This legendary boat, winner of the 1978 Whitbread Round the World Race was shipped from Long Beach, California, back to The Netherlands where she will undergo extensive refurbishments.
‘Flyer’, built in aluminum by Dutch boat builder Royal Huisman Shipyard was helmed to victory in the 1978 race by celebrated Dutch sailor Conny Van Rietschoten, who sadly passed in December 2013. Van Rietschoten will be remembered for his professional approach to ocean racing; he was the first of his peers to undertake extensive trialing and crew training before round the world races, and invested in research to improve crew clothing, rigs and weather forecasting techniques.
Over the last 30 years, ‘Flyer’, which has been renamed ‘Alaska Eagle’, was based at The Orange Coast School of Sailing and Seamanship, from where she sailed more than 300,000 nautical miles. She has undergone a number of modifications and is no longer recognisable as ‘Flyer’. However, that is about to change; her shipment with Peters & May was just the start of a long journey back to her former glory.
Dutch co-skippers Gerard Schootstra and Diederik Nolten have established a foundation, ‘Revival of The Flyer’ with the goal of restoring the yacht to her original condition so that she can partake in regatta sailing once again. This dedication to maintaining Dutch maritime and cultural heritage comes at a great time for the marine industry in Holland, following the announcement that Bouwe Bekking will race in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, with a Dutch crew, supported consultancy company Brunel.
Since her discharge in Zeebrugge by Peters & May Loadmaster Mark McGrane, ‘Flyer’ has taken to the water and is sailing to Rotterdam. She will be available to view in her current condition at the HISWA Boat Show between the 5th and 9th March, and once restored, at the start of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante in October 2014.