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Date only approx. The 'Kytra' under command of Captain Hamish Flett was a frequent visitor in both Kirkwall & Stromness during the early 60's.
Picture added on 01 July 2007
At present, I am the Captain of mfv Kytra, which was built in Buckie in 1959 by Herd and Mckenzie, We are based in the Med for the moment, but will be making a return to Scotland for the vessels 50th birthday in 2009. I am looking for historical data of my vessel as an article is being done on her and her return.
Added by Cpt Trevor Donoghue on 19 December 2007
I think the year may be out by quite a few years, Edwin. I spent most of of my formative years around boats in the Basin and cannot remember seeing Kytra until after I knew Hamish. I lodged with he and his wife in Aberdeen from 1968 on and first sailed on Kytra when she was based in Dunstaffnage, by Oban where I used to take the owner's children sailing in the ship's tender.

Kytra was hired to accompany a long distance yacht race (Fair Isle?) where she put into Kirkwall to pick press photographers and also Chay Blythe who was acting in an official capacity. We lay off Copinsay all day waiting for the first of the yachts to appear - it was all action! I reckon Copinsay may have marked the finish of the race and that would have been around 1971.

Added by Fred Grieve on 12 July 2008
I too lodged with Hamish and his wife in Aberdeen and remember going fishing on the Kytra off Birsay in the summer of 1972. You may have even been there Fred!
Added by Jack Shearer on 12 July 2008
Dear Fred and Jack, its such a pleasure to find and even hear from individuals who have come into contact with Kytra and even Hamish. If you wish, I will forward my email and on reply pass on how Kytra looks today. Much appreciation in the time and effort you took in writing to my post. ([email protected])
Added by Cpt Trevor Donoghue on 13 July 2008
Indeed I do! Thanks for the year, Jack. The fishing trip certainly happened on a later visit to Orkney.

Hamish offered to have a try for haddock and we left from Stromness. I seem to remember one or two white faces when we hove to and started line fishing. But we caught our haddock so all in all a perfect day.

Aye, Jack, happy days.
Added by Fred Grieve on 13 July 2008
I wis one o the white faces but I jist put it doon tae wan o Harry Russell's cheroots (ha-ha). Good tae hear from you Fred and great tae see the Kytra again.
Added by Jack Shearer on 14 July 2008
Well lads now she fishes and has caught some nice Tuna !! happy days :)
Added by Cpt Trevor Donoghue on 15 July 2008
Seem to recall that the first Fair Isle race used Start Point lighthouse as finishing mark, later races used Copinsay. White faces! It was me who was feeding the fish - early form of re-cycling! Being the peedie boy I got one of the worst fishing positions and found the guardrail cut me in half every time Kytra rolled, and boy did she roll that day! Once we were steaming back to Stromness I found my appetite and finished off my own sandwiches. Mrs Flett saw I was hungry and started making tomato rolls, certainly recall sailing past the Stromness Cemetery stuffing my face thinking "only 30 minutes ago thought I was dying!".
Added by Raymond Grieve on 15 July 2008
In 1972 Hubert and Audrey Hayes and family chartered Kytra with Jim Flett. We sailed from Oban circumnavigating Skye. In 1973 we sailed from Lochmaddy to Stromness and back down the East coast through the caledonian canal finishing in Tiree.
I am currently working on a pictorial diary of the trips on a CD. Maybe on the net. Unforgetable experiences greatly enjoyed.

Added by Hubert Hayes on 12 September 2008
It may be of further interest that in 1972/73 we charterd Kytra from James Bruce of Balmanno Castle.
Added by Hubert Hayes on 16 September 2008
For a Travelogue of voyages on Kytra in 1972/3 with lots of pictures of Kytra go to www.artstation.org.uk/kytra
Added by Hubert Hayes on 09 December 2008
Thanks Hubert, I will look that up, At the moment Kytra is based in Palma, but in the next 2 days we are heading for Tarragona where she will spend the winter, Whilst there she will undergo a facelift for her 50th next year.
Planned routes to date, are sailing up into Rome, Sicily, maybe some Creek isles, Croatia and finally wintering in Montenegro. All go !!
Added by Trevor Donoghue on 09 December 2008
I am sure that Kytra was origanally built for and owned by Guy Goodbody of Balloch near Inverness. It crossed the Atlantic in the early sixties - my father was a crew member - and I spent a very happy holiday cruising the West Coast of Scotland with Guy, my father and actor Hugh Grant's parents, James & Finn, who were related to Guy's wife Alison. I have often wondered what happened to Kytra - fond memories.
Added by Michael Wood on 21 March 2009
My dad was skipper on Kytra from 1981 to 1992 - she was owned by an American lady called Sydney Smith. My dad retired to California a few years ago but he has some great stories and photographs of Kytra from this period. My brother and I spent many a weekend at Troon Marina forever painting and varnishing. We crewed on her all over the West Coast and even took her over to Sweden in 1990. Great memories of a remarkable era in Scottish boat building. The owner had an original copy of Yachting World from 1959 - where she featured heavily for an article on the Earls Court Boat show.
I will post some from photographs from that era in next week or so.

Added by Kerr Armstrong on 30 March 2009
I'm delighted to hear from so many of you and would like to get as many photos as anyone may have for her 50th birthday-g ood to hear from Kerr and would like you to send my fond regards to your father- california? where would that be? I was hoping we might have had a reunion of all the skippers! but it's a bit too far to go.
Added by Sydney Smith on 06 April 2009
Somewhere I have photos of Kytra, I will try to find them. There is a black and white one with Guy Goodbody's wife and her sister (my mother) on board, in what looks like a lock on the Caledonia Canal. Then there are some early 60s color photos, which if memory serves were taken in North America, with Guy's children on board. I have moved several times since I last saw those photos but they must be in a box somewhere ...
Added by Charles Kiddell on 13 April 2009
I would be very grateful for any memories or photos! A friend of mine who recently enjoyed a week aboard in Croatia and who owns a large publishing company in America would like to celebrate her birthday with an article in America. I'm simply amazed how many friends of Kytra have come forward!
Added by Sydney Smith on 14 April 2009
I have added a couple of photos of Kytra in Sweden - search under "kytra"
Added by Kerr Armstrong on 22 April 2009
I sailed on the Kytra a number of times, with Jim Flett as skipper - some to the Orkney Islands to do some biological surveys and later to the Outer Hebrides for similar work. Wonderful boat, great skipper. This would have been in the mid-1970s. She was often moored in Dunstaffnage Bay, where I worked at the SMBA marine lab. I don't have many pictures, but one is on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61227842@N00/4053250947/
Added by Steve Knight on 28 October 2009
Jim Flett or Hamish to the Orcadians will be 90 next year he has lots of photos of the KYTRAS trips I will try and see what I can find
Added by Pat Linklater ne Flett daughter on 29 October 2009
I would like to thank one and all, for your input into to this amazing little vessel with a big heart. Especially Miles Johnson 1st mate- his help in getting Kytra ready,the upkeep of her and his ability to talk the hind legs off a donkey was just brilliant. Mike Butler and Mark Mckinlay, delivery crew, awesome under some difficult sea conditions (you guys are rocks). Sydney Smith, owner and part time crew, thankyou for your ongoing trust and choosing me to be your skipper.

2009, her 50th anniversary, was a very enjoyable experience for crew and guest, visiting old and new places. Sailing from Barcelona through the Straits of Mencina and up into the Adriatic, checking into Cavtat, the Croatian border for incoming ships. She was met as always with a very warm welcome and much grappa (thanks Toni and Lari). Kytra then spent 4 months moving north and south off the Croatian coastline, with various and wonderful guests, who where always in awe everytime we turned a corner. From evening meals in full moon bays all to ourselves, with after dinner star gazing, to pods of dolphin showing off, leaping into the air on cue, just to mention a few. It was always with great sadness when we had to leave our new friends onshore to catch their plane home, as Kytra sailed off into the distant hazy horizon.

Our adventures were not always just plain sailing with Kytra battling through Atlantic type swells and violent electrical/thunder storms. She handled them with ease, especially when we raised the stabilty sails to counter act her famous rocking motion. The crew however did not fair better at times, the most serious being when one crew man opened the freezer door to be met by a flying frozen chicken on the head. That still brings a smile to my face when I think of it (sorry Mike). Kytra has now made her way back to Spain after a very successfull summer season and is now going through preparations for next years adventures.

I am working on putting an album together of this year and will let you all know in due course where it is. Thank you all again.

Skipper of Kytra.
Added by Trevor Donoghue on 30 October 2009
Dear Pat Linklater

The Hayes family sailed on Kytra in 72 and 73. In 73 we called at Stromness. We remember meeting you then briefly when you came to see Jim.
Please convey our good wishes to him.

PS You can see an account of our 2 voyages on

Added by Hubert Hayes on 01 November 2009
Pat Linklater,
I would very much appreciate it if you could send him my very best regards - I enjoyed his company greatly. And I remember well the smoked mussels he made - fantastic.

Added by Steve Knight on 02 November 2009
For those interested about Hamish Flett's adventures at sea, I can recommend reading Clive Cussler's "The Sea Hunters".

"The Sea Hunters" is one of Cussler's factual books in which he recounts chartering Kytra's successor, (the name of which escapes me - another senior moment!) and which Hamish also skippered. The charter was to go wreck hunting in the North Sea for WWII wrecks and Cussler details these missions in the book.
Added by Fred Grieve on 02 November 2009
Was Hamish skipper on the Maureen Mhor, at one time.. ?
Added by Jimmy Hamilton on 05 November 2009
The frozen chicken incident has been much magnified by a scurrilous captain and crew!!! Seriously, though, it was a terrific, if somewhat lumpy, trip and as always I was delighted to have the opportunity to sail with Trevor, a great skipper and Miles, my shipmate, for the duration. Only just found this web site otherwise would have added my two penny’s worth sooner! What a great little ship!!
Added by Mike Butler on 24 May 2010
Your still smarting over the fact I dropped my tea cup on your little toe,aren't you Mike
Added by Trevor on 27 May 2010
Just spotted Kytra up for sale. She looks stunning in her new Med white livery.
Added by Kerr Armstrong on 25 August 2010
Thankyou, she has a web site check out the rest of her photo history . www.kytra.info

Trevor Donoghue (Skipper)
Added by Trevor on 30 August 2010
I am just enquiring as to whom the skipper of kytra is now, as mr donoghue no longer is.
Anonymous comment added on 10 March 2011
To the anonymous person,
from the 10th March, this is Mr Donoghue, and I am still the present Cpt of Kytra, how can I be of assistance?
Added by Trevor Donoghue on 11 March 2011
I'm wondering if kytra has changed hands once again as I saw her on a website for sale. Will she still be med hopping or is she bound for new pastures.
Anonymous comment added on 02 May 2011
Kytra has not been sold as I just couldn't bear to part with her for the time being and she is based in Mallorca for this summer's season!
Added by Sydney Smith on 03 May 2011
Kytra has been taken off the market and is still in the med and operated by same owner same captain
Anonymous comment added on 04 May 2011
I am Jamie Bruce's son. I sailed with Jimmy all around Scotland and Scandinavia, also Shetland. I am now 52 and going to visit Jimmy in Kirkwall next week. What a surprise to find you all here!
Added by John Bruce on 13 July 2011
Kytra now has new owners and a new home in Alderney, Channel Islands. After a single handed delivery trip of 1500 miles from Palma,we are now working hard to keep her in good nick for the future, she has already become an important part of the family.She has her own Facebook page Kytra 1959 and I plan to research more of her history over the winter. As only the fourth set of owners in more than 50 years we have a lot to live up to!
Added by Annabel Finding on 06 November 2014
Well done and congratulations, she is not an easy boat to handle at first, but she will as I have found, give you back more and keep you safe in the most hardest seas.
I do miss the old girl, she will have a special place in my heart and I do know the crews I have had onboard over the years will feel the same.
Good luck and safe adventures and more importantly.... Enjoy.

Trevor, (former Skipper)
Added by Trevor Donoghue on 09 November 2014
Great to see Kytra still in such good nick. My father was a friend and brother officer of Guy Goodbody the original owner and designer, and we had the use of her for two summers in the mid sixties. We had great fun fishing off Hoy, and up the west coast of Orkney. Fond memories of Hamish Flett as well. I will look out a couple of slides I have of those summers.
Added by Chris Macrae on 09 November 2014
Thanks for your kind comments. Kytra 1959 Facebook page is really taking off now, please do join in. Any photos gratefully received to add to my burgeoning archives.
Added by Annabel Finding on 11 November 2014
Thank you to Trevor for reminding me of the trauma of being attacked by frozen chickens! However, in all honesty, I have some very fond memories of my trips as crew on Kytra with Trevor. Son Ben came along on one as well. She is a great little ship and hope I see her again.
Added by Mike Butler on 12 November 2014
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