The History of the Yacht Tally Ho / Pilot Cutters / Going South – Rebuilding Tally Ho EP18
Hi, my name’s Leo and I’m a boatbuilder and a sailor and I’m on a mission to rebuild and restore the 108-year-old classic sailing yacht Tally Ho Now I’m rebuilding that boat in Washington State in the northwest USA Right now I’m in South Georgia in the USA, but in this video we’re going to be talking about the history of Tally Ho and gonna be meeting some people relevant to that I’m also going to be visiting the boatyard where I first started doing that work and meeting the guy who I was working for then Now to do that, we’re gonna have to go back in time to 2 weeks ago in England and pick up where I left off in the last video Now after we’ve done all that, I’m gonna show you guys how I ended up in south Georgia milling timber for Tally Ho which involved a several-thousand-mile drive in a pickup truck and a close shave with a pretty nasty storm So right now, I’m off to meet a guy called Roy who is the grandson of the Tally Ho skipper in 1927 when she won the Fastnet Race and he I believe sailed on Tally Ho when he was a child So we’re gonna go and talk to him and see what memories he has and should be quite interesting — Hello, Leo — Roy! — Oh my God. Is that there working? [Laughs] — I’m Roy Childs, I’m 81 and my grandfather was Mark Spinks He was originally skipper of the Tally Ho which won a Fastnet Race in 1927 — Mark, your grandfather was a skipper of Tally Ho for the race itself. For the Fastnet Race And he continued to run the boat for a couple of decades — Yeah, ’til Lord Stalbridge retired That’s the Tally Ho in watercolor — Wow, that’s fantastic And I’ve seen it in small pictures on the Internet But I’ve never seen it like this — Fantastic, isn’t it? — It’s beautiful — What d’you think of that? — Oh, wow. It’s wonderful — I thought you’d be impressed — I’ll hold it up to the camera now That’s a painting of the picture that was taken in 1927, isn’t it? — I’ll give you your due, you’re a clever boy This is the boat leaving the Hamble River, now I’ll show you the Hamble River in a minute And I’ll show exactly where the boat was So, although Tally Ho spent a lot of her life on the Hamble and on the Solent, she was originally built in Shoreham, which is a town a little to the east on the south coast of England She was built in the yard called Stow & Son, which produced a few other well-known boats for that era And this is a picture of some of the shipwrights from Stow & Son, possibly the ones that built Tally Ho She was originally built and launched with the name Betty for a guy called Charles Hellyer who was the owner of a fishing fleet in Brixham, which is a town a little further to the west on the English south coast She was originally drawn with a length of 47’6″, a beam of 12’6″ and a draught of 7′ She was designed with an approximate displacement of 30 tonnes, which is around 67,000 pounds, with an external lead ballast keel of 5 tonnes and internal ballast of 8 tonnes — My grandfather, he had a great sense of humour and never lost his temper He used to go from Warsash to Cork and Waterford in Ireland ‘Cause, that’s where all the best crabs and lobsters come from But yes, this chap said, “Would you get me an Irish donkey?” ‘Cause you haven’t heard this story, have you? — No — They went in a field at night and they got this donkey and they put it in the bow of the boat, the Tally Ho When they got back to Warsash he said, “There you are, there’s your f___ing donkey,” he said. [Laughs] And the bloke said, “Oh, fine, it’s an Irish donkey.” He said, “Yeah, don’t you ask me to do it again.” — And to sail all the way back, I mean, that’s quite a long trip. And with a donkey The customs inspector never found it? — He never found it, no. [Laughs] He said, “Anything to declare?” He said “No.” — And that’s Mark, obviously, on Tally Ho — Yeah, that’s my grandfather — The skipper of Tally Ho — Yeah — That’s where my grandfather lived — In this house right here? — That one there — That’s amazing Although Tally Ho, or Betty as she was then known, was commissioned for Charles Tellyer, he didn’t own the boat for very long as commissioned a larger yacht from Albert Strange very soon after After that, Tally Ho had a couple of different owners before she was bought by Lord Stalbridge And it was Lord Stalbridge who employed Roy’s grandfather Mark Spinks as his skipper He also enlarged Tally Ho’s rig, adding a topmast and about a 20% increase in sail area This would have made her far more competitive in racing
and in 1927 she won the famous Fastnet Race with Mark Spinks at the helm and Lord Stalbridge on board More than the rig, though, it was probably the weather that Tally Ho had to thank for her win because it was so rough that it forced almost every other yacht to retire early and not finish the race In fact, only one other yacht finished the race, La Goleta, but Tally Ho beat her on corrected time The results of this race may not show that Tally Ho is the fastest racing boat in a fleet but it does show that she is extremely capable and seaworthy in strong weather, and able to continue sailing when the weather has forced everyone else to seek shelter in port Which would be in keeping with her pilot-cutter-like lines and her heavy construction These qualities would also make her really great as a world cruising yacht and that is in fact what she was used as in the 1950s A young family lived on board in the Solent with their 2 daughters and actually sailed Tally Ho around the Atlantic and back to England A while ago I was lucky enough to meet with a lady who grew up on Tally Ho and can be seen as the little girl in these pictures — There’s loads of buoys there, in there — Yeah — And he was on one of those buoys — So that’s where the Tally Ho was kept — Yeah that’s where he was on the water, over there — Yeah. Would you take the tender out? — Yeah. Oh yes “Oh, I’ll have a go, Granddad.” “No, you don’t. You sit there.” [Laughs] — And what did it feel like as a child going onto that boat and going down the Hamble? — Fantastic, it was fantastic, yeah — Did Mark ever take anyone else in the family on board? Would his wife ever go on the boat? Or was it just you? Only you, huh? — Only me — Can you work out how many years ago it was that you would’ve gone out here on Tally Ho? — Well, I was 9, now I’m 81, so what’s that? — Um, 72 years? You know, every time Tally Ho went out sailing — — It went here, and out into the Solent What about that, boy? That’s something you haven’t done. [Laughs] — Bloody amazing, that is I like to think that maybe one day I’ll bring her back here — Oh, I’d love that. Would you do that? We’d all be out there, we’d all be — but don’t leave it too long, or I may be in the boneyard. [They laugh] — I’ll do my best You’ll still be around. You’ll be around — Well, thanks, Roy. I really appreciate your time — That’s all right — A real pleasure to speak to you — Can’t wait to find any more out — Look out for yourself on the TV — Oh, shut up. [They laugh] — See you later, Roy — See you later. All the best — You too After her period of family cruising life, Tally Ho was bought by a New Zealander He left the UK with the intention of sailing the boat home He was doing bits and pieces of work along the way and at one point he ended up on the Pacific island of Rarotonga He got a job there ferrying 20 tonnes of cargo to a nearby small island He had a young lad as crew and went off to the island but they arrived after nightfall, so they hove to, to wait for the light to get into the port Unfortunately during the night the local currents swept the boat onto the reef surrounding the island Tally Ho was badly damaged and had a big hole in her portside breaking many of her planks and actually breaking her mast, her bowsprit, and losing her rudder She lost a lot of her internal ballast and a lot of her internal furniture as well But they did manage to save her I think some locals came to the rescue and they filled the hull with empty oil drums and they managed to tow her off the reef and back to Rarotonga Most of her hull was intact but she did need some planks replacing and some frames replacing on her portside That was done in Rarotonga and the boat was brought back to a seaworthy condition in the next couple years, during which time she also changed hands to an American owner The American chap sailed her around the Pacific and ended up going back to Oregon where he started working the boat as a fishing boat He fit a freezer and a generator in, and he renamed it Escape to Freedom After quite a few years of fishing salmon and tuna off the Pacific coast of the States and a couple of trips back and forth to Pacific islands he stopped working the boat and it’s sat in the port of Brookings in southern Oregon for many years waiting for a new owner She was eventually taken on by a local artist called Manuel who did his best to save the yacht and did a lot of good work on her but unfortunately passed away before he could tackle any of the big jobs However, he certainly played a big role in keeping the yacht from being destroyed, which she may well have been otherwise When Manuel passed away, she eventually fell into the hands of the Albert Strange Association They took her on, really, to try and stop her being destroyed, and they spent the next decade or so trying to find a suitable owner for her Unfortunately, due to her condition and the remote location, no one really came forward to take her on, despite her pedigree It was around this time that I heard about the boat
and I went to have a look at it And even though I found that it was in much worse condition than I had expected it to be, for some reason I decided I’d take the boat on and try and bring her back to her former glory That brings Tally Ho’s history right up to the beginning of this series of videos All right, well, I’m in Bristol, and I’m at the Underfall Boatyard Which is the place where I first started working on boats and I was building Bristol Channel pilot cutters This is a pretty new Bristol Channel pilot cutter next to me which was built here recently, pretty similar to the ones I was helping with when I was here — Hello hello — Hi, Leo, how are you? — Pretty good. How you doing? Well, this is John — Hello John is actually the person who first helped me get into boatbuilding So I did a kind of informal apprenticeship-y sort of thing with John — So you come to film on the coldest day of the year — Yeah. It’s freezing, isn’t it? [They laugh] — Pilot cutters were used for taking pilots out to big ships just to pilot them into the ports, because that was the most dangerous part of any trip And pilots, in most of the parts of the UK, of Britain, were were part of the Port Authority, apart from the Bristol Channel — it was unique in the way that the pilotage was private here Pilotage — you could earn quite a bit of money because it was a percentage of the value of the cargo And if you had a high-value cargo, you’d earn a lot of money So you had a situation where whoever got to the ship first would be the person who would get the pilotage of that ship The pilots started developing these vessels to be fast and seaworthy, and those two things don’t always go together And so you needed a vessel that could stand off Lundy in the worst of the weather, weather that all the fishing boats and everything else would be rushing into shore, to put down anchors and get into port These pilot cutters would stay at sea for that And then when they saw the ships they would race out and race each other to these ships, so they developed extremely seaworthy, fast boats And that’s why a lot of yacht designers and things like that tend to go back to that sort of basic pilot cutter hull shape which is a deep-keeled, long-keeled boat, heavy displacement, but very fine lines When they’re looking to design a boat to take you around the world or take you to the Southern Oceans and that sort of thing So as you see, we’re aft here, the leecloth is up If you go through there — we’ve got the engine under here. Under the sink again, the engine’s on the quarter The usual way of making a table which is much quicker to open, like that All those sort of ??? everything Sails, of course as all ??? should be There’s a deck shower Look down and you can see the thermostat there So rather than have a hot and cold tap here we’ve got the thermostat, you set the temperature, and then you can just, there’s a tap on deck so you can have a shower if you want — Oh, nice — Stops you messing up the boat by having a shower in it — You’ve obviously thought a lot about the hatches It doesn’t feel like there’s big hatches on deck, and yet you’ve got standing headroom throughout the boat, which is fantastic — Yeah, it’s good A lot of the planking now is Douglas fir because we’ve had such a trouble, such problems trying to get decent larch The Douglas fir we got from Longleat, and they had these old trees, really good close-grained Douglas fir The top planks are oak, just because that’s where it’s gonna get bashed when you run up against key sides, things like that And the frames are oak, the keel’s oak All the old work boats, they never used to paint the inside of the boat, because as soon as you seal 2 sides of a wooden plank, then you’re gonna get rot in there So they paint the outside of the boat, but they’d always oil the inside of the boat, so that it can all breathe And so what’s quite nice is, when we finished the planking and we’ve got this hull, we just get a sprayer out The sprayer is Stockholm tar, linseed oil and turps mixture Just spray it every day, until it stops taking it in Usually with a wooden boat of this size, You launch it, and it’ll leak straight away until the planks take up, and then the leaking will stop But the planks have taken up already on all that oil, so when we’ve got the boat in the water, it’s pretty tight I mean the fact that the wood likes to be sitting in water
whereas most other materials — fibreglass, steel, aluminium — they hate it The whole idea of a fibreglass boat is, you’ll take that out every year and dry it off so it doesn’t get too wet Wooden boat wants to stay in the water, and you’ve got natural insulation It’s a lot nicer living in a wooden building than it is living in a fibreglass building If you think a wooden boat, you think of the planking as part of the boat But it’s sacrificial, planking’s sacrificial As soon as that gets damaged, you just put another one back in It’s quite a simple process for people who are used to doing it — Yeah And how many pilot cutters have you built now? — Well, this one will be the the fifth one I’m exhausted. [They laugh] — Are you gonna build any more? — Well, it’s one of those things, isn’t it? If someone comes along and wants a pilot cutter, yeah, I’d love to build another one — Yeah, what sort of money would you expect to pay for a boat like this? — So, a boat like this would be round about 270,000 plus VAT Though she’s about 42 foot on the deck You know, some people might balk, say “oh, that’s a lot of money,” but when you think of the amount of work that goes in — Yeah, I mean that’s actually staggeringly cheap when you think about the cost of the materials and the labour for this style of — — And I’m not a rich man, I’m really not. [Laughs] — It’s too cold up here — Too cold? — So this little guy is called Olin, named after the yacht designer And Olin and his really cool mummy and daddy have given me this truck. Isn’t that right? This, their old truck I’m gonna take it all the way across the country to help me with Tally Ho And Olin — Olin, do you want to be a boatbuilder one day? Maybe…? — I wanna be a pediatrician — A pediatrician! [Laughs] Well, we’ve got a bit of work to do, obviously, but we’re working on it And if you can’t be a pediatrician, what do you want to be? — FARMER! — A farmer Ah, he’s far more sensible than me, obviously Well, Olin, thank you very much and you thank your mummy and daddy for me as well, yeah? Yeah? — Yeeeeeeah! — Bye! Well, I’m back in the US and it feels good to be back Amazingly I’ve been donated a truck and I can’t thank the people enough who’ve given this to me I stayed with them last night in Boston So that was one of the reasons I came to Boston, actually, and I’m gonna be driving this truck back to Washington via south Georgia, so I’ve got quite a long trip ahead of me But it all works out because then I’ll have a truck where I need it to be, and also, I do need to visit a sawmill in south Georgia where they’re cutting a lot of live oak for me So if I wasn’t driving across, I’d be flying back and forth and it would cost as much as the gas that it’s gonna cost me It does seem like I’m being followed around by storms because there’s an another nor’easter coming to this area of the States, which is a strong regional wind that they get, depressions coming up the east coast And it’s gonna bring, I think, 12 to 18 inches of snow in Boston tonight and tomorrow And so I’m basically trying to drive far enough south that by the time it arrives, it won’t be affecting me too much So I am literally racing the storm here trying to get far enough south so that I can drive through the storm before it turns into heavy snow I’ve been driving for maybe 6, 7 hours It’s starting to rain, but I’m just gonna keep driving and hope for the best So I made it last night to South Hill which is a small town in the south of Virginia And about 650 miles from Boston where I started, so, pretty good drive But actually by the time I’d got here, the storm had been and gone in South Hill and it wasn’t much of a storm here, I guess, but they had quite a lot of snow I was kinda hoping to sleep in the truck last night, but by the time I got all the way down here it was pretty late and I was pretty tired and there’s a lot of junk in the back of the truck which I need to sort out hopefully today So I ended up staying in this lovely motel
Lovely American landscape, it’s just amazing to see it changing and so big, so wide and beautiful All right, well, I am in south Georgia, just down the road from Cross Sawmills — Hi, Steve! — Hey! Must be Leo — Yep — All right! How’s the trip? — It was good Hello, Steve — Hello — Good to meet you Well, that’s it for now, folks So, thanks a lot for watching and massive thank you to everyone who’s donated or otherwise contributed towards the Tally Ho project I really appreciate it, it makes a really big difference, and it means I’m able to take the time to keep on making these videos So thanks again, and I’ll see you guys next time when I’m gonna be helping Steve Cross here at Cross Sawmills We’re gonna be grading and counting a lot of live oak timber which he’s been milling already for Tally Ho’s framing stock We’re probably gonna be milling some more timber for that We’re going to be looking at a lot of live oak trees in the area and talking about that timber And hopefully getting enough milled flitches to make all of Tally Ho’s new frames So I’ll see you then. Cheers!