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West Solent One Design 1925 - Sold



West Solent One Design 1925

Designer H G May
Builder Berthon Boat Co Ltd
Date 1925
Length overall 34 ft 5 in / 10.5 m
Length deck 34 ft 5 in / 10.5 m
Length waterline 23 ft 11 in / 7.3 m
Beam 7 ft 7 in / 2.3 m
Draft 5 ft 4 in / 1.62 m
Displacement 4.8 Tonnes
Construction Pine planking on oak frames
Engine -
Location United Kingdom
Price Sold

These details are provisional and may be amended



This is a remarkably original boat - and a member of that very special class; the West Solent. They are noted not only for their stunning good looks but for some special sailing and racing qualities. Notwithstanding substantial restoration there is much that is original and authentic on this very unspoilt example – and such fittings as are “new” are still in period and arguably better in bronze than the originals. Since her re launch in 2001 almost nothing further has been changed apart from replacing tired sails and rigging – yet has been maintained rigorously and her owner justly rewarded with immense pride of ownership. Not just a rewarding boat to sail and own - HALLOWEEN has proven herself a winning boat up against her sisters and in handicap classic racing.


Class history notes

In 1924 the 'W' Boats were designed by H G May of the Berthon Boat Company in Lymington as one-design cruiser racers. Five boats were initially commissioned by members of The (Royal) Lymington Yacht Club and became better known as the West Solent Restricted Class. During the following six years a further 25 boats were built, until the depression of the 'thirties put an end to further Commissions in Britain. Five additional boats were built and shipped to Argentina for the Yacht Club
Argentino and in 1934 VALIANT now broken up, was built under licence in Bombay. The (Royal) Burnham Yacht Club adopted the Class where they were known as the (Royal) Burnham Restricted Class and a number of boats were also based at Torbay and Aldeburgh. These "W" Boat Divisions sailed around the coast participating in the various regattas and also team raced against each other. The sail number indicated the Division to which each boat belonged, thus 'W' was from Lymington, 'WB' from Burnham and 'WT" from Torbay.

Although much the same size as a 6 Metre the W Boat weighs about a ton more, being just under five tons, and as a result feels more powerful. They are the thirty foot cruiser racer that some yachtsmen had hoped the IYRU Rule would produce when it was created in 1907, but the smallest boat with accommodation built to that Rule is the 8 Metre.

The "W" Boats were one of the first production racers and according to Berthon's promotional literature were laid down in batches. “A very complete and carefully made set of moulds, jigs and templates enables us to produce these standard hulls with exceptional uniformity at a cost little more than half that of designing and building individual boats of similar size and type.” They were delivered afloat at Lymington for £600. By comparison a Six Metre at that time cost around £1,500 but generally boasted superior workmanship and materials. These Ws were knockabout racing boats although built in accordance with Lloyds’ requirements for cruising yachts of those dimensions. Originally they were composite built and had two bent timbers of rock elm spaced every 23 inches, between a pair of oak sawn frames. Wrought iron floors were strapped on the frames. The planking was red pine, and thirty-nine hundredweight of lead hung on an English elm keel. The deck was tongue and groove pine covered with canvas.

In the beginning the Owners Club decided upon a Restricted Class because they were popular in the twenties and thirties. The 'Sixes' made the transition from gaff or gunter to Bermudan rig between 1919 and 1920, but in 1924 the 'Eights' were still racing with gaff rigs and bowsprits. It was thought a restricted class would promote development, and keep the class alive. Originally however the boats were sailed with the standard sail plan as designed by H G May. The Owners Club recognised the dangers of chequebook racing and to keep the running costs down imposed stringent rules. They permitted only one new mainsail each year, and only one paid hand was allowed on board while racing. The hulls were one-design, the sail plan was standardised and nothing but the rigging could be played with. In reality there was little scope for development.

In the early thirties pressure was exerted on the Owners Club to relax some of the rules. Gradually the boats broke away from their one-design restrictions. A genoa was permitted. The restriction on spars was changed to a minimum weight rule. The standard sail plan was changed to a standard actual area, and reduced from 575 to 530 square feet Owners experimented, moving their mast positions to change the centre of effort, and adopted various rigs which even included a wishbone gaff and a wishbone boom. By 1936 the boats had truly became a Restricted. Class at last but it resulted in the ultimate demise of the class because of the costs involved in keeping boats competitive. Notwithstanding; the Class raced on until the late fifties, numbers falling from the high twenties in the early days until only eight appeared in the Torquay Regatta of 1949 and then only six raced in Abersoch care of the South Caernarvonsbire Yacht Club until the late fifties. Many of the boats had slipped away to be converted
To cruisers, and suffered the indignities of dog houses, engines, self-draining cockpits and sometimes even a second mast. W Boats were represented in the early Round Britain Races and other offshore events. In the late seventies one made it to the West Indies and back and their ability to make such passages exemplifies their cruising abilities. The resurgence of interest in the Class began slowly in the late seventies with two boats on the Blackwater River in Essex. Over the following fifteen years eleven more boats joined the fleet. Many of the boats had different sail areas so races were often decided by the lottery of the weather. This was unsatisfactory so an association was formed enabling owners to agree rules and scantling measurements. The “W” Boat Association was formed in 1993 and voted to return to the one-design character of the early days in' the interests of economy, simplicity and fair racing. In 1996 the Association learned that the last Secretary of the West Solent Restricted Class Owners Club, Mr J C Wood-Mallock (Blue Haze, WB15. 1952-1960) was still holding office and possessed all the Minutes of the Club from its 1924 inception and so an important piece of history returned to the Association. 1996 also saw the W Boat Class adopted as a separate racing class at the West Mersea Yacht Club.


Owners comments on the boat’s history

HALLOWEEN W as she was named, was launched in 1925, the 11th of her class to be built by the Berthon Boat Company. The "W" after her name was probably to differentiate her from the equally elegant but much larger Fife yacht of the same name! I believe that her home port was Brixham from the start, one of a fleet of West Solents that sailed and raced in Torbay. I have no information about her early years.

In 1939 she was in Cornwall (Polruan) and changed hands, to be sailed home to Torquay. This I learned from an article in "Yachting Monthly" November 1941 entitled "Home with Halloween ". The new owner describes her as an "ex racer" and from the photo in the article it appears that her rig has been somewhat cut down but no evidence yet of the coach roof and engine that came to blight her later. The article charmingly describes the voyage made in April 1939. It ends with the words "We did not know then what fate had in store for us - or how soon we would be looking back to that day as if from another world." I expect she spent the war years tucked away in some creek or mud berth... She did not relinquish her keel as many did.

HALLOWEEN found her way to the East Coast in the seventies I think. Whether or not she spent time in the Solent I don't know but Beken have no photos of her in their archive so I suspect probably not. Also she remained registered in Brixham until I bought her. The coach roof almost certainly was a fifties addition. A 4 HP Stuart Turner and a Baby Blake crept in too.

From the patchy information I have gleaned from a few photos and articles, I surmise that HALLOWEEN spent her life as a relatively humble "ex racer" with a variety of owners and cruised fairly extensively, certainly as far afield as Brittany and Holland. Thirty years ago when I found her at Pin Mill in Suffolk she was, to say the least, in a sorry state. However, I looked beyond the broken mast, the peeling paint and the ugly coach roof and saw the sweet lines of a West Solent One Design. Thus began a long protracted restoration the object of which was to achieve a yacht which was sound, elegant, simple but efficient, fast and competitive, and sympathetic to the ethos of the class as it was conceived in the 1920s. Immodestly, I think I have achieved this! Since her relaunch in 2001 I have changed almost nothing apart from replacing tired sails and rigging, and I have maintained her rigorously. I have enjoyed immense pride of ownership. This boat inspires, makes friends, awes and draws.


Original construction

- Carvel pine planking copper and bronze fastened on oak grown frames
- American Rock elm bent timbers; 2 between each frame
- Elm keel and stem
- Oak sternpost, deadwood and horn timbers
- Galvanised wrought iron floors bolted
- Pine deck beams but oak in the way of the mast
- Teak covering board
- Red pine T&G boarded and canvassed
- Oak rudder main piece with elm blade
- Galvanised wrought iron tiller with teak handle
- Teak cockpit and superstructure


Deck layout, equipment and ground tackle

From aft
- Bronze fairleads port and stbd on taffrail
- Teak and bronze mooring cleat on centreline
- Bronze mainsheet horse
- All ash cheeked blocks for main
- Tufnol spinnaker blocks and bronze tangs port and stbd
- Bronze Highfield levers each side for running backstays
- Bronze tiller with ash handle
- Hinged tiller stay
- Cockpit with teak coamings
- Varnished slatted bench seating each side
- Raw teak grating sole
- Lazarette access aft in cockpit
- 2 x LVJ bronze ST primary winches on teak block mountings outboard
- 2 x LVJ halyard winches forward
- Sliding hatch companionway
- Butterfly skylight hatch
- Mast
- Bronze jib tracks in toe rail
- Bronze halyard sheaves
- Tufnol spinnaker halyard and snuffer blocks
- Bronze anchor chain hause pipe
- Raised teak hatch over focsle with bronze framed port light and alloy hatch concealed beneath
- Tufnol spinnaker downhaul block
- Varnished teak and bronze Sampson post
- 20 lb CQR anchor with 25 fathoms 3/8th inch galvanised chain
- Bronze fairleads port and stbd
- Bronze bow roller


Accommodation and domestic equipment

- From cockpit by sliding hatch and lift off doors to accommodation
- Pine cabin sole with some teak gratings
- White painted hull interior and deck head with contrasting varnished beams
- Galley to port
- Stainless steel sink
- Gimballed 2 Burner gas hob
- Stowage under
- Single berth opposite to stbd
- Stowage under
- Butterfly skylight hatch in deck head over
- Oil lamp
- Chart table fwd to port
- Bench seat
- Open access by mast forward
- 2 x single berths in fore cabin
- Hatch to foredeck over


Rig, spars and sails

Sloop rig
- All spruce spars with bronze fittings
- Mast with 2 spreaders and 2 bronze winches
- Spinnaker track on leading edge
- Gibb Genoa winch
- Boom with 2 x LVJ reefing winches and jammers
- Tufnol mainsail outhaul
- Spinnaker pole
- Stainless steel standing rigging
- Mixed natural and synthetic running rigging

Sails and Canvas
- 1 x Racing main new 2015 light use VGC
- 1 x Racing Genoa 2015 light use VGC
- 2 x Cruising mains 2010 GC
- Cruising Genoa GC
- Spinnaker GC
- Small jib GC
- Cockpit cover
- Full winter cover


Navigation, communications and electronics

- Raytheon bidata speed and depth
- Plastimo steering compass
- Tricolour masthead light
- Hand-held GPS
- Ship's clock and barometer
- VHF radio
- 12V batter


Misc equipment

- Bunk cushions
- Domestic equipment
- 4 x fenders
- 6 x mooring warp



- Full set flares
- 2 x dry powder fire extinguishers
- 4 x lifejackets
- 2 x harnesses
- Bosun's chair
- 1 x 12 V Electric submersible bilge pump
- 1 x Whale Gusher manual bilge pump
- Life jacket
- 1st Aid kit



Halloween was bought in 1987 with the intention of restoring her over a period of time. She had been converted to a cruising yacht with a raised coach roof, cut down rig and engine fitted. In 1990 the refit commenced at Fabian Bush's boatyard at Rowhedge, Essex. The works carried out in 2001 included

Centreline structure
- Lead ballast keel removed
- Defects in wooden keel attended to, and re bedded and refastened with new bronze l" keelbolts; - Deadwoods fore and aft were removed and renewed
- Iron floors removed and replaced with wooden floors
- All new floors bolted with new bronze bolts through the keel
- Damaged planking in way of the floors was repaired and replaced as necessary
- Stern post renewed along with the rudder trunking
- Horn timber repaired and reinforced
- A longer mast step introduced to spread the mast load beyond the join of keel and stem apron
- Any necessary repairs to stem and apron made

- Of rock elm; the frames and fastening were mostly sound
- Defects in sawn frames repaired and all the planking refastened with silicon bronze screws
- Intermediate steamed frames repaired and refastened; particularly at the bottom of the bilge
- Garboards removed to expose the housings in the keel and all defects made good

- Repaired as necessary throughout
- Large seams were splined; most seams were re caulked in traditional fashion

Hull Stiffening
- A structural teak bulkhead and new oak hanging knees fitted in way of the mast
- A teak structural bulkhead fitted at the fore end of the cockpit, also new oak hanging knees
- The beam shelf reinforced with a shelf clamp over 1/3rd of its length each side about the mast
- Repairs or replacement of remaining hull structure carried out where necessary including:
- Knees, apron, breast hook, stringers, transom, etc

- New chain plates for the main rigging made from 316 grade stainless steel
- Deck beams and carlings replaced throughout; Douglas fir - or laminated iroko in way of mast
- A ¾ inch marine grade plywood sub deck fitted and glass / epoxy sheathed
- A new iroko and oak rudder and ash tiller made and fitted with bronze fittings
- A new oak Samson post made and fitted
- The boat thoroughly repainted and launched
- Moved to Maldon for later completion by Jamie Clay et al

Restorer’s Report
The summary of the work carried out thus far shows that the hull had a thorough restoration keeping to traditional methods and materials by and large and using modern methods and materials in such ways as to enhance the boat and not compromise things in the future. There are no major defects remaining in the basic hull and deck structure and HALLOWEEN should have a long life ahead subject to routine care and maintenance. No further work was actually carried out by Fabian Bush although he has witnessed the further work listed below:

- A ¼ inch marine grade plywood deck screwed and epoxied to the sub deck
- Teak covering boards and teak trim fastened on the centre line
- New teak skylight, companionway sliding hatch, fore hatch and toe-rail made and fitted
- Complete new teak cockpit structure including slatted seats, coverings, and gratings fitted
- Accommodation fitted with V berth and stowage forward of the mast including chain locker
- Chart table, seat, berth, cooker, sink and stowage areas fitted in saloon
- A 10 ft section scarfed to the bottom of the mast
- New boom made from Douglas fir with bronze fittings
- New spreaders and mast hardware fabricated and fitted to mast
- New standing rigging and rigging screws in stainless steel supplied and fitted by T.S. Rigging
- New running rigging fitted throughout using multiplait rope
- All deck hardware replaced with bronze fittings


These particulars have been prepared from information provided by the vendors and are intended as a 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.


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