In September 1926 Seran was launched on the Thames at Chiswick. Ninety years later she is still very much going strong, in part thanks to her 1" teak hull and a succession of owners who have cherished her over the years. To mark the anniversary, Peter Ward has made a superb half model of Seran based on the original line drawings from 1926. The model is now hanging in pride of place in the saloon after a small celebration to mark the occasion!
I was delighted to hear from Tony Guest who had recently uncovered photos of Seran from 1974 and 1976 during the period she was owned by his father, John. Tony remembers working on Seran in the mid 1970's when she was in dry dock at Stourport, re-caulking and painting her hull. John Guest had acquired her in 1974 and kept her on the Severn at Stourport with the intention of taking early retirement and restoring her. Sadly circumstances changed and he parted with Seran in 1984. It was great to have made contact and piece together some of her missing past, thank you!
Two boards briefly telling Seran's history in words and photographs are complete and will be hung from the guard rails at the Henley Trad Boat Festival and other events on the river as part of a broader initiative to share the history of classic boats on the river and their contribution to the nations maritime heritage.
Removing the locking keys from the gypsy and warping drum required some skilled help (!) but once done, the anchor windlass came apart relatively easily. It was then shot blasted and undercoated, before being finished with several coats of Hammercoat and reassembled. Not as straight forward as all that but a nice period piece very similar to her original that was lost over the years and will look the part once fitted!
After some searching a new owner has been found for Maralia, the Higley Halliday designed motor yacht, built by Taylor & Bates, Chertsey in 1927. She will remain on the east coast near Clacton where her new owner plans to restore her as a retirement project. Thanks to National Historic Ships, the Thames Vintage Boat Club and IBTC Lowestoft who helped try to find her a home before time ran out!
It was great to meet Wyn, Jeff and Charles recently. Wyn is related by marriage to Les O'Connor who owned Seran between 1956 and 1958 and Jeff and Charles related to Les' business partner, Fred Davies. It was interesting to learn more of Les and Fred and their firm O'Connor and Davies of Llanelli and Port Talbot.
Les O'Connor kept Seran at Llannelli's North Dock from 1957. Only a year earlier, the dock was full of landing craft which their firm were maintaining for the Admiralty ready, if needed, for use during the Suez Crisis. A photo of Seran moored in North Dock in 1957 survives which was particularly interesting, as it shows the configuration of the wheelhouse which was modified to accommodate the twin Lister Blackstone FR3M's which were fitted at the same time and are still with Seran today. The superstructure remained unchanged until the mid 1980's.
Many thanks to Wyn, Jeff and Charles for taking the time to meet and add to the story!
The 37 ft. auxiliary ketch yacht 'Mollihawk IV' designed by Linton Hope and built by Frank Maynard in 1914 for G. A. Maclean Buckley is still going strong after over 100 years afloat.
She has been in her current ownership since the early 1980s and is kept at Wivenhoe. Her previous owners, David and Maggie Marples, who acquired her in the mid 1960s, sailed her to Israel with their children in 1968 / '69. The attached photo courtesy of Paul Cowman, was taken during her refit at Banham's boatyard, Cambridgeshire in 1967.
With thanks to Stephane Monnier and Paul Cowman for their help tracking her down and providing further detail on her history.
If you can add to her story or know of any other surviving Maynard boats, please get in touch it would be great to hear from you.
Earlier in the year I traced the whereabouts of another of Halliday's motor yachts, 'Maralia', ex 'Saudades', ex 'Prunella' to the east coast. She was designed in 1927 by Halliday for F. H. Muirhead, an inventor of marine stabilisers, and built the following year by Taylor & Bates, Chertsey. 'Prunella', as she was originally named, was designed as a ketch rigged motor yacht intended to be as capable under sail as power. She was pre-reviewed by the Motor Boat in the 15 April 1927 edition and after launch in the 17 June 1927 edition.
Halliday made a number of minor internal modifications in 1928 and she was re-engined with a 70 b.h.p. Thornycroft engine in 1935. Commenting on her performance in the Motor Boat in May 1935, He noted that "she has proved herself very able during extensive cruising in all conditions of weather around our coasts and her owner appears to be very satisfied."
Externally, 'Maralia' remains largely unchanged from Halliday's original design, the most obvious modification being the addition of a central wheelhouse. She is much loved by her current owner who lives aboard. He acquired her around 2000, at which time she was lying on the River Severn near Worcester and moved her to the east coast by lorry where she has remained since.
I was recently sent two photographs of ‘Seran’ taken in the 1940’s and early 1950’s when she was owned by Geoffrey Wright of Belbroughton and latterly, Broadwas-on-Teme, Worcs. The earlier of the two (below, left) is thought to date from the mid 1940’s not long after she was acquired by Mr. Wright and substantially unchanged from her reconstruction in 1934. She is photographed in Tenby harbour on the Pembrokeshire coast. The gentleman on board is a Mr Jenkins who was a close friend of the Wright’s. The second (below, right) is thought to date from the late 1940’s / early 1950’s and was taken at nearby Saundersfoot harbour. A number of changes including modifications to the wheelhouse, stanchions along the main deck, an additional sixth porthole and fresh paint / varnish suggest this is the later of the two photographs.
With particular thanks to Sarah and Brian of the Belbroughton History Society and Terry, Reg and Gladys for their efforts, which are very much appreciated!
Colin West writes: "I once lived and worked aboard M.V. 'Byeed' in 1985 for several months whilst she was lying in Gibraltar. She was used generally as accommodation and the occasional trip across the straits to Ceuta or Algeciras. Internally she was undergoing a lengthy refit."
'Byeed', ex 'Naromis' was designed by Halliday in 1938 for R. J. Clutton, a member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club and built by J. Powles Ltd., Wroxham. She is a 39 ft. twin screw motor yacht of timber carvel construction.
It's not known how she found her way to Gibraltar and her current whereabouts are unknown although she is believed to still be somewhere in southern Spain, possibly Duquesa on the Costa del Sol.
If you have any further information on her history or whereabouts it would be great to hear from you.