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Dickies - Designed by Fife - Gaff Ketch

After undergoing an extensive refit, "Colena" is being offered for sale and is available for the coming season. A one-of-a-kind classic  William fife design and built by Dickies.

The current owner re-discovered her in poor condition on the Clyde in 2002 and undertook  on an extensive restoration project before being re launched in 2003. During Colena’s refit everything you could possibly think of was done, her oak frames were repaired/ replaced, new teak decks laid over marine ply, new rudder made in epoxy/glass sheathed ply fitted with hydraulic steering, all new electrics, new Lancing Marine Ford 85hp engine and much more… Viewing highly recommended.

Owners Comments

The engine has a large flywheel and therefore swings a big prop at low rpm which means that she is just ticking over at 7knots and therefore very economical to run. I also like the full headroom bow to stern and the aft berths behind the engine giving 8 berths in total. The rear access below decks from the dog house is a great feature together with the mid ship access.

Finally the ride in a rough sea is superb. Only a wooden boat gives the combination of weight and natural buoyancy to smooth out the "bounce on the bow".

Construction/Refit 2003

Planked in 1 1/4." teak all copper and bronze fastened to 3" x 2 1/2" oak frames in pairs at 3'3" centres with 1 steamed intermediate timber on an oak back-bone. Her Oak frames were repaired/ replaced as necessary. Angle iron strap floors side bolted to the frames to eliminate contact of the floor bolts with the exterior. External iron ballast keel secured with 10 galvanised bolts all renewed in 2003

 1 1/2. tons internal lead ballast. Small self draining cock-pit aft with traditional teak spooked wheel to hydraulic steering, teak grating and teak side seats to stowage under the side decks. A varnished teak grating seat is placed across the push-pit to protect the hydraulic rams

Varnished teak coach-roof and dog-house with twin doors, seats either side and a shelf across the forward face with navigation instruments. Steps to below

The coach-roof is fitted with opening bronze port holes each side, a midships sliding entrance hatch with sky-lights forward and aft all in varnished teak. Teak grab rails each side. Varnished teak fore hatch on the fore deck

New straight-laid teak over ply deck with varnished teak cover-boards and toe rails. Re-galvanised stanchion posts, pull and push-pits. Galvanised steam head fitting with fore stay attachment point and twin chain rollers

The teak planking was completely refastened with 1,400 2 1/2" silicon bronze screws

A new laminated stem was made and fitted with new breast hook

A number of frames were replaced in laminated timber

The whole hull was caulked and the seams below the waterline payed with Sikaflex, the seams above waterline payed with putty

80% of the starboard beam shelf replaced

A new rudder made in epoxy/glass sheathed ply and fitted with new Wills Ridley hydraulic steering gear. All new deck beams and knees

New deck laid in teak over a marine ply sub deck

The dog-house roof was replaced in canvas sheathed t&g pine

The vessel was rewired with all new electric gear and fittings

Internal ballast replaced in lead

Much of the interior was rebuilt

All new equipment, tanks etc supplied and fitted

80 gall s/s fuel tank under the cock-pit sole


6 berths. V -berths in the fore cabin. A locker and drawer unit against the aft port bulkhead makes the port berth a little shorter. Fore hatch over. Chain locker forward with electric windlass battery. Stowage under the berths. Bulkhead doorway with curtain.

Saloon cabin with port and starboard Chesterfield-style seating with buttoned cloth upholstery. Colin Frake solid fuel stove against the forward starboard bulkhead with flue to deck. Varnished teak locker units at the head of each settee. White painted tongue and grove bulkheads. Brass clock and barometer on the forward port bulkhead.

Half bulkhead to the port galley with useful vertical grab post on the corner. Deep, square s/s sink in the Formica work surface edged with deep varnished fiddle rail, Nelson gimballed gas cooker with oven, plate stowage outboard under the side deck. Pressurised hot and cold water, sink drains overboard. Varnished teak sky-light above with suspended oil lamp. White painted deckhead.

Opposite to starboard is the heads compartment with Blake sea toilet and porcelain sink in the corner, pressurised hot and cold water, drains overboard.

Centre-line ladder to the midships entrance hatch in the coach-roof.

Port side passageway aft to the owner's cabin with generous port and starboard berths. Varnished teak tongue and grove bulkheads and joinery. Bench seat in front of the port berth with hanging locker on the aft bulkhead, drop down table off the fwd bulkhead. Original panelled teak doors.

Aft cabin with port and starboard quarter berths, engine under a large varnished ply box in the middle against the fwd bulkhead. Steps to the dog-house.

6' head-room throughout. Painted pine sole boards. White painted deckhead

Hot water from calorifier tank heated by the engine cooling water and 240v immersion heater when on shore power. 40 gall + flexible fresh water tank in the midships bilge.


  • Sestral steering compass
  • Navrnan and Nasa sounders
  • Nasa log
  • Nasa SX35 DSC VHF radio
  • Navman auto-pilot
  • Navman GPS
  • Mobiytronic battery maintenance system. 6-man life raft.
  • CQR and Fisherman anchors
  • 4 x 12v batteries on 12v circuits
  • 240v circuit with shore power connection



  • Ford 85hp 4-cyl diesel supplied by Lancing Marine in 2003 - flexibly mounted on new engine beds with PRM hydraulic gearbox, single lever controls to centre-line 3-blade prop gives 
  • Full engine instrumentation


Mast, spars and rigging

Gaff ketch rig . The main is stepped through the deck just forward of the coach-roof, the mizzen stepped through the dog-house roof onto the cross beam shelf.

Varnished spinnaker pole 

Galvanised mast fittings

Slab reefing varnished booms

Varnished gaffs with leathered gaff saddles

S/s mast hoops on the mainsail

Galvanised rigging wire with s/s rigging screws to s/s eye bolts in the deck through the beam shelves. Running back-stays on Highfield levers to the main.

Single stemhead fore stay

Pair of new top action bronze sheet winches either side of the cock-pit. All traditional varnished block and tackles to halyards


  • Mainsail
  • Mizzen
  • Genoa (2005) 
  • 3 smaller headsails
  • Spinnaker
  • Mizzen staysail (2005) 

Deck Equipment

  • Lofrans 12v windlass
  • 60 meter new chain.
  • Mooring warps
  • Fenders


Built in 1925 to a designed by William Fife and built by Peter Dickie. Peter, spent some of his formative years with William Fife at Fairlie and was responsible for many of the Dickie's designs. In 1923 he opened his own yard at Bangor in North Wales and working in conjunction with William McPherson Campbell they continued in close cooperation with the brothers at Tarbert, building both their own designs and those of other designers including MacCallum, Fife, Fred Shepherd and G.L. Watson. After busy war work building MTBs and MGBs the yard passed out of the family's ownership after the war and finally closed in the 1980's.

She has the Fife dragon carved at her bow though because she was not built at Fairlie she does not have the wheatsheaf at the stem.

During the war her dog-house and coach-roof were removed at Robertsons and she was used for ferrying wounded on stretchers from ships anchored off. After the war the coach-roof was replaced by Robertsons and she was returned to her owners

William Fife Yachts

The Fife Yachts are one of the Worlds most prestigious group of Classic yachts. The Yachts portray a journey through time and represent a period of great development and skill in the sailing world. William Fife III was from a family of boat builders and designers and throughout his career developed some amazing vessels that still grace our waters today. 

Why I purchased 'Colena' - the owners perspective

I was looking for a classic quality yacht with character, built in the best materials, in good condition, gaff rigged, good hull shape for speed, good freeboard to stay dry, easy to sail, head room from front to back, big economical slow speed non turbo engine, access from below to wheel house and plenty of berths / space ( she has 8 ).

Colena spent her entire life on the Clyde until I took her to France. The previous owner used to “nip across the Irish sea  for a pint” and then return. I saw her, knew she was perfect and fell in love with her. When you sit in her she oozes charm and is very cozy.

I have had many boats all my life and know my stuff and what to look for in a boat:
She is fast off the wind due to the large square sail area being low down. She does not heel much as she has a good keel and the high freeboard keeps you dry. She can motor directly up wind without slowing down because she has a fine hull and big flywheel  turning a big fine pitch prop.

Being a heavy all teak hull she is soft in the sea- the bow being naturally buoyant when it dips and heavy when it rises damps out the hobby horse effect that you get in a fiberglass boat. People say that wooden boats are real boats. This is true as they give you the best ride. She is all Burma teak. This is very unusual as it was considerably more expensive to build  a boat this way. They are usually larch. Larch is cheap but rots. Because she was privately built for a doctor who could no doubt afford to have the best probably explains the use of teak.

Everything on her is new: Deck, plumbing, wiring, engine, keel bolts, galley, seating, loo, instruments, steering, rig, sails, windlass, winches, the hull has been completely refastened with silicone bronze screws and the list goes on!

The hull being teak requires no work other than anti-fouling each season. The teak is original and does not rot at all. The frames are oak and all are rot free. She is very easy to maintain and I spend about 1 week each year on varnish and anti-foul/ paint work which I regard as a pleasure.

The sail layout is original. I had always planned to fit a bow sprit which is easy to do. A friend of mine did it to his wooden gaff ketch and it looks good. The reason it has not been done is indicative of why I am selling her. I just do not have the time. I have 2 teenage kids then along came number 3. This coupled with being run off my feet with property development and old car restoration keeps me fully occupied.

She has a walk on berth with water and power in Lorient in France. Every time I sit on her I feel really content with her. She has “soul”- character and charisma. I do not get this from fiberglass boats. The upshot of all this is when I sit on her I feel I should keep her as I will greatly miss her if she is sold. I well know I cannot better her. My wife however has other ideas………..I am forced to be practical and not sentimental.

In closing, I hope you can see how she ticked all the boxes for me and I am sure will do the same for an enthusiast that knows their stuff!


Nicolle Associates offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.

  • VAT is not applicable on this vessel.
  • As always photographs do not do justice viewing is highly recommended.
  • This boat is lying in North France.
  • © 2014 Nicolle Associates.
Category:Sailing Boats
Manufacturer:Dickies - Designed by Fife
Model:Gaff Ketch
Mooring Country:France
Year built:1925
Sales status:available
LOA:11.58 m/38 ft
Length:11.58 m/38 ft
Width:3.2 m/10 ft
KW:85.0 hp
No. of cabins:3
No. of berths:6
WC & bathrooms:1
Registration details
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