The Eventider's News




Issue 13 Autumn/Winter 2009



Page  5


The sad outcome of a 'Wild Affair'

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'Wild Affair'

A MG designed  Francis Drake 37.....


Hello John,

I saw on your website that you were interested in obtaining any info re Golden Hinds built in the past.

We used to own 'Wild Affair' - she was the first (and probably the last) Francis Drake 37 built, before Terry Erskine took over building the Golden Hind 39s.

I have attached a photo of the various meagre bits of info I have - the blue brochure shows Wild Affair on the cover, while the photos on the sheet on the RHS of the photo are ones I took of Wild Affair.

She had apparently been built (pirated?) by a firm called Bailey Marine in Plymouth for a retired farmer who sailed her to the West Indies (and had many wild affairs along the way - but these were not with female sailors, rather they were trials and tribulations of everything breaking down and going wrong.....).

He put her up for sale in Antigua in 1978, where a friend of my parents saw her, fell in love with her, wanted to buy her but didnt have enough dosh, so asked my folks and another partner to join him, and he would buy them out within the next 2 years.

A year later my folks found themselves landed with this boat, as the other two partners had lost interest - and they really didnít want to have the boat, and knew nothing about steel boat maintenance. But they decided to keep her, and do some sailing.....

She was an expensive project for the 11 years that we had her, and we learnt a lot from her about how steel boats should not be built and outfitted......

My parents eventually sold her (for very little money) in about 1990 I think to a chap here who had a restaurant - but he had no time to work on her, so he sold her on for even less (literally peanuts), to a friend of a friend of mine - and a few weeks later she came ashore in the aftermath of a hurricane.

One of the harbour tugs was engaged to pull her off the rocks (she was only a bit dented, thanks to steel construction!) but in the process ripped off one of the bilge keels - and then she sank in about 30' of water - and this is where she is still today.

My friend had managed to salvage the rig and Hydrovane off her (and he still has that in storage). We 'found' her about 8 or 9 years ago and went scuba diving on her - it was quite eerie seeing her on the bottom, all covered in coral, after having previously been involved in re-building and sailing her.

The General arrangement drawing is of the first GH 39 'Illusion' - it was supplied to me by Terry Erskine.

I met Richard and Carol of Illusion here in (I think) early 1979 after they had crossed the Atlantic, and I remember being hugely impressed by how she was so light years better designed (re layout) and built than Wild Affair.

I also have copies of the report in YM about Illusion. And I have a copy somewhere of the GH 31 catalogue that is shown on your website.

If you like to have the hard copies of the various bits in the attached photo, you would be most welcome - if you supply me with a mailing address, I will put them in the post.

(We now have a fibreglass Challenger 35, built by Trident Marine in 1991, and bought from the previous owners in 1997 after they had sailed her across the pond to Barbados, where she experienced a fire on board.

We re-fitted her basically then, but she is now long over due for a more comprehensive re-fit -including a new engine, as the Volvo 2003T blew up a few months ago - stuffed a con rod through the block..... :-(  )

Fair winds, and happy sailing times ahead,

Martin Smyth
Crawford and Massiah Associates,
Marine Surveyors and Boat Designers,
Joes River,
St. Joseph BB21030,

scanned images of Wild Affair in better times!


Our grateful thanks to Martin for troubling to write to us and also sending some invaluable information that I am saving to the site.    I did ask if there were any pictures of 'Wild Affair as she is now, would be interesting to see who has moved in!