Betty Alan is named after the two people who infected us with the water-borne virus of sailing.
Betty Maggs. Ed’s mother, still a better sailor than him, in her 85th year. Her father owned a succession of interesting boats, including Racundra (though everyone seems to have owner her at one time or another) Nyala, and Talis II.
Talis II, pictured below, was launched in 1938 or 1939 at Hillyards, though she is not at all the typical Hillyards type and was probably designed by Robert Clark. Her first owner died in the war and Betty’s father E.T. Wright bought her in August 1944. On one of her first cruises she blew up and sank, nearly killing Betty, her mother and brother: they were all plucked from the water by the novelist Nevil Shute, who happened to be passing in his motor yacht. E.T. bought the wreck from the insurers, raised and repaired her at Sparkes’ yard at Hayling, and still owned her into the 1960s. Ed remembers sailing on her then, but she passed out of the family. She turned up in the news in 1998 with reports of her loss at sea on the coast of Tasmania, but once again she was in fact salvaged. Her current owner is Peter Cheek from the Isle of Wight, who bought her in 1987 (their first cruise was into the storm that hit the ’87 Fastnet fleet) and skinned her in epoxy and marine ply, and extensively rebuilt her in Tasmania after her sinking. She’s still afloat, laid up in Newport, Isle of Wight.
Alan Mackerras, of Sydney. Frances’s step-grandfather. Designer and builder of the yacht Antares, which still sails and races in Sydney Harbour.