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Restoring the 1910 Cutter 'Tally Ho' for Another Fastnet Race

17th December 2019
Tally Ho sailing circa 1912 Tally Ho sailing circa 1912 Credit: Screenshot Youtube

The ongoing restoration of the historic cutter Tally Ho by the intrepid Leo Goolden in Washington State, USA is a sight to behold on youtube writes Pete Hogan.

To those who have not chanced upon his wonderful series of videos (scroll down for one), now numbering over 50 episodes, I highly recommend them as suitable for viewing these long winter nights.

Leo Sampson Goolden is a Boatbuilder, Sailor and Writer from Bristol. He restored a 1947 Folkboat and sailed it, without lifelines, engine, or GPS, across the Atlantic in 2014. From there, as many boat bums do, he got a job on big classic sailing boats which paid well and showed him a different side of the yachting world.

Leo boatbuilderLeo (above) and below on the folkboat


Then in what must have been a eureka moment, Leo bought, from The Albert Strange Association, the 48-foot gaff cutter Tally Ho (for £1 as she was in need of complete restoration and also had to be moved). Tally Ho, dating from 1910, designed by Albert Strange, won the 1927 Fastnet race, one of only two yachts from the fifteen starters to complete the race. She ended up in the Pacific as a workboat and was pretty well derelict.

The project is not unlike the recent restoration of the Ilen here in Ireland, and the vessels are of similar size. But Leo is doing it all on his own, depending on volunteer help and public donations of money and equipment. Central to this business plan is the making of videos to publicize the project. He’s a young guy, (my guess is about 30), and everything is happening in front of the cameras. He is visibly maturing and gaining in confidence over the plus 25 hours of footage which is now on view. It was heart-breaking to see him admit in one episode that he had cut the top off one of his fingers. His ardent fans are eager to see what happens to the girl who appears every now and then. Watching over all is a cute parrot.

Tally HoA watercolour of Tally Ho at the Fastnet Rock by article author Pete Hogan

There are many, indeed countless, restoration, adventure, misfortune, quirky, yachting videos online but I can confidently say that Leo’s series, for interest, humour, technical detail, longevity, and courage, beats them all. It’s hard to say, but about two years in, the project is about halfway to completion and the aim is to sail Tally Ho in a Fastnet Race again.

To follow Leo and the restoration of Tally Ho click here

Published in Historic Boats Team

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