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William Umpleby Kirk Collection

William Umpleby Kirk was a renowned yacht designer and builder, known for his exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The beautiful schooner Meteor IV, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The beautiful schooner Meteor IV, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The beautiful schooner Meteor IV, 1911. Meteor IV was Kaiser Wilhelm IIs fourth yacht. It was designed by Max Oetz and launched in 1909

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 205 ton J-class yacht Velsheda sailing close hauled, 1933

The 205 ton J-class yacht Velsheda sailing close hauled, 1933
The 205 ton J-class yacht Velsheda sailing close-hauled, 1933. Velsheda was designed by Charles E Nicholson and built in 1933 for Woolworths founder William L Stephenson

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The steam yacht Wanderer (later named Vagus ) hoisting sails

The steam yacht Wanderer (later named Vagus ) hoisting sails. Built by Robert Steele and Co, Greenock in 1878 for Charles Joseph Lambert as a private yacht

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Cremona crashes through wave, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

Cremona crashes through wave, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 6-metre Cremona crashes through wave, 1913

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The steam yacht Boadicea at anchor. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The steam yacht Boadicea at anchor. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The steam yacht Boadicea at anchor

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The steam yacht Joyeuse, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The steam yacht Joyeuse, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The steam yacht Joyeuse, 1914

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The sailing yachts White Heather and Shamrock, race downwind

The sailing yachts White Heather and Shamrock, race downwind. Shamrock was designed by William Fife and was Sir Thomas Liptons first challenger for the Americas Cup

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The motor yacht La Toquade at anchor, 1939. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The motor yacht La Toquade at anchor, 1939. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The motor yacht La Toquade at anchor, 1939

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Hole torn in the hull of RMS Olympic after the collision with HMS Hawke in the Solent, 1911

Hole torn in the hull of RMS Olympic after the collision with HMS Hawke in the Solent, 1911
Hole torn in the hull of RMS Olympic after the collision with HMS Hawke in the Solent, 20th September 1911. The collision took place as Olympic

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Americas Cup challenger Shamrock IV sailing without topsail, 1914. Creator

Americas Cup challenger Shamrock IV sailing without topsail, 1914. Creator
Americas Cup challenger Shamrock IV sailing without topsail, 1914. Shamrock IV was a yacht owned by Sir Thomas Lipton and designed by Charles Ernest Nicholson. She was launched in June 1914

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Sloop (Dragon? class) sailing with spinnaker, c1938. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

Sloop (Dragon? class) sailing with spinnaker, c1938. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
Sloop (Dragon? class) sailing with spinnaker, c1938

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 142 ton steam yacht Sapphire under way, 1920. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 142 ton steam yacht Sapphire under way, 1920. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 142 ton steam yacht Sapphire under way, 1920. The Sapphire was built for the Duke of Bedford, by John Brown and Co. Limited, of Clydebank in 1912

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The auxiliary schooner La Cigale sailing close-hauled, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The auxiliary schooner La Cigale sailing close-hauled, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The auxiliary schooner La Cigale sailing close-hauled, 1913

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 76 ton schooner Lisette under sail. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 76 ton schooner Lisette under sail. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 76 ton schooner Lisette under sail. Lisette was built at Cowes in 1873

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The spectacular 15 Metre Vanity sailing in a good wind, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The spectacular 15 Metre Vanity sailing in a good wind, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The spectacular 15 Metre Vanity sailing in a good wind, 1912. Vanity was designed by William Fife III and launched in 1909

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The sailing yacht Sea Belle under way, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The sailing yacht Sea Belle under way, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The sailing yacht Sea Belle under way, 1911

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The schooner Meteor IV, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The schooner Meteor IV, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The schooner Meteor IV, 1911. Meteor IV was Kaiser Wilhelm IIs fourth yacht. It was designed by Max Oetz and launched in 1909

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The Lady Anne spray over deck, sailing close-hauled, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The Lady Anne spray over deck, sailing close-hauled, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The Lady Anne spray over deck, sailing close-hauled, 1912. The Lady Anne, a 15 Metre cutter designed by William Fife III was launched in 1912

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 96 ft ketch Julnar, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 96 ft ketch Julnar, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 96 ft ketch Julnar, 1911. Julnar was designed by William Fife and built at Southampton by Summers & Payne to the order of Sir Maurice FitzGerald, the Knight of Kerry, in 1909

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: 1st Earl of Birkenhead with his daughter on board their yacht, (Isle of Wight?), c1925

1st Earl of Birkenhead with his daughter on board their yacht, (Isle of Wight?), c1925
Frederick Edwin Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead (1872-1930) with his daughter Lady Pamela Smith Berry, Baroness Hartwell (1915-1982) on board their yacht, (Isle of Wight?), c1925

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The Yarmouth One Design Greywing, 1922. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The Yarmouth One Design Greywing, 1922. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The Yarmouth One Design Greywing, 1922. The Yarmouth One Design class was established at the Solent Yacht Club in 1910, on the instigation of Sir Arthur Cope, RA

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Trivia, a 12 Metre class yacht sails close-hauled, 1939. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

Trivia, a 12 Metre class yacht sails close-hauled, 1939. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
Trivia, a 12 Metre class yacht sails close-hauled, 1939. Trivia was designed by Charles Nicholson for Vernon W. MacAndrew. She achieved first in her class in 1937, her first season

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The yawl Wendur sailing close-hauled, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The yawl Wendur sailing close-hauled, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The yawl Wendur sailing close-hauled, 1913. Wendur was built by D & W Henderson & Co. Glasgow in 1883

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 6 Metre Womba II running downwind, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 6 Metre Womba II running downwind, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 6 Metre Womba II running downwind, 1913

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The schooner Meteor IV, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The schooner Meteor IV, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The schooner Meteor IV, 1912. Meteor IV was Kaiser Wilhelm IIs fourth yacht. It was designed by Max Oetz and launched in 1909

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The cutter Shamrock beating upwind. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The cutter Shamrock beating upwind. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The cutter Shamrock beating upwind. Shamrock, designed by William Fife, was Sir Thomas Liptons first (1899) challenger to the Americas Cup

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The steam yacht Chimaera, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The steam yacht Chimaera, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The steam yacht Chimaera, 1914

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The J-Class yachts Shamrock V and Britannia, 1934. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The J-Class yachts Shamrock V and Britannia, 1934. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The J-Class yachts Shamrock V and Britannia, 1934

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The steam yacht Surf at anchor, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The steam yacht Surf at anchor, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The steam yacht Surf at anchor, 1912

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The steam yacht Aldebaran under way, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The steam yacht Aldebaran under way, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The steam yacht Aldebaran under way, 1913

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The Lady Anne making waves in a good breeze, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The Lady Anne making waves in a good breeze, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The Lady Anne making waves in a good breeze, 1912. The Lady Anne, designed by William Fife III was launched in 1912. The Lady Anne was restored in 1999 by Fairlie Restorations

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 19-metre class Norada & Mariquita, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 19-metre class Norada & Mariquita, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 19-metre class Norada & Mariquita, 1913. Norada was designed by Charles Nicholson and Mariquita by William Fife III. Mariquita is the only surviving 19-metre of the six that were built

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The steam yacht Niagara, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The steam yacht Niagara, 1912. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The steam yacht Niagara, 1912

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The auxiliary sailing ship Sunbeam, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The auxiliary sailing ship Sunbeam, 1911. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The auxiliary sailing ship Sunbeam, 1911. The 565-ton three-masted schooner was owned by Lord Brassey who had her built in 1874

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Stella sailing close-hauled, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

Stella sailing close-hauled, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 6 Metre class Stella sailing close-hauled, 1914

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Steam yacht Liberty running east. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

Steam yacht Liberty running east. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
Steam yacht Liberty running east. Liberty was built for Joseph Pulitzer in 1908. Designed by George Lennox Watson she was one of the largest private yachts of her day

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 6 Metre class Lanka, Wamba and Stella racing on reaching leg, 1914

The 6 Metre class Lanka, Wamba and Stella racing on reaching leg, 1914

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Wamba II running downwind under spinnaker, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

Wamba II running downwind under spinnaker, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
Wamba II running downwind under spinnaker, 1914

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 6 Metre Stella, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 6 Metre Stella, 1914. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 6 Metre Stella, 1914

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 23-metre cutter Astra sailing close-hauled, 1932. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 23-metre cutter Astra sailing close-hauled, 1932. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 23-metre cutter Astra sailing close-hauled, 1932. Astra was designed by Charles E Nicholson for Adam Moritimer Singer and was launched in 1928. It was converted to J-Class in 1931

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 6 Metre Vanda sailing broad reach, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 6 Metre Vanda sailing broad reach, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 6 Metre Vanda sailing broad reach, 1913

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The majestic cutters White Heather and Shamrock race downwind, 1912. Creator

The majestic cutters White Heather and Shamrock race downwind, 1912. Creator
The majestic cutters White Heather and Shamrock race downwind, 1912

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 7 Metre Ancora (K3) sailing under spinnaker, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 7 Metre Ancora (K3) sailing under spinnaker, 1913. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 7 Metre Ancora (K3) sailing under spinnaker, 1913. Ancora went on to win gold medal in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: HMY Britannia before being sunk, July 1936. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

HMY Britannia before being sunk, July 1936. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
HMY Britannia before being sunk, July 1936. After Britannia had been stripped of her spars and fittings, her hull was towed out to St Catherines Deep near the Isle of Wight

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Saunders Shipyard (Interior), Cowes, 1938. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

Saunders Shipyard (Interior), Cowes, 1938. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
Saunders Shipyard (Interior), Cowes, 1938

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The luxury steam yacht Nahlin at anchor. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The luxury steam yacht Nahlin at anchor. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The luxury steam yacht Nahlin at anchor. Nahlin is a luxury yacht and one of the last of three large steam yachts constructed in the UK

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: The 105 ft ketch Thendara sailing with spinnaker. 1939. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes

The 105 ft ketch Thendara sailing with spinnaker. 1939. Creator: Kirk & Sons of Cowes
The 105 ft ketch Thendara sailing with spinnaker. 1939. Thendara was designed by Alfred Mylne for the Scottish yachtsman Sir Arthur Young. She was launched in 1937 and is still racing today

Background imageWilliam Umpleby Kirk Collection: Istria sailing downwind under spinnaker, viewed from stern, 1912

Istria sailing downwind under spinnaker, viewed from stern, 1912
Istria sailing downwind under spinnaker, 1912. Istria, was designed by Charles Nicholson and originally owned by the architect Sir Charles Allom



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William Umpleby Kirk was a renowned yacht designer and builder, known for his exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. His company, Kirk & Sons of Cowes, created some of the most iconic yachts of their time. One such masterpiece was the 205 ton J-class yacht Velsheda, captured in all her glory sailing close hauled in 1933. The sleek lines and impressive size showcased Kirk's expertise in creating powerful yet elegant vessels. Another notable creation by Kirk & Sons was the steam yacht Boadicea, gracefully anchored and exuding timeless charm. This vessel stood as a testament to Kirk's ability to combine luxury with functionality. In 1913, Cremona crashed through a wave with sheer force, displaying both her strength and the skillful design by William Umpleby Kirk. The image immortalized this momentous event that highlighted the durability of his creations. The steam yacht Joyeuse also bore witness to Kirk's ingenuity in boat building. Launched in 1914, she epitomized elegance on water while boasting cutting-edge technology for her time. Kirk's designs were not limited to motor yachts alone; he also excelled at crafting magnificent sailing vessels like White Heather and Shamrock racing downwind. These images captured thrilling moments during races where speed met artistry. Shamrock IV, an America's Cup challenger from 1914 without its topsail displayed another side of William Umpleby Kirk’s talent - designing competitive racing yachts that pushed boundaries. However, not all moments were triumphant; RMS Olympic suffered damage after colliding with HMS Hawke in the Solent waters in 1911. This incident demonstrated how even well-crafted vessels could face unexpected challenges at sea. The steam yacht Surf painted a serene picture as it rested peacefully at anchor in 1912 – showcasing yet another facet of William Umpleby Kirk’s versatility as a designer.