An Ohlson 38, Robertson’s G as she is now known was built in 1974 by Tylers of Maidstone and bought as a hull by Ron Green, a building contractor of Sanderstead, Surrey.
Ron had it moved to his garden and fitted out there to his own specification by his workmen. His carpenter was a real craftsman, as can be seen by the quality of the teak fittings in the accommodation.
Originally the boat was named “Battle Royal of Chichester” as Ron was a prominent member of Chichester Yacht Club. Wanting the boat to be raced, he lent her to Clare Francis for two years so that she could prepare her for and enter her in the Observer Single-handed Transatlantic Race in 1976. Clare obtained sponsorship from her previous employers, James Robertson & Sons (Preserve Manufacturers) Ltd, so the boat’s name was changed to “Robertson’s Golly”. The Golly had been the company’s logo for over seventy years.
In June 1975 Clare entered Golly in the Azores and Back race and finished eleventh out of fifty-four starters. This qualified her for the OSTAR the following year. In this race she finished thirteenth overall out of 125 starters taking the Ladies’ Prize and beating the women’s single-handed transatlantic record by three days. Golly had pride of place outside the entrance to the London Boat Show the following January and Clare was featured in an episode of the TV series “This is Your Life”, hosted by Eamon Andrews.
After the racing Ron Green took Golly back and cruised her extensively in the Channel for many years. He died in 1995 and his family, wanting to keep in touch with the boat, asked Ian Dallison if he would like to take her over. Ian had been a family friend for some years and had sailed on Golly a number of times. A member of the Royal Solent YC, he lives in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, so that was the boat’s home for the next ten years. Although, inevitably, some changes were necessary, particularly to the instruments, Ian tried to retain the basic character of the boat and then cruised her extensively in the western Channel. Advancing years and declining mobility may have forced Ian to give up sailing the yacht himself but he remains involved with the project and is part of the syndicate of project co-skippers who now own the yacht.
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