Torbay J Class boats, Suzette and Dolphin afloat again

Ingo Werner last year sent some photos of his two Torbay J Class boats, Suzette and Dolphin, both built by Louis Gale of Paignton, Suzette in 1920 and Dolphin (originally Sonnet) in 1936.

The story goes that Ingo bought Suzette in 2013 and one year later Dolphin was also offered to him – he bought her, but her condition was worse than expected and so he had to invest quite an amount of time and work to get her back in her element.

He burned off all the varnish and paint, replaced the upper planks, some deck beams and the whole deck, but he says it all came out very nicely, and yesterday he finally had the chance to sail both boats.

He lives on the island of Usedom in Germany, and both boats have their berths in Peenemünde.

He reports: ‘Both boats sail like a dream, Dolphin a little bit faster than Suzette – Suzette’s rig is a bit smaller than Dolphin’s after her mainmast and boom were shortened and a yawl mast was installed in the 1950s.

The next step will be to change two or three planks on Suzette and take of the lines of both boats in February or March. I will do that with my friends from the boatyard Weiß.

In the photos, Suzette has the red hull while Dolphin is white.

Many thanks for the story and photos Ingo!

2 thoughts on “Torbay J Class boats, Suzette and Dolphin afloat again”

  1. Fascinated to come across the story about Torbay J’s Suzette and Dolphin as I know both boats and actually restored Suzette from a very decrepit condition, owning her from the late 1990’s, sailing her on the River Exe for several years before selling her to Mike Webb and moving on to restore a 1930 4ton Hillyard. I knew that Suzette, a wonderfully powerful but sweet sailing boat with enormous character had gone to Germany and was pleased as they cherish old wooden boats, but didn’t know where/who to. Can you put me in direct touch with Ingo Werner as I have many photographs of Suzette pre-restoration and as I worked on her, together with some history of Louis Gale, and even a beautiful half-model of her over my fireplace. I now have a fully restored Heard Tosher (first GRP hulled boat for years, the product of another three years hard graft. I would love to share these things with Ingo and, who knows, maybe meet up with him as we get to Germany from tome to time. Regards, Mike Ashby (Ottery St. Mary, Devon).

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