Monday 11 November 2019

Yacht Figaro V , an update

News is in from Angelo Lavranos in that he saw Figaro V being built at the Souters yard and under construction at the same time as some of his designs done when he was working at the Angus Primrose yacht design office.



I watched Figaro V being built at Souters were we were also having our designs built, In 1969. Heavy !

All the Figaro's were for Bill Snaith, and all barring the last one (F VI I think, Brit Chance design) were under the USA CCA Rule. I think he died while the last one was being built.

The most famous one was an S&S design.  See the book "Across the Western Ocean" by Bill Snaith., with Norrie Hoyt on board.   A very funny read about the  Transatlantic Race  Newport - Cowes.

Yes, I was working for Angus P.  Max Aitkins'  Alan Gurney designed Crusade was built alongside Figaro.


Figaro V a classic sailing yacht with heritage

An update of a previous entry due to a new picture coming to light,are there any more out there?


Hello Roy,
I came across your blog a day or so ago.

Your picture of Figaro under sail is of Figaro IV, designed by my dad and Bob Derecktor and built in D's Mamaroneck yard.

My dad died while V was still under construction, my older brother and I did some of the finishing work on her but she was never sailed by the family.

She looks to be in good hands now, and has managed to get herself pretty far from home waters.

THe main thing WTS did with Coke was design that curvy line logo they use now. They tweaked the bottle and some vending machine stuff too according to my bro. Lowey/Snaith also created the red stripes the Coast Guard uses ("everyone things we're the navy..." and came up with the name EXXON.

I think I've seen your kits in a shop in Anacortes WA.

all the best,  skip snaith

 A correction to which Figaro is the white boat has been made. Roy, thanks for your valued information Skip.
What a fine picture! thats Figaro IV on the left,check out how close the racing was,my thanks to George Wenman for finding the book the picture was published in and well done for recognising the boat. The picture was found in the book The Sailors World, Beiser/A Ridge Press Book/Hamlyn,my thanks to them. The photo is on pages 62 and 63,the other yacht is named Bay Bea. The picture was taken by Stanley Rosenfeld,the book is not dated but a mention to the 1970  Bermuda Race on page 13 exists (yacht Jubilee) so this picture pre dates then?

The bottle design said to be created by yacht Figaro V owner William Snaith.

Coca Cola tray and bottle pictures.

Figaro V at her HBYC marina mooring.

Thats Figaro V with the all white hull and transom.The hull is moulded mahogany to 7/8" thick,the entire backbone of the boat from stem to stern is a stainless steel fabrication,the boat is massivly strong,now largly restored to a high standard by Charles her owner for the last ten years or so? Figaro V was built in 1969 by the English yard Souters.

This is the story about William Snaith,a man who sailed as an amature but was well up with the pros,he won most events he went into,all excepting the one,which he came second in,that was The Fastnet Race,to ensure he would eventually win this race he had Derecktor of USA design him a new fifty foot yacht,it was to be the fifth in the line called Figaro,so he named it Figaro V,the boat never did win the Fastnet for William Snaith as he died while it was still under construction at Souters in the UK,Figaro V is safe and on the marina at Hout Bay.I was told a rumour that William designed the Coca Cola bottle,such a distintive shape seen world wide,I have yet to find writen proof that he did actualy pen the design but given the fact he was the chief Designer/Partner from the company that produced the shape,its clear he had a hand in it,such is fame.

Park Avenue, New York City's most famous boulevard, is a changed place. The sidewalks where rich sports, dowagers and Pomeranians once walked are crowded with commerce. The glass-faced buildings lining the sidewalks stand tall, sterile and inhuman. There are scarcely enough baroque outcroppings left to accommodate the pigeons. The career women of Park Avenue are far better-looking than the dowagers of yore—their legs are trimmer and they carry their bosoms higher—but they are glass-faced like the buildings. In offices along the avenue the most eyecatching window display often is a portrait gallery of executives, each face grim enough to repel children and frozen sufficiently by Bachrach to qualify for a place in Madame Tussaud's waxworks.

But in one office on the east side of Park Avenue, nine floors up, there is one important executive whose face has not yet been frozen by Bachrach or anyone else. He is a Renaissance caveman named William Snaith. At age 58, Bill Snaith does not look like a Park Avenue man of distinction, nor does he act the part. He wears his hair longer than an executive should. His brindle moustache is shaggy and tends to wiggle recklessly around his face. At his desk Snaith` usually talks soberly, but when a matter at hand seems to be getting too serious he is apt to throw a leg over the arm of his chair and let go a freshet of Groucho Marxist nonsense.

Despite the burdens of his position, Snaith's ego is still full-blown; the panting animal in him has not yet succumbed. He is equally comfortable among high-and lowbrows, for his interests run the gamut. When Beethoven's Pastoral is done right, he applauds; when Rob Gardner of the Mets wins a 10-hitter, he cheers; when he notices ladies' hemlines inching upward, he rejoices openly. Given the right breaks in life, Snaith might have capitalized on his broad tastes and gregariousness by becoming a bartender. By the fate of things, he became instead an architect, decorator, designer, consumer analyst, painter, critic, writer, raconteur, casual musician, popular after-dinner speaker and ocean sailor. More specifically, he became managing partner in the firm of Raymond Loewy/William Snaith Inc.—a company that deals largely in industrial design but has more sidelines than a hock shop.

A company name like Raymond Loewy/William Snaith Inc., of course, sticks in the throat more easily than in the mind. Although most people are barely aware of the company, its impact is considerable. When a housewife spends money at spiffy marts like Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor, she is doing so in a seductive environment conceived by Loewy/Snaith. If a husband quits his job at a corrugated-box factory, it may be because he is tired of operating a cutter-creaser-stripper machine designed by Loewy/Snaith. In the near future if you, gentle reader, are mugged while riding on the New York City transit system, you will probably regain consciousness in a pool of your own blood, staring up at the new subway coachwork and backlit advertising panels designed by Loewy/Snaith. If you have ever consumed Shreddies or Oysterettes, Old Forester or Early Times, if you have used aureomycin hog cholera vaccine, or if you have ever bought a water-jet massager for your gums, you have been under the influence of Loewy/Snaith. One way to get away from Loewy/Snaith might be to cast yourself adrift on the sea, but even then you could not be certain. Indeed, if in a mid-Atlantic gale you should hear above the wind song and hiss of the sea a voice bawling out succinctly, "Goddam-it," it is a good bet that just beyond the next swell you would find Bill Snaith at the helm of his yawl Figaro IV.

For the past 20 years, in one or another of his four Figaros, Snaith has spent much of his time at sea, cruising and racing. He has been dismasted off Montauk and dis-keeled in the Gulf Stream. He has ghosted past Diamond Head and has slid on the scend of mid-Atlantic seas at better than 12 knots. He has often been hung up on Bahama shoals and has sat for hours in the windless languor of Long Island Sound. He has suffered in the slap-chop of the shallow North Sea, and he has wandered lost north of Scotland in The Bore off Mull Head. He came close to breaking his back once in the English Channel and nearly broke an arm trying to harpoon a mola mola in the waters off—of all exotic places—Greenwich, Conn. Thinking over his misadventures, Snaith says, "I have one motto which I keep repeating to the irritation of my loved ones: 'Any man who does not cross a starting line early at least once a season and who does not go aground while cruising at least once a year isn't really trying.' "

Between misadventures like these, Snaith has sailed many a pleasant mile through days of sun and wind, with everything shipshape, his socks dry and his position known, but when it comes to remembering anything about such revoltingly normal and untrying times his sense of recall is about even with that of a newt. But he has total recall about the miseries, humiliations and near disasters he has suffered at sea.

For once in his life Bill Snaith was not among the skippers dropping anchor in Bermuda's Hamilton Harbor two weeks ago. He was under doctor's orders to take it easy for a while. But if you ask him about other Bermuda races, in which he has competed seven times, offhand he is likely to say: "I think I have been second, and fourth, and seventh, and lousy." He took first place in the Transatlantic Race to Sweden in '60, he was captain of the winning American Admiral's Cup team in '61 and first overall on the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit last year. Beyond these major victories, he is hard put to remember just what he was up to in any given year or how he fared as a racing skipper.

Too often a man who goes to sea for the love of it becomes in time a very dull fellow. Indeed, one of the easiest ways to plumb the depths of boredom is to ask a well-soaked skipper whether he has ever sailed in the tide race off New London or in the gut between Scylla and Charybdis. The mere mention of these classical names will release a flood of unintriguing episodes. "Oh, by God," the skipper will exclaim. "Indeed I know the Race and the gut off Scylla. I was stemming the tide once in the Race—or was it off Scylla? I forget. But anyway, the wind was force 7, and the crew had just split the last grunion on board. And, even with the grunion gone, we still made it through. You could never guess how. We simply riff-raffed a spud to the countertop. Then we pleated a weevil through the stallion, routed it around the stamen and fleeced it to the mullion just forward of the parboil. We had a time, but it was nothing compared to the year before off Scylla. Or was it the Race? Anyway,..."

After laboring as a deckhand for years and being force-fed sailing talk in her off-hours, the wife of one skipper said recently and wearily, "I was living with my so-called husband Jack before he married his first boat. He has married two more since, but he still remembers his first love. He says she had the damndest spreaders he ever saw on anything her size."

In some extraordinary way, in a short period of 20 years, Bill Snaith has become a very fine amateur skipper without alienating his family or friends or boring casual acquaintances. The sea game remains merely one of the major ingredients in the mess of enthusiasms that are stewing within him. He can talk boat talk, but it is not his only tongue. Half a year ago Snaith packaged the day-by-day logs of two of his transoceanic trips—one cruise and one race—in book form for public consumption. The book, Across the Western Ocean, has been well received by sailors but, more significantly, it has even been read for pleasure by nonsailors.What a fine picture! thats Figaro V on the left,check out how close the racing was,my thanks to George Wenman for finding the book the picture was published in and well done for recognising the boat. The picture was found in the book The Sailors World, Beiser/A Ridge Press Book/Hamlyn,my thanks to them. The photo is on pages 62 and 63,the other yacht is nmaed Bay Bea,

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