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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Who would like to rescue lovely Percy Mitchell ferry Hauley 3?

Boatbuilder Kyle Abingdon is trying to save Hauley 3, which was built by Percy Mitchell at Mevagissey in 1939, and has a typically lovely Mitchell hull-form.  She’s the old ferry from Dartmouth. 

Essentially a wooden tug boat, she is 40ft long and in imminent danger of being cut up. Kyle says she’s free to a good home. 

She needs a lot of work, including re-fastening and about 45% re-planking, a new deck and engine, and of course a new deck, superstructure and engine.

It’s a lot, but as Kyle points out, she’s a particularly beautiful historic vessel. Contact Kyle at kyleabingdon@yahoo.co.uk .

SB Raybel to return to Milton Creek for restoration

Sailing barge Raybel is overwintering at Heybridge Basin for what is expected to be the last time before her restoration begins at the rebuilt Dolphin Barge Museum at Milton Creek.

She was built and launched at Milton Creek in 1920.

Raybel has won funding support from Swale Borough Council and a Heritage Lottery Fund application goes in this month.

She is said to be in remarkably good condition and is still largely original. The main work she needs is on her hull, covering boards, rails and deck planking, and she need a need a new rudder and winches.