Category Archives: Racing yacht

1885 classic Mary, ex-Vanity, needs someone to save her!

Boatbuilder Mark Rolt of Bristol Classic Boat Company has written to say that the 1885-built 60ft classic yacht Mary, ex-Vanity, is in urgent need of re-housing and restoration – for otherwise she is certain to be cut up within the next few weeks. The photos above show her in her heyday.

She is one of three similar yachts remaining, the other two of which are Partridge, and Marigold, both of which have been restored and are racing in the Mediterranean. It’s Mark’s firm hope that someone will feel it is time to rescue this astonishing boat from certain destruction.

She was built as Mary at William Black’s in Southampton, Dan Hatcher’s old yard, in 1885 and 1886, for Sir William Romilly, who was later Attorney General, who gave it as a 21st birthday present to his son John Gaspard le Marchant Romilly, (who was usually called Cosmo). She cost 1300 guineas.

Built to Lloyds A1 100 18+ spec, the highest possible at that time, her timber was seasoned for at least 18 years.

She was coppered and was pitch pine below the water and teak above on doubled 4×4 oak frames. She raced very successfully under the Class C category, but the rules were changed in, I think, 1892, at which point she became a cruising yacht.

At present she is in a derelict hauling yard, next door to Mark’s boatyard, where she has been since about 1989, when she was sold at auction by Sotherby’s, and delivered from Canvey Island to Bristol for storage, while the owner decided what to do. He then sold it to my colleague and friend, the late Brian Cumby, who then offered her to Mark.

Mark says that she will need a major rebuild. He’s proposing to sell her for a penny to anyone willing to have us restore her, and reckons that bringing her back to her former glory would cost in the region of £1,250,000-1,500,000.

He believes passionately in preserving boats of this kind and is very, very keen to have the opportunity, not only to restore Mary
but also to train apprentices in the craft of shipwrighting through dismantling and restoring the magnificent old boat. As he says, everyone involved, young and old, can learn old tricks and methods, some of which may have died with the shipwright who performed them.

As Mark says, please forward this post on to any one that you know who may be fired-up by the idea of owning and sailing one of Britain’s first class Victorian yachts, privately or corporately.

 

Competitors and visitors: the Swale Match 2015

The day dawned misty and fair, and with light winds that improved a great deal as the morning wore on. In the blazing sunshine it turned out to be a grand race. We went out in our little plastic boat and as I had guests on board and was rather busy, my pal Lyn Winter did me the favour of taking these photos. Thanks Lyn!

PS The wonderful Spitalfields Life website was on board one of the competing barges a couple of years back and produced a very nice post about it the event. My thanks to Julian Mannering of Seaforth Publishing for the tip!

Does anyone have information about the New Zealand Mullet Boat Esma?

 

MULLET BOAT.....  ESMA  H4 001

Gillian Williamson, who is based in New Zealand, has been in touch asking for information about her father’s Mullet Boat, Esma

Read about the Mullet Boat class here.

Her dad’s name was Tom Hollows. He owned Esma from late 1950s to early 1960s, and lived in Whangarei, so she was moored at the Whangarei town basin. He sailed others including the Ronaki.

He added the small shelter over the cockpit of Esma, so in the shot she looks a bit different to the way she was in earlier photos.

Also, Gillian would be delighted to know if anyone has a copy of the book Mullet Boats and Quotes by Noel Mitchell that they would be happy to sell, as Esma appears in its pages. Contact me a gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass any messages on to Gillian.