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Grace, space and pace - Ringle 39

by John Curnow on 19 Apr 2012
Sliding ever so gracefully towards you with that wonderful bow. - Ringle 39 © John Curnow
It was Sir William Lyons who so famously intoned this wonderful mantra for Jaguar after WWII, when they changed their name from the then completely inappropriate, SS.

Indeed, our skinny, clipper bow, timber day sailer from Myanmar has a lot to share with the theory embodied in this particular esprit de corps, which was arguably best portrayed in the very successful XJ6. Like that saloon, the yacht, for the Ringle really is a yacht, as opposed to a boat, vessel or craft, is low-slung, powerful, quick, lavished in timber, cosy yet airy and very swank with her classic red leather and high gloss varnish. However, do not get lost in nostalgia for too long, as the Ringle 39 also firmly grasps the modern era, with judicious use of carbon fibre and much more than a mere soupçon of the latest design parameters.


Now it’s not all about being frightfully British. There are more than strong Anglo-American threads and a healthy dose of Australian can-do being applied to the whole scenario, as well. The brand name itself is paying homage to the Ringle from Patrick O’Brien’s novels, a Brit by the way, where Jack Aubrey won the two-masted Baltimore Clipper from a certain Captain Heneage Dundas in a game of backgammon. Aubrey then used it as a tender to HMS Bellona, but the Admiral was very much inclined to the vessel’s speed and ability to point, so she also ran a lot of errands and messages back to shore.

The other American aspect to it all is one Andy Dovell, who was charged with creating our Ringle’s lines. Apart from all the grace that you see in the images, he is also the one who allowed for her space and pace. Now space is an important element to review here, for the Ringle had to be transportable by container, so that it would be cost effective for owners to move their yacht around the place, as they saw fit.

Accordingly, a 40-foot container was always going to provide certain constraints that were going to be both immovable and challenging. True, the Ringle is not the only new vessel to be designed with all of this in mind, but she had to retain her grace in it all and breaking her down had to be a relatively simple process to perform, as well.

The Ringle goes in to her container resting on her gunwale and her appendages also occupy some of the limited container space. Being of narrower beam than a lot of modern vessels, the Ringle also had to use her own space efficiently, so that she would be graceful at all times. The other overarching constraint for the Ringle was her aesthetics. Indeed, a lot of energy was put in to ensuring that the details combined to provide so much more than the constituent parts. There is no backstay, for instance, so that it does not clutter the view from the cockpit, get in the way or make the experience too onerous. Of course, this meant that the other standing rigging would have to take up the mantle. Similarly, she could not have huge ribs, which would impinge on her below deck space, so unidirectional carbon was deployed.


Now with the many space issues all accounted for and grace always on their minds, the next item on the agenda was pace, for something that looks like this, also needs to go like this. You keep her relatively light, the Ringle is 4750kg, you give her a tall, strong rig with 70m2 of high tech Aramid sails, the main of which has a massive square top roach. Finally, you give her a 2.65m deep foil with T-bulb, so that she does not have to drag around all that wetted surface area that her full-keel brethren have always had to do.

Above the water, the Ringle’s hull, with that glorious sheer, looks like she’s already 50 years old and just come out of a restoration. Below and up high, however, it is a very different story and somewhat dichotomous to the Herreshoff’s or Sparkman and Stephens vessels that the Ringle often gets compared to.

Seeing then that Andy’s been in Australia since 1989, it’s quite fair to say that he’s part Aussie. However, the man who provided the inspiration and dedication that a program like this requires, is one Tim Wilson and he’s a great Australian with a keen wit and an even sharper eye, both of which have given birth to many of the touches that this yacht exudes.

Another Australian, Al Mackay runs the yard in Myanmar that builds this yacht and restores so many others. Gary Swindail and Peter Taprell of Sydney Harbour Boat Builders are also integral to the process ensuring materials that originate from orders in Australia are used in the appropriate manner. All the while they apply their exceptional knowledge and experience not only to the projects already inside the yard, but also to new ventures.

There are other significant souls in a project like this, too. Names such as Simon Blundell, Phil West, Mark Fesq and Colin Betts have also helped to bring the Ringle to life and allow her to be offered to the world.

There was a soap commercial that aired some time ago now, which featured people in a bath, which was inside a Boeing 747. The lady sees pictures of Tahiti in the magazine she’s reading and then the gent picks up the phone and informs the pilot, 'Simon, Tahiti looks nice!' Simon replies, 'Roger. Tahiti.' The plane then banks off in a turn towards the sun and we’re left to ponder just how nice that would be. You know, Sardinia and Corsica would look great from the Ringle, so too the Caribbean. Perhaps it would be Maine for lobster or maybe the spectacular Dalmatian coast. Ahhhh. So many choices – such little time!

You can have a high-top, 40-foot, totally custom container with sliding cradle and special chocks and racks for the keel and mast sections for your Ringle. There is even a small workshop inside, so your Ringle can keep her graces all spick and span at all times. It is something very befitting of a yacht of this calibre. As for the other options, well you would kind of expect there to be many ways to personalise your Ringle and make it truly you.


There are some gems and there are prices to match that too, but then the point of this yacht is to be something you cherish and look forward to, so why would you not choose to wander through the list and pick out the very elements that match your style. For me, I think I’d have to have the carbon fibre head, Park Avenue boom, mast jack, hydraulic vang and perhaps the cockpit shower. Most certainly, there would have to be the teak jack staff, for a yacht like this must have her ensign flying, and that teak cockpit table sounds great.

The contemplation alone of what you would and would not like as you glide along your favourite waterways or even better yet, investigate new ones, is the very essence of Ringle and something delightfully charming to consider, even if it is only dreaming, as it is for me. You can begin your dream or journey from the base price of AU$355,000.



Simply visit the global marketing agents at vicsail.com or contact Michael Coxon on +61 2 9327 2088, for more details.

Personally, I cannot wait to go for a proper yacht on the Ringle 39, with all of its grace, space and pace. A nice little afternoon harbour race, perhaps.

There’s something simply charming and deliciously delightful about it all…



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