Sailing yachts

Harrison Butler cutter

(REF: 18008)


  • Designer: Harrison Butler
  • Builder: K. Newton, Norfolk
  • Year: 1939
  • Location: Somerset
  • Length on deck: 30'7"
  • Beam: 8'7"
  • Draft: 4'7"
  • Tonnage: 9TM

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Full specification

Wooden ships comments on this Harrison Butler cutter

Dr Thomas Harrison Butler was one of the great amateur yacht designers of the first half of the 20th century. An ophthalmic surgeon, he and others like him including some great names like Claud Worth and Albert Strange were instrumental in developing yacht design.

Harrison Butler’s great interest was in hull balance when heeled and on the basis of Admiral Turner’s metecentric theories he drew some fine yachts which perform exceptionally well and avoid that great devil of the earlier Victorian yacht designs, a heavy helm.

The point of the metacentric theory was that the buoyancy of a hull changes as she heels when  different surface areas are immersed. The result is that a yacht which might sail in a straight line when upright, when heeled will either climb up to windward (weather helm) or fall off (lee helm) as a result of the changed buoyancy forward and aft of the center of balance. The idea is to design a hull with the right heeled bouyancy so that she still sails in a straight line when heeled to a gust and this is where HB excelled.

The Askadil was one of HB’s larger designs and several yachts are known to have been built to this design.

Askadil is designed to the metacentric principal and is therefore a typical example of a well-balanced HB design.

Built by K. Newton, Cley next the Sea, Norfolk in 1939. Newton had a small boatyard and is probably best known for building the Uffa Fox Blakeney One sailing dinghies.

The yacht was authenticated as a true HB by the designer’s daughter Mrs Joan Jardine-Brown and is recognised by the HB Association.

After some extensive work following a long period of under-cover lay-up the yacht is now close to recommissioning. A new owner will have the pleasure of fitting some deck gear associated with the rig, stepping the mast, bending on the sails and the huge satisfaction of relaunching her and sailing for the first time in over 20 years.

Classic Harrison Butler hull form with marked rocker to the keel, spoon bow and the sweetest, wine-glass shaped transom stern.

Harrison Butler cutter
Planked in pitch-pine,
caulked and payed and finished in white enamel.

All copper fastened to steam bent oak timbers on an oak back-bone.

Long external iron keel. Oak floors.

Transom hung rudder with new rudder hangings.

The deck is traditionally laid
as was done in those days in t&g pine boards and covered with canvas. The canvas sheathing has been replaced more recently with grp sheathing to give a tough, maintenance-free and hard wearing, water-tight deck.

Classic Harrison Butler coach-roof, quite narrow, well cambered deck with varnished teak coamings and bronze port holes. The cock-pit coamings swell out from the after end of the coach-roof in the most lovely way to give a small, deep, well-sheltered  and safe cock-pit.

The coach-roof deck is laid like the main deck.

New hardwood toe rails all round .

Separate fore hatch.

Sampson post on the fore deck

All newly galvanised deck and stemhead fittings.

New cock-pit with new coamings, new seat/lockers, new self-draining sole.

New galvanised steel heel fitting on the rudder and new middle strap.

Hull burnt off to bare wood.

All hull seams repayed with red lead putty as traditional.

Yanmar 2QM15 twin cylinder 15 hp diesel engine
, raw water cooled with ahead/astern gearbox and conventional shaft drive to a 3 blade centre-line bronze propeller.

New 7 gall stainless steel fuel tank fitted in the lazarette.

New twin lever engine controls

New fuel filters and fuel supply.

All new hoses.

Completion of rewire prior to sale.

New 12v battery


Bermudian cutter rig sets 485sq’ on a varnished mast mounted in a wooden tabernacle on the deck in front of the coach-roof.

Varnished bowsprit and boom.

Two bronze winches mounted on the mast.

Stainless rigging with running back stays and levers, twin standing back stays.

Varnished boom with bronze ratchet roller reefing gear.

The mast was professionally repaired with a new lower half scarphed to the existing.

Varnished bowsprit, heel engaged with the Sampson post.

Pair of period bronze sheet winches.



Main sail and two head sails.

Wykham Martin roller furling gear on the headsail.


Accommodation.  4 berths.

One of the joys of this yacht is her largely original interior joinery and good standing head-room.

Companionway from deck to the galley lobby with a cooker space to starboard and stainless steel  sink to port fitted with cold water via a manual pump, drains overboard through a sea-cock bewlow.

Bulkhead to the saloon cabin.

Saloon cabin with port and stbd settee berths all fitted out in original oak joinery.

Pascall Atkey stainless steel charcoal heater in the saloon cabin..

Stbd side opening in the fwd bulkhead through to the fore cabin with 2 fold-up pipe cots.

A recent Lavac sea toilet is installed in the forward cabin mid ships between the pipe-cots

2 gimballed bulk head oil lamps.

New upholstery supplied and fitted(£800)

Close to 6’ head-room in the saloon cabin.



Period gimballed Sestral main compass.

Hand bearing compass.

Seafarer 3 echo sounder.

Kelvin Hughes Husun 65 VHF radio.


Deck gear.

Simpson Lawrence windlass.

Fishermans anchor and chain.

Plough anchor

Bronze cleats and fairleads. All deck fittings removed during restoration are with the boat.

Ensign staff and ensign.

Spray hood and frame.

New Whale manual bilge pump.

New 12v bilge pump with float switch

Fire extinguisher.

Warps and fenders

Boat hook

New 12v battery



The early history of the yacht has been lost.

In the early 1950’s she was owned by R.R. Allison of Canterbury and berthed in Dover.

In the late 1950’s she was sold to Hugh Kennard of Court Lodge Maidstone.

1964 sold to Vice-Admiral Dorling and berthed in Porchester

1966 sold to P.A. Main of Deal, Kent

1969 sold to Michael Contsable of London, berthed in Chichester Harbour

1975 sold to Major Terry of West Poynings, Devon berthed in Gosport and later in Woolverstone Marina.

Through the 1990’s the yacht was laid up under cover ashore for repairs and considerable work was carried out by Lathams of Poole before being bought by the present owner in 2012.

The present owner has completed the work in progress and the yacht is now very close to being ready for commissioning.

Works completed in present ownership:

Stripping and repairing the cabin roof and all deck areas, the whole then covered and        sealed with fibre-glass.

New rubbing strakes.

New toe rails.

Completely re-built cockpit, and new curved coamings.

New mahogany winch islands.

New stainless steel fuel tank, with fuel line and fuel filter.

New rudder fastenings.

New teak cabin top hand rails.

Mast rebuilt with and new lower section added.

New galvanised chain plates.

New floor in forepeak.

New upholstery.

New self draining cockpit floor with new hoses and through-hull fittings.

Full interior re-paint.

Galley re-fitted.

Underwater hull payed with hemp and sealed with red lead putty.

Iron keel sand blasted, treated and re-painted.

All outside surfaces of the hull have been taken back to bare wood and re-painted.


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.