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  • Writer's pictureRhu Strand

It's a small world

Once we decided to buy Monaco Fortuna we started researching her, what we found out about her history can be read here - Fortuna's History - but little did we know what else we would find.

We discovered a Facebook page for the Morgan Giles Monacos, naturally I shared a post saying that we were now the very happy owners of Fortuna and were planning on taking her back to her original lines. I had thought that the groups members would be people who owned or had an interest in the Monaco's, but it transpired that also in the group were Morgan Giles family members, family members that had been on Fortuna as children and had very fond memories of her.

Fortuna had been a favourite family boat owned by Michael Morgan Giles, and his niece and nephew, Jane and Richard were regular crew members when she was based at Teignmouth in the early 60's. But an even bigger twist and coincidence is that Richard lives here in Gosport and a member of the same sailing club where she is being renovated. If you have read the story of how we came to own Monaco Fortuna and how so many barriers with other boats brought us to Fortuna and how easily that transaction was, you will know that I believe this is meant to be.

Richard was, quite rightly, our first visitor and came baring some great photographs and cards of Morgan Giles Monaco's and Fortuna, including a book - Ivy's Journal

Allow me to digress for a while - Ivy is Richard and Janes' Grandmother, Jane found her journals from the early 1900's about her rowing and sailing exploits in South Devon and put them into a book. What a treat and what a gem of a book, I have devoured it, in awe of a young women who discovered a love of sailing and went out in all weathers racing and for pleasure, sailing and rowing in attire of the day for women which of course included full length skirts !! and without batting an eyelid Ivy was straight in no matter what. Determined, strong minded and spirited she gave the men of the day a run for their money. I also love the language and style her journals were written in, so of it's time -

"most fearful gales" "The last race of the season was an extraordinary affair"

It was through sailing that Ivy met Francis Morgan Giles who she later married. Ivy is mother to Hebe who is the mother of Richard and Jane.

Jane is archivist for the Morgan Giles Heritage Trust and has also kindly sent us gifts of plans and newspaper cuttings about Fortuna's involvement in the First International Cowes to Torquay race.

We hope that we can do Fortuna and the Morgan Giles family the justice that she deserves and bring her back to her younger days and more than delighted that they are a part of this journey with us.

Rhu x

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