Cariad I

On a cold spring day in 1896 was launched a yacht which has become a legend in the history of yachting. "Cariad" - the Welsh word for "Sweetheart" - was indeed dearly loved and cherished by Lord Dunraven and subsequent owners and her fine condition today is a testament to the quality of her original construction and restoration in 1981-1983 by craftsmen of the old school. Lord Dunraven, disappointed at Valkerie III's lack of success racing for the Americas Cup, extended his interest to cruising for which "Cariad" was also admirably suited. In 1898 she won the Vasco da Gama Cup in the race that celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Navigator's voyage around the Cape of Good Hope to India. This success ensured forever a place for "Cariad" in the History of Big Cruiser/Racers. In the years that followed, she was equally at home carrying Lord Dunraven to the fishing grounds off South West Ireland or rocking to the strains of HMS Pinafore and the Pirates of Penzance when chartered by Richard D'Oyly Carte of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. Sold by Lord Dunraven in 1901, "Cariad" had a succession of owners of varying nationalities and on three occasions was sailed around the world under canvas. Following several years chartering in the West Indies, Cariad's owners decided to completely gut her and restore her to her original style and beauty. This was commenced in Antigua, West Indies in January 1981 and, when the vessel returned to England to participate in Cowes Week in 1983, the work was completed by Southampton Yacht Services who were previously Camper and Nicholson's Northam yard and prior to that Cariad's building yard, Summers and Payne. In 1988 "Cariad" was modernized to meet the stringent requirements of Japanese registration by the Sagami Dockyard. Further upgrades since then to beautify the "Cariad" include a stainless steel tubing and canvas awning over the deck passenger area, new upholstery and a beautiful teak and holly floor for the saloon, owner's cabin and guest cabins. The "Cariad" has been the flagship of the Japan Charter Yacht Association since 1993 and has been involved in many charitable goodwill events including inviting handicapped and aged people to enjoy ocean sailing and helping to improve Japanese-American relations by inviting many American military personnel to mix with Japanese guests aboard the "Cariad" on picnic cruises.