 1959, when she was sold to a Mr Brown
In 1964 she was bought by J Chambers and R E Shepperd and once more she was called Suilven. Between 1964 and 1969 she was badly damaged in Port Patrick in Scotland. She dragged her anchor and stove in part of her stern against the stone wall of the harbour. Due to the weight of lead on her keel she sunk quickly and the pressure of air inside her hull broke up the decks. She was salvaged by Shepherd who had her repaired by local craftsmen.
Due to pressure of work she was virtually laid up between 1969 and 1973 when she was bought by M Gordon and J Allison. In 1975 she was sold to David Rennie who owned her until she was bought by Pete and Annie Hill in 1977.
When they bought her she was superficially run down but basically in very good order. They conducted a complete refit, taking out the engine and installing the present bridgedeck and watertight bulkheads and rebuilding the interior of the cabin from scratch. At the same time the deck was cleared of all fittings and recanvassed. They called the boat Sheila again and lived aboard her at Glasson Dock near Lancaster. Their sailing in her took place around the Irish sea. At this time she was apparently in perfect condition. The hull had a superb finish and she waskept immaculately.
Pete and Annie Hill built themselves another boat called Badger, in which they cruised extensively and wrote books, one of which was "Voyaging on a small budget", Annie wrote regularly in the Yachting monthly. they sold Sheila in 1982, to Gerald O' Brien, when all the recommendations on the survey were carried out by Maurice Parvin of Gosport.
She was sold to an American, Ryan Castiller, who began a thorough refit. Ryan died towards the beginning of 1986 not having completed the refit. On 27th November 1986, Mr Robinson of Kent bought her. Eddy Richards of Cowes was commissioned to convert the boat back to her original spec and appearance. No plans were available but research revealed photos of Sheila from Beken of Cowes from which it was possible to restore her to her original appearance. The original deck lay out was re instated with twin cockpits. New sails were supplied by Ratseys in1989 (mainsail and racing genoa).
A new Vire single cylinder petrol engine was bought and fitted in 1990, complete with a folding 12.5" x 8" two bladed bronze prop.
The sails are in reasonable order and consists of the Ratseys mainsail, Racing genoa, a no 3 a storm jib and a spinnaker which could be renewed.
She is a fast and exiting little boat in good condition. Her history of cruising with Rutherford before the war, gives much confidence in her ability as a sea boat and she can be pushed hard without undue concern. She can be tacked and turned quickly and will take a steep sea with ease. She attracts much attention whenever she is out.
The current owner purchased Sheila in 2011 and bought her to his boatyard in Kent UK where they proceeded to undertake a major restoration of her hull and it now looks like brand new even though roughly 90% of it is her original fabric. A new interior has been fitted with 2-3 berths as accommodation, also to go with her original Marconi rig which is in good order, They have put a new gaff rig and everything is brand new and to a very high standard. She is a very well sorted boat and ready to take on everything thrown at her. She is currently based in the UK, on the North Kent Coast of England.
The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.
18 Burnside Street
PO Box 717
Bristol, RI 02809