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Chris

Rake's Retreat

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My father is in the process of a major restoration of a classic Motor Yacht 'Rake's Retreat'.


Built in 1934 Rake's Retreat, originally named 'Estrellita', is a 48ft, triple screw, wooden motor yacht. She was designed and built by John Thorncraft & Co. ltd of Hampton on Thames, Middlesex.


Estrillita returned to Thornycroft's yard in Spring 1934 to be lengthened by 4ft with the addition of a canoe stern replacing the original transom.
In 1940 she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy as a harbour patrol vessel in the Rochester and Chatham area, manned by a Petty Officer, Coxwain, Able Seaman and mechanic. Decommissioned in 1946.


After only a few years ownership Estrillita was sold re-named Little Star. In 1955 she was moved to the the River Thames. In 1960 she was bought by the television presenter and personality Hughie Green who re-named her Rakes Retreat. During Hughies time at Thames Television filming Opportunity Knocks he moored Rakes Retreat at Teddingon and lived aboard.


Now registered as an historic ship all Rakes Retreat's original plans / records, river trial photographs are kept at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

My father has a facebook page which I am trying to keep updated for him. If you would like to follow his progress like his facebook page www.facebook.com/rakesretreat

I will of course also try to keep this site updated also

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Nice boat, was it one of Dunkirks Little Ships?

 

Dave

Dave,

We are unsure at the moment. Being requisitioned by the Royal Navy from 1940 to 1946 on the South Coast would make it unlikely if she didn't go however, we are currently doing some more investigation as to what she was up to when this evacuation took place. All Rake's Retreats papers are at the National Maritime Museum so its a bit of a long process to find out her history but we are digging deep.

We will keep you updated!

Chris

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Hi Ian,

Thank you for the list. We have done a lot of internet and library trawling so far but have not come up with anything. She may of course have been taken by the Navy towards the end of 1940..... We are currently speaking to Greenwich and a couple of other sources to find out some dates. The good thing is there seems to be massive amounts of history with the boat, just not in our hands!

Chris

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Lovely boat Chris. A friend of ours owns her sister ship "Morn" (Although not sure on what lenght she is though). Good luck to your Father, I won't tell you how much Morn cost to restore as we don't want to scare him off! ;) cheers 

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Hi Chris, I've not got any pictures sadly. She's currently afloat near woodbridge I believe (She's not the one on the quay in woodbridge though although that one looks stunning too, your father may be interested to see that one too), but I'm doing all I can to persuade them to relocate her up to the broads and hopefully she will make the move next year. I'll try and get some pictures, I understand the owner employed a shipwright to complete the restoration (which as usual involved most of the hull and was probably cheaper than doing adhoc) so I'm not sure they will have progress pictures but I'll ask when I see him again which should be sometime soon.

These are lovely "proper" little ships though so many thanks to people like your father who put the effort into restoring these.

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So since Rake's Retreat arrived on the Broads a lot of time has been spent cleaning her up. Lot of things have been found under beds and in bilges, money, unwrapped christmas presents, and buckets and buckets of thick black sludge! The bilges have now been emptied from bow to stern and pressure washed out. Bow to midships bilges have also been emptied of their ballest weights (which weigh a lot)!! A coat of paint has also been added. 

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Lovely pics.. Thanks for sharing! One day I;d love to have a proper timber boat. Not sure we ever will though! I'll never be rich enough to maintain it!

Maintain it and you will never need to be rich enough to restore it young Alan!

Rakes Retreat just oozes character doesnt she?

And as for all those seemly original interior fixtures and fittings... drool

Going to enjoy meeting her one day

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Rakes Retreat just oozes character doesnt she?

And as for all those seemly original interior fixtures and fittings... drool

Going to enjoy meeting her one day

I can just see it now JA. You bow to bow, stern to stern or cuddling up fenders to fenders! Wow!:naughty:

 

cheersIain.

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Good point JA... but no still can't do it! I think we need Rakes Retreat and Morn moored next to each other at beccles one year.. imagine that spectical .. stunning!

We can sort that one out no problems. Give us until April :dance

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A few more photos of Rake's Retreat and her current progress.

Still a bit of a clean-up operations so far. Work has started on the engine rooms to start clearing this area out of leaves, dirty and general debris. The main centre engine turns over and we are confident we can fire this up in the near future. The twin smaller engines are another story. These are older than the main engine and look like they are going to need a lot more work to get them running, we are hoping though that they can be stripped down in their current home and avoid the need to have them lifted out of the boat.

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Both masts are in pretty good condition and seem to be the only part of the boat that has seen any upkeep in recent years. These have now been raised and fixed into position and look gorgeous.

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The stern hatches had been removed before my father took ownership of Rake's Retreat and these were laying in the boat. They were in pretty sound condition so have had some minor repairs done and they are now back in place.

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The hull of the vessel is pretty sound. Only one sprung plank below the waterline to be pulled back in the spring. The canoe stern will need some more attention. This has sprung away from various bodge fixes in the boats history.

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The keel is drying nicely. There is some major damage towards the bow of the boat which will be fixed in the spring. We suspect the boat has hit an underwater object at some point and has rotted from there.

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