Classic Boat

Only sailing yacht in the fleet

olin Messer and brother Stephen are a boatbuilding fraternity with a long and strong association with the little, and for their customers, they’ve restored as many of the fleet as anyone else. When I visited the yard in March, Colin was on hand for a quick tour. Among many other jobs, including work on the wheelhouse of , a hero of D-Day, they have been busy with a serious rebuild on . “She’s pretty special,” says Colin, “as she’s the only one in the little ships fleet that is a sailing yacht (notwithstanding larger, heavier working vessels of sail). She’s like a Thames A Rater with a lid!” The 27ft 6in (8.4m) centreboard sloop was built by Alfred Burgoine in 1911 and took part in the Dunkirk return of 2000, but fell into neglect after that and at one point sank. Boatbuilders Becky and Ben (pictured) have rebuilt the cabin, keel and centreboard case, and nearly everything else, to get her ready to sail on the commemorative voyage.

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