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Charles E Nicholson 55 ft Gaff Yawl 1920/2011



Charles E Nicholson 55 ft Gaff Yawl 1920/2011

Designer Charles E Nicholson
Builder Camper & Nicholsons, Gosport
Date 1920
Length overall 70 ft 0 in / 21.34 m
Length deck 54 ft 10 in / 16.71 m
Length waterline 38 ft 0 in / 11.58 m
Beam 11 ft 9 in / 3.57 m
Draft 7 ft 6 in / 2.29 m
Displacement 23 Tonnes
Construction Long leaf pitch pine on oak
Engine 1 x Beta 62 hp diesel; 2 x hydraulic drive propellers
Location United Kingdom
Price GBP 750,000

These details are provisional and may be amended



Even in 2005 it was becoming almost impossible to find an unrestored but in commission, high pedigree early 20th Century classic cruiser-racer of 50 feet and over. PATNA was one of those rarities, and in Greg Powlesland (MARIGOLD, COLLINETTE) and Katie Fontana she found exactly the right owners to take her forward with full reverence for impeccable Camper & Nicholsons provenance and authenticity. Few and careful owners over almost a century had ensured that so much of PATNA could be preserved, but no shortcuts were taken during a five-year restoration, so that PATNA in her second century is a thoroughly practical classic yacht capable of taking her owners for long periods of voyaging in great comfort and style. PATNA is participating at the early summer 2024 Richard Mille Cup regatta in England and France.



It's curious, time and memory, for I'm sure that after the exhaustion of the restoration of MARIGOLD, I resolved never to take on such a task again. Yet here I was, sitting in PATNA's saloon in 2005, surrounded by blackened and bashed Edwardian mahogany panelling and faded olive green buttoned leather sofas. A verdigreed oil lamp swung from the central six-pane skylight, with its worn sennit a reminder of restraint against vast gale-lashed seas that laid PATNA on her beam ends when her steering broke in mid-Atlantic in 1983. A wonderful aroma of ancient worn wood, a hint of paraffin and Katie's enthusiasm to save this almost-ready-to-sail but tired nautical masterpiece of Charles Nicholson were eroding my resolve. Shall we? Yes!



- New bobstay whisker stays and forestays

- Rig-out rig refit
- Servings stripped and redone - re tarred and oiled
- Rigging screws stripped, cleaned / wire brushed back and greased

- New poly-cotton sails by Steve Hall, North Sea Sails

- Lead shipwright - David Walkey
- Naval architect/ supervision - David Cox
- 24 x New oak lower futtock frames
- Complete refastening
- New copper roves through frames and timbers
- New bronze bolts through floors
- 1 x Bronze keelbolt removed for checking; refitted
- (Keelbolts had been extensively checked/ replaced in a previous refit)
- All steel plate and strap floors removed, repaired, re-galvanised
- 4 ft / 1.2 m of planking required replacing
- Topsides pitch pine splined and caulked
- Underbody caulked
- Completely repainted and varnished inside and out
- 3/8 in /9 mm Teak laid deck glued over sanded c.1950s teak deck (2010)
- New low profile doghouse designed and built
- c1930 mast restored
- Restoration of c.80 x blocks
- New spars by Collars:
- Mizzen mast
- Main and mizzen booms, gaffs
- Bowsprit and bumpkin
- Galvanised chainplates removed and refastened
- Existing Dacron sails re-cut
Propulsion and All Systems
- All replaced
- Accommodation




One of Camper & Nicholsons' earliest post First World War cruiser-racer builds, PATNA was commissioned by London Irish/ Scottish ship broker and underwriter George P. (or 'Guy', the first name used by Camper & Nicholsons) Mackenzie and launched at their Gosport yard as an auxiliary marconi-masted gaff cutter/ yawl. On paper Mackenzie seems to have been a relatively inexperienced yacht owner, but he got what he presumably wanted in PATNA: a beautiful, and beautifully built compromise between a racer and a cruiser.

Why Mackenzie named her PATNA is a mystery. There is of course the city in Bihar, India, and the Ayrshire, Scotland, village named after it through its founder's connections with the British India Steam Navigation Company (B.I.), co-founded by Robert Mackenzie born 1820 in Campeltown, Argyll, Scotland. Or would one really name one's yacht after the apparently doomed SS PATNA of Joseph Conrad's novel 'Lord Jim'? Or did George/ Guy Mackenzie have a professional/ emotional connection with the real B.I. screw steamer PATNA built by Denny of Dumbarton in 1871?

PATNA's first regatta season began 29th July 1920 with the Royal Thames Yacht Club's regatta at Ryde, Isle of Wight, and a pattern for that summer emerged: in the 10-30 tons Handicap Class she did well, but could never get the better of wily J.S. Highfield (eventually of Highfield lever fame) at the helm of his 1909 Alfred Mylne/ Robertson of Sandbank 12-Metre CYRA. The Yachtsman magazine's 'Man at the Wheel' editorial of 23rd December 1920 noted that "Mr G.P. Mackenzie's smart Nicholson designed 25-tonner PATNA" was one of only two new build boats doing the regatta circuit that season. PATNA rubbed shoulders with some illustrious yacht names at the 1920 regattas, such as BRITANNIA, MOONBEAM IV, NYRIA, SUMURUN, SUSANNE, TERPSICHORE (LULWORTH), WESTWARD, WHITE HEATHER II... but she doesn't seem to have raced again under Mackenzie who kept her until 1927.

She was owned for just the season of 1928 by Royal Yacht Squadron member Bryan W. Preston, son of manufacturing engineer and Member of the UK Parliament for Cheltenham, Sir Walter Rueben Preston, and brother of future Olympic sailing stars Kenneth H. and Francis R.W. Preston.

Then in 1929 her third, longtime owner became London stockbroker of Russian origin Charlie V. Jacobs whose sailing base was Burnham-on-Crouch. There he was also sometime owner of the Burnham Restricted/ West Solent Class sloop QUIZ (W-16 ex Hyacinth) and a committee member at Royal Burnham YC. Jacobs's introduction to bigger yacht sailing in confined waters was dramatic: an almighty collision in that first season apparently brought the rig down. Her present co-owner, Greg Powlesland, tells the story of Jacobs's ownership:

"Jacobs kept a professional crew of two hands led by skipper William Amos... He was popular and fond of music, but very fussy about his smart yacht, always having a steward ready with a dust pan and brush for any cigarette ash or crumbs dropped on deck. He had a lively sense of humour which notably failed him when PATNA was dismasted in a collision off the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in 1929. Believing she was over canvassed, Jacobs switched to bermudan rig, the new 75 ft/ 22.9 m mast being the same height as the marconi, though later shortened [winter 1930-31 by W. Stebbings, Burnham-on-Crouch]." PATNA rode out the Second World War laid up at William King's Burnham yard and, after recommissioning, in 1948 she was winner of the Burnham Town Cup.

In 1955 ownership transferred to a business associate of Jacobs's, merchant banker and fellow Royal Burnham Yacht Club member Alan Simpson. Over almost 20 years Simpson would cruise PATNA to Holland, Belgium, France and Ireland while still trying to take in Burnham Week, interspersed with winter refits that included re-framing work, a new deck, and the introduction of a huge wheelhouse with wheel steering replacing her 9 ft/ 2.7 m long tiller.

Fred Lockwood with a syndicate of friends became the 5th owner in 1974, and again PATNA kept clocking off the miles from her Heybridge Basin home berth, including a 1982-1983 Atlantic circuit. During the rather late season crossing home in the autumn of 1983 PATNA weathered 11 gales. Having spent most of her life on the English East Coast, PATNA became increasingly well known there as an incredibly authentic, loved and used classic through a period when fellow older yachts of any size had either became mudberthed as houseboats or sailed south to warmer climes.

Greg Powlesland's partner, Katie Fontana, had known PATNA at Heybrige Basin since her youth. It somehow became inevitable that Greg and Katie would take her on (from 2005) and apply their keen eye and talents to revealing again the Charles E. Nicholson jewel she has always been, and making her structurally capable of many more years sailing and turning heads.

From 2014 to 2019 PATNA went on a Mediterranean adventure to participate in the wonderful celebrations of classic yachts there, winning the Concours d’Elegance at 2015's Monaco Classic Week. Then she returned to the Helford River, Cornwall, her home base now for over a decade.

©2024 Iain McAllister/ Sandeman Yacht Company Ltd.



- Long leaf pitch pine carvel planking
- Topsides pitch pine splined and trad. seam compound
- Underbody caulked
- Sawn grown oak doubled frames mid part of vessel
- Sawn grown oak frames, with 2 x oak timbers between fwd and aft
- Believed oak bilge stringers
- Believed Douglas fir beam shelves
- Oak wood keel
- Elm deadwoods
- c.9 Tonnes lead ballast keel
- Bronze keelbolts
- 9 mm Teak laid deck over c.1950s teak deck (2010)



PATNA's original after deck arrangement had a skylight over the stateroom immediately ahead of a small cockpit (where the doghouse is now), aft of which was a very large four-pane skylight over only the engine room (where the cockpit is now), with a very long galvanised tiller reaching from aft of the skylight to the cockpit. See photo.

- Teak laid deck
- Teak superstructures
- Removable bronze stanchions
- Deck prisms
- Padeyes for 'nun's cape' fairleads


- Bronze mooring fairleads with anti-chafe port and starboard
- Bumpkin and fittings
- Mizzen sheet purchases
- Large mushroom vent
- Mizzen mast position
- Stern light
- Rudder head (presently fitted for tiller steering)
- Tiller
- Raised lazarette hatch

- Self draining
- Low coamings faired forward to doghouse
- Seating as deck
- Lockers under
- Teak sole; hatch access to aft part of engine
- Provision for wheel steering with binnacle pedestal
- 2 x Vintage bronze sheet winches port and starboard

- Double door companionway
- Banquettes to port and starboard
- Lift up hatch and double doors to stair to stateroom
- 3 x Glazed Panels port and starboard
- 2 x Oval ports forward
- 'Lean-to' skylights port and starboard over stateroom
- Round prism light in roof

- Offset to starboard
- 'Lean-to' skylight to port over stairwell

- Butterfly skylight over saloon
- Gas bottle stowage in vintage water beaker (small barrel)
- Stowage for small fisherman anchor
- Cabin heater flue to starboard

- Pinrails port and starboard ad rigging
- Running lights port and starboard

- Galvanised staysail boom traveller
- Raised sliding forehatch companionway to galley/ forepeak
- Round prism light in roof
- Bronze electro-hydraulic windlass and chain pipe to starboard
- Stowage for large fisherman anchor
- Vintage windlass drum
- Anchor cat to starboard
- Mooring fairleads to port and starboard
- Bow rollers to port and starboard
- Bowsprit

Anchors (galvanised)
- 60 lb / 27 kg CQR
- 75 lb / 34 kg CQR
- 44 lb / 20 kg Bruce
- 35 lb / 16 kg Fisherman
- Lifeboat pattern
- c.75 m galvanised chain
- Rode
- Hydraulic/ electric



PATNA's original accommodation had in the main survived as a superbly authentic time capsule, but nevertheless required meticulous restoration along with the inevitable but mostly hidden addition of certain modern comforts.
- Mahogany panelling, carpentry and trim
- French polished in stateroom and saloon
- Otherwise varnished
- White painted deckhead
- Raw pitch pine sole
- c1929 electric lighting with crystal globes (modern wiring!)

- Turned stairwell landing at lobby
- Decorative brass tread protectors
- Stowage outboard accessed from saloon and stateroom
- Aft to stateroom; forward to saloon

- Half skylight over
WC/ shower Compartment to port
- Lead lined shower stray, teak grating; sump
- Blakes Victory sea toilet
- Lead plumbing replicating original
- Either to black water tank or overboard
- Yellowmetal opening port
- Gimballed brass oil lamp with smoke hood
- Deckhead prism

- Button upholstered settee berths to port and starboard
- Stowage under and outboard
- Fiddled shelves outboard
- Fiddled sideboards to port and starboard forward
- Glazed door lockers outboard with alcoves under
- Port sideboard: lift lid drinks locker; cupboard under
- Starboard sideboard: cutlery drawer; cupboard under
- Drop leaf saloon table
- Portway 'Tortoise' solid fuel stove heater to starboard forward
- Flue led to deck
- Mast concealed behind a panelled box
- Butterfly skylight in deckhead with C&N worm drive elevators
- 2 x Gimballed brass oil lamps with smoke hood
- Ship's clock
- Upside down compass mounted forward, below skylight
- Grab handles in side deck head

- Panelled door access from saloon
- Pitch pine lining boards at aft bulkheads
- Galvanised steel/ teak tread fo'c'sle ladder
- 4 x Deckhead prisms
To Starboard
- Taylors 041 Gas gimballed cooker to starboard
- Substantial bronze cooker fiddle
- 2 x Burners
- 1 x Hot plate
- 1 x Grill
- Oven
- Self stowing chain locker
- Top-loading fridge
- Brass carriage lamp
- Yellowmetal opening port
To Port
- Teak sink and drainer board to port
- Brass sea and fresh water taps
- Stowage lockers under
- Plate racks over

- 3 x Traditional pipe cots
- Stowage

- Small double berths to starboard
- Single berth to port
- Stowage under
- Small washbasin to port
- Brass hot and cold taps
- Access to engine compartment
- Reading lamps
- 4 x Steps up to deckhouse/ aft companionway



Gaff yawl rig
- Pole main mast (c.1930)
- 1 x Set of spreaders (Collars 2011)
- Small bronze winches
- Traditional spiderband gooseneck with pins
- Leathered hoops
- Main boom (2010)
- Main gaff (2010)
- Mizzen mast (2010)
- Mizzen boom (2010)
- Mizzen gaff (2010)
- Radome
- Topsail yard (2010)
- Jackyard (2010)
- Bowsprit & bumpkin (2010)

Poly-cotton (North Sea Sails 2014-2016)
- Mainsail
- Working topsail
- Jackyard topsail
- Mizzen
- Boom staysail
- Jib 1
- Jib 2
- Jib top
- Balloon foresail
- Balloon staysail

- Cockpit awning
- Cockpit dodgers
- Forehatch sprayhood
- Covers for:
- All deck houses and hatches
- Cockpit
- Working and vintage windlasses
- Mainsail and mizzen boom covers
- Topsail and yards



- 1 x Beta BF2803 5 Cyl 62 hp diesel
- Serviced annually
- 2 x Hydraulic driven folding propellers
- Port side hydraulic pipes replace c.2017

- 2 x Hydraulic driven folding propellers
- Hydraulic drive to anchor winch

- 2 x 12 V 120 Ah Batteries
- 1 x 12 V 110 Ah Battery
- 2 x Rotary dial battery switches
- Antique ship's electrical panel
- 240 V Shore power
- Mastervolt battery charger

- 2 x Cement lined steel fresh water tank under saloon sole
- Pressure water system
- Hot water calorifier/ immersion tank
- Diesel tank under stateroom sole
- Black water tank
- Shower sump pump
- Thick walled copper water piping (2010)
- Lead piping for toilet and bilge pumps (2010)
- Gas bottle stowage in vintage water beaker (small barrel) on deck

- Autopilot
- Provision for fitting quadrant for wheel steering
- All Blakes bronze through-hull valves
- Deck wash pump



- Sestrel 'Dead Beat' Magnetic steering compass
- 2nd Magnetic boxed compass
- Garmin MFD GPS plotter/ radar display
- Garmin GPS Map 7012
- Autopilot

- Garmin DSC VHF Radio
- Furuno Navtex NX300



- 3 x Manual bilge pumps (cockpit; deck; companionway)
- Engine driven bilge pump with solenoid switch
- Electric bilge pump
- Navigation lights
- Ocean 6-person liferaft (service date TBA)
- 2 x Traditional lifebouys
- Emergency light
- Danbuoy and line
- Fire extinguishers



- 10 ft 6 in / 3.2 m Clinker lugsail sailing tender by unknown builder
- Rudder, tiller, oars and rowlocks
- Mast, boom and tan Dacron lugsail
- Kayospruce tough polyester blue/ green tender cover
- Galvanised davits for tender
- Boarding/ swim ladder
- Fenders and warps
- Paraffin anchor light


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