Laura FD319 36ft Arnside built 1908
The local fishing craft that worked the coastal waters from Solway to Aberystwyth were very similar in form to the yachts of the period which is why Laura and several other yachts were used as very capable inshore trawlers. Laura is a little deeper draftedthan a trawler of the same length but the fishing grounds worked out of Fleetwood and Douglas would allow for this.
Laura appeared as a subject of a book, written by Edward Delmar- Morgan in the early 1950’s. He probably bought her in 1950 or 1951 as the book describes her refit and first cruise she made to France before the book was published in 1954. She was Bermudan rigged then with a substantial coach roof and fitted with a wing engine. Laura was in a rundown state when Delmar-Morgan found her, so he motored her round to Portsmouth Harbour for a thorough refit. Most of the work seems to have been cosmetic. An accident occurred that showed she was still using her original beaching legs that fastened to a large eyebolt through the beam shelf and deck. One of these pulled through the deck causing a fair amount of real work on top of addressing the effects of the neglect.
Laura knocked around the south coast during the next 30 years, to be found, still with her Bermudan Rig.Laura was bought by Bill Sissons in 1980. She sailed in the seasons of 1980 and 1981 and was then laid up in a mud berth. Gayle Heard the sail maker helped bring her round to the Blackwater. He was looking for a fast boat and was so impressed he bought her in 1985. he then undertook a 6 year total re-build, all frames were replaced with steamed timbers. By replacing the cast iron keelson and concrete ballast with lead, her headroom was improved. She was returned to gaff rig with hollow spars and a new suit of sails. The rebuild was not complete as she has 90% of her planking, her keel and sternpost. Port and starboard top strakes were replaced and stringers were inserted to stiffen her up. The deck and above is all new. The rebuild was finished in 1991 and she raced very successfully for the next 10 years.
Bought & returned to Fleetwood 2001 New owner donated copy of lines and survey. Handicap without topsail, 1.035