Setting foot onboard of Coch y Bondhu (meaning black and white in Gaelic and the name of a dragonfly) is like travelling back in time into the yachting golden age. Built in England in 1936 for the owner of the Times Magazine, this amazing ketch proved its worth racing many Solent regattas. During the Second World War, as well as many boat, it was requisitioned for the troops evacuation that were blocked in Dunkerque.
Paolo Zangheri discovered her in 2006, in a sad state of abandonment, completely empty and stripped of her chandlers. He started a deep refit for two years, recovering as many original pieces as possible and manufacturing the missing ones in the respect of the original plans. The result is amazing, meticulously detailed, such as the deck built exclusively with 3,5 cm teak battens, revealing Paolo’s true passion. “I love wooden boats, their lines, and sailing with them. They are slow, but it is another way to see the sea”. He has enormous faith in his boat. He finds her more stable and robust than it used to be. His only fear: “Sailors will suffer more than the boat”.
The crew members, Claudio, nicknamed “Toro”, Ivano and Renato, have known Paolo for a while as they regularly sailed together during the meetings in the Adriatic, in Venice, or in Trieste. So, when he is asked about his ambitions for the Panerai Transat Classique 2019, Paolo remains modest: “being on the start-line of the Transat Classique is an old project, it is important for us to be here. We want to keep making the boat history. We are here to take part of the adventure” he said and carried on “but we will give it our all to go as fast as possible.” Another way to go across the time… and the ocean.
Coch y Bondhu en chiffres
Shipyard: Berthon, Lymington, UK
Architect: Rodney Paul – Laurent Giles
LOA: 15,12 m / 49’6’’
Beam: 3,50 m / 11’14’’
Rigging: ketch bermudien
Sail Surface: 96 m2