1863 lifeboat for sale on eBay – and two other lovely old ladies in need of rescue!

Lifeboat conversion Friend of all Nations for sale on eBay

Fowey boat builder Marcus Lewis has suggested I draw readers’ attention to the fact that the 1863-built lifeboat Friend of All Nations is currently for sale on eBay. I gather she was converted to make a gentleman’s yacht in the 1920s.

It’s an interesting story, as I’ve noticed her half sunk in the past and wondered what she might be. For a photo I took a couple of years ago, click here. She’s an historic piece – there’s a newspaper report of a tragic rescue in which she was involved here.

She’s 43ft in length, 14ft in beam and weighs about 12tons, and I gather she can be floated for transportation purposes. Mark can provide more info on 07826 853149.

Mark also thought readers would like to see some photos he took recently while working at the boatyard at St Winnow on the River Fowey.

Radium Morecambe Bay prawner Radium Morecambe Bay prawner Radium Morecambe Bay prawner

Radium Morecambe Bay prawner


The first is he believes a Morecombe Bay prawner named Radium. ‘She has been in Fowey for at least 30 years, probably a lot longer,’ says Marcus. ‘She was kept at the head of Mixtow Creek and was owned by Bill Peacock.

‘She was an ongoing project then, and I was involved in replacing some of the deck planking for him, but the boat was really decaying faster than it was being repaired, but it did float, just!

‘I think when Bill died she was taken up on the beach at St Winnow, and then into the yard. Having gone through a few owners, the yard has now claimed her I think.

Radium’s name is interesting and is engraved on her rudder head, so I guess it’s original – which might put her after 1910? It would be good if someone knew something about her!’

Motor launch Rosemary Motor launch Rosemary

The motor launch Rosemary was built in Polruan after the war for Claude Richards.

‘I think he was a former Humber lifeboat mechanic. Anyway, he ran the evening ferry service from Polruan to Fowey, as well as river trips. His former boat, also Rosemary, had been requisitioned in the war, and when the war was over he asked for it back, but it was in too much of a state – so a new one was built.

‘The boat changed hands several times after Claude retired, but always running pleasure trips up the river Fowey, round the docks and shipping, down to the harbour mouth and back to the quay. Sadly she has been laid up at St Winnow for about 10 years, and probably now past refloating. Who knows how many passengers she carried in her years of service?’

Marcus Lewis is based at Fowey, Cornwall. He can be reached on tel 07973 420568 and via his website at www.woodenboatbuilder.co.uk.

The astonishing details of ‘Egyptian’-style Broads wherry yacht Hathor

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Wherry yacht Hathor (pronounced Har-Tor) is an astonishing craft. Built by Daniel Hall of Reedham in Norfolk for members of the local Colman family famous for manufacturing dried mustard in 1905, she’s highly decorated in the then-fashionable Egyptian style – and might just give modern-day boatbuilders a few ideas about decorations for their own projects.

She’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, but check with the Wherry Yacht Charitable Trust, as I understand she’s currently in for a refit.

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