EXTRAORDINARY BOATS
EXTRAORDINARY BOATS
RUPERT HOLMES ON BLT

Owner Sam Laidlaw has enjoyed considerable success in the very competitive Quarter Tonner class. He gathered an impressive collection of trophies in the eight years he raced his Aguila, including the Quarter Ton Cup twice and the class at Cowes Week on four successive occasions.

When he was looking for his next boat he chose another Quarter Tonner, naturally. But the revived class doesn’t allow newly built boats, and there is now a finite collection of potentially competitive boats since the class’s rebirth in 2005 has seen a committed collection of owners restore many of the best vintage designs.

BLT was the Jacques Fauroux-designed Bullit, winner of the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup in New Zealand. In all just seven Bullits were built, three of which won consecutive Quarter Ton Cups in 1978, 1980 and 1981, and they have become increasingly sought-after.

BLT had been living out her retirement in the Pacific before she was rediscovered by Rob Gray, who has sailed with Sam Laidlaw for a couple of decades, including as joint owners of the classic Sparkman & Stephens One Tonner Clarinet.

Having recently sold Clarinet, the pair decided to take on the project together, and shipped BLT back to the UK. She was transported over to the Isle of the Wight under cover of night to be rebuilt in Cowes, and, amazingly the project stayed under the radar until shortly before she was launched for the 2019 Quarter Ton Cup.

There were already four Bullit designs in the Solent fleet, including Julian Metherell’s Bullit and Louise Morton’s Bullet, the latter winner of the 1979 Quarter Ton Cup in San Remo. Another Bullit design, Protis, winner of the 1981 championship, also won the 2019 Cup, in Ian Southworth’s hands.

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April 2020