Built in Arnside, 1903, as a yacht, 'Ziska' spent most of her early years in Ireland, being registered in Dublin. In 1999 she was sailed across the Atlantic and is now based on the West Coast of America.
In 1997, after a long period of neglect, she was discovered in Cowes and restored by Ashley Butler, a 19 year old boatbuilder. In 1999 he sailed her across the Atlantic, spending four years cruising and racing her in the West Indies, before selling her in 2003. In 2006 she was shipped to the West Coast of America, to Port Townsend, Washington State.
In 2019 she took part in the 750 mile Race2Alaska, a race designed to showcase the latest in boat technology, coming 22nd out of 35 starters.
In 1973, the following item was published in the OGA Members' Newsletter:
Though in very good condition earlier this year, 'Ziska' broke loose and drifted during a gale. She suffered damage as follows: bowsprit broken at stem, main boom broken 5' from stern, counter stern damaged above waterline, Samson post and side planks damaged on port bow, gunwales distorted and handrailing damaged, engine waterlogged, side rubbed. Hull sound below waterline. Fine old craft with hand carved tiller, very fast. Owner unfortunately uninsured and cannot meet expense of repairs. Would sell for £950.
T.J. Godfrey, Plymouth, Devon
Someone did take her on, and in early 1977 the newsletter records the following
NOTES FROM THE SOLENT AREA Bob Cundall of
'Chough', and Ken Harris of ' Vigilance' are fitting out the 38' Morecombe Bay Prawner 'Ziska' on the beach at the Folly Inn. Over the winter 54 new frames have been nailed in, and new top planks added; the counter has been rebuilt and a new stem is being fitted History
1903 Built by Crossfield Brothers in the Top Shop on Church Hill in Arnside for J.W.Aspen of Lytham
1904 Owned by A.Earle-Hunt of Temissary Lodge, Douglas Isle of Man. Boat is recorded as having a petrol engine.
1906 Owner of 'Ziska' reprimanded by Royal Mersey Yacht Club for flying a club burgee when he was not aboard the yacht.
1909 Recorded as being owned Arthur Holt of Liverpool and G.Ravenscroft of Birkenhead, though the yacht was registered in Dublin. Regularly raced at Royal Cork, the oldest yacht club in the British Isles, founded in 1720. Arthur Holt might be connected with the Holt family who owned the Blue Funnel Line. Arthur Holt continues to own 'Ziska' with different partners until the early 1930s.
1935 Recorded in Lloyds Register of Yachts as being owned by H.B.Newall, Liverpool.
1939 Recorded in Lloyds Register of Yachts as being owned by F.C.Smart, Liverpool.
1950 Recorded in Lloyds Register of Yachts as being owned by W.McApline Jackson and registered at Whitby.
1970 Recorded in Lloyds Register of Yachts as being owned C.W.Rutherford. Based in Plymouth. Nearly bought by Jon Wainwright and his father, who owned 'Deva', a sister Rivers Class yacht to 'Severn'.
1970s Taken to Cowes to be refitted. Restoration never happens. Yacht deteriates
1997 Discovered in Cowes by Ashley Butler, a 19 year old boat builder. Ashley meets owner of 'Ziska' by chance and swaps yachts with him. Ashley takes 'Ziska' back to Essex and restores her.
1999 'Deva', a sister yacht to 'Severn' beats 'Ziska' in the Solent Old Gaffers Race.
1999 Ashley, aged 21, takes her across the Altantic and spends fouryears racing and cruising her in the West Indies.
2003 Ashley sells her to a charter company on Cheakespare Bay on the East Coast of America. Ashley returns to the UK and runs Butler & Co. at Penpol Creek, Falmouth, one of the country’s leading traditional wooden boatbuilders and restorers.
2005 Sold to tall ship sailor and shipwright, Clint Thompson who moves her to Port Townsend, Washington on West Coast of America by truck. Clint and his young family live aboard 'Ziska' for six years, cruising locally. Clint is a friend of Ashley Butler.
2013 Clint sells 'Ziska' as she is too small for his family. Bought by another Port Townsend resident.
2017 Bought by Stanford Siver of Port Townsend who is restoring/refitting her. Work includes a new saloon. He plans to enter 'Ziska' in the Race2Alaska, 2019, a 750 miles race up the Canadian Coast from USA to Alaska, designed to showcase the latest technological advances in human and wind powered vessels.
2019 'Ziska' completes Race2Alaska, taking 16 days to complete the 750 mile race. Whilst 'Ziska' was a long way behind the winners who completed the race in 4 days 4 hours in their modern lightweight high performance boats, 'Ziska' was 22nd overall out of 35 starters. Whilst 'Ziska' coped well with gales, when the wind dropped her crew had to row her 15 tonnes. Taking into account tacking, she covered 1258 miles to complete the 750 mile race not being able to sail as close to the wind as her more modern lightweight rivals. Her crew concluded that she was great in heavy weather but slow in light winds.