I enclose three photos of a Pond Yacht which we acquired several years ago. We would like to restore it with steering system and if possible learn something more about its origins.

I've looked at the other yachts on your web site but can't find anything similar although many of the fixtures and fittings are very similar to those on yachts I’ve seen for sale, described as English Manufactured top sail/ gaff cutters C1920’s

Total length inc. Bowsprit – 56inches, excluding bowsprit 41inches
Height of Mast 77in, total height of boat approx. 90in
Beam 13.5inches.

It has 2 mast of different lengths, both of which are in 2 pieces connected with brass fittings. It also has 2 main sails of different sizes, both of which have the remains of a silk French flag attached. Presumably the larger set are for light winds. The sails appear to be original, complete with battens and the stitch work/ rope work is all very neat and uniform. The brass attachments on the bowsprit suggest that it may have once been rigged with 2 or 3 fore sails. The hooks and fixings are mainly brass and the ropes are adjusted with wooden blocks.

The steering system is a little confused. The Braine quadrant is not currently attached to the rudder and may not be original to the boat. There is also a brass fitting screwed to the deck which appears original and has a series of holes drilled into it.

The hull is constructed of wooden planks that can be clearly seen below the carrying handle and painted grey. The hull is painted red with a brass rudder; the paint looks to have been a later application and now covers the rudder. The deck is of a light coloured varnished wood with a Mahogany toe rail fixed with brass screws. The boat is very heavy and sits in what appears to be its original carrying cradle, painted the same colour grey as the inside.

The yacht is clearly missing some items as evidenced by empty screw holes in the deck. It looks as if it has been subject to a few small modifications as things have broken however most of it appears to be original and still in reasonable good order.

Any help you can provide in allowing us to restore the yacht would be much appreciated.


VMYG comment

This is, as the enquirer suggests, not quite like anything else on the site. It's bigger, it's older in style and has features that suggest that the French ensign is there for a purpose and that she came originally from the other side of the channel. In terms of her design and style, she looks to date from the 1890s or early 1900s and has features that, though they were found on full size craft of the period were rare on models. The through battens are a case in point, though they have been applied to a very traditional sail plan, rather than the bat's wing found on sailing canoes or the Solent rig favoured by small raters of the 1890s.

The hull is, so far as I can see, wholly traditional and the rig, apart from the battens, matches it. The very big single foresail in the photo is I think an alternative 'balloon' jib for use in light weather and the normal rig would have been a standard cutter, with a staysail tacked to the stem head and a jib tacked to the end of the bowsprit. In a model this size the jib might have been on a ring runner so that it could be trimmed in and out on the bowsprit to balance the rig. The use of Braine steering is unusual on this sort of model and I think it must be a later addition. RP