• Floray

    Posted on June 18th, 2016 Pete Shepherd No comments

    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.

  • Alan Buchanan Yacht Plans

    Posted on June 18th, 2016 Pete Shepherd No comments

    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.

  • Scow 242 ‘Tofino’

    Posted on November 29th, 2015 Pete Shepherd No comments

    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!

  • Topic Moon (ex Miskin)

    Posted on November 29th, 2015 Pete Shepherd No comments

    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.

  • Pineapple Poll

    Posted on November 27th, 2015 Pete Shepherd No comments

    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.

  • Stebbings, Chapel Road

    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 Pete Shepherd No comments
    Aerial view of Chapel Road site, 1953.

    Aerial view of Chapel Road site, 1953.

    An earlier post of mine showed the details of the sale of land in Chapel Road in 1902. It seems Stebbings were not involved in acquiring any new land at that time, but they did purchase land on Chapel Road in 1919.

    The area of land purchased wasn’t developed all at once, and in 1929 the portion of the site furthest from the river was transferred from being owned by the business to being owned by part of the family for the building of a house. This dwelling was originally named Cupola. It’s still there today but has been renamed Walnut Tree House. Cupola was sold by the family in 1949.

    The photos below are of Crystal’s in various stages of fitting out. I’m not sure if this work was done at the Chapel Road yard, or elsewhere.

  • Plans for new quayside store 1898

    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 Pete Shepherd No comments

    The Essex Record Office hold plans from 1898 for new yacht stores to be built on the quay. The owner of the stores is Mrs Spencer Addison, and William Stebbings is entered as the designer and builder.

    The layout of the plan does suggest a building used for storing goods rather than for building boats. It might have housed the office as well. It is not clear what was on the site prior to these stores being built, but perhaps it was the shed used for building the oyster fishery vessels for Spencer Addison – this is just a guess.

    The photo below seems to show the stores as being between the main Stebbings shed and the Nethercoat’s shed. One can see from the state of the roofing material that this section was constructed at a different period.

    Stebbings, The Quay, Burnham-on-Crouch

    Date uncertain

    Here’s a view of the stores building from another angle, showing the characteristic windows and doors arrangement – just before the whole lot went up in flames.

    fire old stores

  • Grey Friar

    Posted on October 26th, 2015 Pete Shepherd No comments

    Grey Friar was completed by Stebbings in 1925. She was designed by Norman Dallimore and was 26.9 feet over all. She had a beam of 7.9 feet and drew 4’6″.

    The first clue to her beginnings are in the photo of her in construction. The photo had originally been inscribed as “6 ton sloop Golden Plover … building at Coles Yard, Maldon”. However, the photo shows that these details had been altered, to read “Grey Friar Ex [Golden Plover]”, and Coles Yard has been struck out and replaced with “Wm. Stebbings & sons, Burnham”.

    The second clue comes from the Chelmsford Chronicle, 10th August 1923. This records that the stock-in-trade of Cole & sons was to be auctioned off (following bankruptcy), and that the lots included a 6-ton cutter yacht “Golden Plover” that was under construction. Cole and sons had been based at the Shipways yard, Maldon, behind what is now the MarineStore chandlery.

    The evidence seems to suggest that Golden Plover and Grey Friar were the same boat, started at Coles and then purchased by Stebbings at the Coles bankruptcy sale and finished later, presumably in Burnham, with the new name.

  • Roach

    Posted on October 26th, 2015 Pete Shepherd No comments

    Roach was designed by Norman Dallimore and built by Stebbings in 1953. Her design was a re-working of the Burnham Sloop, the first of which was built by Priors. Roach and her sister ship Branklet were both chartered out by Blackwater Yacht Charters of Maldon, as was Souris, who may have been another sister.

    Much more information Roach and her restoration can be found on the Roach’s Adventures blog. (A couple of the photos above have been copied from this site, the other is courtesy of Will at the Norman E. Dallimore Association).

  • Souris

    Posted on October 26th, 2015 Pete Shepherd No comments
    Souris, designed by Norman Dallimore and built by Stebbings.


    Souris was designed by Norman Dallimore and built by Stebbings in 1954. Her design was probably a re-working of the Burnham Sloop, the first of which was built by Priors. As such, Souris may have been a sister ship of Branklet and Roach. She was also owned by Blackwater Yacht Charters, Maldon.

    Her current whereabouts are unknown, but there is a note that she had been laid up ashore at Hollowshore, Oare Creek, off the Swale near Faversham.

    Thanks to Will at the Norman E. Dallimore Association for permission to use the picture above.