By Peter Johnstone
A set of boat moulds from believed lost forever have been discovered in a Redruth forest, while two special boats created from them returned to Falmouth for a refit.
A team from the Falmouth Boat Co. have been reunited with the Biscay model moulds more than 25 years after production ceased, while the first and last Biscay yachts to leave the yard have both returned ahead of the 2018 Golden Globe Race.
Biscay 36 class ketch yachts Vizcaya, launched in 1975, and Ele May, built in 1990, are currently at the company’s headquarters at Little Falmouth Yacht Yard in Flushing, and their presence inspired the company to search for the lost moulds.
Lisa Young, who deals with marketing for the company, said the original boat shells had been supplied to the yard by two companies, Cygnus in Penryn and another in Christchurch, Dorset, and so the moulds had never been in Flushing.
She said: “When we were given the first and last Biscays ahead of the race we wondered where they had gone.”
The team started digging around on social media and internet forums, not expecting to find the moulds, and they were contacted by someone who knew a set existed in Redruth.
The current owner does not want his identity or the location of the moulds identified, but the company is hoping to be able to buy them from him.
However, said Lisa, moving them would take a lot of tree work, especially as there is a tree growing through part of the mould, and there is a question over whether they would survive being lifted and transported.
The company is also hoping that the 2018 Golden Globe Race, which will see 30 competitors attempt a 27,000 mile non-stop circumnavigation in pre-1988-design boats, will spark a renewed interest in the Biscay 36 class ketch.
The race is the first Golden Globe since the 1968 race, which saw Robin Knox-Johnson return to Falmouth as the sole finisher after 312 days at sea, having become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world.
Entrants must race a production yacht between 32 and 36ft long, designed before 1988 with traditional long keels and stern hung rudders.
French sailor Antoine Cousot and American-Palestinian yachtsman Nabil Amra have both chosen Biscay 36s, and will hope to do the yard proud.
Jonathan Fielding, owner of Falmouth Boat Co, said: “Our refits of the Biscay 36s for the 2018 Golden Globe race has generated new interest in this class of yacht.
“We’re delighted to have been invited to see the moulds that supplied our yard and it would be wonderful to re-establish the heritage of Little Falmouth Yacht Yard if we could see them housed here.
“If it proves possible, the yard that built packet ships and re-rigged the Cutty Sark in 1923 could yet see a young generation of boatbuilders producing Biscay 36s.”