William Fife and Son was one of the premier yacht building yards in Britain and one of the most famous in the world. Some of the most beautiful yachts ever built were designed by three notable members of the Fife family. William Fife I, originally a builder of fishing smacks, famously created the paddlesteamer Industry. He is particularly remembered for his desire to build yachts that were 'fast and bonnie'. William Fife II consolidated the reputation of the yard and developed designs that were way ahead of their time. William Fife III took the yard to the apogee of its success, designing two of Sir Thomas Lipton's famous challengers for the America's Cup. His clients included some of the crowned heads of Europe and his designs were in demand in Australia, America and Canada.
This memorable piece of yachting history chronicles the development and progress of the yard and its business from the beginning of the nineteenth century until its closure in 1939; almost 1,000 boats were designed and built in this period. Many Fife boats are still afloat and there are still special regattas for them and even a yard dedicated to their restoration. This story of enterprise and craftsmanship is interspersed with lively anecdotes about the family, their clients and their craftsmen.