It has been great fun to learn that the Wigeon of Fearn, the yacht which took my on an infamous cruise around the Mediterranean in 1963, it not only still alive but very well, having been purchased and restored by Anne and Jim Foster who live on the West coast of Scotland. The Wigeon is now their home and has been entered into the UK National Register of Historic Vessels.
The Wigeon began her long life as a Gentleman’s Yacht built in 1936 by J.M. Miller & Sons of St. Monans, located just over 12 miles south of St Andrews and the smallest of the East Neuk fishing ports. It was powered by a diesel engine and was of timber carvel construction with a hull of teak and oak. Her design was based on a fishing trawler (which is why she survived during a terrible mistral storm tossed us about on the crossing from Italy to Corsica–a storm which sent six less sturdy Chris Craft vessels to Davy Jones’ locker). She measured 56 feet in length, 14.6 feet breadth, and 5.9 feet depth with a gross tonnage of 37 tons.
She served with the Royal Navy from 1939 to 1945 as a Senior Officer Armed Patrol Tender at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys Islands when private yachts were commandeered to by part of the anti-submarine fleet on the lookout for German U-Boats.
In 1977 she took part in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations on the River Thames and in the Spithead Fleet Review.
Fitted with new engines in 1996 and outfitted as a floating home, she has taken on an elegant look with her new canvas sidings.
And as you can see, she is still as seaworthy as ever. My thanks to the current owners for all the great photos.
The interior still features that gorgeous polished oak table and benches that we gathered around to share meals of broiled eel and bourbon soaked birthday cake back in 1963. But with some new decorative touches by the current owners. What a marvelous 78 years of sailing history with an adventure or two thrown in.
Hi there, Karen,
I am delighted to see your blog featuring Wigeon of Fearn.
My husband and I are currently in the process of buying Wigeon from Anne & Jim Foster (absolutely delightful couple). We are so smitten with the Wigeon, we have been trawling the web for history.
We’ve seen Robin Williams’ article, were you on that same cruise? The photo of the students on board in what looks like an Italian harbour, is fantastic. (Don’t suppose you have any more photos?).
If you have any photos/memories, or anything to share with us, we’d be most grateful.
Wigeon is currently moored in a canal off the west coast of Scotland, we hope to get her moving next spring. Then (maybe somewhat ambitiously) plan to retrace you steps and take her to the Med in 2023.
Margo Scott Cathro
I crewed on her in the 60’s as a charter trip. Skipper was Jim Capel.
A beautiful boat.
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Amazing to hear from someone else who was aboard the Wigeon in the Sixties. I would love to hear more about your journey, the where’s and when’s. I’m sure that Jim was our Captain as well. You can message me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you care to.