Fife 6m Nada
The story of Joe’s first refit

From 1975 – onward – the first restoration. Nada’s story is one particularly close to my heart, being my first foray into a refit/restoration. I had miles a plenty and skippered and sailed some lovely and what now would be called classics. Nada captured my imagination of all things good and wood. With no money, but lots of enthusiasm – into the breach I went – and learned. Fife, a master, had inspired a know nothing kid to give it a go! An interesting story ensued. The later days of the S&S refits was a progression – more by chance than design.

Nada's Story...

Built in 1930 as Dana II, Nada spent much of her early life racing, mainly in Scotland, attracting a wide range of attention. Legendary Cowes boatbuilder Uffa Fox was impressed with her seaworthiness. “To ginger Nada up, I designed and fitted the mast, rig and sails... and sailed from Burnham to Cowes,” he wrote. “On the way down we left trading schooners weather-bound for Dover, not so much because of the weather, but because they could not turn windward.”

In the late 1960s she was kept on Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland, but broke free from her mooring in a storm and was driven ashore. She sustained modest hull damage and was sold to Londoner Stephen Cash, who transported her by low-loader to a barn close to Gatwick Airport. Friends came together to fix her, installing a self-draining cockpit, three new laminated ribs and external cladding in glass-reinforced plastic.

In 1975 Joe Loughborough saw Nada in Gosport, Portsmouth Harbour, and fell in love. “A Fife 6-Meter is the ultiimate sailing machine, and there weren’t many around in those days. So I begged, borrowed and stole everything to refit her,” he said. He paid £1,300 and had 41p left over to buy a celebratory beer. He completely refurbished her the following winter, from a new cockpit to deck hatches and a glassfibre deck.

Loughborough raced Nada for two years in the Solent and took her cruising to Dorset, but left her behind when he travelled and ran boats int he Med and Caribbean. So Nada sat in his backyard, covered and protected, until 1984, when his boss, John Trafford, asked him t ship her to Mustique in the Grenadines, where he was setting up a ‘play pen’ of expensive toys. Not able to take care of Nada, Joe sold her to Trafford for $10,000; Trafford gave her back to Joe as a wedding present in 1985.

Joe then did something he still regrets: he traded Nada to Jim Fuller for a Gauntlet 41 Torage. Joe later heard that Fuller had lost interest in Nada: “He hauled her, left her uncovered and she blew over in a hurricane. She was on the fast track to deterioration.”

Five years later, Joe wanted Nada back, but she was in bad shape, and he couldn’t handle the restoration again. After several resurrections, it seemed Nada had finally succumbed to the elements. But just when people were about to give up on her, Andrew Robinson discovered her in the bushes and took her in hand. Robinson restored to her original hull form but sheathed the hull with a cold-molded veneer of mahogany. He also gave her a modern, class-approved rig with aluminum spars and laminated sails. She was sold in 2006 to British yachtsman Peter Harrison.