William Fife

William Fife, Naval Architect
A good boat has to be fast.
William Fife
Naval Architect

Designer description William Fife

The history of the brand

William Fife III, born 1857, was a hereditary shipbuilder and continued the work of his grandfather and father who founded the Fairley Shipyard in Scotland. Fife has gone down in history as a designer of classic wooden yachts, many of which still delight sail lovers with their beauty and grace. The stylized Chinese dragon logo that adorned Fife's yachts became a kind of mark of quality, speed and belonging to the elite and now vintage class of classic boats.

Fife's clients included royalty and wealthy businessmen from various countries. Over the years William Fife has designed around 600 yachts. Many of his boats are still highly prized, restored and in impeccable shape.

Fife's last projects were built in 1938. After the designer's death, the yard was sold but existed until 1985, continuing to build fishing boats and repair yachts.


Beauty and speed are the main characteristics of William Fife's yachts. This can be seen today. An important part of the fleet of classic Fife regattas today is the yachts that still often and confidently defeat their rivals.

Speciality .

Meter-class yachts and other wooden boats. William Fife's name today is associated with the brightest members of the classic fleet.

Cooperation with shipyards

Some of William Fife's yachts have been built by other companies, such as Robertson & Sons.

Landmark projects

Fife designed two yachts for Sir Thomas Lipton and his participation in the« America's Cup. But both Shamrock I (1899) and Shamrock III (1903) lost the battle for the prestigious trophy. Fife has designed eight of the twenty 15 metre class yachts. Today only 4 15m yachts are still alive - Mariska, Hispania, Tuiga and The Lady Anne. Other designer boats still participate in the races: Mariquita, Sumurun, Halloween, Cambria, Eilean. Fife's Pen Duick gaffed tender was the first boat built by Éric Tabarly on which the legendary yachtsman learned to sail.

Team .

William Fife died in 1944. He had no children. His nephews tried to continue his work, but they failed to reach the level of quality as their legendary ancestor.