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Year1958 April
Current Sail NumberK 17
International RuleThird Rule AC
Current Statussailing, altered in cruising yacht
Current LocationPreston Marina
Current CountryGB
DesignerDavid Boyd
BuilderAlexr Robertson & Sons Yacht Builders Ltd.
Length Overall21.00 m. - 19.81 m. (1972)
Waterline14.15 m.
Beam3.56 m.
Draught2.76 m.
Displacement27 t.
Sail Area172 sq.m. - 166 sq.m. (1972)
Constructionwood on steel frames
Original OwnerRoyal Yacht Squadron Syndacate
Original NameSCEPTRE
Original CountryGB
Original HomeportCowes
Original Sail NumberK 17
Owner Details & History

Built according to the International Third Rule America's Cup

1958 - 1959 Royal Yacht Squadron Syndicate, headed by Hugh Goodson (member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and Commodore of the Royal Dart YC) - name: Sceptre - home port: Cowes Sceptre was the first Twelve built as a challenger for the America's Cup after the post-war decision to have the Cup Match raced by the Twelve Metres; David Boyd was chosen out of the four best English designers (the others being James McGruer, Charles Nicholson Jr. and Arthur Robb). Sceptre started coming together in October in Alexander Robertson Yard. By December, the 17-ton lead keel, the alternate steel and oak frames, the spruce shelf and bilge stringer were all in place. The African mahogany hull planking was completed middle of February 1958; the mast arrived at the end of March and Sceptre first sailed on April 11. Sea trials ran for the following three months. She was loaded at the beginning of August and arrived in New York middle of August. The first race of the Cup series was on 20th September. The Sceptre project was criticised from the start and her defeat confirmed the criticism: she is outclassed in the Match by Columbia by a score of 4-0. Compared to the pre-war Twelves Sceptre is conceived just to race and the interior accommodation is reduced to the minimum required by the Rule. She has a very large cockpit extended to the base of the mast, this enables to have a weight advantage due to a smaller deck with more weight in the keel, the crew stays in the cockpit and can work better while the crew weight serves to lower the centre of gravity; the crew is not obliged to work on deck with a better balance of the boat; if the winch drums are on deck, their mechanical parts are under it giving greater access and a lower centre of gravity. After the 1958 Match, the large cockpits will be forbidden by the Rule but some of Sceptre innovations will be found again ten years later in Intrepid.

1959 - 1972 Erik A. Maxwell - a noted Scottish racing yachtsman bought her, convinced that she was capable of much more. He slightly modified the yacht with the counter stern shortened by 7 feet and the mast moved aft by about 6 feet; he also re-cut or replaced the sails. Sceptre's performance improved and she won several regattas. She was trial-horse for Sovereign in 1963, Sovereign and Kurrewa V in 1964, to American Eagle. In 1967 she is shipped to the US to act as sparring partner for American Eagle and Dame Pattie. She was considered a valid trial-horse, hard to beat. Back from the States, she was laid up at Berthon Marina.

1972 - 1973 E.A. King

1973 - 1974 I.D. MacKay - home port: Southampton. MacKay intention was to convert Sceptre in a cruising boat. Berthon boat was contracted and started scrapping the boat when McKay suddenly died.

1975 Estate of I.D. Mackay

1976 - 1985 J.D.A. Walker - he purchased Sceptre to continue the conversion in a cruising yacht. The works were partly done by Berhon and then completed over 9 years by Walker in a shed in Lytham St. Annes. The boat was completed with a doghouse, new deck, 12 berths, 2 heads, galley and a Perkins engine. The hull was sheathed with a plastic sheet.

Since 1986 Sceptre Preservation Society - home port: Preston Marina - Tony Walker was successful in forming a consortium of twelve members to purchase Sceptre in order to sell her in the States or charter.

In 2003 the original stern was restored as originally drawn by Boyd. The restoration was completed in 2007.

America's Cup: 1958 17th America's Cup Challenge: Sceptre (skipper Graham Mann) - Columbia (skipper Briggs Cunningham): 0-4 World Championships Results: 2001 in Cowes (America's Cup Jubilee): sixteenth in the Classic division

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