Readers of Classic Boat magazine will hardly need introducing to Sauntress, the stunning 28ft gaff cutter built in 1913 by Wright & Harris in Cardiff. She made the CB ‘Top 200’ boats in a reader poll some years ago, so of course was still listed when they upped the number to 250 a while later. Her keeper Martin O’Scannall was seduced in 1973 on seeing her at Holyhead in North Wales; he and a friend soon set off south with her; the weather, their capabilities, and the condition of the vessel together determined Dartmouth as their destination. It would be twelve years before she sailed again—but sailed she most certainly has, the length of Europe’s western seaboard, from Norway to Spain and from the Netherlands to south-west Ireland; and along the way collected that most Worthy of additions, the squaresail.
Martin’s charming manuscript recording his 40-year affair with Sauntress was followed some weeks later, when he visited us from his Galician home, by a huge archive of logs and memorabilia, so huge we hardly knew where to start. But resting on top was a CD bearing recent images by his photographer friend Oscar Companioni. What better way to celebrate Sauntress in pictures, than in her full present-day glory? Martin’s engaging story is accompanied with Oscar’s superb visual account of a single balmy evening in late summer, during her annual match-race with a local rival in Galicia.
Following a minor technical hitch or two, For the Love of Sauntress will appear on 7 November. We are pretty sure.