Sailing yachts

16 ton Hillyard Ketch

(REF: 17969)


  • Designer: Hillyard, David
  • Builder: Hillyards of Littlehampton
  • Year: 1973
  • Location: Devon
  • Length on deck: 39'
  • Beam: 11'
  • Draft: 3'8"
  • Tonnage: 16TM

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Full specification

Wooden ships comments on this 16 Ton Hillyard ketch

16 ton Hillyard ketch from David Hillyard, the most productive small yacht builder in UK until the advent of plastic, his success built on a simple design with some very specific features which proved to have huge market appeal – the big, deep centre cock-pit which permitted a cabin at either end of the boat as well as a midships saloon cabin.

2-sleeping cabins in addition to the saloon cabin was a feature not available in almost any other yacht of the size and exactly what many families wanted to sail in comfort.

Hillyard never pretended to build yachts to the expensive standards of man builders. This was an Everyman yacht, built to a price for a market which he understood. Yet despite some construction features which many sophisticated yards regarded as rather primitive, the yachts have stood the test of time, they have been sailed all round the world and the majority of yachts built in the yard are still afloat and sailing.

David Hillyard started with the little 18’ 2 ½ tonner – that’s Thames Tonnage so a volumetric measurement not a weight measurement and a very useful yard-stick by which to judge the size of a yacht.

After the Great War, in the 1920’s, you had your semi in suburbia, your Austin 7 and a 2 ½ ton Hillyard and you knew you had arrived!

The size of the boats increased and new design features were introduced. There were 24’ 6 tonners and 28’ 8 tonners and the 32’ 9 tonners which was the most popular size. The next size up was the 36’ 12 tonner, above that various sizes up to the biggest boats of 20TM.

A customer could specify personal requirements but only within certain limits. The odd aft cock-pit 8 and 9 tonner exists and there were a few variations on the theme in the cabin lay-out. Masts were usually stepped on deck to allow clear walk-through below deck to the forward cabin. The rig was a very simple masthead Bermudian sloop or ketch in the bigger boats and they invariably had powerful engines to get the family back home on time.

A major change came with the introduction of the hard chine design which gave a stiffer boat and a wider cabin sole, immediately increasing the volume in the cabin. Replace the canoe stern with a transom and you have a boat which has more volume for a given length and therefore more economical to run.

The full midships sections allowed steel plate bilge keels to be fitted, suitable for these relatively shoal draft yachts.

You will never win races round the cans in a Hillyard but you will cross the Channel in comfort when your neighbours are hanging on by their finger nails dressed in full oilskins.

The Hillyard is a design aimed at a very specific market, totally successful in that target market in their day and just as successful now.

This example is a 16 ton ketch built in 1973 for Horace Steel, the Mayor of Worthing, who sailed her around northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, with her very detailed and complete original specification including a spare propeller in a dedicated locker.  She was designed with long distance sailing in mind and has proven herself time and again for her six different owners as a comfortable live aboard yacht capable of making blue water ocean passages.  She is one of the later boats with a hard chine a transom stern which dramatically increased the volume available within a given length.  She has had lots of good work carried out by the last 2 owners and is currently undergoing her spring refit and having the finishing touches added, so she is available in super condition and ready to sail.

Conventional plank on frame construction with a single chine below the water level to increase the interior volume of the boat.  Transom stern with a straight keel and bilge keels to a raked stem meaning that every inch of the interior can be used right from the stern post to the stem post.

16 ton Hillyard Ketch

Planked in 1 1/16” Iroko screw fastened to sawn oak frames with three steam bent intermediate timbers, fastened with copper nails and roves.


Oak backbone  with sawn oak floors through fastened with 1 ¼” bronze keel bolts to the external lead ballast keel.  Concrete screed throughout the bilge from new.

Keel bolts last drawn 2009.


Galvanised steel bilge keels through bolted with bronze bolts.

Bilge keels removed, shotblasted and coated with epoxy tar.  New keel bolts.


Yacht laid ½” teak deck glued down over a ½” marine plywood subdeck.  Scrubbed teak joggled to a king plank with varnished teak coverboards and toe rail


Mahogany coamings finished in gloss white with bronze portholes and windows.  Marine plywood coachroof deck, epoxy sheathed and painted.  varnished teak handrails on fore and aft coachroofs.  Varnished mahogany capping and quadrant around the coamings, new in 2012.
Typical spacious Hillyard foredeck with galvanised twin roller stem head fitting, large teak mooring cleats, electric windlass and varnished forehatch.  Short bowsprit mounted over the stem with galvanised heel strap.

Stainless steel pulpit to stainless steel guard wires and stanchions in bronze feet.  Wide side decks with genoa sheet tracks bolted just inboard of the coverboards.

Aft deck with large teak mooring cleats and bronze fairleads.  Split stainless steel pushpit with removable guard wires across the transom joining the two sections to allow for deck access over the stern.




Bermudan ketch rig on deck stepped varnished built spruce masts in stainless steel tabernacles on the coachroof.  Varnished roller reefing wooden booms on main and mizzen.

Galvanised wire standing rigging replaced 6 years ago to galvanised rigging screws and internal stainless steel chainplates.  Rigging refurbished and oiled in 2011.

Main mast has twin lower shrouds to the spreaders with a single cap shroud.  Twin standing backstays to s/s chainplates on the aft coachroof coamings.  Forestay to bowsprit end with roller furling gear.

Mizzen mast has single lower shrouds to the spreaders, running on an angle slightly aft to act as back stays, and single cap shroud running forward of the mast.

Standing rigging, including rigging screws, replaced in two stages in 2007 and 2010



Pair of primary Lewmar self tailing chrome winches on the coachroof coamings just aft of the cockpit for genoa sheets.

2 Tuffnol halyard winches on the mainmast.



Mainsail                      Good condition                        (serviced/cleaned 2012)

Mizzen                         Good condition                        (serviced/cleaned 2012)

Jib                                 Good condition                        (serviced/cleaned 2012)

Genoa                          Good condition

Trysail                          Serviceable




Perkins 6cyl 100hp diesel engine with a hydraulic gearbox and single lever Morse controls to stainless steel shaft and 3 blade bronze propeller.  Installed 1973.

Engine removed and completely rebuilt in 2009 with new engine beds and bolts, new pipework, exhaust system and electrics.

Total fuel capacity of 80 gallons in two fibreglass tanks either side of the engine compartment under the cockpit.


Batteries and electrics

2 x 12v 130ah start batteries, dedicated to engine starting.  New 2012.

3 x 12v domestic batteries, total 300ah.

Selective battery isolator switch new in 2012.

Charging from engine alternator or through Sterling Battery charger and conditioner while connected to shore power.  These units keep the batteries in optimal condition and will hugely prolong the life of the batteries.

240v socket ring while connected to shore power

Electrics overhauled in 2012 including the new batteries, isolator switch, charger and a new fuse bank.  The navigation and deck lights were all replaced with new light units and wiring.  Internal lighting and its associated wiring replaced throughout.


Accommodation                     7 berths

Hillyards are renowned for their accommodation and layout which offers a lot of useable space for the length.  The boat can be split into four sections, the aft cabin, cockpit, saloon and forepeak.  The genius of the design is that the sleeping accommodation is in the aft cabin and is totally separate from the living spaces of the boat so there is no need to pack away bed linen every morning to be able to use the boat.  The saloon is spacious with great width in the cabin sole due to the chine design of the hull and a decent beam, with a separate forecabin and heads up forward.  The forepeak gives a second totally separate sleeping cabin which is unique to Hillyards in this length of boat.  This particular example has a brand new cockpit tent which gives another inside space within the cockpit and connects all the interior accommodation.

Deep step down over the coaming either side  into the sheltered and safe cockpit with bench lockers port and starboard.  Helm position to port with switch panel and engine controls.  Solid varnished mahogany canopy over the cockpit with toughened glass windows and a Perspex section in the roof to give a good view of the rig.  Canvas cockpit tent on the back of the canopy completely covers the cockpit allowing unobstructed access from fore to aft with zipped sides for access from the deck.

Aft cabin is accessed through a sliding door in the aft starboard corner of the cockpit.  Steps down into the cabin with a single berths each side.

Aft cabin completely rebuilt in 2012 with all new joinery, mattresses and newly painted.

Ample storage space under the bunks and behind the panelling under the deckhead with shelving at deck level.

Sliding door in forward starboard corner of the cockpit gives access to the saloon with a single step down to the cabin sole.  Chart desk to starboard with a sliding chart drawer and storage under.

Centreline saloon dropleaf table with refurbished solid oak top.  Deep settee berths port and starboard under the deck head make very comfortable saloon berths with 6’+ length.  Hanging locker at forward end of starboard berth and a deep sizeable locker on the port side.  Sharps LCD television mounted on the bulkhead on starboard side.

All saloon cushion upholstery replaced 2012.

Galley in aft port corner of saloon with contemporary Flavel 2 burner gas stove and oven, fitted 2012.  New Oak work top with mini Belfast sink and brass swan neck mixer tap.  All new 2012.  Hot and cold running water from a 12v pressure pump and engine heated calorifier tank with water from 2 GRP tanks port and starboard in the engine space with a total capacity of 80 gallons.  Plumbing all new in 2009.

Famersham cast iron wood burner installed 2012 on the centreline at the forward end of saloon.  Mounted on a solid slate base surrounded by tiled bulkheads either side with air gaps behind.  She also has a Webasto diesel fired hot air heating system heating the aft cabin and saloon areas.

Bulkhead door at forward end of saloon to starboard gives access to forepeak with a Jabsco sea toilet to port and sink to starboard.  Copper sink with bronze hot and cold taps.  Sink taps and T&G panelling all new 2012.

Large forepeak with storage for sails, warps etc with the possibility to have good sized V-berths.  Anchor locker under the berths with forehatch above.



Steering compass

Clipper sounder and log



3 x lifejackets

2 x fire extinguishers

Fire blanket

CO detector

Radar reflector

12v bilge pump, new

Manual bilge pump

Spare propeller


45lb CQR with 10mm chain

45lb Fishermans kedge

Simpson Lawrence 12v electric windlass with new cover.


New cockpit cover

New sails covers

Boarding ladder

Boat hook

New warps

Numerous fenders


These particulars have been prepared in good faith from information provided by the Vendors and are intended as a guide, Wooden Ships cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. The Purchaser should instruct his agent or surveyor to validate all details as necessary and satisfy himself with the condition of the vessel and its equipment.

Wooden Ships classic yachts brokers have an extensive database of boats for sale. With a wide range of sailboats, classic yachts, motor yachts and small classic boats, Wooden Ships has one of the largest selections of traditional wooden boats and yachts for sale in the UK.


These particulars have been prepared in good faith from information provided by the Vendors and are intended as a guide, Wooden Ships cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. The Purchaser should instruct his agent or surveyor to validate all details as necessary and satisfy himself with the condition of the vessel and its equipment.