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Designed by HS Rouse and built out of teak at the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company Yard in 1933, TAI-MO-SHAN’s story is incredible – massively built for the 5 Royal Naval Officers to sail around the world on their grand tour; which, more recently, was revealed as part espionage, on the behalf of the Admiralty.
Enjoying the same ownership for over 40 years, TAI-MO-SHAN is wonderfully original, partly due to her immense and high quality build – both on deck and below there are reminders of that pre-war Utopia of white cotton, sunshine and yacht club parties!
TAI-MO-SHAN has impressive wide teak laid decks, high teak toe-rails creating a bulwark and her decks are largely uncluttered. Only five deck hatches, anchor windlass, a massive Sampson post and trunk cabin interrupt, making movement very easy. The cockpit is protected by the original teak dodger; specified by the first owners for their world voyage, probably very effective …. and a beautiful touch!
The original compass binnacle is mounted behind the dodger with more modern additions of speed/depth/log group and a Garmin GPS and engine instrumentation. There are thick teak coamings that enclose the cockpit and cockpit seating; there is a teak grating on the cockpit sole. The yacht is wheel steered and the wheel is attached to through the aft cockpit bulkhead. The primary and secondary sheet winches are mounted on stainless outboard of the cockpit port and starboard.
There is a hatch for the lazarette on the aft deck – this gives excellent access to the vessel’s steering gear, fuel tanks and has massive storage space.
The mizzen is sheeted on the aft deck, behind the cockpit, with sheet blocks mounted on teak with the base of the bumpkin butted against it.
Between the cockpit and trunk cabin is the mizzen mast and mainsheet and traveller for the main mast. There are Highfield levers for the main mast running backstays outboard of this area.
There are original bronze cleats port and starboard, with bronze fairleads both at the stern and on the bow forward of the main mast, the foredeck on TAI-MO-SHAN is of a size to allow for entertaining and can seat four director’s chairs and a teak table, when at anchor.
Teak hull, camphor and ipol frames, one-piece camphor stem, yacal sternpost, teak keelson. Teak decks. Hull painted soft white with terracotta-coloured trim in 2004.
9 Berths in 3 cabins.
Cabin soles are teak, deckheads are painted white and bulkheads are a mixture of mahogany joinery and some painted. The interior upholstery is in Turkish tapestry fabric in a tasteful paisley pattern. The main companionway is made up of a large sliding hatch on the starboard side trunk cabin roof. A 3 step ladder takes you, by way of a substantial engine box to the main accommodation.
Aft is the owner’s cabin, made up of a double berth to starboard and single to port. There is a book shelf to port and much storage under both berths. The base of the mizzen mast passes through the cabin in front of the aft bulkhead, and there are vast storage lockers behind it. There are 2 hatches in the deckhead for ventilation, x 2 reading lights and a cabin light.
Moving forward in the boat is a very deep hanging locker to port, engine box to starboard. Also opposite the engine box is main heads and shower with Jabsco manual heads, basin, vanity mirror and 2 large storage lockers.
Entering the main saloon which is very light as a result of 8 windows and 3 deck hatches in the trunk cabin above. The high top sides on
TAI-MO-SHAN give this cabin huge volume and very impressive headroom for a classic yacht. The saloon cabin joinery is impressive with large chart table to starboard with excellent chart storage. There is a clock and barometer. To port is a drinks cabinet and fridge hidden below, again with mahogany door. There are settee berths port and starboard and, a large double leaf saloon table, offset to starboard – seating for 8. There are built-in book cases on either side of the main saloon above the settee berths; above these pilot berths. There are reading lights and cabin lights.
The galley is located forward of the main saloon. To port is a Plastimo Neptune 200 gas stove and oven with grey marble work surfaces and storage. The base of the main mast interrupts this area – with expansive marble work surfaces, a large sink and much storage. This area is well ventilated by 2 deck hatches in the deckhead.
The forward cabin in the bow has a further 2 single berths, a heads compartment with a Jabsco manual toilet and wash basin. The main foredeck hatch is located in the deckhead; there is sail storage to starboard and the sheets are stored to port.
In 1932, in a Hong Kong that still dressed for dinner, 5 British naval officers approached the yacht designer HS Rouse and commissioned a 54ft ocean racing ketch – their intention to sail the 16,000 miles back to Britain.
Lt Cdr Martyn Sherwood’s 1935 book ‘The Voyage of the Tai-Mo-Shan’ tells a story of a voyage of exploration and high adventure from Hong Kong to Dartmouth the "wrong-way round the world" with no engine or heads. The 5 adventurous submariners financed the building of the 54ft ocean racer in the Kowloon yard of the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co Ltd – the yacht was named TAI-MO-SHAN after Hong Kong’s highest mountain.
Lt Ryder supervised her construction; teak hull, camphor wood and ipol frames and a massive 7 tonne lead keel – when boat builder Leo Aston surveyed the yacht he described her as about twice Lloyd’s specification; she weighed 23.5 tons and he said he had never seen such a tremendous construction.
The officers asked permission to sail home to England by an unorthodox route, against the prevailing winds, via Japan, the Kuriles, the Bering Sea, the Aleutians, California, Panama and the West Indies – on their return to Britain after a year at sea they received a congratulatory telegram from George V.
It is only more recently that documents in the papers of Robert Ryder VC have revealed that the 16,217 mile 1933 Voyage of Tai-Mo-Shan involved espionage in Japanese waters – in fact a search for advance UK/US submarine bases for attacks on the Japanese Navy. It was 8 years later that in the sparsely populated Kuriles, shrouded in fog and rain for 6 out of every 7 days, that Japan's Admiral Yamamoto chose as the hiding place for its aircraft before the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour.
During the war, it was almost as if the crew worked to repay their nation and Navy for the ‘grand tour’ that they had previously been granted: between them they won 4 Distinguished Service Orders, a Croix de Guerre and a Victoria Cross.
TAI-MO-SHAN, was sold to the Royal Navy Sailing Association for exactly what she had cost, to the nearest penny – she raced under their burgee for the next 30 years.
In 1964, TAI-MO-SHAN was bought by oil pipeline engineer, Ian Bowler CBE, having read ‘Voyage of Tai-Mo-Shan’ he was impressed by her exceptionally heavy build and transformed the yacht’s interior to befit a gentleman’s cruising yacht.
TAI-MO-SHAN is still largely original thanks to her heavy build, and now at 87, Ian Bowler, leaves the running of the yacht to his daughter. More recently the boat caught the eye of the producers of the Abba-based musical ‘Mamma Mia’ and she was used in the film produced by Tom Hanks in association with Universal Studios and starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan.
TAI-MO-SHAN is the sister ship to TZU HANG (1933); the boat on which Miles, Beryl and Clio Smeeton criss-crossed the globe for over 20 years, their adventures were well chronicled in a number of wonderful books.
TAI-MO-SHAN is currently an ambassador for Whale Force.
Bermudan ketch, spruce masts, constructed by Berthon, stainless steel standing rigging.
Mainsail, mizzen sail, No. 1 yankee, No. 2 yankee, working jib, storm jib, staysail, No.2 staysail, spinnaker and cruising 'chute.
Hyundai four cylinder 85 hp [63Kw] diesel, fitted 2004, raw water cooled, giving a cruising speed of 7 knots and maximum speed of 10 knots. Exhaust and cooling systems renewed in 2004. New alternators for five new 24V and 12V batteries. Fuel tank 545 litres [120gal].
Primary and secondary winches by Gibb, Goiot winches on main mast and mizzen, main halyard winch designed and constructed by Camper & Nicholson. Francis electric anchor windlass. CQR 27kg [60lb] bower anchor with 100m of stud link chain. CQR 20kg [45lb] kedge anchor with extensive array of warps and fenders. Deck lighting. Boarding ladder.
Lilley & Reynolds steering compass, Clipper Duet log and depth sounder, VHF radio, Garmin GPS 152.
These particulars have been prepared from information provided by the vendors and are intended as general guide. The purchaser should confirm details of concern to them by survey or engineers inspection. The purchaser should also ensure that the purchase contract properly reflects their concerns and specifies details on which they wish to rely.