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J Francis Jones/ RJ Prior 'Otter 40' Twin Screw Motor Yacht 1971 - Sold



J Francis Jones/ RJ Prior 'Otter 40' Twin Screw Motor Yacht 1971

Designer J. Francis Jones
Builder R J Prior & Son Burnham
Date 1971
Length overall 40 ft 0 in / 12.19 m
Length deck 40 ft 0 in / 12.19 m
Length waterline 37 ft 0 in / 11.28 m
Beam 12 ft 4 in / 3.76 m
Draft 3 ft 6 in / 1.07 m
Displacement 10 Tonnes
Construction Carvel iroko on oak
Engine 2 x Perkins 4236 72hp Diesels
Location United Kingdom
Price Sold

These details are provisional and may be amended



This is the kind of classic motor yacht that died-in-the-wool sailors under canvas might forgive themselves dreaming of. Drawn by one of the UK's most interesting and proficient powered yacht designers, and built by one of the finest traditional boatbuilding yards during the crossover years between wood and fibreglass construction, the Otter 40 UNICORN OF BURNHAM might be said to represent the end of an era, yet she offers more than the home comforts one might find in the equivalent size modern power cruiser. Fastidiously maintained and upgraded under present ownership, UNICORN OF BURNHAM is the perfect fit for coastal cruising and/ or the European canals very elegantly by a family and friends, or just a couple. Highly recommended.



UNICORN OF HAMBLE may have been Royal Cruising Club and Little Ship Club member Eric Royce "Roy" Platford's first motor yacht, but it wasn't his first experience in motor yachting, albeit of the extremely high speed variety.

As a late teenager in the early 1930s he was one of Kaye Don's youthful engineers for the legendary Irishman's successful World Water Speed Record attempts, and a series of epic races against Gar Wood at Detroit in 1931 with the Saunders-Roe of Cowes-built MISS ENGLAND II.

As Platford's middle name might suggest, the 36 ft MISS ENGLAND II was powered by twin 1800 hp Rolls-Royce 'R' aeroplane racing engines (as used in the iconic R.J. Mitchell-designed Schneider Trophy-winning Supermarine S.6B racing seaplane). His father, Eric Platford, had been a pioneering engineer from the very earliest days of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce's partnership, including preparing the Rolls-Royce Eagle engines in St. Johns, Newfoundland for the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight, by Alcock & Brown.

The powering of the 40 ft UNICORN OF BURNHAM by twin 72 hp Perkins diesels may be rather modest by comparison, but no less efficient for purpose. She economically cruises at 7 knots with a top speed of 8.5 knots.

We presume she was a boat for Roy Platford's retirement, and what a great choice; conceived in the last days of driving to your nearest yacht designer to discuss the new boat desires, and seeing her coming to life at the hands of experienced artisans in a nearby boatyard. East of his Hornchurch, Essex home, Platford's choice of designer may have been easy, and Jack Francis Jones had the perfect solution ready almost off the shelf - his very well regarded 'Otter' design to which a series of 36 and 40 feet versions had been built by various east coast of England yards since 1966. But these were challenging times for traditional boatbuilding; with fibreglass production builds beginning to hold sway, UNICORN OF BURNHAM is believed to have been the last Otter 40 built - very well and finely - by R.J. Prior of Burnham-on-Crouch.

Jones (1915-1990) was one of the most respected British motor yacht and motor-sailer designers of his generation, said to have designed yachts to look after their owners. Apprenticeships with his design office led to highly successful careers for Kim Holman, Alan Gurney - and Peter Brown who continued the practice after Jack Jones retiral, and was apparently their principal designer of powered yachts even before that. One of the J. Francis Jones partnership's most recognizable key signatures is a mast (in effect a mizzen) and boom well aft, capable of hoisting a steadying sail and perfect for holding the yacht steadily head to wind at anchor. UNICORN OF BURNHAM has this in reserve.

The Platford family enjoyed UNICORN OF BURNHAM for five summers. In 1976 she was purchased by Royal Thames Yacht Club members, retired Royal Navy Commander D.C. Douglas and Mrs P.C. Douglas from near Horsham, West Sussex. Her sailing base moved to the River Hamble, and by 1979 Crawley accountant L.A.D. Giles had replaced Mrs Douglas as part owner. After a further owner, from the early 1990s she reconnected with the aviation world in long ownership by Air Commodore Sir Mark Annesley Norman, 3rd Bt., a founder of aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman, and High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.

UNICORN OF BURNHAM passed into present ownership in 2013 since when she has received the attention listed below that keeps this fabulous vessel so good looking and eminently fit for purpose.



- Bead blast below waterline
- Apply 3 coats of 2 pack sealer
- Fit all new keel irons
- Fit new starboard stern tube
- Remove p-brackets and realign with new bronze bolts
- Fit all new cutlass bearings
- Fit new starboard propeller
- Fit new PSS shaft seals
- Burn off top sides
- Remove and re-fasten rubbing strakes
- New transom name plate
- Re-fasten and Re-caulk teak decks throughout
- All new forward coach roof
- Remove and re-seal all windows and port-lights
- Recondition 12v electric anchor windlass
- Re-build saloon sides
- New hatch to aft deck
- Glass the rear deck lockers
- Make replacement short mast
- Fit new TV aerial
- Fit 2 new 100 watt solar panels and controllers
- New exterior covers for saloon
- New teak window surrounds for saloon windows
- Re-cover forward bunk cushions
- Fit new bespoke door to fo'c'sle
- Recondition forward toilet
- Fit new coolbox in midships cabin
- New Garmin chart plotter
- Re-upholster Saloon cushions
- Install new holding tank
- Fit grab rail and post to re-inforce aft deck
- Insulate deck head throughout with 12mm Celotex/ 6mm marine ply
- Remove galley and aft heads and rebuild both bulkheads
- Re-instate in English oak and iroko worktops
- Re-condition original Baby Blake Toilet in aft heads
- All new hydraulic steering pipes
- Re-conditioned hydraulic steering ram
- Fit new 450 L stainless fuel tank on port side
- Re-condition Webasto heater
- 6 new 100 A/h batteries
- 1 new 80 A/h battery for generator
- Both engines full serviced: all new flexible oil pipes
- Both gearboxes overhauled
- New crankshaft seals fitted
- Fitted new Alternator to port engine
- New starter motor to starboard engine
- 2 x Reconditioned Jabsco salt water cooling pumps
- Tri gas alarm fitted - sensors in galley and engine room
- New galvanic isolator fitted under control panel on aft deck steering position
- 2 x 40v digital meters fitted in saloon
- All wiring upgraded where necessary
- Fully fitted winter cover made
- 1 x new Perkins heat exchanger
- 1 x engine fresh water pump
- 1 x fuel lift pump
- 1 x alternator
- 1 x starter motor (needs new solenoid)



- Iroko 1⅛ in / c28mm planking on sawn and steamed oak frame
- Copper fastened
- Galvanised iron floors and hanging knees
- Cascover sheathed below waterline
- Small bilge keels port and starboard
- Steel keel bands (recent)
- Steel skeg-hung balanced rudder
- Teak laid deck on plywood substrate on hardwood deck beams
- Teak coachroof sides
- Plywood coach roof sheathed and painted



- Teak laid deck on plywood substrate
- Varnished covering and margin boards raised aft deck
- Continued to varnished bulwark capping rail forward
- Painted covering boards forward deck
- Stainless steel stanchions; varnished teak hand rail aft

From Aft

- In effect a large aft cockpit
- 2 x Chromed mooring fairleads port and starboard
- Galvanised mooring cleats on teak bases port and starboard
- Aluminium/ smoked polycarbonate hatch port aft
- Ensign staff socket
- Teak bench seats port and starboard with uphostered cushions
Upper/ outer helm position forward
- Raised coaming with varnished teak capping
- Seating to port and starboard with cockpit cushions
- Ship's wheel to port
- Engine controls and instruments
- Sestrel steering compass
- Navigation instruments and autopilot control
- Short "burgee" mast in tabernacle
- Alternative mizzen mast with steadying sail for seagoing
- Boarding ladder stowage to starboard
- Large upstand mushroom vent to starboard over galley

- Solar panels and liferaft stowage on roof
- Mushroom vents port and starboard
- Furuno radome
- Varnished teak grabrails port and starboard
- Sliding doors access to wheelhouse/ deck saloon

- Bronze Panama fairleads port and starboard
- Galvanised spring cleats on teak blocks port and starboard

- 2 x Dorade boxes with chromed cowls port and starboard
- 2 x Aluminium and polycarbonate hatches over forward accommodation
- Vents in hatches
- Varnished teak handrails port and starboard
- Mizzen mast forestay padeye

- Galvanised cleats on teak blocks port and starboard
- Panama fairleads port and starboard
- Bow roller on centreline
- Simpson Lawrence Seawolf 520 electric windlass; warping drum
- Foot switch
- 45 lb / 20 kg CQR Anchor
- Galvanised anchor chain
- 30 lb Danforth kedge anchor with 25 m leaded warp
- Fisherman anchor



Enter via sliding doors port and starboard

- 3 x Banquettes
- Deck saloon table to starboard
Helm position to port
- 2 x Kent Clearview screens
- Engine controls
- Autohelm readouts
- Garmin GPS plotter
- Furuno radar display
- Drawers and locker under
- Upholstered helm stool
- Lockers port and starboard at aft locker
- Drinks/ glasses cabinet to starboard
- Under unit LED lighting
- Pioneer CD player
- VHF Radio
- 3 x Deckhead lights
- 1 x Oil lamp

- 3 x Steps down

Double berth to port
- Drawers under
- Locker with Halfords 40L Coolbox
- Desk/ chart to starboard
- Upholstered seat
- Bookshelf outboard
- Reading light
- Hatch in deckhead
- 1 x Deckhead light
- 2 x Reading lights
- Sestrel clock

- Jabsco twist to lock manual toilet
- Sink with mixer tap
- Opening port
- Bulkhead light

Hanging locker to port in passage to forecabin

- 2 x Single V-berths
- Drawers under
- Chain locker under
- Shelving port and starboard
- 2 x Bulkhead lights
- Hatch in deckhead
- Hatch access to forepeak stowage

- 3 x Steps down

- Webasto Cruise Elegance Fridge with Ice Box (2020)
- LT3G Stainless Steel Cooker with oven/grill and 3 burners
- Extensive lockers and plate/ cup racks
- Iroko top surfaces
- Stainless steel sink with mixer tap
- Under unit LED lighting
- In-cupboard lighting
- Pull down 240v 3 port mains socket in Galley
- 1 x Opening port
- Deckhead light
- Large mushroom ventilator in deckhead

- Baby Blake Manual Toilet
- Stainless steel sink with mixer tap
- Barcelona mixer shower
- Raw teak sole grating
- 1 x Opening port
- 1 x Deckhead

- Double berth to starboard
- Drawers under
- Single berth to port
- Banquette
- Lockers under
- Hanging locker to port
- Combination Microwave
- 1 x Opening port
- 1 x Deckhead hatch
- 2 x Reading lights
- 1 x Deckhead light



- 2 x Perkins 4236 72hp Diesels
- Engine hours port: 1886
- Engine hours stbd: 1898
- 11 L/hour total @ 7 knots cruising speed
- Max speed 8.5 knots
- Starboard bronze stern tube new 2019
- Starboard shaft log new 2019
- 2 x PPS Flexible stern glands
- 4 x Cutlass bearings
- 2 x 3-Bladed propellers
- Hydraulic steering

- 7 x 12 V Batteries in 3 x banks
- Victron 240 v 35 Amp battery charger
- Solar panels on wheelhouse roof
- 2 x Via PWM controller for house & engine start
- 1 x for Generator start battery
- 240 V Shore power system
- Shore Power lead (connection on aft Deck)
- 240 V Mastervolt diesel generator in engine room
- 1 x Solar panel via PWM controller for generator start

- 1 x Mild steel fuel tank
- 1 x Stainless steel fuel tank
- Total 900 L
- 2 x Glass bowl filters
- Fuel shut off valves at tanks
- 2 x Stainless steel water tanks under deck saloon side deck
- 1 x Stainless steel water tank under fwd guest cabin berth
- 1 x Stainless steel water tank under fwd guest cabin desk
- Total 900 L
- Single filler; self-levelling; shut-off valve on one tank
Black water
- Holding tank for aft head
Grey water
- Shower pump out to below waterline through hull
- Gas bottle locker at aft deck

- Webasto Airtop 3500/5000D 3 kW Diesel



- Sestrel 4 Compass
- Suunto 5 Compass
- Garmin ECOMAP Plus GPS
- Furuno Radar 1621
- Autohelm Tridata ST 50 Depth Sounder
- Autohelm Tridata ST 50 Boat Speed & Log
- Autohelm ST 6000 (hydraulic drive)
- Autohelm Fluxgate ST 50
- Sestrel Hand-Bearing Compass
- Sewills Sealord Chronometer
- 2 x Further clocks.
- Henry Browne Barometer

- Husan 55 VHF Radio

- Helio Magnet Digital Omni-Directional TV Aerial with sockets in Aft Cabin and Saloon
- Sniper 22″ HD LED Travel TV with built in DVD, Satellite and Freeview, 12V
- Pioneer Stereo and Speaker System



- Short 'burgee' mast
- Spare mizzen and boom
- Steadying sail
- Full Winter Canvas Cover
- Sun Awning for Aft Deck
- Fitted Wheelhouse covers for privacy and protection
- Fitted outside steering covers
- Aft-deck handrail cover (to protect varnish)
- Red Kapok aft deck cushions



- Lifebuoy
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguishers x 3 – type ABC
- 1 x Automatic dry powder fire extinguisher in engine bay
- Fire blanket
- Flares – dated 12/2020
- Lifejackets
- Horn
- Day shapes
- MCR Trio-Gas Pro Multi Control Gas Alarm
- Carbon monoxide alarm
- Life raft (out of service period)
- LED Navigation lights
- Emergency Tiller (stowed in forward wardrobe)



- Avon Redcrest inflatable tender
- Stowaway table under aft cabin berth
- Wooden boarding ladder with swim rope ladder attachment
- Boathook.
- Fenders and mooring warps
- Magma Barbecue


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.


Sandeman Yacht Company

Brokerage Of Classic & Vintage Yachts