River Ant
 Postcards from the Norfolk Broads.net 
       The River Ant
Turf Fen Mill

                                                                                                                        Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd
A well known picture of two Truman yachts just below Ludham Bridge in the early 1960’s.

Like the ‘Cresta’ fleet
(See Martham - River Thurne) but on a smaller scale, A. D. Truman Ltd. of Oulton Broad built distinctively designed and elegant yachts, unique to their own yard. Like the Crestas they had a deck mounted mast lowered by winch and fixed cabin tops but their hull form was more in keeping with the generic Broads yachts.

In the fore ground of our picture is W971 ‘Ecstasy’ a two berth yacht of just over 23ft. Passing astern is her yard sister S225 ‘Calypso’ which was probably a unique class of Broads yacht in that they had a centre cockpit and a snug aft cabin containing two more berths. This was achieved with only an extra three feet in hull length. In both classes the Galley and Heads were situated just inside the main cabin where head room was best and a double settee berth was pulled out from under the foredeck.

There were three classes of Trueman 2 berth yachts: Ecstasy, Odyssey and Fantasia.  Although they were all of similar appearance there were subtle differences: The Ecstasy class were more powerfully rigged to attract the more experienced yachtsmen. Odysseys, slightly less so, for easier handling and the Fantasias were nearly two foot longer than their sisters to afford more salubrious accommodation.

Downstream of Ecstasy is a Vesta class four berth from E.C. Landamore of Wroxham. Their burgee can be clearly seen above the fore cabin, indicating the picture pre-dates the sell off of their hire fleet.


                                                                               © Blakes Holiday Boating 1975

                                                                                                                 ©  Hoseasons  Holidays  Ltd 1976

                                                                               Postcard by ‘Coastal Cards’ of Holland-on-Sea                                                

Looking back toward Ludham Bridge. Thought to be in the early 1960’s. This bridge was built around this time to replace an earlier example built in the 1930’s. The older bridge itself replaced the1915 bridge built after the previous, 19th century, single arched bridge which caused difficulty for some craft (passing through the narrow arch) and had held the waters back in times of serious flooding, particularly those in 1912, worsening the problems upstream. 

The cruiser just leaving the bridge is believed to be S190 ‘Lady Rowena’ a 36ft, 6 Berth from Rowan Craft of Geldeston, on the River Waveney above Beccles.

                                                                                                                                                                                Middletons Ltd. Gt. Yarmouth
This interesting card shows the previous girder bridge built in the 1930's. I would think it is pictured here in the early 1950’s and, perhaps a little surprisingly, it has been possible to identify some of the boats.

The Moores’ Clanmore class cruiser travelling downstream is thought to be B641 ‘Whimbrel’ on hire from J. Stanley Starksfield's 'Wayford Bridge Yacht Station' and by the time I visited, in1970, it was known as Wayford Marina (which was part of the Windboats group) but Whimbrel remained in their fleets; albeit after a name change to that of ‘Apollo’. I was also very pleasantly surprised to note that the larger cruiser to be seen through the bridge is another Moores’ craft: the uniquely styled ‘Braemore’ on hire from Moores themselves and, which is, described in the Oulton Broad section on the River Waveney page of this website.

The small ‘flush decked’ cruiser in the foreground could not be identified with any confidence. The flimsy looking awning struts and raising cabin roof is typical of the earliest hire cruisers which began to appear in the 1920's.

The awning would be stretched over the frames and attached to the raised cabin roof to give a pitched roof effect; allowing the run off of any rain. A similar craft (local to the River Ant) was of similar appearance and displayed these features. She was ‘Doreen’ a 27ft, 4 Berth on hire from Southgate Bros. at Stalham. ‘Doreen’ appears in the 1935 Blake’s brochure but had disappeared by 1939. Since ‘Whimbrel’ wasn’t built until after World War Two we can only ponder this little cruiser’s provenance, for now.

                                                                     © Blakes Holiday Boating 1935

How Hill

                                                                                          Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd
How Hill Reach, the River Ant, heading upstream, on a calm day in or around 1970.

The large cabin cruiser which appears to be making a correct overtaking manoeuvre is A448 ‘Courier 2’ a 33ft, 6 Berth from the ‘Norfolk Broads Yachting Company’ at Wroxham. She is passing ‘Wood Rose’ one of the famous fleet from Percy Hunter & Sons’ yard at Womack Water, Ludham. As best can be told, the two yachts in the distance also appear to be of the ‘Wood’ class.

                                                                                                Not attributed but assumed to be © Jarrold & Sons Ltd

I bought this second postcard out of interest in the fact that it was obviously photographed within a minute or two of the previous example. ‘Courier 2’ has overtaken ‘Wood Rose?’ and is about to pass astern of her class sister, further upstream near the [then] derelict Turf Fen Mill. My observation that it was a calm day is born out by the fact that the lead yacht is now quanting. However, sight of this postcard proves that I was mistaken in my initial identification of the nearest yacht!

In fact this is the first of Hunter’s “Wood” class, “Woodruff”. She was built in 1932 and is of some added interest. I am grateful to Richard Johnstone-Bryden’s 2004 work “Hunter’s Fleet” for the following facts, about this yacht, in my words:

When Percy Hunter was establishing his fleet in the early 1930’s he engaged Alfred Pegg to build ‘Woodruff’ at his Wroxham yard. Her internal layout differed slightly to the others of her class and she had the distinction of being the only Hunter boat to feature the brass portholes which are clearly seen in this picture. During the days of the Norfolk County Sailing Base, In 1973, Woodruff suffered the fate of a few other craft on the Broads. That is Calor Gas leaked from its container and filled her bilges with gas. Vaporised Calor Gas is heavier than air and will remain in a boat’s bilges without dispersing!

When the hirer lit a match to start the stove and make breakfast, there was an explosion that caused serious structural damage to the yacht. It was fortunate that this accident took place at the yard, that nobody was seriously hurt and the yacht also survived! All too often these incidents result in fire and complete destruction. 'Woodruff' was written off by the insurers and disposed of by the yard. She was subsequently rebuilt, at Acle, and survives in private ownership to this day.

Percy Hunter was a well known character who had been manager of Applegate’s yard in Potter Heigham before establishing his own yard, from scratch, with the help of his sons, Cyril and Stanley, in the 1930’s. It was common knowledge that he disliked motor boats (which he allegedly referred to as “stink boats”) and this was partly the reason that the yard famously carried the riverside advertisement “No Petrol Here”! Despite this, Percy was persuaded (by Blakes) to include a cabin cruiser ‘Saskia’ in his fleet during the 1960’s but  the craft was only available to hire on a Wednesday to Wednesday basis so that it did not have to appear in the dyke at the same time as the yachts.

                                                                                       © Blakes Holiday Boating 1965

Hunter Yachts were all ‘gaff’ rigged with boomed, self-tacking jibs and were carvel built in varnished mahogany. They came in three class sizes. The fast and popular ‘Hustler’ class of five 24ft two berths. The ‘Wood’ class, also around 24ft but with berths for three and a slightly less powerful rig. Finally there was the ‘Lustre’ class at just under 29ft and with berths for a crew of four. A new yacht of this class ‘Lucent’ was built recently and joined the fleet in 2007.

Hunter’s Yard was chosen as the boatyard location for the 1983 BBC Children’s series “Swallows and Amazons For Ever” probably because of the lack of modern intrusions as the ‘Coot Club’ and ‘Big Six’ stories were set in the 1930’s. The Lustre class yacht ‘Lullaby’ had a starring role as ‘Teasel’, the yacht featured in Arthur Ransome’s books. The Coot Club’s arch enemies: the Hullabaloos cruised in ‘Margoletta’ and she was played by ‘Janca’ a cruiser that was built as B677 ‘Craigmore’ by R. Moore & Sons around 1938. 

                                                                                                                                            ‘Craigmore’  © R. Moore & Sons 1959


                   Hunter’s Yard, Womack Water 2004                                                                                                                     © Brian Kermode

Percy Hunter died in early 1964 and a few years later the yard was bought by Norfolk County Council and became known as the Norfolk County Sailing Base which made sailing holidays available to the school children of Norfolk at a much reduced cost. The yachts were still available for hire by the public, when not required for schools’ use.
In 1995 the County Council was looking to make cost savings and decided to sell off the Sailing Base. With help from donations and the national lottery fund a management buy out was achieved in1996 and the yard has been preserved as a charitable trust, to be known as The Norfolk Heritage Trust. The yard’s future now seems much more secure and, to this day, Percy’s yachts have been preserved as he liked them and are not fitted with engines, although the original primus stoves and oil lamps have been replaced with more modern equipment.

                                                                                                                                               © Blakes Holiday Boating 1939

The above is a page from the 1939 Blakes brochure which shows the cost of hiring these yachts in the high season as Ten Guineas. Adjusted for inflation alone, the equivalent today would be £514, a little less than the actual cost in 2008 of £612. Hustlers and Woods were a little cheaper at a maximum of £7:10:0d per week. These yachts are renowned for the quality of their maintenance and must certainly be amongst the oldest craft still in hire today.


                                                                                                           Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

Gosh, do you remember those ubiquitous wicker fishing box seats? Anglers today pay hundreds of pounds for the modern equivalent but at least those can happily take the weight of your larger modern fishermen. Hmm: I’m not thinking of anybody in particular you understand?

The little village of Irstead is a well known beauty spot beside the River Ant, just downstream of Barton Broad, but the main reason I have included this card, which looks away from the pretty holiday homes, is to show my best picture of this particular yacht. She is of a class which doesn’t appear in too many postcard views. This is one of the three ‘Fair Lady’ yachts from Herbert Woods & Co, at Potter Heigham. (Please also see “Mystery Challenge” on the River Thurne page) ‘Fair Ladies’ were 28’ three berth, Bermudan rigged yachts with the advantage of a 4hp Stuart -Turner auxiliary engine. Like the larger Woods’ yachts they also enjoyed the luxury of a full length raising roof section (with built in, opening side windows) for good headroom whist on your moorings. The three yachts were built in 1961 -1963 and were an updated version of the traditional Broads yachts that had previously been built at Potter Heigham in the 1930’s, late 1940’s and early 1950’s. In fact it may be argued that they were the last new yachts built at Herbert Woods Ltd; along traditional lines? Although of course the Woods company did build the ‘Proud Lady’ class in the 1970s but those yachts had fixed cabin top and roof mounted masts; in a similar way to the Martham Ferry ‘Cresta’ yachts.

                                                         © Blakes Holiday Boating                                            © Blakes Holiday Boating 1975


Later still, from 1997, after the firm became part of the Funnell group, Four new elegant and traditional looking yachts were built using ‘composite construction’ i.e. The counter sterned hulls were moulded from GRP (Glass Fibre) and the cabin superstructure etc. was built from hard wood in the time honoured way. The yachts had Gaff rigs and traditional counterweighted masts but they disappeared from the hire fleet after Len Funnell sold this business around eight years later. This is not really my era but it seems to me that, through the firms he was associated with, Mr Funnell went some way to restoring the high standards of pride in design, boat presentation and maintenance that only a few family firms have managed to preserve in these modern times.

                                                                                     © Blakes Holiday Boating 2002                                                              

                                                                                                                           An ‘Ernest Joyce’ of Norwich postcard

Having reached Barton Broad, after passing Irstead, you may turn to the left and enter Limekiln Dyke which, from my one visit; I remember as being long, narrow and encroached by overhanging trees on both sides. At the head of the dyke is the staithe and village of Neatishead. I haven’t found too many cards depicting this location. I suppose it’s a little off the beaten track really, but I liked the mix of wooden boats in this one. I would say that this card has been pictured around 1960 and the yacht is an example of the ‘Twilight’ class, still flying her Herbert Woods pennant. There are more details about ‘Twilight’ on the River Bure page.

Lying astern of ‘Twilight’ is one of Ralph Moore’s lovely mahogany built ‘Bairnmore’ class of three berth, centre cockpit, cruisers. Apart from the (initial) five craft  in their own hire-fleet, Moore’s also built a few of these boats for other yards but, given the lack of insignia, I would say that this is one of their home fleet. That is because R. Moore & Sons were not affiliated to the Blakes or Hoseasons agencies until a change of management in the late 1970’s. Regrettably, despite admiring their immaculate boats, my family never quite got around to booking a holiday with Moore’s but we did (unintentionally) end up having a cruise in one of the Redline, four berth, versions of this class built by Moore’s. Anecdotal details of that slightly less than perfect cruise can be found on the River Waveney page at Beccles Quay.  

                                                                                                                                      © R.Moore & Sons 1961                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Finally we have another cabin cruiser, in varnish, dead ahead on the right hand bank. This is clearly a Wind Boat: one of Graham Bunn’s post war ‘restoration’ fleet. Restoration in the sense that, after World War II (throughout the Broads) many hire craft had to be rebuilt and it was a time when new owners were replacing those that had retired or passed away during the War years. In the late 1940’s and particularly the 1950’s many new boats were built. Most were built to new designs but, in some cases, even to old ones; to save time I suppose?

Graham Bunn’s new ‘post war’ cabin cruisers had a very distinctive style that is instantly recognisable but a little care is required to distinguish the individual classes. The first to appear, in time for the 1947 season, were the 32’ class ‘West Wind’ and 39’6” class ‘Fair Wind’. Soon they were followed by the 39’6” ‘Fine Winds’ in 1948 and shortly after by the 34’ ‘Merry Wind’ class.  It is this latter class that, I believe, we see here although it is not possible to rule out the possibility that she could be of the ’Fine Wind’ class?  The original Fine Wind and Fair Wind had survived the War but were sold on to make room for the new boats.  

Six of the ‘Merry Wind’ class were built in the 1950’s although a couple appear to have been de-listed around the time that Graham Bunn retired. The yard’s new owner also bought the Wayford Marina and a few of the Wroxham boats were relocated there. In the tradition of that yard the boats were given Bird names (e.g. ‘Whinchat’ an ex. West Wind 32’). At this time most of the older boats were taken up by Jenner’s and subsequently the Caister Group. Eventually the remnants of the Windboats hire fleet were all located at Wayford whilst the Wroxham base was busy constructing the new ‘Seacrete’ boats which had hulls that were built using a Ferro-cement type system and which were sold to various other firms and individuals. ‘Concorde’ below is an example of the latter, Ultra modern but a far cry from the beautifully constructed Mahogany and Teak craft built by Graham Bunn & Co. over the years. In any event Ferro-cement was soon replaced by the use of GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) otherwise known as Glass Fibre; or ‘Tupperware’ in some circles!

It all reminds me a bit of the later Betamax v. V.H.S. conflict?

                                                   © Blakes Holiday Boating 1965                                                    © Blakes Holiday Boating 1973

  Barton Broad to Stalham

                                                                                                                                      © Brian Kermode 2004

Leaving Barton Broad to rejoin the River Ant and on to Stalham.

In the foreground is a Falmouth Bass Boat of the Nancy Oldfield Trust, a charity based in this area and set up to provide adventure holidays and activities for the physically and socially disadvantaged.

                                                                                                                        Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd  
This is Stalham Dyke the branch off the River Ant above Barton Broad, pictured around 1959. The precise location appears to be near the entrance to [what is now] the old basin belonging to R. Richardson’s (Pleasure Craft) Ltd. looking along the dyke towards Stalham Staithe and what is today the yard of Moonfleet Marine. 

The larger cabin cruiser here is W55 the 32ft, 5 Berth, ‘Crusader 2’ which is recognisably in the style of Richardson’s earlier wooden builds. Crusader was of a class built at their original yard at Oulton Broad before Richardson’s expansion lead to their removal to larger premises, in Stalham, around 1957. In earlier days there is evidence of an A. Richardson (Boatbuilder) at Stalham and it may be speculated that there was some family link? 

Moored alongside is A394 ‘Vestina 1’ a 24ft, Aft cockpit, 2 Berth from E. C. Landamore and Co. at Wroxham.
Landamores sold off their hire fleet in1967 and Vestina found her way into the Herbert Woods ‘group’ fleet until the early 1970’s when she was refurbished by Sabena Marine at Wroxham and re-named ‘Vesteen’ in their company’s style.

                                                                                                              © Blakes Holiday Boating 1975
On the far bank, between these cruisers, can be seen: ‘Moorhen’ another 2 berth; this time from the yard of R. Moore and Sons a near neighbour of Landamores and another yard of high reputation as a builder and hirer of very well presented craft. It is a beautifully preserved example of the Moorhen class (now named 'Teroy') that we see passing 'Turf Fen Mill' near How Hill, on the Home page of this web-site.

                                                                                                                          Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©
Stalham Dyke again. A similar view point to the previous card. The camera is just a little further back and this picture was probably taken about ten years later, around 1970.

Making her way towards the Staithe is A283, ‘Dijack’ a ‘Fairwind’ class cruiser, built in the early 1950’s at Graham Bunn’s ‘Windboats’ yard in Wroxham, for a private owner. ‘Dijack’ was 39ft 6in. and had berths for six people. She can be distinguished from hire craft by her flag staff, with cross trees, on the fore cabin; a feature commonly adopted by private owners of the era. I have often wondered whether she is being pushed by the launch in this picture, perhaps with the lady relaying instructions between the two helmsman?

Towards the end of the 1970’s, Dijack was purchased for the [Phoenix] hire fleet of Mick Richardson & Sons at Potter Heigham and her name was changed to ‘Fanfare’.

                                                                                                                            ©  Hoseasons  Holidays  Ltd 1969
Nearest the camera is ‘Sparkle’ a 31ft, 4 Berth from George Smith & Sons (Yacht Owners) Ltd of Wroxham. She is of the ‘Emiline’ class built by Porter & Haylett, also at Wroxham.
                                                                                                             Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

An atmospheric pair of pictures showing Stalham Dyke in the early 1950’s. Above we can see Bert Banham’s ‘Monarch’ in her early trim. There is more to be found about this boat and her yard sisters on the: Lower River Bure, Extras and Early Days pages. In the picture below: That’s probably Monarch on the right too but I include the second picture for no boaty reason - I just like it! I have been a fisherman for most of my life and it was always a precious part of my Broadland holidays, as it is for many others; so I always enjoy cards with anglers.

Is it just me or does that gentleman look a bit like Howard from Last of the Summer Wine? I think that would be appropriate…. hang on, is that Marina’s bike in the bushes??

                                                                                                                     Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

The  two yachts sharing a mooring, in the first picture, are believed to be of the ‘Wanderbird’ class from the Hoveton yard of Jack Powles Ltd. The five strong Wanderbird class appeared around 1953 -1954 and were the auxiliary version of the prewar 'Freeway' class. So would have been quite newly refurbished when this picture was taken. They were 23ft, Three berth, Gaff Sloops and had the typical little 1½ horse power Stuart-Turner engine under the starboard locker of the well. The yachts were described as suitable for the yachtsman with "some experience" and I infer that this meant they had quite decent performance under sail. In any event they remained in the hire fleet until around 1970 when yachting holidays were becoming less popular in general and when the introduction of an new ultra modern fleet of Powles’ cabin cruisers took place.

                                                                                                            © Blakes Holiday Boating 1962

Leaving Stalham Dyke we turn upstream into the River Ant, proper, and within around a mile and a half we reach what is, for many, the head of navigation at Wayford Bridge.

                                                                                                                                                     Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

On our way upstream we pass the very pretty Hunsett Mill. If Thurne Mill is not the most photographed mill on the broads then this one probably is? This will have been partly due to the fact that for many years the gardens were maintained in excellent and highly colourful order. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this is one of the quieter parts of the Broads where not so many visitors venture, missing this lovely sight.

Maybe this picture was taken from a mooring because the approaching cabin cruiser appears to be deviating to the wrong side of the river in order to pass. She is 'Burante' a very recognisable two berth cruiser of 22ft. from Belaugh Boats near Wroxham.

A little further upstream we come to: Wayford Bridge

                                                                                                                    Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

A peaceful afternoon, in the 1960's, looking downstream from the bridge at
Wayford. In the foreground are two cruisers from R. Moore & Sons of Wroxham; nearest the camera a 'Moorhen' 2 Berth and a 'Babemore' 3 Berth. I cannot really make out the third cruiser with any degree of confidence.  On the opposite bank is a, Porter & Haylett,  'Kimiline' class. In the middle distance are a Graham Bunn 'Finewind' type (possibly on hire from this yard at the time) and an unidentified Herbert Woods “Light” cruiser. All of the above being classes discussed elsewhere on this site. I have included the picture for its bright atmosphere and a couple of points of interest.

The cruisers in the middle of the picture are moored at Wayford Marina, which had previously been known as Wayford Bridge Yacht Station and was, earlier, the yard of William Hewitt. Please see below for more on this business. During these incarnations several of the original boats had survived the changes of ownership at this location but today's picture was taken at a slightly later period in time; when the site was part of the Windboats group at Wroxham. 

I am confident of this because of the presence of the Houseboats which can be seen in the distance. Like a few other examples: they look rather like a trailer caravan parked on a float but these “Flat-afloat” craft were built by Windboats for hire as houseboats or for sale to private owners and could be moved under their own power. They had a twin hulled underwater profile and were generally powered by an outboard motor which could be remotely controlled from the forward deck.

Here is the Windboats advertisement from the 1966 edition of The Broads Book:

                                                                                                                    Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

                                                                                                                      Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

I couldn’t resist this one because the anonymous looking yacht, receiving a little maintenance, is instantly recognisable [to me] as ‘Willow Wren’ the yacht in which I enjoyed both my first “sailing” holiday and my 21st birthday; in 1970. Unmistakable, in part,  because of her under-raked transom which was, I think, unique amongst generic Broads yachts? I hired Willow Wren (another name for the summer visiting Willow Warbler) from the nearby Wayford Marina but this picture appears to show the river and the house boats upstream of Wayford Bridge. She was Gunter Rigged with roller reefing and had her mainsail luff attached to the mast with brass sliders which ran in a track on the mast. I clearly recall this because on the first occasion I lowered the mast I forgot the clear and emphatic instruction to first detach the gooseneck. The consequence of this was a detached mast track and a trip back to the boatyard for repairs, luckily we hadn’t got too far!
She was a 20ft, two berth with Gunter rig and a little 1½ horse power Stuart-Turner, under the cockpit seat; which had to be started manually with a handle. I think this postcard must have been pictured a year or two after my holiday as her coaming and cabin sides were unpainted at that time - always assuming the colour wasn’t added at the printers! Willow Wren did disappear from the hire fleet shortly after 1970 so I am reassured to see her here, in good order. Please see my account of our arrival at Thurne Dyke, on the next page!

Downstream, in this shot, we also have ‘Wren’ a 20ft cruiser from Pye Marine at Oulton Broad and one of Richardson’s ‘Swiftway’ class of 36ft, five berths from nearby Stalham.

I was recently delighted to hear from Roderick Starksfield whose father (J. Stanley Starksfield) was the proprietor of Wayford Bridge Yacht Station. As always, input from the people involved is extremely helpful and Roderick was able to provide me with more information and has even, recently, been able to establish that both of the Willow Wren class are still around today.
In fact: Willow Wren 2 is currently undergoing a refit at her Wayford Bridge birth place.

                                                                                          ©  Roderick Starksfield 2010                                                             © Blakes Holiday Boating 1965                                                                                                                              

Roderick has helped to clarify some of the yard's history for me, which was in some small part confused by impressions gained from reference to the Holidays Afloat brochures. Roderick has written his own account of his years at his father’s boatyard; intended for private publication. It is full of information about the boats, the art of boat building and amusing anecdotes about the day to day incidents at the yard. I feel very privileged to have been allowed to share a copy of his draft.

The yard at Wayford Bridge was founded by William Hewitt who was a retired Wherry Skipper, an occupation he professed to have been engaged in from the age of twelve; which would not be unprecedented in the 19th century. The business was purchased by Stanley Starksfield A.M.I.N.A, a Marine Architect, in around 1946/7. At that time the fleet consisted of five yachts, a Houseboat conversion ‘Sweet Repose’ and a half decker ‘Merry Thought’. 

                                                                                                                                          © Blakes Holiday Boating 1959                                               
Stanley Starksfield improved the premises and created his own, Willow Wren, design for a generic Broads yacht to increase the fleet. Two of these yachts were built at the yard in 1947 and 1950 with a very young Roderick Starksfield helping the men to steam the planks and clench the roves onto her copper nails. Although described as generic, the yachts had a distinctive appearance given by their over hung transom and the convex-curved stem that made them easily distinguishable; even today, sixty years later. The Willow Wrens had excellent sailing qualities and balance and Roderick has been kind enough to provide me with his father’s original sail plan drawing; which is fascinating to see:

                                                                                                                                           © Roderick Starksfield 2010

By 1950 the first motor cruiser was added to the fleet and soon after the yard’s name was changed to’ Wayford Bridge Yacht Station’. The motor cruiser was ‘Whimbrel’ a state of the art  R. Moore & Sons ‘Clanmore’ class cruiser which was to remain at this yard for many years. In the early 1960’s Stanley sold the yard and there was a further name change, for the business to: Wayford Marina (which was part of the ‘Windboats’ firm from Wroxham) and for Whimbrel who became’ Apollo’. 

                                                                                            Moore's 'Clanmore' Class similar to 'Whimbrel'

'Willow Wren 2' awaiting a new lease of life at Wayford Bridge today.      © Roderick Starksfield 2010


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