Percy Mitchell ferry and pleasure boat in need of care and restoration

Southern Queen some years ago. Photo by Ian Boyle – read about Dover harbour and see more of his photos

Ben Wales has written to say that he has made the trip to Sandwich to see the 1930s ferry and pleasure boat Southern Queen and reports that she’s in dire need of new owners prepared to look after.

Here’s what he has to say:

‘On Saturday I drove a round trip of 330 miles to visit the undiscovered classic wooden passenger boat Southern Queen, with the view to purchase her and restore back to her former glory.

Launched in 1935 as Heart’s Content for  Charles Cload as one of four 45ft open carvel constructed launches to operate at Plymouth, she was built by the legendary Cornish boat builder Percy Mitchell of Porthmellon.

In the 1970s Heart’s Content was sold and operated on the River Dart in Devon and sold in 1991 again to operators in Tenby and renamed Caldey Queen, and then to Dover Harbour Tours in 2001 and renamed Southern Queen.

In 2016 the Southern Queenthen went to to Sandwich River Bus.

She sadly sank on her moorings in September and was raised and brought ashore, with her future now in doubt.

She has fallen on hard times and need of urgent TLC as will in need a new stem head, apron, transom repairs and several new planks replaced as well as re-caulking.

The restoration work is still possible with the right owner or team, but sadly I have limited resources as to funding and time to undertake this work on my own.

I appeal for anyone, group or organization that could step in and undertake her restoration. She deserves to be on the National Ship’s Register and no doubt her complete history is yet to be discovered.

Interested parties are invited to contact Sandwich Marina for further details as well reasonable offers for the owner by 29th March. I believe after that date her future may well be bleak and she may be broken up.

Ben

Thanks Ben! Hopefully someone will step up!

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What is the story of this 1937 Liverpool-built towing boat please?

 

Fowey boat builder Marcus Lewis has this new motor launch restoration project to work on this winter, and would very much like to know more about it, if anyone can help.

He knows that the launch and was built as a towing boat in Liverpool in 1937, and has a builders plate of  Burton and Fawcett, Liverpool.
It is carvel built with battens inside every seam. Unusually, the steamed ribs are in contact the battens, not the carvel planks.

The boat was Henry, but is is now named Clarence and has spent some time around Norfolk.

If you know anything about this boat and its type and can help Marcus, contact him directly or write to me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass the message on.

Kent boatbuilders construct replica 1940s class C hydroplane

 

North Kent based marine carpenter Kyle Abingdon reports that he and his parter have built this very striking 15ft6in 1940s class C  hydroplane from designer Bruce Crandall’s plans, and that she’s up for sale.

Here’s what he says:

‘She’s made out of Robbins Elite marine ply sheathed in biaxle cloth and epoxy and has Douglas fir for stringers, stem and keel with plywood web frames. 

‘We’ve given her a sapele deck, although the racing boats would not have had this. I couldn’t resist given the lovely barrel shape of the deck. Also she has a teak rubbing strakes. 

‘The stainless steel fin will help her turn when she’s up on the plane. 

‘She’s sitting on a new galvanised trailer.’

Drop me a line at gmatkin at gmail dot com and I’ll pass your enquiry on to him.

Looking at  this page about hydroplane classes in 1951 seems to suggest the maximum permitted engine capacity for this kind of hydroplane would have been about 2.9 litres – though the very thought of that big a lump makes a lump in my throat. Take care, Kyle – I think engines may be more powerful for their size these days!