The story of Gipsy is the story of the sea, an adventure to survive and adapt to the times.

In the middle of the 1920s, one of the most important businessmen during that period, Horacio Echevarrieta, had a boat built in his own shipyard, Echevarrieta y Larrinaga, in Cádiz. The vessel was for his personal use and he decided to call her Marichu, in honour of one of his daughters who had died. A gaff rigged ketch, with a length of 11.90 m, beam of 3.45 m and a draught of 2.20 m.

After building the Spanish training ship, Juan Sebastián Elcano, the shipyard came to a standstill while it was waiting for the government of the Second Spanish Republic to give the go ahead to build the Spanish E-1 submarine (Echevarrieta 1), considered innovative at the time. Taking advantage of the pause and using the manpower and wood left over from the training ship, Horacio decided to request the services of Colin Archer.

The Marichu was launched in 1927. She was a small yet unique boat, with an inboard engine and a radio system to communicate with other boats and the coast (the only vessel at that time and, in the end, it saved her life in her long history), and inside was designed for comfort, which was not at all common. A year later, in Bilbao, she became part of Horacio’s recreational fleet, together with the schooner, Maria del Carmen Ana, formerly Meteor IV, which had belonged to Kaiser Wilhelm II.

During the first half of the 1930s, before the onset of the country’s complicated political and economic situation, Horacio sold the boat to a Olle Loevick, a Norwegian salmon importer, and a Spaniard, Enrique Hortet. They bought the special sailing ship and took it to Barcelona, where they changed its name to Gipsy, the ‘Nomad’, the Catalan navigator’s nickname. They decided to buy the boat because of its modern features: namely, the engine and the radio.

With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Gipsy was turned into a spy vessel at the service of the Nationalists, flying under the British flag. What was apparently an English recreational yacht was really the eyes and ears of an army at sea. This is proven by the shrapnel marks still visible on her mizzen mast.

After the war ended, she returned to Barcelona and Hortet used the boat for holidays. Later, she was bought by a family of Catalan aristocrats, who finally sold her in 1951 to Jose Luis Rubio (nicknamed ‘Nightshirt’) and Estanislao Sévil because of her inboard engine. They needed power to finish a contract with RENFE, the Spanish railway network, and it was the only available engine in the area. Gipsy’s new owners took her to Tarragona.

The vessel then formed part of the family of Jose Luis Vilar, ‘Josele’, and Ricardo Rubio, ‘Petete’, the owners of Gipsy, as well as the President and Managing Director, respectively of Gipsy 1927. No one knows more about this classic yacht than them. Since she was bought by their family, Gipsy has undergone two important restorations, one in 1969 and another in 2006, always respecting the yacht’s main structure and the original specifications. The yacht maintains approximately 30% of the materials used in 1927.

Tipo: Ketch Cangrejo
Designer: Colin Archer
Year 1927
Builder: Echevarrieta y Larrinaga
Launched in: Cádiz
Length (ISO): 11,90
Beam: 3,50
Displacement: 15,0 mtns