Three Dunkirk Veterans Re-united.

Alusia on the A1
ALUSIA crossing the Scottish border. Picture by Mark Chapman.

November 2009: Dunkirk veterans ANNE, ALUSIA and FOLKESTONE BELLE are together again, 69 years after they went into action in the front line of Operation Dynamo.

Former submariner Kes Travers rescued ALUSIA, a once-grand 1938 Rampart 45, from a potential graveyard on the River Medway. She now rubs shoulders in the Berwickshire restoration shed of The Spirit of Dunkirk group with ANNE, a 30ft motor boat built in 1925 by Frank Curtis at Looe, Cornwall, and FOLKESTONE BELLE, a 50ft oak and mahogany harbour ferry rescued in November 2009 from Portsmouth. The three boats were last seen together in the desperate days of May 1940, when Admiral Ramsay ordered 700 little ships to be steamed, motored or towed across the Channel in the rescue of two trapped and defeated armies apparently doomed to destruction at the hands of the German army.

Winston Churchill hoped that "twenty or thirty thousand men might be re-embarked" and believed it would be his "hard lot to announce the greatest military disaster in our long history". Yet when the last ship pulled away from the beach below the sand dunes at dawn on June 4th, 1940, the little ships and their bigger sisters had rescued 385,000 soldiers from death in Dunkirk or captivity in Germany. Over one hundred thousand of the rescued were French, Belgian and Dutch. The Royal Navy seized ALUSIA, only recently built at Rampart Boat Building Works in Southampton for Mrs Louisa Alexander, and sent the twin screw diesel yacht with a civilian crew under the command of Gunner A.J. Northcott RN to ferry drinking water to soldiers waiting for rescue in the sand dunes of Bray and La Panne. The Alexander family managed to buy her back after the war.

ALUSIA, built for family crusing in 1938, was deployed in 1940 on battlefield rescue under low-level air attack.

ANNE was one of the pleasure boats towed from the Thames to Dunkirk for ferrying men out across the shallows to the bigger ships. She survived the battle and endured a long post-war career, including a fall from a crane in Bristol Docks in 1970 and a 20-year back garden refit in the 1980s. She is powered by the only known operational pair of Ailsa Craig LB4 gravity-fed petrol engines.

Lifting Anne on the River Weaver

Sealand Boat Deliveries deliver to Ramsgate
The Spirit of Dunkirk group bought ANNE as she lay afloat on the River Weaver in Cheshire. She motored under her own power from Acton Bridge to Northwich for lifting and cradling at Weaver Shipyard. After a full winter restoration, they launched her at Ramsgate in time for the May 2010 70th anniversary "return to Dunkirk". Pictures by Sealand Boat Deliveries

Folkeston Belle on the M6 near Wigan
FOLKESTONE BELLE was built in oak and moahogany at Cowes in 1928 and made at least one 19 hour run to the beaches to rescue a hundred soldiers. After the war she served as the Hayling Island ferry and worked for a time as SOUTHSEA BELLE. Maurice Pearce, her owner since 1972, recently presented her to The Spirit of Dunkirk.

Sealand Boat Deliveries packed each of the the boats on a roadworthy 45ft flat trailer so that they can be rolled in and out of the workshop without undergoing the well-known hazards of being lifted inside a building.
CLICK for National Historic Ships Register report on FOLKESTONE BELLE.

Dunkirk 1940 plate
If you can lend your boat-building skills to the restoration of ANNE, ALUSIA and FOLKESTONE BELLE,
or if you want to learn the shipwright's trade on the job with the Spirit of Dunkirk team,
phone Kes Travers on +44 7896598172
or email:

Alusia 2009

CLICK this Mark Chapman picture of ALUSIA on the road for boat transport news from 2008.


Preston Marina, on the Ribble estuary in Lancashire, offers a first class refit yard for big yachts based in the Isle of Man. Here MARICARMEN, a Morgan Out Island 41 ketch, originally from Atlantic Highlands in Raritan Bay, New Jersey, USA, arrives at Preston by road from Padstow in Cornwall. Her 18.9m main mast was unstepped and stowed on deck by a rigger from Sealand Boat Deliveries.


WHITE MOSTRO, a Volvo 70 ocean racer reaches the pier in Galway as centrepiece for the city's rip-roaring welcome on the Irish stopover of the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race. Mostro is Italian for 'monster'.

Shoehorning the white monster's 5m wide hull round Eyre Square in the heart of the mediaeval city was planned by Craig Stanbury at Peters & May in Southampton. Drivers Phil Taylor and Chris Bugler from Transboat Limited hauled the monster from Gosport to Galway Pier in May. Chris Bugler had to negotiate the city centre with WHITE MOSTRO's 32m long mast before she could be rigged and plinthed for the festivities. WHITE MOSTRO later sailed from Galway to Sweden following the next leg of the world's premier yacht race that started in Alicante, visited Cape Town, Kochi, Singapore, Qingdao, Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Gothenburg, Stockholm to finish in St Petersburg.

The vast race logistics job involves dozens of abnormal load movements and worldwide gear transport in over one hundred shipping containers. Shipowners Wallenius Wilhelmsen head the race logistic team, supported by specialists in Peters & May offices on five continents.


They say, 'Pedrazzini runabouts are rare sight. And that's how it should be.'

So when PICO II, a Super Aquamar from the famous workshops on Lake Zürich, came up for sale on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, her superb mahogany hull caught the eye of a connoisseur far away in California. His enthusiasm challenged the 38 years experience of Sealand Boat Deliveries who eventually proposed a complicated move by road and two ferries to Southampton for packing, then ocean transport aboard a round-the-world car-carrying ship to Port Hueneme in California, before another road haul through the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains to Lake Tahoe on the border with Nevada.

Roy Dryer's 37th Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance poster 2009

Within a few weeks of her arrival at the alpine lake, PICO II came third in the international section at the 37th Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance, the premier wooden boat show in North America held on the waterfront at Tahoe City. The 8.6m [28ft 3in] PICO II, built by Pedrazzini in 1975, is powered by twin 520 hp 8-cylinder Mercruiser petrol engines.

CLICK for Concours d'Elegance report.


CLICK this picture for story and pictures.

CAPRELLA, a wartime torpedo recovery boat first rescued in 1946 by the diesel engine pioneer Sir Harry Ricardo, looked doomed to die in 2009.

Experts at the British Military Powerboat Trust feared no-one would come forward to tackle the refit of the fast pinnace. Thieves had robbed her copper and bronze. Her owner, leaving Britain for Australia, offered her free to anyone who could move her away from an old mill yard in the North of England. Only Martin Fisher, from Banff on the Moray Firth in Scotland, answered the call.

Caprella 2004

CLICK this picture for boat transport news from 2008.

To sail is necessary, to survive is not necessary.

Attributed by Plutarch to Gnaeus Pompeius who sent sailors to sea in bad weather to bring grain from Africa to Rome.

Ici on trouve la metéo, des vendeurs de bateaux, les spécialistes du transport bateau et la cyberbourse électronique des transporteurs.

Ein Amerikaner aus Kalifornien war 1997 unser erster Kunde. Er liess seine Yacht in Amerika von Küste zu Küste transportieren. Seit diesem ungewöhnlichen Boottransport, hat unsere Transportbörse hunderte von Yachtbesitizern mit anderen Bootstransporteuren in Verbindung gebracht. Stellen auch sie ihr Transportproblem auf dem BTX board dar. Die Bootstranporteure geben kostenlos Ratschläge und bieten ihnen Preise an.

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Operations Office,
Telephone: 01254 705225 International +44 1254 705225
International fax : +44 1254 776582

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