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Dove is a 1904 Humber yawl believed to have been built by James Holmes of Hornsea, East Yorkshire, and extensively restored between 1978 and 1992.

Her owners found a corroded metal plate at the aft end of the cockpit with the name Holmes on it, and naturally assumed it referred to George Holmes, the famous artist and Humber yawl designer. However, some years later they found a water-stained Hornsea Mere fishing licence trapped behind a locker. The licence included a half-page advert from a James T Holmes, ‘Boat Builder Hornsea – All types of boats built to order, repairs neatly executed’.
The story of her restoration is well worth reading, particularly if you have a weakness for canoe yawls:

And don’t miss this page describing Holmes’ canoe yawl Cassy:

If you do have such a weakness, another great site to visit is the The Albert Strange Association’s website:

See the comments below for more information from Dove’s owners. 

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9 thoughts on “Dove”

  1. That’s great Gav. Very pretty boats. Interesting to read that George Holmes transported the 14ft Cassey ‘By trolley and by train’.

  2. It is interesting – I think I've read somewhere that one of the design limitations for sailing canoes and canoe yawls at this time was that they had to be within certain size limits for being transported by rail.

    And they do make very nice-looking boats.


  3. It's sometimes surprising how some things change so little when so many other things change so much.

    But the issue is about the size of humans. Small boats are built to a scale humans can carry and which can carry humans, and while we're bigger than George Holmes' generation, the scale of what humans can reasonably handle in confined spaces such as timber storage sheds (for ply) and railway carriages (for carrying boats) has not. and the density of water remains pretty much the same…

    I'm reminded that our railway lines were built to a guage defined by the wheelbase of the carts used by Roman invaders rather more than 1000 years ago. Human scale doesn't change that much over time…


  4. Yet more yachts in the 50ft range are being sold than ever. While human scale hasn't changed much the size of our wallets has. Or are people taking Uffa Fox's 'a foot of length for every year of age' literally?


  5. Gav,

    I'm presuming she has a centre board somewhere, but does she have a weighted keel as well?

    Has anyone tried taking a boat of a train recently.. would love to hear how they got on….There's probably a book in there some where

    Keep up the good work..There always plenty to see onths site.



  6. Thanks Ben and Jim.

    Ben: I just hope the owners of all those big shiny new boats can find the crews they need to sail them. But even if they don't see much sailing now, I guess that they will one day make nice waterside liveaboards for people who want to live cheaply by the water 🙂

    You and I, though, can sail our cheap little boats on our own, and one thing about small boats is that time and time again they prove even a small trip can be a big adventure.

    Jim: I think she has ballast, though I would not expect it to be more than a couple of hundred lbs. Btw, I know a man who found the regulations about what one can and cannot take on a train so exciting that he wrote a song about it. 


  7. Hi,

    I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog 🙂

    Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day 🙂

  8. Hi,

    Just been to the Albert Strange Association Meeting 2006 in Scarborough, and encouraged by Richard Wynne to look at this site – and indeed the link to our Dove site.

    Some thoughts

    a) Look forward to the new singing and dancing Albert Strange site very flashy new update due in the next two or three weeks – should give access to much of our previous publications

    b) We had a talk yesterday by a pair of Scarborough Historians – talking about the influence of Albert Strange on his pupils at the Scarborough Art College – Two or three of them (including Strange) were involved in illustrating publications for the Railway Industry (North East and Southern for example), and were keen yachtsmen and these guides discussed the sailing to be had at the . at the turn of the 20th century – It was actively encouraged to take your boat along with you for your weekend!

    c) Dove doesn't have weighted ballast. a substantial (between 2 and 6 inch deep) wooden keel & the centreplate weighs 50kg or so, Two strong (and foolish?) men can lift her when dry, but she is relatively easy to manoeuvre around with a couple of rollers (should one want to load her onto a train for example – no I haven't tried). It must be stated at this point that without the centreplate down she is 'exciting' and a foot on the side deck can rapidly make you scramble for the cockpit !

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