Archives: Sailing yachts

45′ W. H. Thomas Gaff Yawl

Wooden Ships Comments on this 45′ W. H. Thomas Gaff Yawl

45’ Gaff Yawl built by W.H. Thomas of Falmouth in 1906.

Built as a private yacht, she was found in a neglected state in Glasgow in 1998.  She had a major rebuild in Suffolk and was re-launched in 2001.  It is believed that she was one the first yachts in the UK to be built with an engine and electric lights, called sparks at the time, according to the Lloyds register.

Owned and run by The Island Trust since 2012 as a commercial sail training vessel for young people.  The yacht also serves for teaching RYA sailing courses and has proved to be very successful in that field.

She currently has a commercial licence under the MCA to Category 2 for 8 guests + 2 crew.  The boat will be sold with all gear and equipment required for commercial sailing to the above standard.

Having been subject to regular surveys for her commercial licence, she has always been well maintained with major work carried out as necessary.  Between 2015-2016 she had a major period of work where the ballast keel was dropped and the bottom end of the hull strengthened with enormous new wooden floors and corresponding stainless steel plates then all new keel bolts.  In 2017 the stem was replaced and she had a new teak on ply deck which is in superb condition.

Her low aspect rig makes her easy to handle and she will ride through heavy winds with ease.  She has a large spacious cockpit and a large volume interior that is currently fitted out with 10 berths for commercial sailing.  This could very easily be altered to make her more suitable for private sailing if required.

A well equipped attractive yacht with a full commercial licence.


Length on Deck                      44’8” (13.63m)

Length Overall                       55’5”(16.9m)

Length Waterline                   36’6” (11.13m)

Beam                                       10’8” (3.26m)

Draft                                       7’6” (2.3m)

Thames Tonnage                  17TM

20′ Cornish Tosher

Wooden Ships Comments on this 20′ Cornish Tosher

Believed to be a Mevagissey Tosher built around the 1900, however her exact origins are unknown.

Taken on by the previous owners in 2007 as a major project, she was taken to Gweek Quay Boatyard in Cornwall and given a thorough refit, taking way the ugly raised topsides and superstructure.  She was completed as an open motor launch with no rig.

The current owners who purchased her in 2012 originally fitted a lug rig, but then had a new gaff cutter rig designed by Ed Burnett and fitted to the boat in 2021.

An attractive open Tosher with recent rig.


Length on Deck          20’

Length Overall

Beam                           7’7”

Draft                           3’10”

40′ McGruer Bermudan Yawl

Wooden Ships Comments on this 40′ McGruer Bermudan Yawl

40’ McGruer Yawl designed and built by McGruer and Co. In 1962.

She was built for a serial owner of McGruer yachts, and in the words of James McGruer, she was designed to be “a healthy, easily handled, comfortable cruising yacht of handsome appearance.  With no consideration given to the measurement rules of the day the

Design has a natural flow resulting in longer overhangs, more balanced ends and a drier bow when compared to other designs which tended to feature pinched ends to maximise ratings. On deck she features the stylised ‘McGruer doghouse’ giving her that instantly recognisable McGruer silhouette.

With her current owners since 2007 she has benefitted from significant ongoing investment throughout this ownership.  Now reluctantly offered for sale due to ill health she is offered for sale with a comprehensive inventory including:


Length on Deck               40’3”

Length Waterline            28’

Beam                                 10’6”

Draft                                  6’5”

Thames Tonnage


Extensive refitting 2008 – 2011

New teak deck laid 2010/11

New main mast and standing rigging installed 2022/23

Volvo Penta MD2030 marine diesel engine

Flex-o-Fold 3 blade, bronze folding propellor (2008)

New batteries fitted 2022

B&G Network autopilot system

B&G Network navigation instruments

Raymarine C80 Classic chart plotter

Furuno radar system

Wallas Safe Flame diesel cooker

Wallas Nautic 40D diesel fired marine heater (2009)

Lofrans Cayman 88 electric anchor windlass



Engine bearers removed and re-instated with new 2008/07

Keel tanks removed, cleaned and inspected before reinstatement 2008/07

Number of bent timbers within engine bay area replaced/repaired 2008/07

Pressurised water system installed with calorifier 2009

Wallas Nautic D40 heating system installed 2009

‘Modernised’ saloon dismantled and removed before saloon re-instated to as near original specifications as possible with port pilot berth re-instated 2009/10

Teak decking fully removed, sub deck inspected and repaired locally, new laid teak deck fitted 2010/11

Ballast keel to wood keel seam re-caulked

New hollow section mast built to original McGruers specifications commissioned from Noble Masts in 2021

New standing rigging 2022

New rig stepped and commissioned 2023

Miller Fifer Motor Sailer Ketch

Wooden Ships Comments on this Miller Fifer Motor Sailer Ketch

The Miller Fifer was a very successful range of motor sailers, built by James Miller and Sons of St Monance, Scotland.  Millers was a long established firm passing through several generations with a proud reputation for building fine fishing boats up to 70’ or so.

The yard also built a number of large yachts before the war and continued with yacht building in the 1950s and 1960s with the Fifer range. The Fifers had a direct lineage to the fishing boats built by the yard and, in their various sizes were built with the same massive scantlings as the fishing boats.

The Miller Fifers were built as 26’, 28’ 33’ and a few larger models. With the exception of a few of the later boats built with a transom stern they had the characteristic canoe stern and proud sheer of the fishing boats.

This 33’ size was the most popular giving good volume in the cabin and excellent sea-keeping qualities. These are heavy, stable boats capable of pushing their way through a sea giving a huge sense of strength and confidence.

This particular example is almost certainly one of the very best available after 30 years in the ownership of a professional shipwright and more recently having been  sold to a new owner who has upgraded and improved various systems aboard to make her into a comfortable and turn key cruising boat.  She is wintered undercover every year and has been constantly updated and improved as necessary.  The mahogany wheelhouse is a common weakness in Millers but this wheelhouse has been totally rebuilt and is in excellent condition.

She was re-engined in 2001 with a commercial grade New Holland diesel giving her 7.5knots cruising speed at an economical 1400rpm.

Survey available from November 2022 along with evidence of all work done since.  Previous surveys and detailed documentation for all refit work in present ownership.


Length on deck                                 33’

Length Waterline                             31’

Beam                                                    10’6”

Draft                                                      4’6”

Thames Tonnage                             12TM


2023 Upgrades

  • All new galvanised wire standing rigging
  • Sails cleaned and serviced
  • Main engine serviced
  • Battery isolator switches relocated
  • 150 watt solar panel with Victron charge controller
  • B&G Zeus3S 9” chart plotter, new 2023-10-05
  • B&G V60-B VHF DCS radio with AIS transponder installed 2023
  • Raymarine Evo Wheel Pilot autopilot installed 2023
  • All new upholstery
  • Eberspacher diesel fired cabin heater
  • New fenders
  • New mooring warps
  • New anchor chain and warp
  • Liferaft serviced
  • New fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide alarm
  • New Honwave dinghy and 5hp Honda outboard engine

David Cheverton Danegeld

Wooden Ships Comments on this David Cheverton Danegeld

Designed and built by David Cheverton in 1958.  This is the first of the Danegeld class.

The commissioning owner was Bobby Lowein, a champion helmsman of the time.  His brief to Cheverton was ‘design me a yacht which will look well, sail well and be easily handled by two men, yet able to sleep five.’  The resulting design was Danegeld, and as proclaimed by the yachting press of the time, she proved to be something of a ‘wonder boat’because of her performance.  Out of 20 starts in the 1959 season she gained 14 1sts, a 2nd and 4 thirds.  She also won the Golden Roman Bowl in the Round the Island Race and her class in the Fastnet of that year.  In 1960 she was shipped to Bermuda to take part in the Bermuda Race and then on a TransAtlantic race to Sweden.

She was voted Yacht of the Year in 1959 and Cheverton launched the Danegeld Class off the back of the success of this yacht.

The yacht has been in the same family ownership since 1979, and has been used for local cruising and racing in the Solent, being a frequent participant in British Classic Yacht Club regattas.

In 2016, the rig was replaced entirely with new mast, boom and rigging.  The hull was strengthened in way of the mast with some expertly engineered bronze floors under the mast step to strengthen the hull.

In 2023 a new Yanmar 29hp engine was installed.

This incredibly elegant yacht oozes pedigree and provenance, her racing record speaking for itself.  She has been well maintained in the present ownership, upgraded as necessary and kept in fine seagoing condition


Length on deck                 35’5”

Length Waterline             24’

Beam                                    9’7”

Draft                                      5’6”

Thames Tonnage             10TM


Kim Holman Twister Sloop

Wooden Ships Comments on this Kim Holman Twister Sloop

Twister 28 designed by Kim Holman and built by JW & A Upham Ltd of Brixham in 1968.

The Twister is one of Holmans iconic designs and has been proven time and again as a fast and capable cruising boat.  The design was so successful that production switched to using GRP and many examples were built as either full GRP or composite construction.

This boat has had plenty of work done in recent years with a completely rebuilt engine in 2022, recent rigging and sails as well as history of keel bolts and strap floors.

2022 survey available.

Reduced to a very attractive price as the owner has found his next boat and simply want to move her on.


Length on Deck                 27’8”

Length Waterline             21’

Beam                                    8’1”

Draft                                      5’4”

43′ Robert Clark Sloop

Wooden Ships Comments on this 43′ Robert Clark Sloop

Robert Clark 43’ Bermudan sloop, design No.223.

Built by Berthon Ltd in 1962 to Lloyds 100A1 standard.

This yacht was put through an extensive refit between 2014 and 2016 by the present owners which included hull repairs, checking keel bolts, replacing floor bolts, upgraded interior, rebuilt engine and all new systems.  Full and detailed list of works done below.

This Robert Clark design is a superb boat, big enough to give comfortable interior space with 5 berths and 6’2” headroom.  She has a waterline length enough to give her good pace, covering miles with ease while on passage but she is easy to handle and this yacht has been sailed extensively by her husband and wife owners.

The original build quality is top class with teak and pitch pine planking, arguably two of the best timbers to be used in yacht construction.

A really lovely example of 1960’s British naval architecture, sympathetically upgraded and modernised but keeping her original patina and charm.  Original plans from Clark included.


Length on deck                 43’2”

Length waterline              30’5”

Beam                                    10’1”

Draft                                      6’4”

Thames Tonnage             15TM

Sail area                               720sqft

Heard Tosher 20

Wooden Ships Comments on this Heard Tosher 20

Heard Tosher 20 built by Gaffers and Luggers in Cornwall in 1994.

All GRP hull and decks with hardwood trim.  All the appearance of a traditional boat with a very traditional design taken from one of the local Mevagissey Tosher working boats.

Built for the previous owner who kept the boat for nearly 28 years, using her for single handed and family sailing.  These very attractive boats have a large and deep cockpit which makes them very safe for family sailing with plenty of space to move around within the boat.  There is a small area under the foredeck, not large enough to sleep in but excellent for storage space.

The boat sits on an excellent galvanised road trailer that has never been in the water.  The boat and trailer weigh 3.5 tons so are a legal tow, requiring a large vehicle such as a land Rover or similar.  This ability to tow her on the road can make for cost effective sailing, enabling the boat to be taken home over the winter and avoid boat yard storage costs.

A very complete boat in excellent condition.


Length on Deck                 20’

Length Overall                   27’6”

Beam                                    7’

Draft                                      3’10”

Displacement                    3000kg

28′ Gaff Cutter

Wooden Ships Comments on this 28′ Gaff Cutter

Built by well known Plymouth boatbuilder Chris Rees in 1992 to his own design, an exceptionally robust construction for blue water sailing.

Rees built Pete Goss’ boat Spirit of Mystery which he sailed to Australia. The owner has a newspaper article in which Goss states meeting Chris Reece “was a match made in heaven”.

Rees sailed this boat down to NW Africa via the Azores and later across the Atlantic, up to Nova Scotia and Greenland before returning to UK .The owner has photos of her dated 1997 in Greenland against a background of rocky mountains and icebergs.

Bought by the present owner in 2006 having retired from a life of rebuilding and tuning pianos for Steinway.  With only one owner between him and the builder, and after several years living on board the owner started on a prolonged refit but now time and health have caught up with him and it is time to pass her on to new energy and enthusiasm.

Now close to completion, a new owner will have the benefit of a proven, blue water yacht which with even amateur knowledge and some investment of time and money will be an exceptional cruising yacht at a very sensible budget.

All structural hull work appears to be completed. The greater amount of work left to complete is the rig and she needs a suit of sails.

This is not a yacht in the classic manner of elegant counters, scrubbed teak decks and acres of perfect varnish but an excellent example of a practical, functional and very capable yacht without being excessively large.  At this price Sarah Louise is a good buy to a new owner with ambitions for blue water sailing on a budget.


Length on Deck 28’

Beam                                    8’

Draft                                      4’6”

St Ives Herring Drifter Pioneer PZ277

Wooden Ships Comments on this St Ives Herring Drifter Pioneer PZ277

Pioneer PZ277 was built Paynters of St Ives for local fisherman Henry Hendy.  She remained in the Hendy family until 1988.

Some records state her build date as 1891, some a little later in 1899.

She was the first steam fishing vessel in west Cornwall and by all accounts was not well received by the local fisherman as her steam propulsion enabled her to reach fishing grounds more quickly and gave a distinct advantage over the traditional sailing vessels.  It seems this animosity towards the boat forced her to move to Penzance where she worked out of as a drifter for many years.

She was a steam boat until 1947 when a Kelvin diesel was installed, followed later by a Lister and now a Ford.

Her history is a rich and varied one, from her days breaking new ground in the fishing industry, mustered for the D-Day landing evacuations, Used in the clean up of the Tori Canyon oil spill clean up and she has eve had a childrens book written about her.  The reason that she was not used in the D-Day evacuations was that the volume of coal needed aboard would have taken up too much space and not left any room for soldiers.

Bought by her current owner and refitted with some new planking, new wiring, new sails and general improvement and upgrading


Length on Deck           47’

Beam                           9’10”

Draft                           4’10”