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People & Places [2 of 2] -- One Man's Boats

This page is dedicated to my father, Joseph Jackson Bell, OBE, JP who, without any known precedent in the family, loved boats and the sea.

1. 1937--39....1945--49
Lolette, July 1948 Sandsfield July 1948 Lolette: a ship's lifeboat, purchased and converted by two enthusiastic young men, one of them my father, in 1937. Powered by a "marinised" Ford petrol engine salvaged from a builder's lorry, she was kept in a tidal creek at Sandsfield on the Solway, near Carlisle. When in due course "steam" gave way to sail (see below), she was donated to a local Sea Scouts group who used her on one of the lakes. So solidly was she built, it would be no surprise to find her afloat still.

2. 1950--1955
Ailie II, Loch Long 1954 Loch Long Summer 1954 Ailie II: a little 5 ton Clyde Canoe Club yawl. Pretty as a picture, she was engineless, with a centre-board, and sitting headroom only below. The jib was fitted with a bronze Wykeham-Martin furling gear, and the mizzen sheet led through a block on the elegantly curved bumkin. She was kept at Blairmore on the Clyde, my father at that time having an interest in D. H. Munro & Sons, the boatyard at Gairletter. Present whereabouts unknown.

3. 1956--67
Kaladana, Solent 1956
Solent 1956
Kaladana: a 36" Gauntlet, built by the Berthon Yacht Slip Co., Lymington, in 1936. Another canoe-sterned design, she had earlier been converted from cutter to sloop and had her bowsprit and bumkin removed. She had also acquired a splendid little doghouse, much appreciated by watch-keepers in foul weather. Kept at first at Moody's on the Hamble, in 1958 we took her north to spend the rest of her years in Bell ownership on the West Coast of Scotland, initially based at the old Fife yard at Fairlie (Fairlie Yacht Slip Company). When last heard of she was Danish owned and her home port Odense.

4. 1969--71
Roma of Rhu, Crinan 1968
Crinan Summer 1968
Roma of Rhu: a Buchanan "Saxon", built by R. J. Prior & Sons of Burnham-on-Crouch in 1960, and like her equally pretty sister ship "Mijbil", well-known on the Clyde and West Coast. Easier to handle, and with a much better performance to windward than "Kaladana", she was bought as advancing years and increasing family commitments meant more short-handed sailing. Ill-health, however, forced her sale and a reversion to the convenience of engine power. She is still on the West Coast and as trim and eye-catching as ever.

5. 1971--77
Le Cygne, Kerrera 1975 Horseshoe Bay Kerrera Summer 1975 Le Cygne: a twin-screw, Frederick R. Parker design, built by A. H. Moody & Sons at Swanwick in 1961. 32.5' overall, 11 tons TM and powered by two Perkins 4.99 diesels, she was swanning it at Tewkesbury when bought in 1971. In due course she too was taken north, being kept first at Ardfern on Loch Craignish, and later Ardentraive, by Oban. Sold in 1977. Present whereabouts unknown.

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