Archie Watty - the Troy Legacy
If you spend any time in and around Fowey in summer, you are very likely to see, out in the bay, some small, graceful sailing boats unique to the estuary, whose story goes back almost ninety years and is a major part of the sailing heritage of the town.
It began in the winter of 1928 when Sir Charles Hanson, a former Mayor of London then living at Fowey Hall, commissioned legendary local boat builder Archie Watty to construct a racing yacht for his daughter, Jocelyn.
The 18ft wooden dinghy with lead keel proved to be a revelation on the water, so much so that Archie was soon inundated with orders from the well-heeled of the town for identical sailing boats. By the early 1930s, six had been launched and the owners decided they needed their own class to race each other.
They approached the famous local author Sir Arthur Quiller Couch, then Commodore of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club, to ask permission to use the name Troy, after his very popular Troy Town novels, set in 'Troy' - a fictionalised but easily recognisable version of Fowey. So the Troy sailing dinghy was born, and with it the Troy Class Owners' Association.
By the outbreak of World War II there were eleven Troys racing in the harbour, and they are still very much part of the sailing season in Fowey and a highlight of Regatta Week. Association rules stipulate they can be built only in Fowey, and must be named after gemstones.
The last Troy built by Archie Watty before he passed away in 1949, was Topaz, his nineteenth. After his boatyard closed, the owners' association purchased the moulds and patterns to enable the building of Troys to continue in Fowey.
And continue they do; in recent years, Fowey boat builder Marcus Lewis has built six new Troys, bringing the number to twenty-eight, and ensuring the legacy of Archie Watty lives on. They race every Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon during the season, and twice daily during Regatta Week.