Vertue XXXV

This is the Vertue that really sealed the class’ celebrity status, mainly due to the eponymous book written by Humphrey Barton about his crossing from Falmouth to New York via the most direct West/East passage.  He had decided to commission a yacht, sail it to America for dollars and, in the process, gain some publicity for the Laurent Giles yacht design practice.  She was built by Elkins shipyard in 1950

Diagrammatic Sketch of Vertue XXXV

Diagrammatic Sketch of Vertue XXXV

Vertue XXXV 1









Together with Kevin O’Riordan, who was recruited as crew at the last minute when a couple of others fell through, they decided to cross the stormy Western Ocean.  According to Barton’s research, although there had been several crossings of small boats from West to East, which had assistance of the prevailing SW and W winds, no other modern small yacht had ever made the direct passage from England to New York.





They completed 3,669 miles in 47 days 11 hours, arriving at Sandy Hook, New York, making an average speed of 3.38 knots per hour, or 77.26 miles per day.  During the journey, they suffered a knock-down forty four days out.  Barton describes it as follows: “It came with devastating suddenness: a great fiend of a sea that picked the yacht up, threw her on her port side and then burst over her.  There was an awful splintering of wood, a crash of broken glass and in came a roaring cataract of water. Then the light went out.  I thought: “So this is the end: and no one will ever know how it happened”. For a moment the yacht lay there stricken.  Then she recovered.”

Barton's Passage


After completing his trip, Barton famously said of  XXXV: “During the past thirty years I have sailed in numerous small yachts and have examined a great many more and I am of the opinion that Vertue XXXV is the most perfect small ocean-going yacht that has ever been designed and built”.  Mind you, he worked for Laurent Giles, so he would say that!..



Vertue XXXV in Italy

Vertue XXXV with her last skipper, Antonio Bonini, near Venice.

Although Barton sold her in New York when he completed his crossing, she has recently been based in Cavallino, near Venice, Italy, belonging to Antonio Bonini.  The same marina was also home to V58 Bettina and V100 Return, and the three Vertues could apparently be found moored alongside each other.

Vertue XXXV's Cabin

Vertue XXXV’s Cabin

Vertue XXXV was recently sold.  Here are some  more recent pictures of her.