Christmas at Rye Harbour – and a handsome old motor launch hull for sale

Small gaffer Petrel makes for home

The small gaff-rigged cruiser Petrel makes her way back through Rye Harbour. As usual, double-click on the images for a larger picture

Small gaffer Petrel makes for sea Small gaffer Petrel at sea Small gaffer Petrel makes for home

Small gaffer Petrel makes for home

Four images of Petrel making for sea, out on Rye Bay, and making her way back to the harbour

A few photos taken at Rye Harbour today, Boxing Day 2007. There were a lot of people out and about, all trying to make up for the previous day’s blowout, no doubt.

I was entertained by Petrel’s brief trip out to sea (above). The little boat’s crew had a great day for a sail, but they stayed out for just minutes: could they have been rushing back for turkey tikka massala followed by Christmas pudding sauteed in butter?
Wooden motor boat hull for sale at Rye Wooden motor boat hull for sale at Rye Wooden motor boat hull for sale at Rye

A handsome carvel-built wooden motor boat hull for sale – click on the central image for the phone number to call

Rye Harbour My kids, Ella and Ewan on the beach Rye Harbour red shed

A view out to sea from the harbour; my kids Ella and Ewan on the beach (note Petrel at sea, and WWII pill box gun emplacement to right); Rye’s brightly painted landmark red-roofed shed

Rye Harbour entrance derelict dolphin Rye Harbour’s heroic lifeboatmen and their boats Cottage at Rye Harbour Camber Sands busy with people

Disused dolphin at the entrance of Rye Harbour with Dungeness Power Station in the background; Rye’s heroic lifeboatmen’s rescues included a rowed rescue of an aeroplane in the 1920s, and the subsequent loss of all 17 crew in another rescue some time later; a cottage at Rye Harbour; Camber Sands full of people having a Boxing Day walk

The Francis Frith Collection has some fine photos of Rye from long ago.

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4 thoughts on “Christmas at Rye Harbour – and a handsome old motor launch hull for sale”

  1. A propos Rye harbour, I have posted this before on the WoodenBoat forum, but Boatshed readers may be interested:

    Sometime around 1949 my Dad, Deane (who died last June aged 82) crewed for a friend Chris who owned a 40-odd foot wooden fishing boat called the Valkyrien. The two of them trawled off the Sussex coast out of Newhaven and Rye, selling their catch door-to-door from a 3-wheeled motorcycle van affair, and sharing the proceeds three ways – between themselves and the boat.

    One day a film company offered to hire them and their boat for a movie called Green Grow the Rushes – aka Brandy Ashore (US?) a comedy about smuggling on the Romney marshes. One of Richard Burton's first films, and his last before moving to Hollywood, the stars were Honor Blackman & Roger Livesey. The exterior shots of the boat leaving Rye Harbour, also those in impressively rough seas offshore, are courtesy of Dad and skipper Chris. (The studio interiors featured an upright piano played by skipper Livesey…every boat should have one)

    One evening the film company requested the boat out at sea off Newhaven next day for some final shots, and the skipper was unavailable, so Dad took her west from Rye alone at night, under her ancient hot-bulb paraffin engine. It began to blow from the west, water got in the fuel and the engine failed. He had no choice but to heave up her massive lug rig and run back to Rye. Too dangerous to get upriver to the harbour under sail, so he anchored in Rye Bay and, exhausted, fell asleep.

    Unfortunately she was not not far enough out, and as the tide ebbed she pounded out her keel on the hard sand and was lost, my father almost with her. The boat was not insured, but Chris the owner took it very well, being the son of the local bishop probably helped. Not to mention the film company fees, which at £800 probably exceeded the boat's value. Had she survived I would not be here as the plan was for Dad and Chris to sail her to Australia and make their fortune there.

  2. Just read your account of the loss of the VALKYRIEN, good to hear your dad was ok, but as a child I lived at Camber sands in a cafe right on the beach. So as a kid we used to roam about the beach, and I remember her being stranded on the beach. My mum and dad used to have the registration document for the boat. Don't know how they ended up with it, not sure if my mum still has it. But I also remember going aboard her, she was buried sofar down in the sand within a couple of tides that you could step from the beach to the deck without a climb. This must have been around 1968-69ish.


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