Simon Papendick’s latest personal project – a Kenneth Gibbs 14ft Halcyon dinghy

Simon Papendick Halcyon Class Dinghy restoration

Simon Papendick of J-Star Boats is currently restoring a 14ft Kenneth Gibbs-designed Halcyon class Dinghy.

Readers may remember an earlier series of posts from Simon recording his restoration of a small gaff cutter, Gadfly II, that was built by well known Whitstable boatbuilders Anderson, Rigden & Perkins. The posts record his work in restoring the boat and preparing her to sail again, but also his success in researching the boat’s history. To find that series of posts, click here and follow the older posts links.

The latest posts on Simon’s weblog show stages in the job of replacing cracked planks, and putting in new green oak ribs.

There’s some information and photos of a Halcyon dinghy sold by the auctioneers Bonhams here and a restoration project of a similar boat here (you have to scroll down quite a way to find it).

The mystery of Gadfly II – Simon hears from the builder’s daughter

Gadfly II on the water pic 1

Gadfly II back on the water in August this year

Simon Papendick has written to remind us that he’s still looking for information about the history of his gaff cutter named Gadfly II, and to bring us up to date with what he’s learned.

For more on Simon’s Gadfly II project, click here.

If anyone can help fill in the remaining gaps, particularly in relation to the 50s and 60s, he would be very grateful. He’s known for some time that she was built by Anderson, Rigden & Perkins of Whitstable, but in the last few days has been in touch with a lady called Tisha – it seems her boatbuilder father, Bob Anderson, constructed a small yacht for himself, Mandamus, to a design of his own, and that Gadfly II was built as a sister ship and launched in 1946. Mandamus had a teak deck, Gadfly II did not, and Tisha believes there were some differences of detail between the rigs of the two boats.

Searching on the Internet for ‘Mandamus’ and ‘yacht’ reveals this obituary for Mr Anderson, who died only a couple of years ago at the grand old age of 100.

Tisha also confirmed that there were at least three Gadflies, which may explain why Simon has collected some widely different stories in relation to Gadfly II, but this one was built for and owned by a Harold Doughty, who Tisha believes was from Thanet and did some building work in Whitstable, including the rebuilding of the Anderson Regden & Perkins yard following a fire in the 1950s.

She doesn’t  know whether Mr Doughty had any children, but if there were she says she did not meet them crewing Gadfly II in her time.

Apparently, Gadfly II and Mandamus regularly raced each other at the Royal Temple Club, Ramsgate for a cup, which Tisha describes as ‘a huge silver thing, and it was later stolen’. She also told Simon that Mandamus usually beat Gadfly II – my guess is that might well be true, given that  Mr Anderson had spent his life on or by the water, while his opponent was an amateur sailor with a busy building business to keep him from practising his sailing.

Tisha remembers that Mandamus had two sets of figures carved into a beam, which she thinks were her Thames and Lloyds measurement tonnages, and that Mandamus was modified after Mr Anderson sold her: a bowsprit was added and the doghouse was moved more amidships. Both Tisha and her father were present at her re-launch.

The last Tisha heard of Mandamus, she was berthed at Cowes, but does not know where, which has led Simon to wonder whether she might be somewhere in the archives of Beken, the legendary local photographers.

So does this story ring any bells for readers? If it does, please let me know at, and I’ll pass the information on to Simon.

Gadfly II is back on the water – but has anyone got any unwanted iron for ballast?

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Whitstable-built Blackwater sloop lookalike Gadfly II is afloat once again after a period of restoration, reports boat builder and repairer Simon Papendick. Here’s what he says about the East Coast gaff cutter’s progress:

‘It has been a hard over the last few months, but I have finally got Gadfly II back in the water. After a few days of all hands to the pumps, she is now all but watertight.

I took her for a sail the other day and it was good to get her underway with new sails. The boat felt good and so did I after all the hard work I’ve put  in over the past three years.

The only problem I have now is working out how much internal ballast she is going to need to get her to sit on her lines and not be so lively. So far I have put in 300kg of ballast, which has made things better – but she is still way above her lines, so possibly I will have to find about another 300kgs. I think that should just about do for the moment.

So if any of the readers know or have any old iron they want rid of that I can pick up and use please I would be most  grateful!’

Well done that man!

Simon runs a boatbuilding and restoration firm (J-Star Boat Services) and a sailing school (J-Star Sea School), so if you have any suitable ballast please contact him directly via his business websites.

Perhaps of particular interest to readers are some small boat maintenance workshops Simon is running designed to help boat owners to increase their knowledge and do small jobs themselves. These start form removing seacocks to replacing boat windows and anything in between. They are run on a
weekly basis on a four:one basis. Contact Simon on 07799401650 or email