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William Fife Limited 35"
With the winning spirit of her famous namesake, the presence of these Limited Edition sailing ship models names for America’s Cup yacht designer William Fife brighten any room with the graceful speed of the waves and unbound freedom of the wind. The perfect highlight for a bedroom or beach house, office or meeting room sailing from atop a table, mantle or shelf, William Fife are yacht models of true elegance.
35" High x 4" Wide x 27" Long (1:58 scale)
- Individual plank on frame construction of the hull using fine quality woods, with each plank and wood grain visible through the paint
- High quality Craftsmanship and Details, including:
- Clear window panes in all deckhouses
- Brass railing running along gunwales
- Accurate scale of all deck and hull components
- Curved-bottom lifeboat tied-down to deck
- Finely stitched sails with quality rigging
- Significant research to guarantee accuracy of this model includes sources such as photos, historical plans and original artwork
- Pre-assembled, simply attach the masts and display
- Ready to display in less than five minutes
- Separate pre-assembled hull and sails ensure safe shipping and lower cost
- Insert mast in designated hole and clip brass rigging hooks as shown in illustrations
- Sails and rigging already complete
William Fife III (1857-1944), also known as Wm. Fife, Jr., was the third generation of a family of Scottish yacht designers and builders.
Fife was born in the small village of Fairlie on the Firth of Clyde. His father and grandfather (both also named William and often referred to as Fife I and Fife II) had also been designers and boatbuilders in Fairlie. The family business operated from a yard on the beach in the village. Fife began building yachts in 1890 and soon surpassed the achievements of his father and grandfather and became known as one of the premier yacht designers of the day.
As the third generation of a venerable Scottish boat building family, William Fife inherited a rich legacy but was quick to establish his own reputation as one of the top designers in the yachting world. Often dominating his chief competitors, Fife was a master of his trade who received commissions from European royalty and from clients as far away as Australia. Following on the heels of the success of his design Dragon (1888?), Fife adopted a stylized Chinese dragon as his trademark. Thereafter, those yachts that took shape on the shingle at Fairlie were known throughout the yachting world by this distinctive scrollwork.
Fife designed two America's Cup yachts for grocery and tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton who challenged for the cup a total of five times. The Fife designed Shamrock I lost to Columbia in 1899 and Shamrock III lost to Reliance in 1903. After the establishment of the first International Rule in 1906, Fife became a prolific designer of meter boats, designing and building several very successful 15- and 19-meter yachts in the years leading up to the Great War.
Éric Tabarly, the famous French sailor, two time winner of the OSTAR and owner of the Fife design Pen Duick (ex Yum, 1898), writing on the designs produced by Fife during the first few decades of the century noted that: "the great designers of the period were Herreshoff, Watson, Nicholson and William Fife. Amongst these, Fife has acquired a particular reputation thanks to the sheer artistry and balance of his designs. Furthermore, those of his designs which took shape in his yard were of unmatched construction."
While Fife established a leading reputation on the yacht racing circuit, his work also included a number of fine cruising vessels. Dr. William Collier of Fairlie Restorations in Hamble, UK, writing on Fife's work in the 1920s, noted that during this period, ”[Fife] designed and built not only smaller Metre boats but also a series of fine cruisers. This combination typified the inter-war era of the Fairlie yard. Like the schooner Altair, many of the cruisers echo his turn of the century designs such as Cicerly or Suzanne; similarly there were few fundamental differences in his ketch designs spanning this era. Perceived by some as anachronistic, these yachts were considered by many to represent some of the greatest refinements of the auxiliary cruising yacht ever achieved.” Id.
The Fife yard also had a reputation for the extremely high quality of the craftsmanship of the yachts built at the yard. Today, it is thought that there are somewhat less than 100 Fife designs still in existence. Of these, there are perhaps fifty or so still sailing. Of the larger vessels, Altair, Belle Aventure, Cambria, Halloween, the Lady Anne, Moonbeam of Fife, Moonbeam IV, Mariquita and Tuiga grace the classic yacht circuit in Europe. In North America, the Fife ketchs, Adventuress and Sumurun, can be found in the waters of New England.
Fife once said that the secret of a great yacht was that it should be both "fast and bonnie".
Fife was awarded an OBE for his work. He died in 1944, never having married and without an heir. He is buried in Largs. The yard was continued for some years after his death by his nephew, but never achieved the renown known under Fife's ownership.