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BOATYARD HISTORY V

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HISTORY OF H. ATTRILL & SONS (continued)

Many interesting jobs have come to the yard:

One was when the late Sir Alex Rose brought 'LIVELY LADY' to the yard for major alterations to enable him to compete in the 1964 single handed Trans Atlantic race. This work entailed a new rig, sail plan, dog-house, bow-sprit etc.

Another was for the late Dr. Bill Howell, whose catamaran 'GOLDEN COCKEREL' capsized off St Catherines, and was salvaged by a ship and the yard. She was repaired by the yard, and also competed in the 'OSTAR' single-handed Trans Atlantic race several times. She was kept by Bill Howell at the yard, cruising and racing for many years until she was sold. Bill Howell remained a good friend and client for the rest of his life.

In 1958 the most advanced and last ferry the Attrill family were to run to Bembridge was built to Bill Waight's design. She was 30' long, with a ramp for ease of entry and exit for foot passengers. She was run for many years during the holiday season untill the early 90's when prohibitive regulations made the service unviable. She was later sold, refitted to a high standard, and is used as a private pleasure craft.

Most of the vessels produced in the yard were of timber construction, but some like 'TAFRAIL' a 38' Camper & Nicholson sailing yacht were based on a GRP hull. She was built in 1963 and won many race prizes.

Sunbeam LucyTime has proved however, that timber constructed craft will last for many years, such as the 'Sunbeam'. These were a class of keel racing yachts designed by Captain Westmacott of 'Woodnutts' in 1923 and many are of that age. The yard was commissioned to build 3 of these, 'PENNY', 'HONEY' and 'LUCY'. Since the late 70's, and with the long held experience of the Attrill brothers of building 'Sunbeams' at Woodnutts, the yard was appointed as the official 'Sunbeam' builder.

The twin screw 41' Motor-yacht 'DELFINO' was built in 1966.

Another example of timber craft being made to last is of the vessel 'ZITHER', built in 1968, 35' long and to a Reg Freeman design. She was recently salvaged from the bottom of the sea in the West Indies by a fisherman, and he has requested drawing plans to bring her up to her original fine standard.

During the late 60's the sons of Mike Attrill, Tony and Chris joined the firm as apprentices, and are now Directors of the company. Since the early various craft have been refitted or altered, craft like 'F.T.' a Kelsall foam sandwich trimaran for David Palmer (another single handed transatlantic sailor), whose main beams were changed from alloy to G.R.P. Fast planing power craft up to 40' have been built as well as small displacement craft of around 22' in GRP. In the early 80's a 28' ketch was constructed for a Mr. John Pinder. She was named 'MAJACS' after his childrens initials. Much work was also carried out to his converted Pinnace 'PINDARIC' a 46' launch from H.M.S. Warspite. Also two work craft were constructed for the yard, one in steel 23' long, for use as a harbour launch, named 'SHEILA', the other a timber constructed 42' long bouy handling vessel 'FROLIC II'.

During this time many improvements were carried out, a jetty and pontoon were added, a large slipway was built and much of the yard was converted. Purpose built cradles for ease of movement were also invested in.

The work vessel 'FROLIC' was used for many interesting jobs. One was from the ship group of E.E.L. a subsidiary of 'British Hovercraft Corporation'. They tested various ship designs in model form using 'FROLIC' as a mother ship. Some of the models were 30' long and diesel engine powered. The group also rented part of the yard complex for storage of their equipment. Another was the transport of men and materials to the Nab Tower when it was converted from being manned to an automatic light house.

NorvantesThe core of work has shifted in the main to maintenance and storage of vessels. Craft like the 46' Camper & Nicholson sailing yacht 'NORVANTES' has had her bottom sheathed in copper as well as being stored and worked upon for a number of years. The 46' catamaran 'LAROHA' was upgraded for world cruising. Her owner Prof. Hugh Stephenson subsequently taking her to the Pacific via the 'Straits of Magellan' and also into Arctic waters.

The classic 39' centreboard sloop 'WHOOPER' built at 'Woodnutts' in 1938 to a Laurent Giles design has been completely restored for her owner. The 41' sloop 'WHIRLAWAY' has been re-decked and had extensive work carried out.

A large mobile workshop has been built, enabling jobs requiring temperature and humidity control to be carried out. Yachts such as the 43' Sparkman & Stephens timber 'FIREBRAND' have been 'West Epoxy' treated, spray painted and varnished to a high standard inside this shop as well as major reconstruction of her cockpit and a new rudder and skeg in carbon fibre to co-owner Ed -Dubois' design.

Projects in the pipeline include a replica of the old ferry launch 'WHITE ROSE' to be built in modern materials and a replica of Henry Attrill's gaff rig sloop 'SHEILA'.

 

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