The Kent-built Gadfly II
Simon Papendick has written to give us an update to the earlier posts about the small cruising boat he’s currently restoring, Gadfly II, and to ask for help in finding more information. (For more on Gadfly II, click here.)
Here’s what he has to say:
Thanks to Classic Boat, I now have some new information about my yacht Gadfly II.
It would appear that the boat was build in the 1930s in Whitstable, Kent for a local builder, and that she was the second of three boats he commissioned. I have information about her first years in Kent from the 1930s through to 1949, and then I have more details about her whereabouts in the early 1960s – but then the trail goes cold from 1964 until the early 2000’s when the last owner purchased bought her.
If anyone has any information about Gadfly II’s whereabouts in the missing years, could they please let me know?
During the World War II I gather she had a small mishap when she was almost destroyed by German bombs that where dropped near where she was being stored.
The original owner of the boat only passed away a few years ago, as did the foreman of the yard that build her.
If any of your readers can come up with more information about the boat it would be most helpful.
Have you got a story to share or is there some information that you seek?
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Simon Papendick and family make progress on their project to restore Gadfly II
I’m grateful to Simon Papendick for getting in contact to report on his progress in bringing Gadfly II back to life.
Gadfly II looks very much like a Blackwater sloop but is reported to have been built in Kent rather than Essex, and there are some intriguing clues to her history, including a 1908 coin under her mast. For more on this read some previous posts on this topic.
Here’s what Simon has to say:
‘Since I contacted you last I have got on well with the restoration on Gadfly II. We’re getting close to finishing the outside with the deck all but finished. The hull is all caulked up with putty in the seams, the hull has been glossed and the first coat of antifouling is on the bottom.
‘One of the last jobs to do before the boat goes back in the water will be the replacing the keel bolts, which is going to be done in a couple of weeks time at a local boatyard close to our home. Once the keelbolts are done and the boat is watertight then I will fit out the inside with an interior very close to what it would have had when it was first built.
‘After the boat is re-launched I will have the mast stepped and take it for its first sail in many years. From what I was told by its last owner its last sail could well have been 20 years ago or more.
‘It will be a wonderful experience for both the boat and myself to get the boat back to where she should be gracing the East Coast again after all these years. As you can see from the photos it is a family affair.
Many thanks Simon. I’m pleased to hear that you’re planning to be true to the original when you start work on the interior, and I think it’s particularly good that you have your family’s help and support – so many people seem to work in isolation.
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The mystery of Gadfly II’s origins and her link with the Blackwater sloops reminded me of yachting author F B Cooke, who I seem to remember owned a Blackwater sloop in the 1920s.
He had strong views on the size and type of yachts that should be used for cruising, for as he says:
‘To be dependent upon the assistance of friends, who may leave one in the lurch at the eleventh hour, is a miserable business that can only be avoided by having a yacht which one is capable of handling alone… The ideal arrangement is to have a vessel of sufficient size to accommodate one or two guests and yet not too large to be sailed single-handed at a pinch.’
I’d go further, and say that even with friends and family aboard, it’s safer and better if all the basic sailing tasks can be carried out by a single pair of hands.
I thought readers might be interested to see what he had to say about what size and type of small yacht seemed most desirable in those far-off days.