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1902 William Fife 36 Clyde Linear

Plymouth, United Kingdom


Sibyl of Cumae, designed and built in 1902 by William Fife of Fairlie, Scotland, is very special yacht. Listed on the National Historic Ships UK register (no 674) she has seen over 119 years of history and is presented in wonderful condition.

She was the subject of a very extensive rebuild in the mid 80s and has been well maintained since with regular varnish, paint work being undertaken. In her current ownership she has been extensively cruised and taken part in a handful of classic regattas within Europe.

Sibyl comes with a full inventory of sails and equipment which will allow the new owner to go sailing straight away. She is currently undergoing winter works of varnish and topside painting in her own purpose build shed and sitting on her cradle. 

You won’t be disappointed when viewing Sibyl, with her classic and very striking lines which could only come from the drawing board of Fife.

More pictures to follow.


Approved Boats is pleased to assist you in the purchase of this vessel. This boat is centrally listed by The Metre Yard.

Basic Boat Info

Price: £235,000
Tax Status: Not Applicable
Boat Name: Sibyl of Cumae
Make: William Fife
Model: 36 Clyde Linear
Year: 1902
Condition: Used
Category: Sail
Builder: Fife of Fairle
Designer: William Fife III
Construction: Wood
Keel Type: Full Keel


Length: 51'7 ft / 15.72 m
Length Overall: 55'9 ft / 16.99 m
Waterline Length: 34 ft / 10.36 m
Beam: 9'7 ft / 2.93 m
Min Draft: 6.5 ft
Displacement: 9,979 kg
Single Berths: 3
Double Berths: 1
Cabins Count: 3

Engines / Speed

Engines: 1
  • Make: Thornycroft
  • Model: 36hp
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Engine Power: 36hp
  • Type: Inboard
  • Propeller Type: 3 Blade
  • Engine Location: Center
Displacement Type: Full Load


Fuel Tanks: 1
Fuel Tank Capacity: 30 L
Water Tanks: 2
Water Tank Capacity: 15 L


Heads Count: 1
Boat Class: Antique and Classics, Antique and Classics, Sloop


Sibyl of Cumae was designed by William Fife and built at Fairlie, Scotland in 1902 with a yard no of 486 and originally launched as Ensay for J.Stewart Clark. Designed to the 36ft linear rating rule of 1900 and as far as records show she was one of four on the Clyde. Sibyl was originally built with a gaff rig and three open cockpits for up to eight crew members.

By 1908 (Ensay) she was sold to Arthur E Nicholson, with a home port of Queenstown until 1912 when she was sold to Mr Atwell Allan and renamed Sibyl. She remained in his ownership until 1929.

There is a slight gap in Sibyl’s history from 1929 until 1935, but it is known that during the War years Sibyl was laid up in Ireland and at some point, during these years, her rig was changed to a modern Bermudan rig and her coach roof was fitted. It should be noted that her original five ton lead keel was not removed for the war efforts as many of her sisterships were. Sibyl reappeared in 1935 under the ownership of T. Goobie who went about removing the bowsprit, shortening the boom and gaff to reduce her sail area to 1,120sqft.

In 1945 she changed hands again to Henry Donegan, the Vice Commodore of the Irish Cruising Club, who cruised her locally in Ireland. Sibyl was remeasured for RORC rating and raced in the Kingston Cork Race.

Sibyl was neglected after the next owner left her in Ringsend Basin, Dublin and it wasn’t until the 1950 that her next owner purchased her for no more than the value of her lead keel and went about recommissioning her.

In the early 1980s Sibyl entered the next exciting stage of her life when she was purchased by John and Dorothy Merrett. Between 1985-1988 Sibyl was the subject of an extensive rebuild. Her hull was completely stripped, with her coach roof and deck removed. The planking was in good shape so was left, but a new deck and coach roof (same style as her 1930s one) was fitted along with a new Bermudian rig, new engine and a full steel ring frame to give extra strength. During this rebuild one ton of her lead was removed to allow for the difference of weight that went into the boat with the engine, rig and steel work.

Following her rebuild Sibyl enjoyed many years of cruising in the West Country and taking part in Classic Regattas. Every year she had her rig removed and was lifted on her purpose-built cradle and covered, which ensured that she has remained in great condition.

Sibyl’s current owner has spent the past decade enjoying extensive cruising and taking part in classic regattas. Two years ago, the owner did a Round Britain (clockwise) sail, stopping off for two nights in St Kilda, Orkneys. 2019 saw Sibyl sail to Sweden to visit the Sandhamn yearly Classic regatta.


A very cosy and well thought-out interior allows for comfortable cruising. Access to down-below is through the companionway steps and into a small galley to starboard which is fitted with a double sink, 2 burner and grill cooker, and a fridge under the chart table. 

The chart table to port with a quarter berth behind it, leading into the main saloon which has two settees which convert into berths as required and a fixed table in the middle.

Forward of the saloon is a double berth cabin with two hanging lockers. A heads with wash basin can be found to starboard, with a very long working for-peak. 

  • Eberspaeher heating 

  • Modern heads fitted (old Blakes also available)

Navigation/Electronic Equipment
  • B&G Navigation Equipment 

  • AIS 

  • Autohelm 

  • Cobra DSC VHF 

  • Sound system with bluetooth 

  • Alloy Spars with a wood grain finish 
  • Bermudan mast is approx 55ft over the deck 
  • Two Facnor furlers 
  • Two sets of spreaders 
  • Running backstays with highfield levers 
  • Alloy grain painted spinnaker pole
  • SKB Mainsail (2020)

  • Hood mainsail finished in cream with rope luff, sliders and slab reefing (2009) 

  • Hood no 1 Genoa (2009) 

  • Penrose no 2 Jib (2002) 

  • Masthead cruising chute and snuffer 

  • Asymmetric spinnaker (2018)

Safety Equipment
  • 4 Person life raft 
  • Horseshoe floats 
  • Flares 
  • Fire extinguishers 
  • Manual and electric bilge pumps 
  • Thornycroft 36hp engine with Hurth gearbox 
  • Foxed three bladed propeller 
  • 2 engine alternators 
  • 3 batteries 
Ground Tackle
  • Danforth and Fisherman anchors with 3/8th inch galvanised chain
  • Electric windlass
  • 35 Gallon fuel tank 
  • 30 Gallon freshwater tank 
The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.

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