'Shadow' - Dartmouth's Newest Fan
For much of last month, the Russian-owned 104’ elegant, all carbon, sailing yacht ‘Shadow’ has graced the Dart Harbour bringing to it a bit of St Tropez glamour. The yacht, built 18 months ago, has spent her time here having the initial teething troubles of the build ironed out and a new crew trained up.
The yacht’s skipper is Geoff Evans, previously MD of the former Devon Sailing (the Dartmouth-based sailing and adventure school). Geoff has spent the last couple of years skippering the yacht Lion King in Europe and the Caribbean. Geoff took charge of ‘Shadow’ just a few months ago.
Charged with sorting the boat out, he decided to bring her to Dartmouth as he was confident that many of the necessary suppliers and required expertise could be found locally and that Start Bay afforded a safe place to test out the rig and train the new crew.
“Coming back to Dartmouth was nostalgic, seeing many of the old faces,” says Geoff. “Everybody has been so helpful. We had a long list of work to carry out in a short time and I wanted to be confident in the people to whom I was entrusting the work. Also, spending one month in Dart Harbour is cheaper than 5 days in a marina in Southampton.
“For instance, the rigger Lee Rogers, has been fantastic, working really hard. It’s been pretty stressful for him as the rig on ‘Shadow’ is the tallest installed in Northern Europe on a boat of this size. The loads are incredible. Lee has sorted the rigging making it easier and safer for a small crew to operate.
“Many of the systems on this boat are very complex but we’ve been able to rely on the shipwrights and electricians from Darthaven to sort them out. We’ve commissioned Dart Sails & Covers to make new spray hoods and biminis for the boat, for Gordon Arthurs to make us new seat cushions.
“We’ve had great help from the DHNA. The boys on the river, particularly Scottie, and Kate in the office have made life as easy for us as possible with nothing too much trouble.
Including Geoff, the crew is pretty much new and, like Geoff, have a local connection. First Mate Joe and his partner, Boat Manager Teresa, who have been on the boat for a while longer than Geoff, actually learned their sailing skills under his guidance at Devon Sailing. Crewing super yachts has been a major change of direction in their lives. They were previously the Chef and barmaid respectively at Dartmouth’s Royal Castle Hotel. Joining them recently has been Andy, formerly a crewmember on the ‘J’ yacht ‘Endeavour’, and Luke for whom, at 19 years old, this is his first step on a sailing career.
“The ease by which we can quickly get out into Start Bay has been so helpful to sorting the rigging and understanding how to get the best out of the boat. We’ve been drilling ourselves with hoisting and lowering the sails ad nauseum, no mean or quick feat with the size of this rig!”
Geoff is full of praise for Dartmouth and its marine network and pleased that his decision to bring ‘Shadow’ here has been amply rewarded. “I am going to write up my experiences in the ‘Yachting Pages, which is the newsletter for super yacht captains and do my best to encourage other yachts to come here. ‘Shadow’ will definitely be back.”
‘Shadow’ is now on its way to the Iberian peninsula aiming for Barcelona.
First Published August 2013 By The Dart