Sailing yachts

Itchen Ferry Gaff Cutter

(REF: 25539)


  • Designer: Daniel G. Hatcher
  • Builder: Fays of Northam
  • Year: 1890
  • Location: Suffolk
  • Length on deck: 18'4"
  • Beam: 7'6"
  • Draft: 3'4"

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Full specification

Wooden Ships Comments on this Itchen Ferry Gaff Cutter

Itchen Ferry gaff cutter designed by Daniel G. Hatcher and built by Fays of Northam in 1890.

Dan ‘King Dan’ Hatcher was a highly regarded designer of the 1800’s, working from his yard on the shores of the River Itchen in Southampton where he gained experience designing and building fast fishing boats and small yachts for local sailors.  As his reputation grew so did the orders for yacht designs and he was responsible for many of the elegant gaff cutters of the Victorian era that were at the forefront of yacht racing in the UK.

Hatcher also drew the lines for Wonder, a very well known 19’ Itchen Ferry and a near sister to this boat, Freda.

Freda was built for well known racing skipper Captain G. Rowe and was subsequently taken on by Captain Sam Randall, both hugely successful skippers in big yacht racing circles.  She was certainly a working fishing boat, but would have been a very smart example with varnished spars and canvas covered decks, but during the summer months her rig would have been changed for a taller and more powerful set up and she was raced with great success in the Solent regattas by Randall.

After years of neglect and subsequent rebuild, Freda passed to the current owner in 1998 and since has been cruised and raced on the east coast, proving herself as a formidable opponent around the cans.  She has been kept very original without the usual added coachroof and accommodation that is often seen.  She still bears the scars of her years of sailing and retains the low aft fishing deck.  Her finish is very much ‘work boat’ with tarred rigging, painted decks and little in the way of varnish.  However her pedigree, historical importance and sheer performance are plain for all to see, she is a remarkable yacht now in need of a suitable new custodian to keep her sailing into the future.


Length on Deck                 18’4”

Length Overall

Beam                                    7’6”

Draft                                      3’4”

Sail area                               500sqft


Carvel planked in pitch pine all copper rivet fastened to mainly steam bent oak timbers.

She has some sawn oak frames, screw fastened, and some new laminated frames fastened with copper rivets.

Heavy grown oak floors across the centreline.

External iron ballast keel fastened with galvanised keel bolts coated in hot epoxy and tar.  Internal lead ballast of lead ingots fastened over the frames.

Half decked arrangement with a large open cockpit.  The foredeck and side decks are straight laid pine planks, caulked, payed and painted.

The original fishing deck aft is set lower to take the nets when hauled in.

Simple pine sole boards in the cockpit


In the late 1990’s the rig was altered and optimised for racing, so is now more akin to her original summer racing rig with a large sail area of 500sqft and giving her excellent performance.

Gaff cutter rig on a keel stepped solid pine mast.  Varnished pine boom and gaff yard.  Brand new bowsprit from Collars, July 2022.

Galvanised wire standing rigging to dead eyes and lanyards and external galvanised chain plates.  Rigging treated with Stockholm tar in the traditional manner.

Twin lower shrouds and a single cap shroud over a set of galvanised spreaders.

Staysail set on a Wyckham Martin furling gear.

Jib set on a Wyckham Martin furling gear to the end of the bowsprit.

Mainsheet sets to a galvanised horse across the transom through quarter blocks to cleats.


Yanmar 1GM10 diesel engine installed new in 2012.

Offset to port with a 3 blade fixed propeller.

30 litre fuel tank with water separator filter.

2 x 12 volt 80ah batteries charged from the engine alternator.


Space under the foredeck for a couple of camping roll mats for overnight stays.


Raytheon ST60 depth sounder

2 x 12 volt 80ah Numax batteries

Rule 1500 automatic bilge pump

Manual bilge pump

Floating throwing line

Fishermans anchor with warp and chain

Boom crutch

Mainsail cover

Mainsail in tan

2 x staysails in tan

Jib in white


Cockpit cover

Sculling oar

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.