More People at Stebbings

Here are some pictures of people from Stebbings. If you recognise anyone – or you recognise yourself! – please leave a reply/comment at the bottom of the page, or e-mail me at . Very many thanks.

Picture 11. Photo from the the temporary shop set up after the fire of the shop on the quay 1913. I think the men with the moustaches might be William and Albert Harry Stebbings.

Picture 12. I don’t know who this is.

Picture 13. Unknown group, although the young man front-right appears in other pictures.

Picture 14. Someone working on the fitting out of a Crystal class.

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People at Stebbings

I’ve got a number of photos that include pictures of the people that worked at Stebbings over the years. Many of the images are rather grainy and people’s faces aren’t always clear. I have no idea who the majority of the people are, so if you recognise anyone – or you recognise yourself! – please leave a reply/comment at the bottom of the page, or e-mail me at . Very many thanks.

Picture 1. I think this picture was taken in April 1945. Harry Stebbings is in the back row on the left.

Picture 2. Peter Jowers, I think, with Harry Stebbings, 1943

Picture 3. I think this is Wilf Burton, 1950

Picture 4. Men working in no. 5 shop, Chapel Road

Picture 5. Another view of men working in no. 5 shop, 1950

Picture 6. I think it’s Harry Stebbings on the right.

Picture 7. Final preparations before Festival Vertue is sent on her way to the Festival of Britain 1951.

Picture 8. Betty Warren standing in the foreground.

Picture 9. A Bonito class under construction, I think.

Picture 10. On the right is either William or Albert Harry Stebbings.

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The motor cruiser Warana was designed by Alan Buchanan for Sir Kirby Laing. The client wanted a motor yacht with god sea keeping ability, capable of extended cruising in fairly open water. The accommodation was to consist of a stateroom aft with plenty of hanging space, a lavatory and shower, one single cabin, one double cabin, a large wheelhouse with inside and outside steering positions, a carefully planned and adequate galley, and a two-berth stateroom foreward. Buchanan commented (Yachting World, June 1964),

Of all the motor yachts I have designed in the last few years I must admit that I have really enjoyed producing the design for Warana. She has been built to a first-class specification with an extensive inventory of modern equipment, including radio-telephone and all the other accessories which one comes to expect in a motor yacht these days.

Warana was built in Burnham-on-Crouch by Stebbings and launched from Bradwell-on-Sea in March 1964. She had a LOA of 46 ft, LWL of 40.75 ft, a beam of 12.5 ft, and a draught of 4.25 ft. She had two Parsons Barracuda engines, each producing 86 bhp. She was built with a mizzen and could carry 80 sq.ft. of sail. This could help to dampen the rolling motion of the yacht when at sea, and could also be used, with the boom swung out, as a derrick to recover the tender.

I don’t know the current whereabouts of Warana, but in 2003 she was up for sale in Cyprus. The particulars stated that she’d undergone a conversion by A. Koytsoyiannaki Ltd. of Larnaca, Cyprus. The photos show that the mizzen has been removed and the wheelhouse has been extended aft almost all the way to the stern. This extension is also higher than the original line of the coachroof and has a new flying bridge position on top.

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Flum II

Flum II was designed for Sir John Holder, Baronet, by Laurent Giles and Partners. Required to be a cruising boat, the design drew on ideas from Giles’ previous projects, including Wapipi and Myth of Malham‘s light displacement hull. In Sir John’s own words (Yachting Monthly, November 1953),

I sought a solution to the eternal triangle. A man goes to sea because he likes to sail his on ship. A woman, so often goes to sea only to “get some place” and the quicker the better. Wishing to sail and yet not become a wave-widower, I went to Laurent Giles and Partners for a sports car version of their ocean racers. It must retain the seakindliness and sailing qualities and yet be as fast under power as a motor cruiser we had previously owned. Instead of a large number of berths and crew-lockers required in an ocean-racer, it must have motor cruiser accommodation for four in two compartments, with a separate lavatory between. I was prepared to give way somewhat in the matter of going to windward, in return for which I asked for draught which would allow me to enter shoal harbours, and comfortable headroom below.

The finished boat had a LOA of 36.9 ft, LWL 29.5 ft, beam 9.9 ft, and draught of 4.6 ft. Her sail area was a fairly modest 564 sq. ft.

Built by Stebbings, Flum II suffered disaster when she was launched for the first time. A decision had been made to use the Priors crane. She was raised and swung over the water, when the crane’s lifting cable slipped, causing a sudden jolt. At that moment, the whole crane tore away from its concrete base and the crane’s boom snapped in two and sliced into Flum II, which had dropped into the river.

Wilf Burton, a shipwright who worked at Stebbings, recalls,

I took photos of her launching. When the crane broke off the ground and the boom broke in half, leaving 2-ton top half laying at an angle from the top plank stbd side to one plank above the water line port side. Also there were two 3 inch steel rods still fixed to the crane body now bent over Flum II holding her tight to the quayside like a giant claw.

Fortunately, there were no serious casualties, although a couple shipwrights, who were below decks, had a narrow escape, and a woman had to be treated for a gash to her leg. The boat was towed down river to the Petticrows stage, where the crane boom was lifted from her and the boat hauled out to be returned to the Stebbings yard.

Laurent Giles came to inspect the damage, and the owner instructed Stebbings to carry out the repairs. Flum II was then relaunched from the slip at Creeksea.

Thank you to Wilf Burton for sharing his memories of Flum II, and to Peter Pearson for other details of the fateful first launch.

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Motor cruiser Sonbar was built by Stebbings in 1947 to a design by J.H. Hardman. LOA is 33.6′; beam is 10.2′; and draft is 3′. She still has her original twin Ford Parsons D80 4-cylinder diesels. Stebbings built a number of cruisers to this design in the years after WW2.

Sonbar has been laid up afloat on the River Medway, but has been sold recently.

The 1968 Llloyd’s Register of Yachts listed the owner as Mr Rose of Poole and the home port as Kingston-upon-Thames. The photos above are from Wooden Ships brokerage, Dartmouth.

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Originally named Pelagos, Floray was designed by Alan Buchanan, and her measurements suggest she’s an example of Buchanan’s Bonito class, although I’m not certain of this. She was built in 1963 and was raced by Ted Dallimore for a time. The Bonito class had GRP hulls built by Seamaster and were fitted out by the Stebbings shipwrights.

Floray currently sails out of Tollesbury. The photo of Floray ashore is by Bill Serjeant.

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Alan Buchanan Yacht Plans

Following the death of Alan Buchanan, his collection of yacht plans and drawings have been passed to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall for entry into their archive. The update below describes progress as of April 2016,

Rolls of plans are being sorted and racked by Dwg Nos There are more than 1400 sets of drawings to be identified and catalogued. To date more than 90% have been identified and racked. Many of the rolls of plans were badly damaged when in store before being received. Four large rolls containg 90 Lines plans have been found and catalogued details will be published shortly Enquiries can be accepted and copies of specifications for individual designs can be traced.

So if anyone is interested in obtaining plans for a Buchanan designed yacht, I suggest contacting the staff at the NMMC Bartlett Library.

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Scow 242 ‘Tofino’

Tofino is a Burnham scow probably built by Bill Stebbings in 1954 – sail number 242. Previously based in Newport, Isle of Wight, she was sold on e-Bay in Summer 2015 for just under £900. Worth keeping an eye on e-Bay!

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Topic Moon (ex Miskin)

Miskin was an Alan Buchanan Albatross class ketch built by Stebbings in 1961. She was later renamed Tropic Moon, and was owned between 1978 and 1992 by Jean and Ed Baardsen, Michigan, USA, and cruised extensively. For the 17 years prior to that she had been used as a charter boat, sailing out of Antigua.

Her steel hull was made in Raamsdonkveer, the Netherlands by Tak Bros. She was 42′ long over all and had a beam of 11’9″. I’m not sure of her current whereabouts.

Photos credits are to Jean Baardsen.

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Pineapple Poll

Pineapple Poll was a Buchanan designed Bonito class yacht, built in 1961. Indeed she was the first Bonito, with a wooden hull built by French Bros. of Battlesbridge, and then finished by Stebbings. The hull was used as the plug in the construction of the mould for the later fibreglass hulls built by Seamaster Ltd, Dunmow.

Sadly, Pineapple Poll was destroyed in a fire in 1969/70 whilst laid up in a shed at North Fambridge. The photo above shows the remains after the fire, with the stem, bow roller and keel clearly visible. Afterwards the stem was buried in a nearby ditch. At that time she was owned by Dr Alan Eley of North Fambridge.

Many thanks to Ken Layzell for the fire aftermath photos.

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