We know RONA well, as she has passed through our hands twice. Originally built in the UK at Shoreham-BY-Sea, she was a gaff schooner and had much success cruising and in regattas, until 1937 when she ran ashore at Exmouth in a gale, severely damaging her stem. Taken to the Morgan Giles yard in Teignmouth, she slumbered through the war years there with her lead keel hidden away. Sold to Captain Linsay-Smith after the war, she was lengthened 6 feet and the bow altered to the shape we see today. She was sailing again with her current ketch rig in 1951, and was lent to the Royal Navy for training and participated in a Tall Ships race.
Her next owner was Lord Amory. Founder of the Amory Award Scheme, Amory also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and also set up the London Sailing Project and RONA was the flagship, sailing in around 20 Tall Ships Races from 1962 with youngsters aboard. She retired from her duties with the Project in 1993 and her new owner undertook a major refit that by this time was much needed.
You can view a walk through of her here:
Built of teak with grown oak frames she was sound, but every part of her needed upgrading and this work was sensitively undertaken, and she was finally completed in 1997. Her next owner sailed locally in the Solent until she was sold again and shipped to Hong Kong for use in those waters.
RONA is now based in Batam in Indonesia, close to Singapore and she is gleaming. A familiar sight in the local regattas, she does well and also provides a fantastic platform for family sailing in her current ownership.
RONA has lovely teak decks replaced in the refit and a new deckhouse and deck furniture. Her rigs are of Sitka spruce and were built by Harry Spencer during the refit. Her white topsides were repainted in resplendent white this year and her Lewmar winches, capstans and deck fittings are all of bronze.
She is powered by a 130hp Perkins which lives forward with a Lewmar hydraulic drive to the stern gear, which frees up space for the accommodation below that flows beautifully.
She has twin bunk cabins forward with en-suite heads behind the engine space, leading to a light and lovely main saloon with 2 sofas with pilot berths above them and a galley to starboard. There is a passageway leading to the chart table, owners stateroom with heads and also up stairs to her deck saloon with access on to the deck.
RONA is unique, totally special and part of our maritime history.