Felicity John and Florence Oliver


THE NORWEGIAN sjekte and a private commission for a double ended sailing dinghy inspired this 1934 design by Karsten Ausland. A naval architect, Ausland emigrated from Norway to work at Nevins boatyard in New York.
For the 18ft double ender Jan he drew the fine lines associated with Scandinavia together with the tall racing rigs of Thirties America. Originally carvel built and with a bronze centreboard, Jan raced at Marblehead with wins against
LF Herreshoff to her credit.

Felicity John

Ausland’s design had lain dormant for nearly 70 years until Tim Loftus laid the keel and made the moulds – taken from a line drawing in Design Quarterly magazine – for Jan’s successor.
Adrian Morgan then took over the build of the sjekte and, keen to track down the original plans, set about researching its history.
He traced Ausland’s grand daughter in the US who, delighted that Jan would have at least one successor, not only sold him the plans but also provided photos and information about Ausland as well as the story of Jan.


A grand design
Armed with the plans he needed, and Ausland’s design for a 12ft version, Morgan completed her build at his Leckmelm yard.
With the new year came the elegant 22-foot mast (hollow spruce by Collars of Oxford), sails (North Sea Sails), trailer-making, varnishing, painting, and her name.

Felicity John (FJ) was launched on Loch Achall, near Ullapool, in March 2003. She sailed like a witch – a credit to her designer.

Coast to coast
At Sail Caledonia in June 2003 Morgan sailed – and rowed – FJ east along the Caledonian Canal from Fort William to Inverness.
The typically variable wind, water and weather conditions during the week-long event were an ideal test; FJ took it all in her stride and proved a real joy to sail.
She picked up her first prize, too, on the Loch Oich race, relegating designer Iain Oughtred in Jeannie II to an unaccustomed second place.


Florence Oliver
FJ turned heads the length of the canal – most importantly that of fellow competitor, Ted Phillips, and by the time he reached the last lock at Inverness Phillips had commissioned a sjekte for himself and was already thinking about options for alternative rigs (he chose gunter) and layouts.

Phillips wanted to know as much as possible about the building of his boat Florence Oliver and was keen to complete the project himself.
He visited Leckmelm twice during the build and was very much involved throughout. Phillips put Florence Oliver on her trailer and drove her home to Essex in December 2003.

Boat Show debut
One of three beautiful wooden boats on Classic Boat magazine’s stand, Florence Oliver made her public debut at the London Boat Show in January 2004.
Phillips opted to make Florence Oliver’s centreboard. The mast for her gunter rig was made at the Boat Show by Collars of Oxford. Sails will be cut by North Sea Sails.

Adrian Morgan,
Burnside, 80 Strathkanaird, Ullapool,
Wester Ross. IV26 2TP
Tel: +44(0)1854 666383

Mobile: 07774 843 844

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