Aeolus, a 1904 plank-on-edge custom racing boat is the perfect vessel for the purist classic yachtsman. A towering rig gives the boat her traditional appearance, which continues throughout the working with its authentic block and tackle system. Of course, looks aren’t the only thing going for this classic yacht. The redesigned sail plan uses modern sailcloth to give the boat power and speed when slicing through the waves. Think of her as a lightweight pilot cutter.
Steeped in history, Aeolus was built in California in 1904, probably for racing in San Francisco bay. The timing and location of her original built is what lends the boat its distinctive, elegant West-Coast style. To continue this experience she has the original methods of sailing with traditional white ropes, wood blocks, cream sails, and a long wood tiller, avoiding any modern kit to spoil the appearance. The current owner has a laid-back approach to sailing her, opting for sweeping wood decks, ideal for sunbathing.
For racing Aeolus works best with a crew of eight working closely together to handle the seven sails we use in light winds. Crew members, both experienced and new to the waves, love sailing the boat as it produces a marvellous team spirit. From coordinating efforts in setting the sails and belaying the many ropes, moving around the deck as a cohesive team simply adds to the pleasure of sailing her. Aeolus has attracted many modern boat sailors to experience the more elegant and calm approach of classic yacht racing. The current owner has particularly enjoyed the generous support in the early days in learning from other boat owners and then developing his own style to introduce people to traditional sailing and running the crew as a team.
Aeolus is a practical yacht and has embraced the modern world with a powerful Volvo 55hp engine, the latest navigation equipment, and boasts a dacron sailcloth. The boat is easy to run and handle, and when cruising Aeolus is sailed in a relaxed manner; fewer sails de-power the boat, allowing finger-tip control by the helmsmen of the perfectly balanced rig while crew have a drink.
The interior was empty when the current owner first purchased her. After advice from Tom and Ros Cunliffe and Ed Burnett, a traditional plan was drawn to accommodate the crew of eight with simple modern facilities to allow weekend and longer distance sailing. Over five winters each part of the interior was hand built, largely from reclaimed timber, to give a fully-functioning interior which can comfortably house the crew. The kitchen tap has even been replaced by a charming (and easy-to-use) brass pump, calling back to the boat’s early 19th century beginnings.
The current owner has been sailing and racing Aeolus constantly for 14 years, and over that time has developed and improved her sailing qualities, making her into a race-winning and practical boat. It is time to pass her on to a new owner who can further enhance Aeolus and her reputation. The boat has been fully restored, is complete with everything required for sailing her and living on her, with every aspect of the boat maintained to a high standard.