Puffin - a 1937 Hillyard sailing yacht

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  • Thought I’d start one of these. Purchased in lockdown, possibly a terrible idea but pretty and sails well. Lots more updates to follow


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  • There’s a book about the boat’s adventures in the 50’s


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  • looks good. all wood?
    the book is a nice extra. illustrations look solid.

  • Sweet ride.

  • Lovely looking boat.

  • All wood hull, deck has been sheathed in fibreglass, cabin has fibreglass patches!

  • The story so far…
    So in the winter lockdown of 20/21 I spent a few months looking after a friend’s narrowboat on the Thames in Oxford. He was out the country with work, unable to return and needed someone to pump the bilges and generally keep an eye on things. This boat was equipped with a wood burning stove and several bookshelves of classic sailing literature. I spent many winters nights in front of the fire, reading authors such as Arthur Ransome and Maurice Griffiths and dreaming of adventures. That coupled with too much time online browsing classic yacht brokerage resulted in the purchase of Puffin. A 1937 Hillyard 4 tonner that had been gradually rebuilt over the last 10 years at the underfall yard in Bristol. Puffin had a rig and sails but no engine and no interior. This appealed to me as s the boats of this size that I had previously viewed were packed with way too much stuff and overcomplicated with things such as toilets, through hull fittings and all the associated problems.


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  • That’s a really lovely boat!

  • Thank you for all the nice comments!
    The next step was an interior. I wanted simple, a couple of bunks, a galley area and a chart table. Knowing this was far beyond my capabilities, I employed a professional.


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  • Looks great - following!

  • After the interior had been fitted it was time for Puffin to move. Not fancying the tides of the Bristol Channel on a boat I’d never sailed, we instead motored up the docks to Bristol marina for a haul out onto a low loader and a trip by road to Port Solent


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  • Lovely. Also following.

  • This looks like so much fun, really interested in following this!

  • makes me miss my times on water (laser, fireball...)

  • I then spent the next couple of months going down at weekends to complete various small jobs before we could go sailing.
    Installing a depth sounder and compass, fitting a solar panel, building a small cupboard to hide the wires in. My diy skills are limited and I’d never mucked about with 12v before so learnt a lot. Also turned out that cutting holes in my lovely boat was deeply traumatic!


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  • Cushions were custom made to fit the bunks, pricey!


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  • Hooks in the forepeak to hang stuff up. Plus the all important paraffin lantern for those Swallows and Amazons vibes.


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  • Eventually, 4 months after purchasing Puffin, it was finally time to go sailing! Having the six week school holidays to play with (I’m a teacher) I’d imagined a lazy cruise down to Cornwall, with surfboards and fishing rods, anchored in secluded bays and swimming in crystal clear water. Unfortunately it got windy. Instead, I cruised the Solent, over to Cowes and up the Medina river, down to Lymington, across to Yarmouth, all the usual spots. I didn’t have a mooring for the summer and instead stayed on mooring buoys and pontoons run by councils and harbour authorities, cheap and cheerful.


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  • Having previously only sailed on other peoples boats and never having been in charge, I made lots of mistakes, ran aground, miss calculated tide and went backwards, had full sail up in 20+ knots, that sort of thing. All good fun! One of the advantages of a small boat is that you can go where the big boats can’t. One of my favourite spots was the upper reaches of the Beaulieu river.


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  • Great thread! Any more interior shots?

  • amazing. thank you.

  • At the end of the season, I managed to secure a cheap winter berth in Emsworth yacht harbour. Puffin stayed in the water throughout the winter and although I had planned to go sailing, I didn’t manage to get out due to the outboard being pinched, work, life etc. Puffin was lifted out a month ago and I have been busy sanding and painting. Got a fair few jobs to do before going back in the water in a couple of weeks time, the plan is to cross the channel during the jubilee week and then spend the summer cruising through the French canals to the Med.


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  • 'cruising through the French canals to the Med.'

    and like that this thread has esculated to dream status

  • legit use for this meme


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Puffin - a 1937 Hillyard sailing yacht

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