Performance blue water cruising yacht - S/Y Fly for sale

Fly was the original Aerorig fast cruising yacht designed by Americas Cup designer Ian Howlett and built by Tom Richardson at the Elephant Boatyard on the River Hamble. She was launched in 1991.  

She was built with a huge budget for a wealthy businessman who among the companies he owned at the time,was Carbospars. The high specification this 'mini superyacht' was built to is self evident from the quality of the stainless steel fabrications, the custom Hyduron (military spec. aluminium bronze) prop-shaft and seacocks. The walnut joinery and cabinet work was completed by the late Paul Litton, who individually selected the trees from which the interior was built. The design, engineering detail and finish in its day was second to none which was reflected in her build cost some twenty years ago, of over two million pounds.    

The present owner (only her second since built) sailed her single-handed from the UK to Antigua and back. With a small crew he crossed the Atlantic to the Caribbean in fifteen days, which coincides with his stated mean daily passage planning mileage of two hundred to two hundred and twenty miles per day.

She's only had two owners and it’s not hard to see why it would be hard to part with Fly once you’ve owned her. Viewing is a must; don’t just rely on the pictures or these words if one is looking for a cruising yacht in this size range. Fly is going to be attractive to a certain owner not just because of what she's capable of doing and for sure whoever buys her is going own a lot of boat and a good deal of pleasure for the money spent.

A major refit of Fly was undertaken  over the winter of 2017/2018, works included:

Exterior repaint
Main engine re-built
New gel cell batteries
Rudder bearings re-built
Lighting conversion to LED
New calorifier system for both engines
Newly installed hydro-generator system

The yacht will be based in the Clyde until August this year and if not sold at that point the owner intends to sail her to the Caribbean.

Designer - Ian Howlett
Builder - Elephant Boatyard, Bursledon
Interior - Paul Litton
Year launched -1991
Length overall - 21.341 m
Length waterline - 17.68 m
Beam overall - 5.49 m
Draft - 3.51 m
Displacement (light) - 43,000 kg

Displacement (loaded) - 48,000 kg

Hull, Deck & Superstructure Construction:
  • Strip planked cedar core and epoxy glass hull
  • Fully laid teak on cold moulded marine ply deck       
Keel & Rudder:
  • Eliptical spade rudder
  • 15,000 kg lead keel with bronze winglets
Main Engine:
  • Mercedes MTU 6 cylinder 240 hp fresh water cooled
  • Racor (Double System) fuel separator and filters.
  • Aquamarine drive to Maxprop propeller
Maintenance & Performance:
  • Engine Hours: c. 1,200
  • Maximum Speed: 10 knots.
  • Cruising  Speed: 9 knots.
  • Max Economy Speed: 7 knots.
  • Fuel Consumption: 10 litres/hr.
  • Range: 2,200nm.
  • Whitlock twin wheel, chain and direct rod steering system
  • Custom rotatable bow thruster with 18" maxiprop - also used as auxillary drive, max speed 6 kts
  • 2 x B&G rotary drive autopilots
  • Airies wind vane auxillary self steering
Electrical Systems:
  • 220 V AC and 24V DC systems on separate switchboards
  • Multiple linked 2V gel cells for domestic use with individual starter batteries for all engine starting
  • Nanni N4 43 hp with 160 Amp DC generator (24V) hydraulic pto
  • Northern Lights 4kVA auxillary AC generator
  • Shorepower
Navigation Equipment:
  • B&G Hercules performance electronics with multiple analogue and digital displays in the cockpit
  • B&G speed, wind and depth
  • Sailor SSB
  • Sailor VHF
  • Raymarine radar/plotter
  • Furuno Navtex weather fax
  • Marconi Satcom C
  • Iridium satphone and Motorola docking station
  • Digitalyacht PC
  • Simrad AIS transceiver
  • Simrad GPS
  • Barometer


  • Owners double berth cabin, adjoining dressing room, separate WC with head, bidet, sink and bath
  • Twin double berth guest cabins with ensuite heads
  • Three additional berths if required with lee-cloths in main saloon
  • Double berth crew cabin (functioning currently as a focs'le) with ensuite head
  • Origo dual fuel alcohol and electric hobs
  • Electrolux eye level electric oven
  • One piece stainless steel sink and counter unit
  •  Grunert fridge (top and side doors) and a separate freezer
  • WC’s: elecric fresh water
Heating & Ventilation:
  • Condaria air conditioning
  • Webasto diesel heater
  • Refleks oil stove
  • Immersion heaters and twin coil calorifier
  • DVD player – central system.
  • Stereo
  • Freah water, four tanks, total capcity 2944 litres
  • Holding tanks, four tanks, total capacity 710 litres
Mast, Rigging and Sails:
  • Aerorig manufactured by CarboSpars 1991
  • Rod forestay and backstay in what is otherwise a stayless rig.
  • Running Rigging: Predominantly Spectra/Dynnema with Polyester mainsheet
  • Headsail Furling Gear: Rotostay electric furling on the headsail with manual furling jib top stay.
  • Mainsail - Hood - Vectran - 2002 - slab reefing
  • J1 - Hood - Vectran - 2002 - furling
  • Jib top - Vectran - 2012 - furling
  • Trisail - Dacron - 1991 - conventional hoist
There are three very obvious ‘stand out’ features of this superb yacht. The first two are the quality and attention to detail in her construction and interior fit out which is evident in the stills and video taken onboard. The third is the Aerorig which replaces the conventional sloop or ketch rigs seen on yachts of this size. While the Aerorig might put some potential purchasers off, it shouldn’t, because it’s operation is simplicity itself and it is very impressive how easy it makes it to sail a seventy foot, nigh on fifty tonne yacht alone. It's an asset on this seventy foot yacht for those who cruise short-handed, particularly if they intend to make long passages. Having said that, in the last twelve years Fly has day sailed a good deal as well as completing several Atlantic trips, two of them solo with her current owner. 
For those who have not come across the Aerorig before, it is made up of a mast, a main boom and a fore-boom. The mast is totally un-stayed and is mounted in two bearings; one on the bottom of the hull and one in the deck. These allow the mast, and therefore the whole rig, to rotate freely. The jib is completely self-tacking and mounted on a traveller on the mast. As long as more sail is set behind the mast than in front of it, the Aerorig will weathercock into wind if left to its own devices. The whole rig can therefore be controlled and the sail angle set by restricting the angle of rotation using a single, lightly loaded mainsheet.      
The sailplan is very easy to manage and trim compared with a conventional rig. The reason the mainsheet loading is only about one third of that on an equivalent sloop rig is because the rotational force of the jib offsets that of the mainsail – creating a “balanced” rig. Shorthanded passage making is easy, the low sheet loads and absence of many of the normal control lines are safer with children on board. An Aerorig also has no standing rigging to maintain, the visibility and space on deck are improved, sailing on a dead run is no longer the concern for the cruising yachtsman that it can be on a conventional sailboat. During our day on Fly manoeuvring the yacht, jibing the Aerorig was simple, short tacking to windward through Lamlash Harbour was completed by one man, quickly and effortlessly. 

Deck Equipment:
Winches and Hardware:
  • Primary - Anderson - 66ST
  • Halyards/reefing - Anderson - 52ST
  • Jammers/clutches - Spinlock
  • Hardware - Ronstan on the rig and Fredericksen on the deck
  • Carbon passarelle
  • Swimming ladder
Anchoring & Mooring Equipment:
  • Maxwell hydraulic windlass
  • Delta stainless steel main anchor.
  • 140m half inch chain.
  • Fortress kedge anchor
  • 150 m warp
Covers, Canvas & Cushions:
  • Sun awning
Tender, Outboard & Watersports Equipment:
  • Hard shell hull tender with 8 hp Yamaha outboard motor, all stored in a recessin the deck
Safety Equipment:

The yacht is sold ostensibly without safety equipment except for the following:
  • 5 x electric bilge pumps
  • 2 x manual bilge pumps
  • 1 x engine driven emergency bilge pumps
  • 2 x MOB units

Brokers Comments:

In addition to travelling to Scotland to inspect the yacht, Merfyn Owen, one of Owen Clarke’s designers, an experienced round the world skipper and double Cape Horner, took the opportunity to go for a days trial sail on the yacht. His impressions were as follows:   

“Fly is clearly very practical as an ocean going yacht, both in terms of the seamanlike systems above/below decks and their suitability for long passages and/or sailing in remote areas. Apart from handling the dock lines and tidying away I needed to take no part in the running of the yacht from the moment she left the dock in the narrow confines of Ardrossan Harbour (in a steady 20 kts of breeze I should add) under engine/bow thrusters, to the time she returned in a steady 25 kts of wind. All sail hoisting, reefing and manoeuvres were carried out alone by her owner/skipper. Under power she was very manoeuvrable using a combination of prop-wash onto the large spade rudder and her 43hp bow thruster. I was also shown how the bow thruster could be aligned for and aft, as  a ‘get home’ auxiliary engine should the main propulsion be lost for any reason. Having cruised north of the Arctic Circle myself and been concerned about ‘throwing a prop blade’ or otherwise damaging the prop-shaft/p-bracket while motoring in ice, the practicality of having a second means of propulsion would be comforting when cruising ‘off the beaten path’. Fly was also the first yacht of her size I’d sailed since the 72’ Ocean Youth Club ketches that had a practical means of storing and launching from the deck, a hard shell dinghy, with all the advantages this type of tender has over others when cruising.   

So, my overall take on Fly was not restricted to the quality of her build, nor her ease of sailing. She is also in many other ways a true ocean going blue water cruising boat. A yacht that’s also easy enough to handle under power and sail, so that one would not be intimidated in taking her out often on short-handed day sails. The penultimate word has to be however; about the Aerorig as this is in sailing terms at is what makes this yacht so different. I suspect people will either be believer’s or non-believers, what I would say is that if the latter then be open minded enough to be prepared to be converted. This was the first time I had sailed a yacht fitted with one and apart from the fact that aesthetically I’ve never found the Aerorig  pleasing myself (and still don’t) I did travel north with no pre-conceptions about how I might react to sailing one. I can only repeat how impressed I was for all the reasons already described. I’m not sure I see the value on a smaller yacht with less sail area and lower loads. However, if you want the space, comfort and daily mileage that a seventy footer can provide for your cruising then for sure it seems to me that this is a most practical and reliable rig to have on a yacht of this displacement and sail area."

List price: £ 375,000 (VAT paid) 

Lying: Ardrossan, Scotland

Inventory and description to be confirmed and subject to contract

To view one of the videos made during our day on the boat click

To register an interest and receive a brochure please email Brokerage

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