Vagrant

Built in 1884, Vagrant is a 23ft ‘plank on edge’ racing cutter yacht built to an early design by yacht builder William Fife III, at the Marquess of Ailsa’s Culzean Ship and Boatbuilding Co. yard at Maidens, Ayrshire. She is thought to be the oldest surviving Clyde-built racing yacht.

She was built for Thomas Trocke, an Irishman already owner of a Fife-built yacht named ‘Rival’. Trocke wanted to compete in a new class of vessel racing  - small gaff-rigged waterline cutters. His order was executed in basic materials – pitch pine and yellow pine, muntz metal spikes, and an inexpensive iron keel. He raced fairly successfully in Vagrant, winning £12 in prize money in 1884 and almost £20 in 1885.

The popularity of Vagrant’s class in racing was short-lived and by 1888 she was obsolete. She was then passed between different owners before being purchased by an individual at the end of WWI who maintained her until his death in 1970.

She was found in a boatyard in Dun Laoghaire in Country Dublin in 1979 and was restored in County Wicklow, after which she took part in several races for traditional yachts.

Acquired by the Scottish Maritime Museum in 1984 she soon became a popular exhibit. She is a very fine example of this rare type of plank on edge yacht by Fife.