Itchen Ferry Wonder in the Swale, photograph and comment by Dick Holness

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Wonder photographed in the Swale by Dick Holness

Itchen Ferry Wonder in the Swale, photographed by Dick Holness

Most readers may not have noticed our pal East Coast Pilot author Dick Holness’s comment about the 160-year old Dan Hatcher-built Itchen Ferry boat Wonder, which now resides in Oare Creek, just off the Swale.

Here’s what he says:

‘Strange coincidences at work here.

‘Many years ago my brother (who was a naval architect and old boat nut, and worked for Campers and then Vosper Thorneycroft at Southampton) was one of those who helped look after Wonder for the Nicolay family. In return he occasionally sailed her. I never did, but had seen pics of her.

‘So I’m trundling down Oare Creek in the Spring 2010 in my boat (modern plastic fantastic, sorry!) and passing Tester’s Yard, I idly glanced across and saw a small black bow up on the hard with the lettering SU120. Hmmm, I thought, that rings a bell but I can’t think why. And thought nothing more of it.

‘The very next day I received an email from someone I had never heard of, sent to the secretary’s email address for Hollowshore Cruising Club (I am the Hon Sec this year). “Hello,” it said, “I am the owner of an Itchen Ferry down near Portsmouth, and heard that another, called Wonder, has been sold up your way. Do you happen to know who’s bought her?”‘

‘It was one of those moments when you wonder if there are strange forces at work! The sender of the email was pretty astounded too when I rang him up, and since then he’s been in touch with my brother.

‘In the meantime, I have enjoyed seeing Wonder out on the Swale several times this year – she looks splendid, and whoever the owner is certainly knows how to sail her.’

Many thanks for the comment and photo Dick! I can only apologise for not being able to come to the laying-up social – I’m afraid we just have to put it down to family business, but we are certainly looking forward to spending more time at the club and on our boats when life settles down.

I’d just like to say that Hollowshore Cruising Club at the head of Oare Creek near Faversham now has a splendid new website and that I’ve been looking for an excuse to link to it for a little while:

2 thoughts on “Itchen Ferry Wonder in the Swale, photograph and comment by Dick Holness”

  1. Busy Time for Itchen Ferry's – I received this comment on Wonder

    Mike Stanley comment on "Wonder – Itchen Ferry for Sale":

    I also sailed on Wonder several times when Chris Hawthorn, a friend of mine kept an eye on her for Maj Nicolay.In those days she was kept at Ocean Village in Southampton, just over the river from Itchen Ferry hard itself. Eling Quay was home to another well known itchen ferry called Nellie for many years.I was involved with Grahame Drummond Bayne in taking a mould from her for the GRP Itchen Ferry back in 1969. She remained in production until Grahame's death in 1983 and I believe sold well over the hundred mark, which is not bad going. They are found all over the UK and I exported quite a few to Holland when I was working with Grahame. There is a fair amount of info about ferries in print if you dig it out. John Leather,Edgar March and Dudley Kemp all feature chapters in their books on the ferries. There is one remaining ferry moored off the hard, SU117 but I forget her name, just right for anyone who wants a project!

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