The Diamond class was a 27′ GRP sloop designed Alan Buchanan in the early 1960’s. The prototype, Ace of Diamonds, sail number 1, was built in wood by French Brothers of Battlesbridge. This hull was then used to produce a plug for future GRP versions. From 1963 to 1970 Ace of Diamonds was owned by Tom Layzell. The fourth photo above shows Tom at the helm, with son Ken crewing. Reproduced with kind permission of Ken Layzell.
The Mk I boats had a fractional rig, with a jumper strut. This can be seen quite clearly in the photo of Ace of Diamonds. Ellen and Double Diamond were other examples of the Mk I. The Mk II boats, such as Patience, had a masthead rig.
Around a dozen Diamonds were made by Stebbings and then production switched from Stebbings to Offshore Yachts Ltd., where the yacht became known as the Halcyon 27. This happened around 1966. This switch of builders and class names can lead to confusion when trying to identify early Halcyon 27’s and late Diamond’s.
The Diamonds that I’ve come across so far are,
|1||Ace of Diamonds||Prototype, built in wood by french Bros., still sailing somehwere on the East coast.|
|1066||Double Diamond||Later renamed Hastings. Sailing from Bandol, France.|
|3||Ellen||Still sailing, in the Bristol Channel.|
|4||Summer’s Song||For sale in the Humberside area (Autumn 2015)|
|5||Lil of Bargander||Raced at Cowes Week 1965. Originally owned by Len Wakefield of Thames Structural Plastics. Renamed Cabaret in 1968 and at some point ownership passed to Dame Ellen MacArthur’s aunt. Cabaret was the first boat Dame Ellen sailed in, aged 4. These days Cabaret sails out of Gravesend.|
|1858C||Patience||Originally named Tiara, still sailing on the Clyde. Photos here.|
|10?||Solitaire||These days sailing out of Gairloch, Wester Ross, Scotland.|
|?||Magyar of Burnham||Unusual 6-berth version built in 1966 for Mr and Mrs Spannenburg.|
|?||Sundiver||Currently sailing in the Netherlands. Previous names: Mona and Ithaka. Photos of her renovation here.|
Photos are copyright of Trevor Davies, reproduced with kind permission. Thanks to Ken Layzell for his help with this post, and also to Norbert Koster, Reuben, Conrad, and Aileen and Nathan Taylor for getting in touch about their Diamonds.