The 25’ 4” Virtue Class Sloop designed by Laurent Giles is one of the most capable and well-loved small cruising yachts ever designed, and thus requires no further introduction. However, stepping aboard FLYING FISH will shatter any pre-conceived notion you may have of what such a craft might look or feel like.
You may be familiar with the 136’ ALEJANDRA, 155’ SCHEHERAZADE, or the 124’ ANTONISA – some of the most spectacular classic mega-sailing yachts ever built of cold-molded wood construction at the Legendary Hodgdon Yachts in East Boothbay, Maine.
Now imagine one of Hodgdon’s finest craftsmen, quietly and diligently building a Virtue Class sloop in his home workshop during evenings and weekends over the course of eight years – utilizing the very same wood/epoxy composite construction, finest imaginable materials, and impeccable craftsmanship employed during his day job. The resulting mini-yacht is FLYING FISH. Launched in East Boothbay, Maine in 2010.
Builder Jack Bassett didn’t stop there. Within days of launching FLYING FISH in 2010, Jack and his wife Caroline embarked on a 14-month, 12,000-mile adventure across the Atlantic to the Azores, along the South coast of Portugal to the Spanish border and up the Rio Guadiana, to Porto Santo and Madeira, the Canary Islands, and down the West African coast to the Cape Verde Islands. From there they sailed FLYING FISH back across the Atlantic to Grenada, up through the Caribbean and Eastern Seaboard returning to Maine.
An article (which can be emailed) was published in the January/February 2013 issue of WoodenBoat Magazine, documenting the construction of FLYING FISH and history of the Virtue design.
Jack and Caroline continue to spend summer cruising aboard FLYING FISH – mostly in Maine, and remarkably, the boat looks as perfect or possibly even better today as she did when launched in 2010. Her varnish is perfect inside and out, the Yanmar 2YM15 diesel was brand new in 2020 (only 30 hours!), and all of her electronics, safety equipment and other systems are fully up to date.
The next owner of FLYING FISH could pack some clothes, hit the grocery store, and set sail for the horizon – or perhaps be content admiring her stunning interior joinery with a cup of tea on the mooring between leisurely daysails. Either way, I’ve never seen a more capable and amazingly perfect little yacht of this size.
Year Built: finished and launched May 2010
Designer: J. Laurent (Jack) Giles, Lymington, UK
Builder: Jack Bassett, Boothbay, ME
Hull Material: cold-molded wood
LOD: 25.5 ft./ 7.8m
LOA: 27 ft./ 8.2m
LWL: 22 ft./ 6.7m
Beam: 7 ft. 3 in/ 2.2m
Draft: 5 ft./ 1.52m
Displacement: 4.2 tons/ 4.3 tonnes
HULL: Cold-molded with West System epoxy to 1″ thickness 9/16″ tongue & groove Alaska Yellow Cedar edge glued and Bronze fastened. 2 layers of diagonal 1/8″ Western Red Cedar followed by a final diagonal layer of 1/8″ Spanish Cedar. 2 layers of biaxial fiberglass cloth sheathing
FRAMES & ENGINE BED: Mahogany
FLOORS & BACKBONE: Iroko.
DECK: 1/2″ x 2″ tongue & groove Alaska Yellow Cedar glued to 2 layers of 4 mm Sapele plywood, fiberglass sheathed.
CABINHOUSE/COCKPIT COAMING: comprised of 5 layers of Iroko, Cherry, and Yellow Cedar planking to 1-1/8″ thickness
TOE RAIL, CAP RAIL, GRAB RAIL, and HATCHES: Teak
List of equipment:
Accommodation & Domestic Equipment:
Rig, Spars & Sails:
Navigation & Electronics:
Mechanical, Electrical & Tankage:
Ground Tackle & Deck Equipment: