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NormanKlipspringer 12:50pm, 12 October 2012
Discussed with Chris his 840 boat Swansea Bay previously Achillea. Whereas Chris had always said that he would retain the boat in the hope of sailing it 'around the world' he has now realised that this will not happen and is prepared to let it go. I hope that someone can come up with a good solution, museum, sail training, corporate advertising etc. Any ideas out there?
For details of the boat and the races go to: farm4.static.flickr.com/3581/3306163777_5c27bf619a_b.jpg
Amrum 9171Y 6 years ago
A photo from my photostream of Swansea Bay in - I think - 1984 www.flickr.com/photos/32058683@N02/3975914761/in/photostream.
I'm glad that there's a chance this special yacht will now be saved. Do you have any photos of her as she is at present?
Skykomish E29 6 years ago
I think really it should remain as near to Swansea as possible being part of the town's heritage I don't suppose there is a maritime museum nearby that would be willing to take her on as a restoration project?????
Red Marlin 6 years ago
Thanks for the clarification on the name and you are quite right the name is and should be "Swansea Bay" but I think it was important for that to be understood at the start. Also agree it belongs in Wales and preferably Swamsea. All the Achilles have their roots in Swansea and whilst I was born English but "Red Marlin" was based in Scotland her birthplace is Swansea. Wales and I am very proud of that.
I think the first thing to be done is to raise the awareness of Swansea people and the sailing enthusiasts of what "Swansea Bay" is and who Chris and Georgina Butler are. I include Georgina because the creation of the Achilles range of yachts was a partnership and probably could not have come about without her enthusiasm. While Chris was sailing his races it was Georgina who kept the production going. When I was changing from my 24 to a 9 metre in the late 80's I spoke to Georgina. She was worried that because of the pressures of business Chris was not doing any sailing. She suggested that maybe I should part exchange my 24 for Swansea Bay and in that way Chris might get a little sailing in. A non starter really because Chris regared his business commitments as only temporary and then he could sail Swansea Bay again. If I had taken Swansea Bay or if anyone else had it would have been changed beyond recognition. Even though neglected she is I would guess more or less the same boat that Chris had his racing success in and should retain that spirit. Come to think of it how many OSTAR boats have been preserved in this way.
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NormanKlipspringer Posted 6 years ago. Edited by NormanKlipspringer (admin) 6 years ago
I took the pictures below in 2009. At the time Chris didn't want them published but I think it is ok now in the current circumstances
www.flickr.com/photos/achilles24/8082078971/
Swansea Bay Chris Butler's Boat taken in 2009
www.flickr.com/photos/achilles24/8082072560/
Swansea Bay Chris Butler's Boat taken in 2009
I think she is as last sailed in the 1984 OSTAR. All the dings etc are present including the patch to the hull that Chris had to apply at the start after hitting a buoy. I would like to see these preserved. A good clean would make a hell of a difference. I do not know what the inside is like. I think Chris never had her fitted out as we would expect a cruiser to be and again this is of interest to see how he sailed her.
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NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
I agree with the sentiments above about retaining her if possible in the Swansea area. She was built in Gowerton, now within the area of the City Council and of course Swansea Bay and Mumbles Yacht Club were the home to many of his boats. I am putting out tentative feelers with contacts on Swansea City Council.
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NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
If anyone else has photos or information about Swansea Bay please let me know so we can have as much of her history as possible.
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NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
Rob,
Thanks for reminding me of your photo. Where was it taken and who is on board?
b.mercer 6 years ago
I wish I lived a lot nearer to Swansea......it looks like a really fascinating project. The photos make you itch to be in a work party of Achilles members to re vitalise this boat.Earlier this week I was talking to Rob Kemp of Kemp Sails about a new genoa and he was telling me that his father either still owned an 840 or used to and they both used to know Chris well. It does make you wonder what could be achieved. It should be sailed .....and the ideal would be sail training. There are several charity based boats doing this on the Blackwater ... the Ciarden Trust, the restored large smack "Pioneer", and the Sea Scout training yachts all aimed at youth training.
Red Marlin 6 years ago
I agee that our first thought was to get on a plane with cleaning rags. But of course that would cost maybe 2 or 3 hundred pounds. Better to put that towards a kitty to get an immediate outside clean-up going which we are prepared to do - lets get Chris feeling good. I admit a tear came to the eyes when we saw the boat but much can be done.
Freebird 1011 6 years ago
Interesting to hear about this boat and it would be really nice to see it doing something more than rotting away. Personally I would love to see it sailing again and suspect Chris might agree? As far as a museum is concerned I don’t much like the idea of that.

As owners we all know there are plenty of years left in such a soundly built boat. It just needs the right pair of hands and if those hands were Welsh all the better.
The OSTAR has morphed into the ARC but there is the Jester Challenge www.jesterinfo.org/ It seems more in keeping that a legacy of Chris Butler. should rest with Hasler, Richey and Co.
How about contacting Jester org and tell them Swansea Bay is available to the right person preferably Welsh.
Just my 2c worth, Duncan.
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NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
If anyone wants to make an approach to any organisation anywhere to make an initial contact and explore possibilities then please do so. If we could come up with a few possibilities then we could approach Chris to see what he thought and take it from there. I agree that putting her back to sailing would be the best outcome but almost anything is better than letting her rot. If anyone wants to visit the boat and meet Chris I am sure that that could be arranged.
Red Marlin 6 years ago
I do not think this should be put entirely on your shoulders Norman. Also agree that we should have a co-ordinated effort without dupication of effort. Also Chris's approval is paramount.
First step should be to see how much support we have from Achilles owners, after all if there is little enthusiasm it would be difficult to convince the wider world. Trouble is they are such an individual bunch.
What I have to do is think what I personally can contribute. I have already decided to sail to Swansea next year. When I reach there I am happy to assist in any way. Maybe the trip itself can be used to highlight the issue,
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NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
Thankyou Tony. It may be necessary to Form a small group of owners to take things forward. I am open to all ideas, but happy to coordinate.
Amrum 9171Y 6 years ago
I would like to be involved as well, Norman, but not sure in what capacity at this stage. My father owned a 24 and a 9m, and I have a 24 and 840 at present (although the 24 may have to go). I also see Peter Whittingham every couple of weeks or so. He is an old friend of CB, and has owned many Achilles over the years.
Regarding the photo of Swansea Bay, I'll ask my father if he can remember when it was taken and who is in it.
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NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
Thankyou Rob. Any ideas at this stage are welcome.
Blue Smoke 487 6 years ago
As someone who has only just found this forum today this may sound a bit cheeky, but here goes: I am a former Achilles 840 owner who intends to buy another one in the near future, with a view to sailing her to Auckland NZ or possibly further. I sailed two-handed across the Atlantic with my wife earlier this year in a different yacht.
I noticed the comment that “Chris had always said that he would retain the boat in the hope of sailing it 'around the world' he has now realised that this will not happen”. I wonder if carrying out my particular project in “Swansea Bay” would be of interest?
(As a Welshman I also lived in Swansea for some years, with a view over Swansea Bay from my flat!)
busy home [deleted] 6 years ago
Welcome,,,
Im sure Norman will reply soon.
Red Marlin 6 years ago
Nice to get something to keep the discussion alive
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NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
Steve,
I will have a chat to Chris about your proposal and get back to you.
Norman
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NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
Steve,
Spoken to Chris and he is prepared to talk to you about your project. If you let me have your telephone number via my email norman@achillesyachts.co.uk then I will put you in touch.
Norman
s j carter 6 years ago
I love the look of the 840 aswell as the 9m, dont supposed Chris would part with it to me? I live near Bridgwater somerset. Wouldnt be too far from Swansea, regards Simon
b.mercer 5 years ago
Norman, did anything ever happen with " Swansea Bay " ? Is she on her way to New Zealand ? I hope she is being looked after as she deserves.
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NormanKlipspringer 5 years ago
No. Still in the same state in the same place. I did get someone from Swansea City Council interested, but I think Chris is reluctant to part with her.
SlimRick 3 years ago
Was there ever a conclusion to this? Is she still in the same place?
I know I'm not Swansea, my Achilles 840 is across the Bristol Channel in Portishead, but I do have inside storage for 'Swansea Bay" available to keep her out of the elements. It would make a lovely project to bring her back to life.
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NormanKlipspringer 3 years ago
I believe that she has now been sold. No idea who the buyer is.
pjbharrison 1 year ago
I have been given an original brochure for the Achilles 840 which includes references to "Swansea Bay" and some photos. Any updates as to where she is now?
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Paul,
I have 840 brochurs with 'Swansea Bay' or 'Achillea' as she was. Copies of the brochures I have are on the web site see www.achillesyachts.co.uk/page60.html. I believe that she is still in Loughor Boat Club in the same state as when I saw her.
Norman
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