The Scottish Moonbeam III is the work of boat designer William Fife III, who belongs to the generation of the Fife family who built their reputation during the golden age of sailing by building two America’s Cup contenders for English tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton. The Fifes were considered among the pioneers at sea, designing yachts that were both stylish and fast at the William Fife and Sons shipyard in North Ayrshire on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. They produced four Moonbeam models between 1858 and 1920, but Moonbeam III was the first of a series of fast yachts designed by the company that conformed to Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) measurements. Designed and launched in April 1903, Moonbeam III was commissioned by London lawyer Charles Plumptre Johnson, a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Thames Yacht Club, to take part in regattas on the east coast of England.
In fact, the boat has won at least two races in its more than 100 years of sailing. In the Croisière Méditerranée Course race in the Mediterranean, she took first place in both 1927 and 1928, under the name Elbis. Moonbeam III passed through the hands of notable owners over the years and in the early 20th century was acquired by Félix Amiot who captured her ashore at Cherbourg in northern France for 24 years. In terms of maintenance and refurbishment, the boat was sent to Southampton in 1970 and work at Camper & Nicholson shipyard took 10 years. More recently, the vessel underwent a full restoration in 2006 in France. Nowadays she is docked at Saint-Tropez and has participated in many major classic boat events, including an event in Cowes in 2001 for the America’s Cup Anniversary and in Fairlie, Scotland for the Fife Regatta in 2008.
Photos Courtesy of Boat International