Emma Claire, is a very up-together example of these powerful, comfortable cruiser-racers. This Grand Soleil 50 looks much younger than her 1996 launch date would suggest. She has clearly been well looked after and recent updates include a new suite of nav and comms kit, new standing and running rigging, new storm sails and a new mainsail ( 2019 ). Equipped to RORC Category 2 she performed well in recent RTIs and Fastnets. Classic good looks and enduring style generate admiration wherever she goes. The Rolex Fastnet Race 2019 was completed safely by the owner and crew with Emma Claire finishing in a creditable 214th place in 2 days 15hrs, demonstrating what a capable yacht she is. Very sadly ill-health forces her sale.
When we bought Emma Claire in 2016 we had been looking for a larger yacht than the one we had owned for close on ten years with a view to sailing further afield and to compete in the Fastnet race. We love the lines of the Swan look a likes and the Doug Peterson design is particularly appealing.
The previous owner was an engineer and his approach to fitting out Emma Claire was very much that only the best would do. His records of all purchases are on file and little was left to chance. The excellent yard in Cornwall carried out most of the routine maintenance after initial commissioning in the Solent.
During her first ten years Emma Claire was treated to what can only be described as a pampered life and her condition is more like a yacht of half her age.
Inevitably, however, modern developments had left her B and G Navigation systems obsolete and although hardly stretched, the rod rigging was more than ten years old and had to go.
We embarked on the start of a major refit to prepare for our first Fastnet in 2017.
On the very first trip from Cornwall to her berth at Beaulieu we knew we had made a great choice in a proper offshore yacht. Her motion through the water is a delight, she points well and is a stable and fast downwind yacht.
Over the last four years we have competed quite successfully in the RORC programme of offshore racing culminating in the completion of the 2019 Fastnet.
The Fastnet race is a harsh test for any yacht and in 2019 we experienced 30 plus knots of wind and significant seas as we crossed to Southern Ireland. As a sound testament to Emma Claire’s strength, performance and great sea keeping abilities, galley service was maintained throughout even the toughest times and there a was not a moment that we had to let up on racing. On the beat and then running back to the Isles of Scilly and to Plymouth Emma Claire powered through with a helming competition to see who could top 15 knots surfing, but completely stable and not a hint of an accidental gybe.
Back on her berth, she always receives admiring looks. Even if we don’t go out sailing, simply staying on board is a true pleasure.