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
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.
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.
The 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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