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Sold – 31ft. RARE SOLENT ONE DESIGN CLASS CRUISER/RACER – 1896 – Lying: Lymington


31ft 6ins SOLENT ONE DESIGN   CLASS, gaff rigged racing cutter built in 1896 by J Samuel White of Cowes to a design by Herbert White for the Royal Yacht Squadron & Island Sailing Club


“A once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase the sole surviving Solent One Design, still an active race participant and race winner at 121 years old, including the Cowes Classics 2018! Maintained in excellent order throughout by well-known sailing personalities. Definitely, one not to miss!”


Boat Details

Overall Length: 41ft 6ins (over spars) 31ft 6ins on deck
Waterline: 25ft 3ins
Beam: 7ft 10ins
Draught: 5ft 9ins
Displacement: 16,537 lbs
Engine: 10hp Yanmar Diesel (2015)
Berths: 2
Sail: 750 sq. ft. Gaff Cutter Rig
Designer: Herbert White
Builder: J Samuel White
Year Built: 1896
Location: South Coast


Rosenn is the last existing Solent One Design, one of the first One Design classes created. Twenty-two were built between 1896 & 1897 for members of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Island Sailing Club. Rosenn, formally  Eilun, is still racing and winning in the Solent.

Completely restored and rebuilt in 2010. For more read below: As one of twenty-two Solent One-Designs, Eilun was built By J Samuel White at Cowes to an in-house design in 1896, the same year that the yard built the 85-foot steam yacht, Scud. The class raced at Cowes under the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Island Sailing Club for more than a decade, but the owners began to be seduced by the newly formulated Metre-boat rule and the boats were sold. Cutter rigged with a gaff mainsail and jackyard topsail, she now sports a light genoa for use in winds under ten knots, and, in line with her original sail plan, an asymmetric spinnaker.

The Solent One-Design was the first-ever one-design class.  Eilun went to France in 1908, where Lloyds Register records she was re-named Rosenn and remained on the Atlantic coast in various harbours until after the Great War. She returned to England in the Twenties and spent many years on or around the River Crouch.  At times she has chartered one notable charterer was John Profumo but used as a cruising boat. During her time on the Crouch, she underwent a major restoration her owner was a shipwright and was based up the river at Fambridge until she went on the market to allow her owner to purchase a boat more suited to long-distance cruising.

In May 2007, Rosenn was purchased by Barry Dunning and Bob Fisher, who, as part of the purchasing deal, arranged for her to be brought from the Crouch to Lymington. It was at this point that Rosenn reverted from cruising boat to racing boat her new owners were more interested in that aspect of the sport and a gradual metamorphosis began. In the first season, this amounted to the replacement of worn items of rigging together with minor changes of gear. The owners agreed that costs should be strictly limited and proposed that if it wasn’t in one of their ditty-boxes, or from one that was freely available to them, it couldn’t be had! The generosity of friends who sailed with them produced all sorts of sails and equipment. Sails were evaluated and Bob, at least, was delighted that the working sails came from a loft in his old hometown of Brightlingsea, but realised that their life was limited and would need replacement in a few years, which is why the owners approached Pete Sanders when they decided, early in their second year of ownership, that the light weather performance might be improved with a Code Zero headsail.  Despite the generous mid-season discount, they are still whinging about the money they had to spend, but each time the sail is used they smile. Thursday evening racing is a must, together with local regattas on both sides of the Solent and  Rosenn is a competitor in the Spring and Autumn series at Lymington, where she enjoys racing particularly with the other gaffers.

At the beginning of the third year of her life in Lymington, Rosenn was invited to the UK Register of Historic Ships, where she joins such worthies as  HMS Victory, Britannia, the  Mary Rose, and Rona. Barry and Bob sometimes feel that this is like owning a Grade 1 listed building, but thankfully without the limiting restrictions when the renovation is mentioned. However, it did drive them to the first stage of cosmetic restoration, because they were invited to take Rosenn to the Southampton Boat Show to represent the Historic Ships Association.  By pure chance, she was berthed next to the catamaran that Geoff Holt proposes to sail across the Atlantic and which was visited by HRH Princess Anne. The Royal Lymington YC’s patron stopped to talk with the owners after she had inspected Holt’s boat.

Stage one of the restoration was limited by time to the topsides and brightwork. The hull was stripped to bare wood, steam-cleaned, sanded and given a coat of clear epoxy resin. The seams, which had been raked out, were filled with epoxy putty and the whole given another coat of epoxy before the high-build filler was applied.  The topsides were finished with two-pot white epoxy paint. The brightwork was cut back hard and re-varnished.  Stage two will take place under cover during the winter. In the meantime, Rosenn is back racing and while unsuccessful in the Potter Ship, crossed the Solent the next day and lifted the Turkey Cup.

Rosenn, is a Solent One-Design, one of 23 built by Whites of Itchen in 1896/7 of pitch-pine on oak, with a lead keel.  Extensively restored in 2008 stripped to bare wood, inside and out, epoxied and filled with epoxy putty, sheathed outside only to the waterline with bi-axial glass cloth, then filled and faired and spray painted in Awlgrip Oyster White with blue boot line and red antifouling.  The interior is painted with Awlgrip white to the waterline and epoxy varnished above.

Rosenn is the last surviving Solent One-Design in the UK (six were dispatched to Buenos Aires in 1912 and it is believed that one, in a shabby state, was spotted in a boatyard there in 2009).  The Solent One-Design is the first one-design keelboat in the world and was commissioned by members of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Island Sailing Club and they were raced on the Solent (see Wikipedia entry).  Rosenn is on the UK Small Ships Register and has the right to fly the defaced red ensign of that organization.  She is also included in the National Register of Historic Vessels of the United Kingdom, certificate number 2269.  She is also on the list of Classic Yachts.

The interior is simple.  Forward of the mast is a sail locker, separated from the cabin by a bulkhead with an entrance.  The cabin has twin berths with upholstery (new in 2011) and an assortment of stowage beneath.  To starboard there is a navigation table with draws and locker beneath, while to port is a rudimentary galley with sink and stowage. As Rosenn is used solely for racing, the stove and gas bottle have been removed and the stowage used for safety gear and life-jackets.

10hp Yanmar 1GM diesel (new 2015), raw water cooled, is serviced regularly and gives no problems.  Its shaft drives a fixed three-bladed, offset bronze propeller (replaced 2011).

All new (2013) Sitka Spruce.

Rigging: New Stainless steel Standing rigging 2013.  Similarly all new stainless steel and synthetic running rigging 2013.

Sails: All Dacron.

Main and jackyard topsail by James Lawrence 2004
Jib and staysail on 2010 furlers, by Sanders Sails 2011
Genoa by Sanders Sails 2010
Asymmetric, nylon by Elvstrom 2010
Asymmetric, small nylon, by Head 2010
Mainsail cover by Sanders 2010

CQR anchor and cable plus nylon warp.  Mooring lines.
An assortment of fenders.

Viewing recommended

GUIDE: Sold – October 2020

LYING: South Coast