CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): Valerie 1895 was due to start her 2020 trips in May however we will monitor government advice and trips will only start running when it is safe to do so. Customers with open dated vouchers will receive an automatic extension on their expiry date of one year to September 2021. Customers with a booked trip for the 2020 season may change the date of their booking or revert their booking to an open dated voucher at any point.

Sail aboard Valerie - built in 1895 this Victorian Gaff Yawl is now fully restored and sailing on the Solent

"At over 120 years of age, Valerie is a genuine historical artefact. It is both the quirk and the blessing of classic boating that an object of such rarity, beauty and desirability can be experienced and enjoyed as was intended by her maker so many tides ago." - Barney Sandeman

Aboard Valerie on a sailing experience...

A sailing experience aboard Valerie offers you the chance to step back in time to experience yachting in its purest, most majestic form. With a restoration as sympathetic as possible to her past, Valerie is a delight of simple, Victorian-inspired splendour: deadeyes, a low-level coachroof – without portlights – and a minimum of deck piercings give a view from aboard and ashore that so clearly shows her historical provenance.

From the moment you step aboard you will become a part of the history of this truly special yacht which first sailed in 1895. Your involvement aboard can be as full as you wish, with the opportunity to steer this historic craft as she sails gracefully among the wide range of modern and classic boats of all shapes and sizes that fill the Solent. Wherever she travels you can be guaranteed that Valerie's distinctive Victorian lines will turn heads of those around her.

With not a winch in sight, you will get to experience traditional sailing techniques using block and tackle. Our professional and experienced Skipper and Mate will be on hand to guide you through these skills from an oft forgot bygone era.

Whether it is your first time aboard a yacht or you are an experienced sailor, a trip aboard Valerie is a truly unforgettable experience. The sumptuous varnished woodwork, sleek deck, wooden spars and traditional tiller ensure that you are immersed within the world of Victorian Yachting and experience the splendour and effortless sailing of this stunning yacht.

Key Information

Sails From Universal Marina, Sarisbury Green, SO31 7ZN

Minimum age 14, 14-17 year olds must be accompanied by a participating parent or guardian.

Participants must weigh under 20 stone and have a chest size of less than 48 inches to take part in this experience. Participants must have a reasonable level of fitness for this experience, which means they are able to move around the yacht and up and a down a short ladder unaided. There is a small recessed cockpit in which you can sit, space to sit on the coach roof or on the deck (which is the same as sitting on the floor). If you are unsure if the experience would be suitable for a participant please call us on 02380 988966.

All sailing experiences aboard Valerie are weather dependent. In the event an experience is postponed you will be able to reschedule to an alternative convenient date.

Book your trip online

Book a date or buy an open dated gift voucher

Full Day Sailing aboard Valerie

£199 per person

  • A baguette lunch and soft drinks are included in the price
  • Experience runs from 10am to 4pm
  • Ideal for novice to experienced sailors
  • Opportunity to play an active part in sailing the yacht, including steering
  • Runs on selected midweek dates from April to September

To book a trip select the number of participants and then choose either an open dated voucher or specific date from the drop down box. Open dated vouchers are valid until 30 September 2020 and come presented in a presentation gift card by post or as a printable pdf voucher. If you need any help please don't hesitate to give us a call on 02380 988966.


Exclusive hire of Valerie

£850 half day hire

£1200 full day hire

  • Maximum of 8 participants
  • Ideal for novice to experienced sailors
  • Opportunity to play an active part in sailing the yacht, including steering
  • Valerie is also available for booking exclusively by a couple. We offer a 25% discount on our standard full boat hire rates for groups of just two participants.
  • Ideal for staff reward, birthday celebration or family event

Call us on 02380 988966 or email for further information.


Valerie is based in Universal Marina, nestled on the picturesque banks of the River Hamble, 10 minutes drive from the M27. The postcode for the Marina is SO31 7ZN.

Contact Us

Call us on 02380 988966

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Valerie was built in 1895 by Stow & Son of Shoreham and according to the Lloyds Register was owned by Thomas Stow himself until 1898. Around 1912 she was moved to Ireland where according to rumour she subsequently crossed the Atlantic to America.

It is believed that Valerie returned to the UK in 1922 and was kept in the West Country by Alexander Cochran CBE, who according to historian John Leather, had been a Naval Architect at the Burns Shipyard in Bombay.

In 1936 the Lloyds Register listed her has as being owned by a Mr. Cochrane and lying in Dartmouth. In 1939 she was converted from the original gaff yawl rig to a cutter rig and a later date to a schooner rig but exactly when is unknown.

Following Cochrane’s death in the late 1950’s Valerie was bought and sold several times before being owned by Richard Biddle in 1972. She had come to be lying in the Solent and Biddle moved her to Port Hamble Marine for some remedial work, where after removing her copper sheathing it was found that the planking was in serious need of replacement and subsequently 80% was replaced with Pitch Pine.

By 1991 and now rigged as a schooner she spent time in the Exeter Maritime Museum before returning to Shoreham where she was purchased by John Timms, supposedly in sailing condition. After Timms moved her to Liverpool, it very quickly became apparent that Valerie needed a lot of work. It was then she was sold to shipwright Scott Metcalfe of Waterfront Marine in 2006 who went on to fully rebuild Valerie, returning her to her former glory.

Scott set about a 6 year restoration with his team of craftsmen. After stripping the boat, it was found that majority of the planking was pitch pine with some teak and in good condition, until the bilges were reached. Here it was necessary to completely re-frame Valerie entirely with laminated iroko in the centre section and grown oak at the ends, along with newly made galvanised steel floors, new silicone bronze fastenings throughout, new deck beams and carlins made from air dried English oak with a new two-layer plywood deck finished with a 1/4'” thick laid teak deck.

However, Scott did not approach this restoration as just another job. Valerie was lavished with the best available materials using incredible craftsmanship. For example, Scott went to the expense of obtaining a single piece of Douglas fir in order to have continuous, 46ft, un-scarfed bilge stringers.

Valerie is an authentic and genuine rarity and it is believed to be one of only 12 Stow & Son Yachts to have survived from around 80 built in their 76 year history.

Valerie is a genuine historical artefact that was fortunate to pass through the hands of Scott Metcalfe and his team of craftsmen at Waterfront Marine. They have given her the love and attention she needed to hopefully last another century. But unlike a preserved museum piece, Valerie has been restored so as to be used and enjoyed which is where we come into the story as her new custodians.

We must extend our very special thanks to Barney Sandeman and his team at Sandeman Yacht Company, yacht historian, Theo Rye and Scott Metcalfe at Waterfront Marine for all the time and effort they spent researching the history of Valerie. As the new owners we will continue this research into the history of Valerie so as to piece together her journey over the last century. If you have any further information on her past we would be delighted to hear from you.

Valerie's Statistics

Designer H T Stow
Builder Stow & Son of Shoreham
Date 1895
Length overall 62 ft 0 in / 18.9 m
Beam 10 ft 2 in / 3.1 m
Draft 6 ft 7 in / 2 m
Displacement 14 Tonnes
Construction Carvel teak and pitch pine planking on oak and iroko frames