Monday 19 October 2009


Passing this yacht in a local marina, I had to do a double take.

Grimalkin, apart from being the name of Nostradamus's cat, was the sloop at the centre of the 1979 Fastnet disaster. Over 15 sailors participating in the offshore race lost their lives as hurricane force winds swept up the western approaches in late August of that year.

Of 306 yachts in the fleet racing out to the Fastnet rock, in the terrible conditions, 69 did not finish the race and 23 were either lost or abandoned. Of those Grimalkin was perhaps the most famous and most tragic. Having suffered several knockdowns, Grimalkin's owner was lost overboard, and two crewmen left critically injured. The remaining crew abandoned the 30 foot yacht, into the life raft. The yacht was later recovered, one of the two crewmembers, who had been left aboard, presumed dead, was still alive.

Some internet research suggests that Grimalkin was subsequently refurbished, so I’m guessing this is the actual yacht. Comparison with the photo above, taken during the 70’s seems to confirm.


  1. I`ve been searching for this boat since I read `Left for Dead` which is the account of the crew member presumed dead but alive.You don`t actually say which Marina this is. Could you tell me where it is?

  2. Drop me an email and I'll send you details

  3. hello,as a 18 year old i sailed this yacht in 1990 around plymouth,and yes it was the same "grimalkin"it was owned by john kingdom back then.and looked very much like the photos from the 79 fastnet pictures.the same blue deck and decals.
    i was oblivious at the time to the boats history,but remember some man asking"is that the grimalkin"..
    glad to see she is still up and running.

  4. The boat is for sale!

  5. wow that kind of town are very nice and quiet I like them because you don't hear people, cars, you are not in the city it's very nice.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Can you tellme who the current owner of Grimalkin is?

  7. My father used to own Grimalkin and loved sailing it for many years. We owned until the early 2000's when we moved over to the United States. Brilliant boat, we won many regattas with it. We held the boat in a marina in Brixham Devon for many years, though I dont know the current owner. We sold the boat prior to the book's release and you could have got it for a bargain then - I think we sold it for 8,000 pounds.


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