Built in 1895 by Stow & Sons in the UK of English oak on grown English oak frames with forged iron floors. The beam shelf is English oak and the topsides and superstructure is of solid teak. Her garboard are of English oak and she was copper sheathed in 1997.
She was totally restored from truck to keel in 1997 including new rigs and a total review of her structure. All her systems were replaced then and they have been upgraded by the 4 owners who have enjoyed owning this spectacular yacht since then.
She is an important part of the UK’s maritime heritage and sails like a witch.
You can view RONA on video here:
History of 78’ Custom Stow Classic Ketch, RONA
When built, RONA had a clipper bow, with a long sweeping bowsprit and was rigged as a gaff yawl. She had various distinguished owners and was cruised and regattered until 1937.
In that year she ran ashore in a gale whilst in the West Country and her stem was badly damaged. She was taken in this state to Morgan Giles’ yard in Teignmouth. The Second World War came and her lead keel was hidden away and thereafter she was taken over by the MoD and sold after the war to Captain Linsay-Smith MBE. He rebuilt her, increasing her overall length by 6 feet and her bow was altered to the shape it has today. Now a cutter rigged ketch, she was again sailing in 1951, and was lent to the Royal Navy Training Unit in 1960 and entered into the Tall Ships Race before being returned to her owner who then sold her to Lord Amory.
Lord Amory was Chancellor of the Exchequer, honoured by the Queen, and founder of the Amory Award Scheme. He set up the London Sailing Project with support from the Sea Scouts and Sea Cadets with RONA as the flagship. In 1962 she entered the Tall Ships Race again and thereafter for virtually every other Tall Ships Race for the next 20 years. The London Sailing Project ran her from 32 years, by which time, although structurally sound she was in desperate need of a major refit and so in 1993 she was sold into private hands. The resultant refit took around 4 years, and every corner and part of RONA was painstakingly rebuilt, replaced or restored.
Exploring the Accommodation & Deck Equipment of 78’ Custom Stow Classic Ketch, RONA
RONA’s accommodation has been sensitively restored and has enormous charm and atmosphere. Her 130hp Perkins main engine is mounted forward and a hydraulic drive runs aft to deliver power to the drive drain.
Behind the forward engine room there are 2 comfortable upper and lower berth cabins side by side – to port and starboard, each with heads compartments.
These each has doors into the lovely main saloon with overhead hatches so that the light floods below. There is a dining table and seating to starboard and sofa to port. There are pilot berths both port and starboard and being in the centre of the ship, these are very comfortable at sea.
To starboard aft is the galley which is enclosed with new galley equipment and plenty of work surface. Then steps up to the doghouse which has seating and provides access onto the deck.
Moving aft to port is a large navigation station with a passage to the owners’ stateroom with 2 single berths and an en-suite heads compartment.
RONA has lovely sweeping decks with a helm aft and wide side decks. There is a table set up over the saloon deck hatches for alfresco eating. Her bulwarks provide lots of protection and security for her crew.
An Insight into the Current Plans for 78’ Custom Stow Classic Ketch, RONA
RONA is gearing up for an exciting sailing season ahead from her base in Batam, close to Singapore. On November 4th, she is all set to compete in the prestigious Ambassador Cup in Singapore, where each yacht is paired with an Ambassador and crew to race an exciting short course. It is a popular event that everyone looks forward to and a whole lot of fun. Following that, from December 10th through to Christmas day, RONA will be sailing to Bangka, Indonesia, with twelve very lucky students and their teachers from the University of Singapore. The new year kicks off with a number of regattas, starting with the Nongsa Coast Regatta from January 24th to 28th, and followed by an exciting race to the Equator in the Neptune Regatta, which runs from February 10th to the 18th.