Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Next stop Fremantle... for my son

I've just received a phone call from my son François, from the Paris airport. He's about to step onto a plane for Perth in Western Australia. Tomorrow, he has a room booked at the Norfolk Hotel in Fremantle.

François and I used to go there often for drinks in the beer garden during the fabulous season of the America's Cup in 1986, when we were both sailing regularly on the 12-meter wooden yacht Zigeuner, which used to sail (before World War II) on the Isle of Wight.

The itinerary of his forthcoming TV episode will stretch from Fremantle up to Broome. On the surface, it doesn't sound like a typical ride for a fellow on a moped, but François informs me that the production team might admit (for the first time in the series) the idea of his hitching a ride on one of the huge lorries that move back and forth along the coast. My son (unlike me) is already well-acquainted with this western coastline of Australia, and he surely had a few major ideas in the back of his head in deciding to shoot the episode here.

ADDENDUM: When he's moving around on his moped journeys, François often finds an Internet connection enabling him to catch up on his email and read my blog. He might be interested to see this article that has just appeared in Télérama.


  1. I think you'll find Zigeuner was built in Scotland in 1935 by Robertson's of Sandbank

  2. Thanks for that information. I've modified my article slightly.

  3. in 1953 and 4 o worked on Ziguener during my summer holidays from University. some very happy memories. At that time she was owned by a Mr william Paisley from Helensborough and based at Rhu just inside the narrows at the mouth of the Gairloch and opposite the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club.
    She was designed by Mr D Boyd and was, i believe, originally owned by a Mr. Marshall who raced her on the Solent.
    I have two treasured sepia enlargements obtained from Beken of Cowes, which occupy pride of place in out dining room, showing her racing in the Solent

    1. Zigeuner is the most beautiful yacht,sailed her for a few years to Australia,she is moored in Fremantle

  4. Dear William,
    I think I was on the Zigeuner in 1974 in Tahiti. At that time (if it's the same boat) it was owned by a young woman named Linda. I remember it was a wood boat, about 60 feet long, with two masts, and that was its name. Do you know anything about its history or where I can find out more about it?

  5. Hi Carol: When my son and I used to go sailing on the Zigeuner in 1986, her owner was a prominent English-born physician, Charles Russell-Smith, whose current professional address appears to be 1 Chisham Avenue, 6167 Kwinana Town Centre, Western Australia. I don't have an email address, but you might try to get in contact with Charles through the contact page of the website of the Fremantle Sailing Club. I'm sure that Charles could tell you all about the adventure-filled history of this extraordinary old vessel.

  6. Hi all.
    I was fortunate to sail for 2 weeks on this sailboat in the Grenadine Islands off the Venezuela coast.in 1971.

    One of the crew members was an English girl named Caroline-Russell Smith, 23 yrs. old and a school teacher from London. We shared quite a bond on the boat, and for a little while after the cruise.....I've never forgotten her to this day!! Thanks for the memory everyone!!

  7. Danielle POURCHARESSEJuly 8, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    So do I !
    "I've never forgotten her to this day and thanks for the memory everyone" and specially to you William to allow me to hear about Zigeuner !!!
    I sail for 5 months on Zigeuner in 1974,cross the Panama Canal and Pacific ocean (Las Perlas, Galapagos, Marquises)until Thaiti. I was 23 and it was my first time on a sailboat. So it's a very strong and touching memory. The owner or so was Linda RUSSELL and the captain a danish guy, named Eric ... - a true vicking !
    There were also John and Liz from Canada, Steve, David and Simon (Linda's baby).
    I would be glad to hear of them.
    I am french and live near Toulouse.

    1. Danielle : Je viens de recevoir un mot de l’Australien David qui souhaiterait te contacterVoici son adresse email : david.burchett@bigpond.com