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Sibyl of Cumae

Boat Details

Make: 36 Clyde Linear

Designer: William Fife III

Builder: Fife of Fairlie

Year: 1902

Boat Location: Plymouth, UK

Price: £235,000 VAT Exempt 

Length:  51 ft 57 inch

Beam: 9 ft 6 inch

Draft: 6 ft 6 inch

Hull Material:  Wood


Sibyl of Cumae, designed and built in 1902 by William Fife of Fairlie, Scotland, is very special yacht. Listed on the National Historic Ships UK register (no 674) she has seen over 121 years of history and is presented in wonderful condition.

She was the subject of a very extensive rebuild in the mid 80s and has been well maintained since with regular varnish, paint work being undertaken. In her current ownership she has been extensively cruised and taken part in a handful of classic regattas within Europe.

Sibyl comes with a full inventory of sails and equipment which will allow the new owner to go sailing straight away. 

You won’t be disappointed when viewing Sibyl, with her classic and very striking lines which could only come from the drawing board of Fife.

The owner would be interested in considering a part exchange for a smaller classic yacht.


Sibyl of Cumae was designed by William Fife and built at Fairlie, Scotland in 1902 with a yard no of 486 and originally launched as Ensay for J.Stewart Clark. Designed to the 36ft linear rating rule of 1900 and as far as records show she was one of four on the Clyde. Sibyl was originally built with a gaff rig and three open cockpits for up to eight crew members.

By 1908 (Ensay) she was sold to Arthur E Nicholson, with a home port of Queenstown until 1912 when she was sold to Mr Atwell Allan and renamed Sibyl. She remained in his ownership until 1929.

There is a slight gap in Sibyl’s history from 1929 until 1935, but it is known that during the War years Sibyl was laid up in Ireland and at some point, during these years, her rig was changed to a modern Bermudan rig and her coach roof was fitted. It should be noted that her original five ton lead keel was not removed for the war efforts as many of her sisterships were. Sibyl reappeared in 1935 under the ownership of T. Goobie who went about removing the bowsprit, shortening the boom and gaff to reduce her sail area to 1,120sqft.

In 1945 she changed hands again to Henry Donegan, the Vice Commodore of the Irish Cruising Club, who cruised her locally in Ireland. Sibyl was remeasured for RORC rating and raced in the Kingston Cork Race.


Sibyl was neglected after the next owner left her in Ringsend Basin, Dublin and it wasn’t until the 1950 that her next owner purchased her for no more than the value of her lead keel and went about recommissioning her.

In the early 1980s Sibyl entered the next exciting stage of her life when she was purchased by John and Dorothy Merrett. Between 1985-1988 Sibyl was the subject of an extensive rebuild. Her hull was completely stripped, with her coach roof and deck removed. The planking was in good shape so was left, but a new deck and coach roof (same style as her 1930s one) was fitted along with a new Bermudian rig, new engine and a full steel ring frame to give extra strength. During this rebuild one ton of her lead was removed to allow for the difference of weight that went into the boat with the engine, rig and steel work.


Following her rebuild Sibyl enjoyed many years of cruising in the West Country and taking part in Classic Regattas. Every year she had her rig removed and was lifted on her purpose-built cradle and covered, which ensured that she has remained in great condition.

Sibyl’s current owner has spent the past decade enjoying extensive cruising and taking part in classic regattas. Two years ago, the owner did a Round Britain (clockwise) sail, stopping off for two nights in St Kilda, Orkneys. 2019 saw Sibyl sail to Sweden to visit the Sandhamn yearly Classic regatta.


A very cosy and well thought-out interior allows for comfortable cruising. Access to down-below is through the companionway steps and into a small galley to starboard which is fitted with a double sink, 2 burner and grill cooker, and a fridge under the chart table. 

The chart table to port with a quarter berth behind it, leading into the main saloon which has two settees which convert into berths as required and a fixed table in the middle.

Forward of the saloon is a double berth cabin with two hanging lockers. A heads with wash basin can be found to starboard, with a very long working for-peak. 

  • Eberspaeher heating 

  • Modern heads fitted (old Blakes also available)

Navigation/Electronic Equipment

B&G Navigation Equipment 



Cobra DSC VHF 

Sound system with bluetooth 



Alloy Spars with a wood grain finish 

Bermudan mast is approx 55ft over the deck 

Two Facnor furlers 

Two sets of spreaders 

Running backstays with highfield levers 

Alloy grain painted spinnaker pole


SKB Mainsail (2020)

Hood mainsail finished in cream with rope luff, sliders and slab reefing (2009) 

Hood no 1 Genoa (2009) 

Penrose no 2 Jib (2002) 

Masthead cruising chute and snuffer 

Asymmetric spinnaker (2018)


Safety Equipment

4 Person life raft 

Horseshoe floats 


Fire extinguishers 

Manual and electric bilge pumps 



Thornycroft 36hp engine with Hurth gearbox 

Foxed three bladed propeller 

2 engine alternators 

3 batteries (2018)


Ground Tackle


Danforth and Fisherman anchors with 3/8th inch galvanised chain

Electric windlass



35 Gallon fuel tank 

30 Gallon freshwater tank 


The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.

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