Patrick writes "The Arpege was, in my view, anyway, the first really modern GRP production yacht. I saw one for the first time at the 1969 Boat Show and was amazed at the genius of the design. It provided very spacious, light and well-ventilated accommodation, a huge navigatorium, six proper berths with none crammed into the forepeak, a comfortable cockpit and a nice clean deck without angles or sharp corners. I decided right then I had to have one.
At that time I had never seen a boat in which so many useful features had been thought of by the designer and moulded in from the start. The Arpege had the first anchor locker I had seen on a GRP boat, a moulded easy-to-clean galley with storm-proof crockery storage and a moulded sink. The heads was a civilised space in which it was possible to have a really good wash, wet sails stowed up for'ard away from the accommodation, wet weather hanging space was separate from dry clothes, and thoughtful design ensured thorough interior ventilation even when the boat was closed up on its mooring. Being French, Michel Dufour had incorporated wine bottle storage in the table, and a special non-creasing storage space for ladies evening dresses in a long shallow moulded tray under a bunk."
He continues "I finally managed to buy an Arpege (see photos attached) in 1982.
The Arpege was a noted performer, too. I am sure it won the Round The Island Race at its first attempt - John Oakley at the helm, I think, and went on to win offshore and inshore races all over the world. In any kind of weather the boat was so well balanced it steered with a light touch on a tiller so short and fragile-looking that it seemed to belong to another much smaller boat.
Many Arpeges have made long ocean voyages, too.
Finally it must be in your 1001 boat selection because over 1000 were built. You can still see them in marinas all over the world, and there are many enthusiastic owners still racing them."
He also sends a link to a great video of