Tag Archives: fowey

Marcus Lewis yard news – including a nice Wattie-built rowing boat

Fowey boatbuilder Marcus Lewis has been in touch with news from his boatyard – including a sweet little Wattie-built rowing boat of just 13ft – so sweet that I wonder whether its hull has been measured for offsets for future use. Here’s what he has to say:

‘Apart from the usual laying up and bits and pieces in the autumn, we had in a 13ft rowing boat that is at least 80 years old in for some woodwork jobs. At one point it seems she had a 1.5 Stuart Turner fitted, but later removed.

‘She was built and used by Billy Watty, brother to the original Troy Class boatbuilder, Archie Watty, and is still owned by a relation. We fitted a new thwart, new stringers, a couple of ribs and some new floorboards and a rubbing strake.

‘She’s a lovely shaped little boat. Billy Watty and his brother Brice built small boats further up the river Fowey at Mixtow, with Brice living on board a houseboat. (See the houseboat photo above.)

‘We also had in a 16ft sailing dinghy, built by Dickie George in 1963, at Restronguet, on the Fal. Jenny was well used initially, but then spent quite a few years under a cover in the corner of a field, and is now owned by Ian and Eve Heard.

‘Ian is a maritime historian and illustrator and artist, and son of Terry Heard of Gaffers and Luggers at Mylor.

‘Jenny was in a bit of a state, and after stripping off all the paint inside and out, she was re-timbered from stern to foredeck, had a new transom fitted, her keel was eased back up to the transom to return the original rocker, all the seats and stringers out, cleaned up or replaced as necessary, and we altered the decks and coamings to the sketch we were supplied with and repainted.

‘Just before christmas we started the construction of a new Fowey River dinghy – photos of that will follow at some point.

‘We also have a customer’s 14ft motor boat, Gandy, with 1.5hp Stuart Turner engine for sale.

‘Originally a hire boat on the river, she looks a bit rough after suffering in the autumn gales, but has a fairly sound hull and her engine has worked recently. She has been retimbered with new stringers and gunnels, and has had new foredeck in recent years.

‘Gandy would make a good little project – she just needs painting and some engine tinkering, and is on offer at around £650.’

Highlights of the 2013 season of Troy racing

Film of the Troy class racing at Fowey during last season – my thanks to Troy and Fowey River dinghy builder Marcus Lewis.

Troys at Fowey

Troy class keelboat racing at Fowey

Fowey boatbuilder Marcus Lewis has written to say that he’s had Shimmer, T4 of the Troy Class, in the workshop for a bit of attention, including 11 new ribs, rudder refitting, and painting all over – what he calls the usual maintenance stuff.

Shimmer was built in Fowey by AH ‘Archie’ Watty during the winter of 1929/30. She was made for the local squire Colonel Edward Treffry, and was sometimes sailed by his daughter, Elizabeth.

The old photo below shows Shimmer winning the Royal Fowey Yacht Club Regatta race in 1930 with the colonel at the helm. As the results show, Shimmer started her career in fine style.

In 1946, the boat was sold and bought by author Daphne Du Maurier’s husband, Lt Gen Sir FAM Browning, only to be bought back by Elizabeth Treffry around 1953.

Two of the older Troys are now for sale, T6 Ruby and T7 Sapphire, both in good condition, and still competitive boats, but both are to be sold on condition they do not leave Fowey, and that they continue racing. (The Troy fleet now number 28, four of them built by Marcus in recent years.)

There is more information about these boats on Marcus’s website: www.woodenboatbuilder.co.uk

Lt Gen Sir F.A M Browning winning Fowey Yacht Club Regatta in Shimmer, 1930


1930 Fowey Yacht Club regatta results Troy 4 Shimmer in Marcus Lewis' workshop Troy 4 Shimmer paint job

Troy 4 Shimmer ready for the water

Marcus Lewis dinghy for sale – and a Percy Mitchell tosher too

11ft dinghy 4


11ft dinghy 3 11ft dinghy2 11ft dinghy1

Fowey boat builder Marcus Lewis has this newly built 11ft clinker-built rowing dinghy for sale.

The handsome little boat is based on a tender to the sailing yacht Veronique owned by Colonel Treffry, of Place near Fowey in the 1930s. It is planked in spruce, with steamed oak timbers, mahogany top strake and seats, and will be supplied complete with a pair of scoop paddles, bronze rowlocks, and a cover.

Marcus tells me he’s currently building two Fowey River dinghies scheduled for completion this spring: the planking is almost complete, the green oak is ready to slice for timbers, and the copper nails are on order.

Also, the 18ft Percy Mitchell-built Tosher Marcus has stored for some time has got to go because he needs the space it is currently occupying.

It needs a complete rebuild, but Marcus says it has suberbly shaped hull suitable for almost anything. ‘The last owner put in a big Lister two-cylinder diesel and went fishing, but the usual treatment these days is a gaff rig, with a 4-5ft bowsprit, jib and staysail, with a topsail if you are feeling adventurous.

‘It bit of time would have to be spent working out the sail plan and centre of effort, and a bit of a calculation about an additional keel – she has no external ballast keel at all, but a 300-400lb shoe well bolted underneath, and a bit of internal trimming ballast would keep her down to her marks, and make her a stiff enough to sail well.’


Lovely Youtube video of classic Troy racing yachts off Fowey

There’s a high definition version featuring different music here. The film was taken by Troy class racing yacht skipper John Forsyth, who captured his material by strapping a camera to various parts of his boat.

We’re glad he did. My thanks to Fowey traditional boat builder Marcus Lewis for pointing out this one!

PS -Max, who writes the Bursledon Blog has a post on the Troys, and a few nice photos.

Bristol Channel pilot cutter meet at Fowey



The Bristol Channel pilot cutters were tied up at Fowey for a meet on Thursday – so local boat builder Marcus Lewis took the opportunity take these photographs.

Almost half, he says, are Luke Powell’s modern creations. However, among them was Cornubia (ex Hirta) built at Polruan in 1911 by J Slade and Sons.

Thanks for the shots Marcus!

Pilot cutter enthusiasts will be interested to know that Luke Powell’s new book Working Sail is due to be published in a limited edition of 1,000 copies in October. It’s priced at £30 and if you would like a copy for yourself or as a gift it might be wise to sign up in advance for the subscribers package via the Dovecote Press website ahead of the 31st July deadline.

PSStar Yachts boat builder Win Cnoops spotted the YouTube video below. Thanks Win!

Marcus Lewis builds two more Fowey River dinghies

Marcus Lewis builds Fowey River Class dinghies

Marcus Lewis builds Fowey River Class dinghies Marcus Lewis builds Fowey River Class dinghies Marcus Lewis builds Fowey River Class dinghies

Marcus Lewis builds Fowey River Class dinghies Marcus Lewis builds Fowey River Class dinghies Marcus Lewis builds Fowey River Class dinghies

In all the gloom at this time of year, it’s great to hear the cheery news that Marcus Lewis is building two of his splendid 15ft Fowey River dinghies down at his workshop. Here’s what he says:

‘Hi Gavin – You’ve had some good posts lately! Just thought I would drop you a line about what has been going on in my workshop lately. This winter we had two orders for Fowey River dinghies, originally 15ft ‘knockabouts‘ designed by Reg Freeman in the late 1940s.

‘We have just finished fitting the thwarts and knees, and now comes the big clean out and dust down before we start coating up the inside with a couple of coats of International quick dry sealer, followed by International original and schooner varnish.

‘Building two together saves a little time, but it does fill the shed up, and doesnt leave much room for handling timber through the thicknesser or bandsaw! The photos show the new boats half built, how they are now, the designer’s lines and layout drawings, and photos of Fowey River 56 – a boat we built a couple of years ago.

‘The distinctive coloured sails are not compulsory by the way – but most owners get their crayons out and design their own colour scheme.

‘By the way, the gunter-rigged and clinker-built Mayflower dinghy we built last year is still available. Perhaps it will sell when the weather warms up!

‘Best wishes


Thanks for the post Marcus – and for the new header shot.

Marcus can be contacted on tel 07973 420568 and via his website www.woodenboatbuilder.co.uk.