02 Mar Classic Boats – February 2019
A Camper & Nicholson yawl that lay unused for 20 years has been given a new life by a first-time classic yacht owner in Viareggio.
It had been a 20-year wait out of commission and then a three-year restoration. Now the 1923 Camper and Nicholson yawl Barbara had only to sit patiently while speeches were made and some photographs were taken. Her new owner Roberto Olivieri spoke, as did Enrico Zaccagni who had managed the restoration, and the comandante of the local coastguard, and the vice president of the local yacht club, the Club Nautico Versilia. In the warm Italian sunshine, the crowd clapped. All those involved in the project were congratulated and then photographed together under the bow, before to great applause Barbara slid graciously back into the water. Barely three hours later she was sailing again. Barbara was designed by Charles E Nicholson, one of 11 yawls he produced, three of which came after the First World War.
Barbara was launched in 1923 at Camper and Nicholsons’ Gosport yard for Herbert Hines, a London insurance broker. Her home port was Portsmouth under Hines and second owner Harold Edwards, until in 1928 she moved to France with Baron Amaury de la Grange, a French aviator and politician. De la Grange kept her in Dunkirk initially, then Cannes, where she was sold on again, to Compte Jean de la Vogue in 1930. De la Vogue was the international manager of Moët & Chandon and in the same year that he bought Barbara, he decided to create Dom Perignon champagne. He was clearly in a celebratory mood. Barbara had moved fast between owners, but she inspired a loyalty to Camper and Nicholsons in two of her early owners: Edwards subsequently had two early 1960s ocean racers built at the Gosport yard, both called Sardonyx; and de la Vogue commissioned the yard to build two ketches, the first of which was the 70ft Eryx in 1959 (while he still owned Barbara), the second the 82ft 6in Eryx II in 1964, in which aged 72 he later sailed around the world.