This beautiful Edwardian luxury sailing yacht was built for Thomas Hardcastle Merrymaid by Camper & Nicholson at their Gosport shipyard opposite the historic Portsmouth Naval Dockyard in southern Hampshire, United Kingdom and was launched on April 30th 1904. This classic yacht was designed by Charles Ernest Nicholson, who was appointed the first Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in 1944. (The next yacht designer to be awarded this honoured title was Jon Bannenberg in 1978).
When World War 2 broke out, Merrymaid was laid up and her lead keel was then later removed and used as a contribution to the war effort. It was during this time that Merrymaid became a houseboat based at Tollesbury, Essex and remained so for the next 50 years until 1994.
In 1994 she was moved to Heybridge Basin, Essex, to sell as a restoration project, and was finally purchased in 2001 by Didier Waechter and his Captain Philippe le Chevalier. Merrymaid was towed to Sheerness and then shipped to Saint-Mandiere-Sur-Mer, near Toulon in the south of France in 2002 where the restoration process began.
Sadly Waechter died before he could realise his dream of restoring Merrymaid in time for her hundredth birthday. Merrymaid was shown in her centenary year at the 2004 edition of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, but she did not sail again until 2008.
Merrymaid was restored to concourse condition by the renowned shipyard Southampton Yacht Services, (Velsheda, Thendara) starting in 2006, with further cosmetic overhaul work carried out at SYS in 2010.
Approximately 80% of her planking is original, but the 4 HP engine was replaced with a Perkins Sabre diesel engine and she is capable of reaching 10 knots under power. Merrymaid is also fitted with modern navigation and radio systems.
In November 2012, Merrymaid sailed to Bangkok where Scott Taylor and his superyacht painting team completed fairing repairs, a full repaint using the roller brush and tip method with an Awlgrip topcoat being applied together with a new underwater system and brush and tip applied brightwork. When the works were completed, Merrymaid continued on her circumnavigation sailing voyage and in 2016 quite possibly became the first gaff-rigged classic yacht to navigate the Northwest Passage.