Laverne

Laverne

Laverne is an elliptical-sterned racing yole built by John Renton Baikie (1872-1947) in the early 1930s at South End, Stromness, Orkney. The elliptic stern identifies Laverne as a yole built for racing and leisure use rather than as a working yole which were traditionally double-ended.

Although John Renton Baikie grew up in a boat building family in Stromness he spent a lot of his working life as Stromness Burgh Surveyor and Sanitary Inspector. Despite this he was a gifted boat builder and is thought to have built three boats in his spare time, Laverne being one of these boats. Laverne was a very successful racing boat in the 1930-40s often duelling for honours with her arch rival Skua. Rumour has it that at times some unorthodox approaches were employed by the Baikie’s to improve Laverne’s racing performance. The day before a regatta, late at night, noisy activity on the foreshore adjacent to their house was apparent. If the conditions allowed the Baikie’s would bolt extra weights to the keel of the yole increasing her stiffness (stability) in turn enabling her to carry more sail and therefore sail faster.

Laverne was raced by the Baikie’s until the early 1950s when she was acquired by Walter Dunnet of Longhope, South Walls. Laverne continued to be raced by Walter into the 1960s. In the mid 1970s Andy Dunnet (son of Walter) took over Laverne and moved her back from Longhope to Stromness where he raced her though to the mid-1980s. Later Laverne lay in the noust at South End near where she was originally built, Around 2010 Laverne moved south to Scotland and spent ten years in storage. Laverne returned to Orkney in October 2020 to be restored and looked after by the Orkney Historic Boat Society.

Laverne returns to Orkney (October 2020)