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 Afloat.ie 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.
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 Afloat.ie 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.