1939 “JENETTA” 12mR Yacht, Alfred Mylne Design No 395.
JENETTA is another spectacular project at Robbe & Berking Classics.
We are restoring the 3rd rule 12 Metre class yacht JENETTA, designed by Alfred Mylne, who was one of the most experienced 12 Metre designers in the world.
She was built in Scotland at Bute Slip Dock, which was run by Mylne’s brother, Charles. She was to be each man’s swan song.
The new boat has stainless steel on every third frame, increasing to every other frame around the maststep. The wooden frames are of laminated ash and the stringers and deck beams of Douglas-fir.
Although JENETTA is the third 12-Meter to emerge from Berking’s yard, she is the first to have been built upside down. The steel frames were erected on a platform about a foot off the ground, then the massive laminated sipo mahogany keel slotted into them.
The team discovered that the original keel had a kink in it. The keel was bent 40mm from the ’midship line.
That’s more than 1 ⁄2" out of true—a significant error. The original builders at Bute Slip Dock had faired the hull to the bent keel. The Robbe & Berking team corrected the lead with a hydraulic press -50 tons of pressure.
They also had to add lead to the old keel to trim the boat correctly. It was not the original weight of the keel, they don’t know who cut out the lead nor why. But when they put her in the water, they knew she would be 400kg (880 lbs) too light.
-It’s a question of the rule, not of performance.”
The process involves squeegeeing a film of vinyl over the hull, then using a heat gun to smooth out imperfections.
The pattern is a homage to Mylne, and the idea had been to use the Mylne tartan. “But I talked to Mylne’s granddaughter about it,” Berking said. “She told me there was no family tartan.” Instead, Berking undertook a bit of research to turn up a tartan local to Glasgow, where Mylne lived and worked. “It is not meant to be serious,” Berking said. “We will give the boat a final paint job for next summer .. or perhaps the summer after.”
Mylne’s Other 12-Meter's
If VIM was JENETTA’s chief adversary, then MARINA was her competitive older sister.
The Marina was a fast boat on the 1935 and 1936 British yachting circuits. It would have been fascinating to see how the two Mylne 12-Meters performed head-to-head, but MARINA was wrecked in 1947 when her tow parted in the Irish Sea and she ran onto rocks. The two boats never raced each other.
However, of all the Mylne yachts in the archive (www.mylne.com), it is the prospect of seeing this one rebuilt that most excite naval architect David Gray. “Mylne’s comment on VIM was, that her underwater shape more closely resembled MARINA,” he says. “The truth is we do not know how MARINA compared with JENETTA or VIM as they never sailed against each other. There is no doubt MARINA was a fast boat [and] would be a great candidate —she was another beautiful Burton Twelve.”
At 68’6″, she was 2’8″ shorter on deck than JENETTA and a full 2′ shorter at the waterline, making her slower downwind. But she could set 100 sq ft more canvas, possibly giving her an edge upwind, especially in light airs.
Robbe & Berking has an exclusive agreement to build the 12-Meter designs in the Mylne archive, of which there are 10 in total —some of them Gaff Riggers dating from 1908 to 1909.