The Goddess Dione returns

The racing yacht Dione built in 1924 will be launched at a reception at Rhu Marina on Friday 21 st July at 6pm. Dione will rejoin the fleet of 16 Gareloch One Designs (GODs) sailing and racing on the Gareloch at the Annual Championships on 22 and 23 July. Dione hasn’t been afloat for nearly 35 years and missed the 90th anniversary of the class when the rest of the fleet mustered and raced in the Gareloch. Most of the GODs are named after Greek Goddesses.

Peter Proctor, Convenor of the Gareloch Association explained.

“Dione didn’t make an appearance in 2014. After that the Association acquired her with a view to restoring her. She was in bits, but under cover, so basically sound. We didn’t know how we would get her back together and sailing, we just knew we should try.

“Retired Royal Navy engineer Bill McLaren stepped forward and volunteered to lead the work. Then Tim Henderson stepped up, thinking he should help his cousin Bill and the class he had been involved with since childhood. Both are former Gareloch owners. Between them they put in most of the 1500 hours involved, but the local sailing community also made a massive contribution – labour, technical expertise, parts and equipment.”

In 1923 the Gareloch Yacht Club formed after the First World War decided they needed a yacht suitable for racing. They asked McGruers, based along the Gareloch at Clynder, to design and build 10 boats. The boats were delivered in spring 1924 and allocated by ballot to the owners, before being painted the many colours which are still a feature of the Class.

The Royal Forth Yacht Club took a liking to the Garelochs when they were under construction and had five built in early summer 1924. They branded their boats Royal Forth One Designs. A 16 th and final Gareloch was built in 1928 for a Clyde owner. Over the next decade some of the Clyde Garelochs migrated to the Forth and Aldeburgh in Suffolk. But in the mid 1950s a series of events led John Henderson, Tim’s uncle, to achieve his “pipe dream”, he brought all the Garelochs back home. This meant that sixty years ago, in 1957, and for the first time, all the boats raced together on the Gareloch. That year more Garelochs raced at Clyde Week than ever before.

Peter Proctor commented. “I think these 93 year old Garelochs are unique as a class of classic yachts. All the Garelochs ever built are still here and sailing on the waters they were designed for. It is fantastic that Dione will be rejoining the racing at the Annual Championships. Her return is a great credit to the members of the Association, the local sailing community, but especially to Bill and Tim who made it possible.”

For further details see the Restoration Pages on this website.