Duet at rest on the River Orwell, July 2012
Photograph by Martin Hansen
Duet : Restoration of the Year Nominee, January 2020
An Edwardian gaff rigged yawl, Duet has been used as a youth training ship since 1960. Recent activities include participating in the 2017 Round The Island Race, and the 2014 Tall Ships Race, which she won. In December 2017 she was at Foxes Marina on the River Orwell for a major refit that included a replacement of her keel-bolts. This has gone so well that she is a nominee for Classic Boat's award for Restoration of the Year 2020.
Augustine Cortauld, the polar explorer, owned Duet between 1932 and 1959
This book, published in 1958, is available from Amazon for around £12
Augustine Courtauld [1904-1959]
Alone on the Greenland Ice Cap
The son of a millionaire industrialist, Courtauld enrolled as a member of the 1930-1931 British Arctic Aero Expedition. Its destination was Greenland; its aim was to study the Arctic's influence on European weather systems; and its leader was Gino Watkins, a man whose dedication was likened by his companions to that of Shackleton and Scott. (Like them, he too came to an untimely end, losing his life on a subsequent Greenland expedition)
Trapped for the winter, Watkins refused to call for assistance in the hope that the experience would yield valuable meteorological information. Courtauld volunteered to man one of the more isolated weather stations. Beyond radio contact, and equipped with only the basics, he waited for the winter to pass. Snow covered his tent and crushed the igloos that contained his supplies. Stoically, he lit his pipe. “There is nothing to complain of”, he noted, “unless it be the curse of having to go out into the cold winds every three hours to observe the weather”. He made a token effort to conserve food but, as he said, “I prefer to eat my cake rather than have it. Carpe diem”.
Eventually, the food ran out. So, too, did his tobacco, where-upon he smoked tea leaves. When the fuel also failed, he smoked in the dark. The snow fell and fell until the only sign of his presence was a few inches of ventilator pipe protruding above the drifts. His parents mounted several air expeditions to save him but it was Watkins and two others who eventually sledged to his rescue. Courtauld was at first relieved, and then angry that so much money and effort should have been expended. His tribulations, as he told his fiancée, had been “very mere”.
Extract from The Explorer's Eye, edited by Fergus Fleming & Annabel Merullo.
Built : 1912 by White Bros in White's Yard, River Itchen, Hampshire, England
LOA : 50' 0"
LWL : 38' 0"
Beam : 11' 1"
Draught : 7' 3"
Displacement : 22 tons TM
Lloyd's Register : N° 131809
OGA Boat N° : 32
National Historic Ships : N° 2893
Sail N° 32
Signal Letters : MMPS
Duet Custodians & Home Ports
The Courtauld Family -The Cirdan Trust- (?-2017-2020...) Ipswich, England
The Rev A Christopher C Courtauld (1960-1985-?) Brightlingsea, Essex, England
Augustine Courtauld (1932-1959) London, England
JG Burroughs (1927-1931) Ramsgate, Kent, England
Konsul Heinrich Bruns (?-1923-1926) Kiel, Germany
Page last updated : January 2020