Kriter was built to compete in the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, now called The Ocean Race (formerly Volvo Ocean Race). She was designed by famous French yacht designer Georges Auzepy-Brenneur and built – “without a budget” – by the well regards Nautic Saintonge Yard in Saujone, France. Her Patron wanted “no paint” anywhere except on her “Kriter Blue” topsides. Her resourcinal laminated mahogany keel, frames, hull and furniture were all finished bright and only the finest woods were selected. Both her keel and rudder (along with mast partners, galley counters etc) were beautifully fashioned from 316 Stainless Steel-her lead ballast is encapsulated inside and her fresh water tanks (700 gallons) are also inside the keel. Over 1” thick teak decks and the finest deck gear from Goiot and others completed her outstanding level of offshore design and craftsmanship.
The Whitbread Race
In its first edition in 1973-74, the original fleet was far different than today’s stripped out racers, and the 19 boats that competed raced under then new IOR Rule. The fleet was an impressive group of strong, powerful offshore yachts; 17 of the 19 were ketches, yawls and one schooner, 4 were specially built for the race (including Kriter), and all were true yachts – with full interiors, galleys, bunks and creature comforts. Kriter finished 3rd in the Race under Jack Grout and a rotating crew that did one, some or all of the legs – including the soon-to-be-famous designer Gilles Vaton, Michel Malinovsky, Alain Gliksman and others.
It was a rugged race with 3 fatalities and much damage, injuries and dismastings in the fleet. Kriter finished largely unscathed, was the first French Yacht to sail around Cape Horn, and was perhaps the first yacht to be used for promotion by her sponsor – Kriter Champagne flowed freely at every stop, business boomed, and over 40,000 bottles were produced with a spectacular photograph of Kriter roaring downwind around Cape Horn.
By all accounts from her crew in the race, Kriter performed beautifully. She was fast and safe and able. Indeed, she has always been well loved by all of those who have sailed on board her-she is a special yacht indeed.
After the race
After her successes in the Whitbread Race, Kriter required no structural repairs but was refit and refinished and some additional cruising amenities were installed. She was sailed in the Med by her Patron and eventually sold-after which she spent several years chartering in the Med and the West Indies with fast and easy transatlantic crossings. She sold again to an American lawyer and was cared for and used as his private yacht until the early 1980’s. Here things get a little mysterious, but at some point she was hauled out in Newport, Rhode Island, the owner died, his estate was complicated and the boat was forgotten, and there she sat for 17 years. Water had penetrated her outer polyester skins and her 6 layers of mahogany and she was filthy-but largely unlooted, sound and original. In 2000, a Frenchman who knew her pedigree and her history rediscovered her and he decided to return her to her former glory. Phase one of her refitting story started in Charleston (SC). She was sold again in 2004, brought back to Europe on a cargo ship and hauled out in Cagliari (Sardinia) where phase two of her restoration started.
After almost five years of restoring works between United States and Sardinia, she’s sailing again in the Mediterranean since 2007.