Whooper - Cowes Spring Classics WINNER

Whooper yacht.jpg

Whooper, with her light displacement, shoal draft, tall rig and extraordinary turn of speed was designed by Laurent Giles and built by Woodnutts in St Helens here on the Isle of Wight in 1939.

Presently owned by lifelong sailing enthusiast Giovanni Belgrano and based in Cowes, Whooper has been much loved. Racing in the North Sea during the 50’s, Laurent Giles himself has sailed her and gave her a great write up in his book explaining her extraordinary sailing qualities, famous Yachtsman and author Peter Bruce did his early sailing on her while his uncle owned her and has an incredibly fast crossing back from the channel islands in 1964, engraved in his memory.

Giovanni bought her because he liked her hull shape and Whooper is ideal for pottering in the Solent and South Coast creeks because of her very shallow draught. He says:

She was so much fun to sail we got more & more into racing, and won the Round the Island Race Gold Roman Bowl twice (2004 and 2015), Cowes Week Class three times, once Black Group Overall, Panerai Overall three times, and even IRC Nationals against the moderns, twice in Class and once Overall.’ 

‘In the last two years we have focussed on getting her back to classic authenticity, hence the five traditional look dacron sails that Ratsey’s have made for us, and we won the Concours d’Elegance trophy last year at Panerai Classics week, which I’m most proud of, and is what a classic boat is all about - not the racing.’

Whooper also races in the Island Sailing Club Tuesday Evening series for fun with friends, they also do the JOG offshore championship races and have a full itinery for this coming season which started brilliantly winning her class in the 2019 Cowes Spring Classic where she was ‘ proudly flying the full suit of Ratsey sails’ then it’s the Round Island Race, Panerai British Classics Week and Hamble Classics.

We at Ratsey and Lapthorn are very proud to have worked with Giovanni on these sails for Whooper and wish him every success on the water.


Ratsey & Lapthorn are sailmakers based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. We specialise in racing sails, cruising sails and classic sails. Combining the latest sail making technology with hundreds of years of experience established within the loft, no boat is too big or too small.