Flyer, a Sparkman & Stephens design was a successor to the Swan 65 Sayula II, winner of the first Whitbread in 1973-74. She was 2’9 longer on the waterline and a ton lighter, and although she carried more sail area, she rated exactly the same as King’s Legend, her sloop-rigged Swan 65 rival in the 1977-78 race.
After winning The Whitbread 1977-78 race, and also winning the Spice Race, a race of 12,500 nm following the route of the old Dutch vessels sailing from Jakarta to Holland, Flyer was sold to the US, when she was seriously prepared for the third running of The Whitbread in 1981-82, under the name Alaska Eagle.
However, the conversion from ketch to sloop, remodeling her stern and removing the doghouse did not increase the boat’s speed and instead she finished in ninth position. She was later donated to the Orange Coast College in California where, before being bought by the Dutch initiative ‘Revival of the Flyer’ she was used as a sail training boat for 30 years.
Restored in 2014 by her original builder, the Royal Huisman Shipyard, in Vollenhove, Netherlands, she was fitted with two new Sparcraft masts and a sail wardrobe from North and her original doghouse was rebuilt. The only item retained from her days as Alaska Eagle is the fold-down canvas sprayhood.
At the beginning of September 2014, she was used to scatter the ashes of her former owner and skipper, Conny van Rietschoten, as he had asked, over the waters of the North Sea that he so loved.
LOA 20.85m/68ft 4in
Displacement 26.6 tons
Designed by S parkman & Stephens
Built by Royal Huisman Shipyard
Home Port: Rotterdam
Results in The Whitbread Round the World Race
Won leg 1, 2nd leg 3
Elapsed time 136:05:28”24
Corrected time 119:01:00:36