Ratsey and Lapthorn - THE ROLLS ROYCE OF SAIL MAKING.
The history of Ratsey & Lapthorn is synonymous with that of yachting. The firm's first sail loft preceded the establishment of recreational yachting and for over two hundred and twenty years the world's leading yachts have set the firm's canvas. From its origins in Cowes and early involvement with the Royal Yacht Squadron, the firm grew to establish lofts on the British mainland and in the USA.
In 1795 Lord Collingwood was a strong advocate of what he saw as the better sails coming from Ratsey's. Some of which were flown on HMS Victory by Lord Nelson in 1805 at the battle of Trafalgar. The top sail remains in the Naval museum complete with cannon ball holes.
Ratsey and Lapthorn are also synonymous with the history of the Americas Cup. First competed for in 1851 this is one of the oldest sporting trophies in the world. For over 100 years Ratsey's were the sail makers of choice providing sails for competing yachts from both side of the Atlantic.
First competed for in 1851 and one of the oldest sporting trophies in the world. Through their sail lofts in both Cowes and New York, Ratsey’s made sails for both teams. Family members competed as part of the competing crews for over 100 years.
Originally named the Hundred Guineas Cup, the first contest took place in Cowes with a challenge from the Royal Yacht Squadron to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC). The NYYC won the race with the schooner named “America”. The trophy was thus renamed the ‘America’s Cup’ and was donated to the NYYC. Under the terms of the ‘Deed of Gift’ this made the cup available for perpetual international competition.
As part of the war effort, Ratsey and Lapthorn developed a wooden ‘life boat’ designed to be dropped from the undercarriage of a plane to downed US airmen.
The ‘traditional’ skills that underpinned Ratsey and Lapthorn’s illustrious past continue to this day. The skills and knowledge has been past down from generation to generation and the ‘Ratsey Way’ has become the benchmark for perfection in Classic Sailmaking. Our archives are extensive; many original sail-plans are available to view at our sail loft in Cowes. So if you are looking to simply re-cut your main, or replace a full suit of sails, please get in touch.
In addition to the Classic way, Ratsey and Lapthorn makes sails for cruisers and racers alike. The use of modern lamintes, membrane technology and computer aided design have enabled Ratsey’s to make sails for modern competitive yachts.