A tale of three Halcyons

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The original Halcyon

The first Halcyon

The second Halcyon in 1930 The second Halcyon in 1912 Mamie

The first Halcyon sailing in 1930, the second in 1912 and in around 1930-35

The second Halcyon in the workshop The second Halcyon in the workshop The second Halcyon in the workshop

The first and second Halcyons in Roving Commissions’ workshop

John Owles of Roving Commissions at Southdown in Cornwall has been in touch to tell us something of what he’s been up to.

He’s currently working on two half-decked gaff cutters built by Paynters’ at St Ives, of carvel construction with pine on steamed oak timers, and both originally carrying the name of Halcyon:

  • a 28-footer built in 1904 with plumb stem and square counter, very much along working boat lines. The asbestos tycoon, Sir Samuel Turner, learnt to sail in when he was a youngster
  • a 30-footer from around 1910-12, which was commissioned by Sir Samuel, which is more yachty with a spoon bow and finer counter

Sir Samuel later had the 90ft Halcyon built that is currently owned by Andrew Armour and featured in the July 2007 issue of Classic Boat.

The older boat had moved to the Isles of Scilly and had  her name changed by the time the 30-foot Halcyon was built. Then, in the 1920s, Sir Samuel had the 90-foot yacht built and, in order to retain the name, gave the younger Halcyon to Dan Paynter as a wedding gift, renaming her Mamie, after Dan’s bride. This also meant Sir Samuel was able to keep the name Halcyon for the new yacht, commemorating the original St Ives fishing boat of that name in which he was taught to sail.

I’ll let John tell the rest of the story:

‘All three boats have now been returned to their original names – which can be somewhat confusing, especially when two of them are being worked in the same yard at the same time for different owners.

‘We are also working on a 30 foot carvel fishing boat, currently going by the name of Kingfisher, which used to be the Bush Radios company angling boat.

‘On the larger side, we are restoring S130, the last surviving WW2 German schnellboot or E boat, to his (German boats are male) 1943 launch specification inside and out. At 115ft it is still, for the most part, traditional timber boat building, being double-skinned carvel construction on steamed oak timbers. (Click here for a post on this project.)

‘At the smaller end of things we are about to restoring a 14ft mahogany clinker motor boat built at Dartmouth in the early 1950s, and still with her original Stuart Turner engine.

‘Alongside all this I am also working on the design of a fast shoal draft motor boat, capable of 16 to 18 knots with a draft of 6 inches.’