A Potted History
Jolie Brise, arguably one of the most famous tall ships in the world, is a 56' gaff-rigged pilot cutter built in Le Havre in 1913, launched by the Paumelle yard to a design by Alexandre Pâris.
She was built to make fast ocean passages and was the last boat to carry the Royal Mail under sail. However, her career as a pilot boat was short-lived, owing to steam replacing sail, and she became a fishing boat for a time before being bought by E.G Martin in 1923, a founder member of the Ocean Racing Club. After a refit, she participated in the Fastnet race four times, between 1925 and 1930, winning three races including the inaugural race in 1925.
In 1927, Martin sold Jolie Brise, through an advertisement in Yachting World to Captain Warren Ferrier and his partner Dr Brownlow Smith. An engine and an additional cabin were fitted at Morgan Giles's yard at Teignmouth. Bobby Somerset, another founder member of the Ocean Racing Club, purchased Jolie Brise in 1928 and together they competed in the Fastnet, Bermuda and Santander races.
In 1934 her ownership passed on to an American, Mr Stanley Mortimer. After further alterations in Majorca and Marseilles, Jolie Brise stayed in the Mediterranean for a while but with war approaching she returned to Southampton where she was sold to William Stannard. Requisitioned by the Royal Navy, she spent the duration of the war laid up on a mud berth at Shoreham.
In 1945, during an aborted voyage to New Zealand, Jolie Brise ended up in Lisbon where she was acquired by a Portuguese consortium headed by Luis Lobato. For nearly 30 years her home port remained in Lisbon but in 1975, partly because of the political situation in Portugal, she returned to the Solent, 50 years after her first Fastnet win.
In 1977 Dauntsey's secured the use of Jolie Brise by arranging a long-term lease with her owners at the time, the Exeter Maritime Museum and the International Sailing Craft Association. When the Exeter Maritime Museum moved its' collection from Exeter to Lowestoft, Jolie Brise, based in the Hamble, was no longer an active part of the Museum. As Dauntsey's pupils had by then maintained and sailed Jolie Brise for 25 years, the ISCA offered to sell her to the School for the favourable sum of £75,000. Thus it was that Dauntsey's became the proud owner of Jolie Brise in 2003.