Low Tide

Yacht Designer Tad Roberts' Web Log

Vito Dumas and Lehg II

It’s almost 70 years since Vito Dumas sailed around the world alone in his 31’6″ Manuel Campos designed Lehg II. In 272 days at sea he sailed approximately 20,400 miles Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires through the roaring 40’s with stops at Cape Town, Wellington NZ, and Valparaiso, Chile. First Singlehander to survive rounding the Horn and first to circumnavigate in the roaring 40’s.

Argentinian designer Manuel Campos designed Lehg II in 1933 and he was very much influenced by Colin Archer and Billy Atkin’s 1924 design Eric. He was also influenced by the very successful Fjord II designed and owned by another Argentinian, German Frers Sr. Campos considered these finer lined (than the Archer parent model) double-ended hulls the best possible model for running in a big sea, which of course Dumas became famous for never lying to but continuing to run, as he wrote “on a mattress of foam”…..influencing Moitessier to take up the cause (running off) 20 years later and win the Golden Globe before dropping out to head for Tahiti……..

Dumas was no doubt a character, pictures include lots of ladies and cigars…..Of French decent he was a rancher and farmer, and in 1931 he sailed (singlehanded) from France to Buenos Aires in Lehg I, a 20 year old 8 metre racer. This is believed to be the first singlehanded ocean voyage by an International Yacht Racing Union Yacht and was considered foolhardy. Lehg and Dumas became famous for the equipment they did not carry, no self-steering, no reef points in the main sail, no sea anchor, and no engine of course. In the picture above note the continuous baggy-wrinkle on the standing rigging of both main and mizzen.

Vito Dumas (the boat) was built in the same yard at about the same same time as Lehg II, though they are about the same size Lehg is heavier, deeper and of marconi ketch rig. Vito was originally called Irupe and rigged as a gaff cutter. Lehg II now rests a few blocks from where she was built in Tigre, Argentina…..There’s a very good piece on Campos in WoodenBoat # 196 and on the boat Vito Dumas in 116…..

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