Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Irish “Etchells 22 Special” Wins in International Classic Boat Awards

6th April 2018
The transformed Etchells 22 Guapa has this week received well-earned international recognition for the quality of her conversion The transformed Etchells 22 Guapa has this week received well-earned international recognition for the quality of her conversion

The standard and well-worn Etchells 22 which Bill Trafford of Alchemy Marine in County Cork transformed into an immaculate fast weekend cruiser has been awarded first prize in the Spirit of Tradition category in the International Classic Boat Awards 2018 in London this week writes W M Nixon.

As regular readers of will be well aware, Bill really does work the full magic of total alchemy at his workshop hidden away near Skenakilla Crossroads in the heart of the countryside of North Cork. A very ordinary standard white Etchells 22 went into the shed, yet within a year, an immaculate dark blue classic cruiser -complete with a perfect small coachroof of appropriate style and immaculate joinerywork - had emerged back into the outside world.

guapa winner2Work in progress. Modifications under way in the Alchemy Marine worskshop to the Etchells 22 hull in the background, while in the foreground is the superbly-crafted new coachroof. Photo: W M Nixon

Among those impressed by the finished job was classic shipwright Johnny Smullen, originally of Dun Laoghaire but now California-based. He has done very highly-regarded specialist work there for America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner’s classic collection, and he reckoned that the Trafford transformation was the ultimate Etchells conversion.

The re-born vessel’s elegance was emphasized by a lenthgthened counter, and her very complete overall style was finished by a beautiful suit of sails whose creation was personally overseen by Des McWilliam of UK Sailmakers of Crosshaven.

Des was one of many who were very impressed by the experience of sailing on the boat, which in her new form has been named Guapa, the Spanish for beautiful. And apparently there was a significant supportive input from readers who voted for Guapa in the Classic Boat online poll, to whom Bill Trafford passes on his thanks. For at this week’s international gathering of Classic Boat enthusiasts in the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London, Guapa was proclaimed as clear overall winner of the Spirit of Tradition (under 40ft) division.

guapa winner3A masterpiece deserving international acclaim. Bill Trafford with the re-born Guapa outside his North Cork workshop

Published in Historic Boats Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button
Who is Your Sailor Sailor of the Year 2019?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating