New Listing – 1991 Howlett 70 Aerorig


Grabau International is delighted to announce the listing of the 1991 Howlett 70 Aerorig ‘FLY’.

A truly unique yacht FLY really is one which has to be viewed to fully appreciated. Built to the exacting requirements of her first owner with a no-expenses-spared attitude her price tag when launched was in excess of £2 million. Fitted out as a mini-super yacht she now represents outstanding value as the ultimate bluewater cruiser.


*** Central Agents ***
*** Over 200 further photographs available on request ***

With only her second owner since she was launched new in 1991 FLY has proved to be ideally suited to short-handed offshore and blue water cruising in extreme comfort. She has completed several transatlantic crossings, two single-handed. The unique rig design and powerful propulsion and thruster system facilitate exceptionally easy manoeuvring in close quarters; the owner often day sailing in and out of marinas with no assistance berthing.

Built to an exceptionally high standard when new there was a focus on reliability and redundancy of systems from the start; this attention to detail has been maintained throughout her life. All major systems being fully backed up with secondary independent systems. Constantly maintained and upgraded in recent years her inventory highlights include:

• Carbospars Aerorig
• MTU-Mercedes main engine removed and overhauled 2017/18
• Nanni auxiliary engine with cassette generator and hydraulic pump fitted new 2001
• Northern Lights 4.5kw, 1500rpm generator fitted new 2010
• A total of 7 onboard fuel tanks with integrated fuel ‘scrubbing’/transfer system
• Hydraulic bowthruster, providing emergency forward propulsion at 5kts
• Hiduron bronze sterngear, cutlass bearings replaced 2018.
• Dual independent steering systems
• Dual independent Autopilot systems
• Extensive onboard 24VDC battery systems all replaced with new batteries in 2018.
• Multiple charging systems onboard and shore power.
• Independent hot water systems for forward and aft ends of accommodation
• Black water holding tanks.
• B&G Instrumentation, including Zeus III plotters, 4G Radar, Triton displays and dual autopilots installed new 2019.
• Iridium Satphone, installed new 2019.
• Grunert refrigerator and freezer, 230VAC with eutectic holding plates.
• LED lighting throughout interior.
• Numerous custom made carbon fibre fittings, including doghouse, boarding ladder, cockpit table etc.
• Galvanised cradle available as part of sale.

A true mini-super yacht with her self-sufficient onboard systems; all with built-in redundancy she is ideally suited to cruising independently in remoter regions of the world. A real blue water expedition yacht. Lying afloat and in commission in Scotland.


Ian Howlett designed and oversaw the construction of FLY, working closely with the Elephant Boatyard and the interior designer Paul Litton and his team.

Ian Howlett was instrumental in the formation of Carbospars and the subsequent development and refinement of the Aerorig with Damon Roberts. Howlett highly regarded for his exceptional design and engineering skills. His craft honed in the 12m and 6m classes. Some of his notable designs; alongside FLY include the meter class designs LIONHEART, VICTORY and CRUSADER


The Elephant Boatyard is located on the bank of the River Hamble, Hampshire, England. Being the site for the construction of HMS Elephant in 1786; Nelson’s flagship during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801. The site has been a working boatyard since the launch of that vessel more than 230 years ago. Since 1952 the business has been under the ownership of the Richardson family, with a team of loyal shipwrights and engineers.

The Elephant Boatyard began custom building boats in the 1960’s, pioneering the development of wood/epoxy composite construction. As leaders in the field the yard was at the very forefront of epoxy technology and one of the early adopters of the West System products. With their own building system allowing the yard to take full advantage of this versatile and cost-effective method of custom boat building. In the decades since the yard has worked closely with a wide variety of top yacht designers; Ian Howlett, Ed Dubois, Peter Norlin, Doug Peterson and Ron Holland to name a few. Successfully building a variety of successful yachts encompassing cruising, racing and motor yachts. All of the boats finished to an incredibly high standard’ cementing the yards revered reputation.


The AeroRig was refined by Ian Howlett and introduced to the open market in the UK and Europe by Carbospars. Unique among advanced rigs it was conceived and developed primarily for use on cruising yachts rather than the normal development of racing technology feeding down to the cruising yacht sector. The basic principles behind the design were first employed by Blondie Hasler and his ‘swing rig’ concept in the 1970’s.
The Ian Howlett/Carbospars version is based around an unstayed epoxy/carbon-fibre mast that pivots in a hull socket, very similar to the system found on many sailing dinghies. A broad horizontal yard arm forms an integral part of the mast structure. The yard-arm cantilevering fore and aft of the mast with a fractional stainless steel rod forestay forward and masthead stainless steel rod backstay aft. The Aerorig is in principle very similar to other conventional rigs in all other respects; a 100%, non-overlapping jib on a roller reefing system forward and a traditional, fully battened mainsail on a mast luff track aft.
The Aerorig however requires the balance of the main and jib as part of an integrated sail plan; rotating independently of the hull. The control of the rig is by a single sheet led to the aft portion of the yard arm and controlled on two primary winches in the cockpit. Forces generated by the jib partially counterbalance the forces from the main, so sheet loads are exceptionally low and gybes extraordinarily gentle. With the sail plan balanced; a slightly large force generated by the mainsail, the rig will naturally ‘weathercock’ when left to its own devices.

The concept has proven to be an ideal cruising rig for short-handed sailing and with the ability to self-tack and self-gybe and the great advantage of being able to weathercock the rig to ‘dump power’ at any time. The Aerorig is more efficient & faster than a Bermudan rig on all points with the exception of not being able to carry a spinnaker downwind.

Howlett 70 Aerorig – Fly – Asking £375,000 VAT paid – full details here

Do you have a yacht like this to sell? Grabau International are always looking for new high quality cruising yacht listings both in the UK and internationally. For further information about our tailored brokerage services, please look here or feel free to contact us.

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