'Jolie Brise', arguably one of the most famous tall ships in the world, has been sailed and maintained by pupils from Dauntsey's School for 40 years.
A 56' gaff pilot cutter built in Le Havre in 1913 and designed by Paumelle, 'Jolie Brise' is three-times winner of the historic Fastnet Race (including the inaugural race in 1925), twice winner of the Tall Ships Races, including the 2000 Transatlantic Races to the USA and Canada, and was class winner in the 2008 Tall Ships Race. Since the 1970s, 'Jolie Brise' has been sailed by thousands of Dauntsey's boys and girls.
The Dauntsey's School Sailing Club was founded in 1970, when the School acquired the use of 'Griffin II', a 50' Class 1 eight-berth ocean racer. The owner, a Lt Commander K N Hoare, RN (Ret'd), offered the use of 'Griffin II' to pupils in exchange for their services in fitting-out and maintenance. The next six years were spent either sailing or scrubbing bilges and pulverising barnacles, during which time membership of the Sailing Club grew until it became one of the most popular clubs at Dauntsey's. Unfortunately, 'Griffin II' was destroyed in October 1976, when her moorings failed during an autumn gale, and so the School began searching for a new vessel.
In 1977 Dauntsey's secured the use of 'Jolie Brise' by arranging a long-term lease with her owners, 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.
The Dauntsey's Sailing Club is open to all pupils from Year 10 upwards and is run by Toby Marris, the School's full-time sailing master. Whilst pupils are fortunate to have the opportunity to sail in this famous ship, they earn that right only through their own efforts and involvement.