The bare carved hull of 'Owl' was given to me some 40
years ago. I was told that it had been carved by a boatbuilder in Milford
Haven in 1875 and - certainly - that date was pencilled inside. The story
goes that several boats like this were actually completed, intended for racing
around Milford Dock area. I saw a photograph of a similar craft and made what
notes I could at the time. I made some progress with it at the time but it
got put to one side and forgotten about under a welter of work on my main
interest of railways. But recently I unearthed it and it has now had enough
done, and temporarily put together, to get some impression of how it looked.
Russell Pott's reply: Owl might be built to the '1730' Tonnage Rule.
I have done the sums and she comes out as rating 14.45. This is sufficiently close to the 15 Ton limit (especially bearing in mind that we are using an estimated waterline) for her very probably to have been built as a 15 Tonner to the '1730' Rule. Her weight is in the right ball park for a 15T also. If she is a 15T, her date of 1875 is suspect, because the Rule dates from 1881-87 and was not immediately taken up by modellers. The fact that she appears to fit the Rule does not absolutely rule out an earlier date, but makes it fairly unlikely.
If she is a 15 Tonner she may well date from a good bit later than the brief life of the Rule for full size yachts. See the exposition on the web site. This also gives you some idea of the style of sail plan that she would have carried. The actual sizes in the illustration on the site relate to a 10 Tonner of course.
I think that this is as far as I can go in identifying the boat. Almost certainly she would have had no rudder, or a series of weighted rudders. In any case the style of tiller that you have given her would not have been used on a practical model.
Follow up by Owner
I am pleased to report that the Good Ship Owl has sailed. Perfect conditions in a nearby Haven, combined with an unexpected volunteer to help me, brought the occasion forward.