Life on Portland Bill, long ago. My thanks to Ian Baird of Sulis Boats.
Intheboatshed.net regular contributor Brian Pearson has got in touch to to bring our attention to this boat for sale that could make a worthy project for someone – a clinker-built 16ft Portland Bill boat used for fishing with pots.
It’s a splendid looking shape and could perhaps be on the water with only a minimum of repair and restoration work – or at least I’d hope so. The buyer had better have a close look…
It is for sale on eBay right now.
Ann Davison’s little double-ended sailing yacht Felicity Ann is being restored at Port Hadlock, Washington.
Davison was quite a character: a woman who became a pilot in the 1930s at a time when few women flew, together with her husband she attempted to sail to the USA with a half-fitted out and overly-large boat, was shipwrecked off Portland Bill and lost her first husband to the sea, wrote a successful book about the affair (which I’ve read), and then made a second trip in the tiny four-tonner Felicity Ann. That trip, too, became a book that went on to sell well, (and which I mean to read some day).
You might say that by this point she had become a professional adventurer; she went on to write several books about further adventures, and one about her earlier life with her first husband.
The Wikipedia has some words about Davison here and The Smithsonian has a section from her 1952 boat about the Felicity Ann trip online. There’s also an interesting critique here about her voyaging, in which you can almost hear the writer’s brain separating in two parts as he struggles with the contradictions of Davison the gutsy optimist, indomitable spirit and highly trained aviator, and Davison the not-terribly competent sailor. (I’d argue that contradictions are normal for humans, but there it is.)
Anyway, let’s wish great good luck to the idealistic team restoring Ann Davison’s lovely little boat originally made by Mashford Brothers of Creymll in Cornwall, and now close to Washington. Here and here are two links describing their project.