“SHE IS A JEWEL”
The 24.7m cutter Hallowe’en designed by William Fife III for Lt Col JFN Baxendale, was launched in 1926 just in time to compete in the ORC FastNet. William Fife III, designer of a number of classic yachts still racing today was quoted once as saying “Hallowe’en is the perfect gentleman’s yacht. She is a jewel”.
Racing in the 2nd Fastnet Race, Hallowe’en sailed the fleet home to cross the line some 10 hours before the next competitor. A record which would stand until 1939 when the new course was shortened, going out through the Needles Channel instead of heading around the east coast of the Isle of Wight, as had been the course since 1925.
SHIPYARD: William Fife
MODEL: Bermudan Cutter
LENGTH: 80ft – 24.75m
BEAM: 14.5ft – 4.42m
TOP SPEED: 11kts (20km/h.)
CRUISING SPEED: 8kts (15km/h.)
CONSUMPTION: 8L/h. (cruising speed)
William Fife decided to rig the yacht as a low-aspect ration Bermudan cutter, which was uncommon in the days when gaff rigged racers dominated the various regattas. These experiments with her rig continued over the following years as her mast and boom heights changed and eventually she was transformed to a yawl. As a yawl– rigged COTTON BLOSSOM IV she dominated ocean racing for many years, and has held important records. After racing in the Mediterranean for a number of years she returned to the Atlantic under new owner Alfred Larsen, a Norwegian industrialist. She became the Royal Norwegian Racing Clubs official yacht and was helmed numerous times by future king to Norway, Prince Olaf.
In 1938 she ventured across the Atlantic and then disappeared off the radar. She was later discovered by Walter Wheeler and renamed Cotton Blosson IV before continuing her history of ocean racing and eventually being donated to the Classic Boat Museum at New Port, Rhode Island where she waited for a much needed refit. After 5 years of work in New Port, funds dried up and Hallowe’en was in need of new ownership and she eventually returned to the Mediterranean when Elizabeth Meyer (owner of J-Class Endeavour) helped find a buyer.
She has had a number of refits (and owners) since then, the latest being completed in 2009 at Fairlie Restorations on the Hamble river, UK, and is now available for charter in the Mediterranean where she races competitively in the classic regatta circuit which stretches from France to Corsica, Spain and Italy. Hallowe’en was carefully restored to her original lines at the Classic Boat works in Newport, Rhode Island from 1988 to 1991. All the sawn English Oak frames were carefully repaired or replaced, the planking using new bronze fastenings made in the museum. Following some major works in ‘94/5 in France, she again underwent a transformation in ‘98/9, looking now perhaps better than at any time during her long and eventful life.
This Fife built cruiser/racer is surely one of the most beautiful yachts on the regatta scene. Hallowe’en is highly recommended to anyone wanting to charter a truly excellent and fast vintage wooden sailing yacht. She is one of the most beautiful Fifes ever built and is still winning the classic regattas whilst at the same time able to make fast passages across the oceans. With her new and intelligent deck layout she is able to be sailed by only two people for short deliveries, and can race with 10 crew, yet maintains all her traditional beauty and charm.