Altricia’s sea trials were a great success

In a steady breeze she was solid, fast and stable

Her new teak deck is a crowning success


Type of boat – 1965 McGruer Cruiser-Racer

Refit/Work completed – Full structural, cosmetic and systems refit

When the organisers of the 2016 London Boat Show were seeking a centrepiece attraction for their ‘60’s Revival’ feature to showcase the best of that decade’s classic yacht-building, they could hardly have picked a better example than the stunning 8-M cruiser-racer ‘Altricia’.

Today, she looks as good as she did 50 years ago, sliding into the Clyde for the first time in 1965 – and it has been a professional pleasure and privilege for the Marine Team at Mylor Yacht Harbour to restore her lines and lustre during a comprehensive two year refit.

That combined turning the clock back by employing the time-served skills of our traditional shipwrights, with applying up-to-the-minute technological advances in adhesives, finishes, electronics and engineering. And the project not only ensured that this important maritime heritage endures for fresh generations – it also enabled us to invite students from Falmouth Marine School and Falmouth University to work alongside the Marine Team.

“We have the skills to match any vessel – ancient or modern – but to be entrusted with a rare classic yacht like Altricia is a real privilege,” says Mylor Yacht Harbour’s Managing Director Roger Graffy. “Our master craftsmen have decades of experience between them and a project like this allows us to nurture younger talent to make sure we take those brilliant classic skills into the future.”


The mahogany on oak-built Altricia was sound but worn and sorry-looking when she was brought to us in 2013 by her owner. As a qualified boat-builder himself he has a keen eye for nautical quality and had scoured Europe for a McGruer designed and built 8-M cruiser-racer, before finally finding Altricia ashore in Porthmadog, Wales.

The owner was already well aware of our reputation for unrivalled workmanship; for several years we looked after his previous classic yacht, the 1930’s West Solent One Design ‘Dilkusha’ – herself a London Boat Show star back in 2004. He says: “One of the jewels in Mylor’s crown is the fact that it is an ‘all trades’ yard – they have everything there and the quality is superb.”


Frankly, it needed to be – if only to match the achievement of Altricia’s makers. Shipwright Chris ‘Ollie’ Oliver has practised his trade for 40 years, yet says: “What blew me away was the craftsmanship we found – the original build was outstanding. I’ve never seen anything put together quite like that. Everything – the planking, all the splines – is first class.”

We are quietly confident the McGruer’s crew would be equally admiring of our own work. The deck was removed and the engine fuel and water tanks taken out to give access to the planking. There was significant damage around the fastenings holding the strap floors to the frame; these were repaired, the strap floors re-galvanised and a couple of plank sections replaced.

The keel was removed and the keel bolts and throat bolts changed. All done below, she was sealed and repainted.

The end result

Above, a new plywood sub-deck was fitted. The teak deck was laid without a single fastening, painstakingly glued plank by plank with immense attention to detail. The cockpit was redesigned and the steering system changed from tiller to wheel to give more space.

All electrical and engineering systems were replaced, and she was equipped with a new windlass, deck fittings and fairleads, rigging and mast, hatches and winches. Finally, her topsides were finished with a new clear gloss varnish to bring out the glorious grain of her mahogany.

The owner consulted with the team throughout the project and says: “They have done a terrific job – and done it properly – and they should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”