Monday, 13 April 2009

Launch Day

The picture shown on my profile is one of the first vessel built. She was on her way to the Wash for sea trials from the port of Kings Lynn, Norfolk prior to taking part in a motor yacht rally to France during the summer of 1959. I am adding more as time goes by, some may have been seen by others but I think most have not been. For my Father the launching was a tricky operation. First of all his yacht had been built on the fore court of his workshop roughly half a mile away from the river Nene. Secondly no one was really sure as to how much she really weighed and whether the plan to use the cranes from the nearby port of Wisbech would be man enough to lift her into the river. Thirdly transportation and towing, for this a timber cradle was made with wheels made from one inch steel plate sandwiched between 5inch thick timber cheeks rather like an old fashioned chariot wheel. One thing from the picture that gives me a rye smile is the skinniness of the bilge keels, what effect they would have on reducing roll is to my mind negligible. In the end it was felt prudent to use a cut in the river bank and lower her down as far as possible and let the tide take her off the trailer. Here she is ready for lowering, note her wheelhouse shelter had been removed to lighten her up and the trees in the foreground as the river bank was used by a local timber yard for storage.This picture shows Fleur de Lys for the first time in the water having been watched by hundreds of people from Wisbech. This was an unusual event as I don't think boats had been built in Wisbech before. Launching was a bit touch and go in that the tide did not make prediction and several men were called upon to stand on the aft deck and rock the boat to release her from the trailer much to the amusement of the local townsfolk. In the early days the final fitting out was completed in Kings Lynn docks, why I have never found out as later vessels stayed in Wisbech on the public quay. It was not until 1970/71 that Dagless Ltd put in their own quay on land that housed their slipway. I will publish more on each yacht in the future.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Fleur de Lys News

The first Fleur de Lys yacht was built by my father's company (Dagless Ltd) in 1959 and the last was launched during the summer of 1979. Over the years I have seen many adverts and since the advent of the internet many sightings. Since 2000 I have set out to locate and archive as much information about the boats as possible; help has been given by many people. This is my first attempt at trying to reach a broader public who may have past or present news, photos or just plain gossip, with a view to creating a website sometime in the future.

One of my main aims is to update and correct information already available on the boats, such as name-changes, build-dates, specifications, etc.

I currently have substantial data on many of the boats and would be happy to discuss and share what I have with interested parties.