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48′ William Fife & Sons 8 Metre

SULAIRE was designed and built by William Fife III for John and Robert Aspin of Glasgow, whose letterhead reads “Paint manufacturers to the Admiralty”. She was launched in 1929 and raced in Scotland before making her way to Marblehead, Massachusetts. Christened as SULAIRE, she was also known as DECIMA, MARBETTE, WILD GOOSE, POLHO, and TROUBLE. Purchased by her present owner in 1985 and returned to her original name, she has undergone two major refits which have enhanced her structure and brought her back to her 1929 configuration. From new silicon bronze keel bolts and floors to a new cold molded red cedar deck to Fife’s original layout, SULAIRE has been thoroughly restored. Wherever possible, efforts were made to retain her original construction and return her to the way she was when delivered in 1929. An impressive amount of her original structure exists. With the exception of a few planks, her mahogany hull laid with tight seams is the original. Nearly all of her sawn oak frames and all of her bent rock elm frames are original. This is a testament to Fife’s craftsmanship and to the materials selected. SULAIRE is not a new boat that has been built around a ballast and some salvaged hardware – she glows with the patina of age beneath fresh varnish. Interior furniture has been reconstructed with an eye to weight, the same with her cockpit sole and seating, beautifully built to Fife’s scantlings in Spanish cedar and mahogany. No modern vessel compares in beauty or feel. Owning SULAIRE is a chance to own one of the finest yachts available – whether racing in the 8 Metre fleet or enjoying her as an elegant daysailer, SULAIRE will capture the imagination of all who step aboard.

SULAIRE is currently stored ashore in a purpose built shed near Port Townsend, Washington.

Builder: Fife, Scotland
Designer: William Fife III

LOA: 47 ft 0 in
Beam: 8 ft 8 in
LWL: 30 ft 6 in

Engine 1:
Engine/Fuel Type: Other

Deck & Hull
Carvel planked mahogany hull with “tight seams”, no caulkingBent frames in rock elm, all originalSawn frames in oak for every third frame, estimated 95% original with replacements in locustWelded floors of 3/16” silicon bronze sheet carrying large keelbolts and bolted to sawn frames (new)Cast silicon bronze strap floors fitted to bent frames and carrying smaller keel bolts (new)

Silicon bronze keel bolts (new)

Lead ballast

Deck beams in larch and spruce, dovetailed to carlins

Cold molded red cedar deck, lower layer of 1 ¾” beveled cedar strips to match original, upper layer of ¼” by 3 ½” cedar laid at 45 degree angles, set with bronze staples in epoxy and covered in glass (1991)

Deck painted white with varnished mahogany covering boards and king plank

Cabin constructed of laminated cedar and mahogany (1991)

Restoration Details
SULAIRE’S owner has undertaken two major refits over the course of the past 25 years. Complete documentation and photographs of these refits are available on the blog at Since purchased by her present owner in 1985, she has been consistently refined with an eye towards returning to her original configuration while making her lighter, stiffer and faster. Like many of her sisterships, a cruising cockpit, house and cabin layout had been previously installed. In 1991, she was hauled and moved to a purpose build shed where she received a new cold molded deck with the cabin and cockpit layout returned to her original configuration. Care was taken install beveled strips in the lower layer to give the appearance to her original deck from the interior. The new deck is strong, lightweight and watertight. Other major work included moving her mast step aft and forestay forward to increase the J dimension. At this time, new chainplates and were installed with a new bulkhead and significant reinforcement. In 2004 she was hauled again for refit. Major points included removal of her lead ballast keel, fabrication of new silicon bronze floors and installation of new keel bolts. Her entire interior was sanded and refinished. Her cockpit and interior was beautifully reconstructed. This refit has now been completed and she has yet to be splashed.

1991 Refit: Engine removed and all thru hulls eliminatedHull wooded and treated with linseed oil and turps, with pine tar added below the waterlineAll fasteners in sawn frames removed and replaced with new silicon bronze fasteners, one size larger

Deck removed and rebuilt in cold molded red cedar, with 1 ¾” beveled cedar strips in the first layer sprung in to give the visual effect of the original deck from below and two diagonal layers above, set in epoxy and fiberglass with bronze staples

Deck, cabin and cockpit restored to original configuration per drawings

Cabin rebuilt in laminated construction of two layers of cedar sandwiched between mahogany

Beams salvaged from old house to add depth of character to interior

Stern timber replaced

Mast step and forestay location moved for improved performance

¾” marine plywood bulkhead attached to 2”x2” laminated frame installed to take chainplate load

Stainless chainplates and tension rods installed

Knees added near chainplates and foredeck

Current refit

New welded floors of 3/16” silicon bronze sheet carrying large keelbolts and bolted to sawn frames

New cast silicon bronze strap floors fitted to bent frames and carrying smaller keel bolts

Keel removed and bolts replaced with silicon bronze bolts and nuts machined to match originals

Bilge coated in red lead and painted

Entire interior sanded and refinished in four coats of varnish

New bulkheads installed, constructed of ½” marine plywood overlaid with ¼” by 1” boards, grooved to create the appearance of a planked bulkhead, painted white

Sideboard boxes built of old growth redwood harvested around the time of SULAIRE’s construction

Settees constructed of Spanish cedar, lightweight with grain characteristics similar to mahogany

New cockpit grates and seats constructed of Spanish cedar trimmed with mahogany salvaged from old cockpit supports

Custom cast bronze portlights with Fife engravings

Sails & Rigging
Modern aluminum mast measured to rule, stainless standing rigging, white Imron with epoxy primerOregon Pine hollow wooden mast, custom chromed bronze fittings, (excellent condition, constructed 1985)(2) Lewmar 3 speed primary winches(2) Barlow 2 speed mainsheet winches(2) Barlow 2 speed secondary winches

(2) Anderson 2 speed self-tailing running backstay winches

Boom crutch

Outboard motor bracket

Price $250,000
Name Sulaire
Type Sail, Restoration
Length 48 ft
Hull Material Wood
Designer William Fife and Sons
Classification Sloop

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