Driac was a one-off design by the world-famous designer Charles Nicholson and built at Gosport by Camper and Nicholsons (the Rolls-Royce of yachting) in 1930. She was built for A G H Macpherson and he named her Driac after the wealthy Scottish industrialist Sir James Caird who had supported him financially (Caird spelt backwards is Driac, pronounced Dryack).
She is an exceptionally well designed and built cruising/racing yacht and attracted the attention of Uffa Fox (the leading innovator in boat design between the wars and a great competitive sailor) who wrote enthusiastically about her in his 1934 book ‘Sailing, Seamanship and Yacht Construction’ saying ‘she is so near to perfection, with her seaworthiness, comfort and speed.’ In 1930 the owner sailed her 5,000 miles to Malta and back, an unusually ambitious voyage for a small yacht at that time, which won him the Royal Cruising Club Challenge Cup.
Designer Charles Nicholson
Driac is a bermudian cutter, built of teak on grown oak frames with a five ton lead ballast keel attached with bronze bolts; the best possible construction of the time. As a result she has survived her years with very few problems.
Driac has been continuously sailed throughout her long life afloat; she was extensively raced by her second owner, Matthew Hackforth-Jones, from the ‘30s to the ‘50s and she sailed in the Baltic and on the West coast of Scotland in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Driac was built with serious, long-distance cruising in mind so she is strongly constructed with a low and sturdy cabin roof with small, strong portlights (large cabin windows are often the achilles heel of a yacht in severe conditions). Her self-draining cockpit is fairly small to minimise the weight of water it can hold and behind it is an 8 foot counter stern which lifts in a following sea and reduces the likelihood of a wave breaking and ‘pooping’ the vessel.
Inside is a comfortable saloon with a chart table, galley, charcoal stove and two bunks and a quarter berth. In the bow the focs’l offers two more bunks and between the saloon and the focs’l are the sea toilet and the wet locker. Many modern yachts are built around their accommodation with minimal regard to sailing quality; Driac comes from a time when the hull design came first and accommodation was fitted in afterwards. As a result she has a slim, deep hull and is smaller inside than many a plastic boat but she is fast and sea-kindly. She is well equipped but she is a sailors’ boat and has no pretensions to luxury.
As a bermudian cutter Driac has an essentially modern rig; there is no gaff and sheets and halliards are handled with winches, but she does have a bowsprit and carries up to three headsails. If you learn to sail on Driac you will learn a full range of modern techniques but on a beautiful boat with character and individuality. If you want to get involved with rubbing down and varnishing, painting, splicing, whipping or learn any other traditional skills to help maintain the old girl then you’ll be very welcome.