At the beginning of the 19th century William Fyfe, son of John Fyfe a mill and cartwright, began building fishing boats and trading craft on the foreshore at Fairlie. An excellent craftsman, keen to build more refined sailing boats, he was advised to read Steele’s Naval Architecture by a client, James Smith of Jordanhill. As a result he built his first large yacht, Lamlash in 1812.


04084VA family of boatbuilders

The Lawley family spans four generations of Massachusetts ship builders and designers. Beginning with George F. Lawley, an English shipbuilder who sailed to America in 1851, his son, also George F., his son Frederick D, and ending with his son, the English George's great grandson, George F. Lawley II (1901-).


The firm of Ratsey & Lapthorn is a venerable institution. They are descended from the British Ratsey & Lapthorn, which in turn goes back to George Rogers Ratsey, who set up shop on the Isle of Wight in 1790 and made a name for himself by making better sails than anyone else. Back in 1815, for instance, the Ratsey-outfitted yacht Waterwitch made a monkey out of Pantaloon, a naval vessel of the same size.


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