William Fife III

1857 - 1944


Yacht designer. Born in Fairlie (North Ayrshire), his father and grandfather had also been boatbuilders, who had established a construction yard at Fairlie. Fife became known as the premier designer of classic wooden yachts, noted for their craftsmanship and dragon trademark. Fife once said that "a good yacht should be fast and bonnie" and his designs lived up to this ideal.
His clients included Royalty and the wealthy, even producing small boats for their children. Sir Thomas Lipton (1850 - 1931), the grocery magnate, asked Fife to design the Shamrock to challenge for the Americas Cup.

His boats remain highly prized and many are still sailing usually in an impeccably restored condition.

Fife was awarded an OBE. The Fife yard was sold after his death but continued to build fishing boats and repair yachts until 1985.

Sailboats Designed By William Fife III

Model LOA First Built
BELFAST LOUGH ONE-DESIGN (CLASS I) 37.25 ft / 11.35 m 1898
BELFAST LOUGH ONE-DESIGN (CLASS II) 24.00 ft / 7.32 m 1898
CORK HARBOR ONE-DESIGN 29.00 ft / 8.84 m 1896
FIFE ONE DESIGN 24.33 ft / 7.42 m 1926


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