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We now have  all the Senior drawings  scanned and on CD.

 Join us and as a member we can send a CD of the Senior drawings,

all updated to the latest specs, at cost, £5.00 UK and £6.50 overseas.

(Including post!!)



Other Designs

Junior   Eventide   Wild Duck   Goosander   Waterwitch     Unidentified

Mouette   3 Tonner    Storm 26  Riptide 31   M.G. Designs   Lone Gull II's  Barbican and Atlantic Clipper 

Friends   Kylix   Tidewater


Taken many moons ago on the Norfolk Broads, where is she now?

  The picture on the left of 'Careful' was taken some time in the 1950's I suspect, with the designer Kenneth M. Gibbs at the helm, Miss K. M. Palmer of Y.M. his crew!   A Y.M. test!  Picture has just been sent to me from Australia, thanks to Brian Poole.

   Pau Amma

This Senior was owned for many years by Martin Lewis, and sailed every creek in the Thames Estuary, and I do mean EVERY creek, if it were too shallow, he got the dinghy out!

  Pau Amma  I took this pic of Martin off Bradwell many years ago, the young couple on board went on to build one too.

  Name not known. Could it be Senior No 1 ?


Expertly sailed by David Showell and Catherine, here seen on home water, the R. Blackwater.

  The six pictures here were taken May/June 2014 with David  Shoal and Katherine sailing her on the Orwell.  Tony passed Sandpiper on to his son David some years back.
  All photos by Nigel Seary from his Barbican 'Diane II'
  Sailed beautifully as ever, a credit to you both,  David and Katherine.

  Mikros  This is Geoff's boat, one of our advisors and founder member. He has an excellent web site with more pics, click here to see them!


  Mikros, seen here off Cornwall
  Mikros  - Owner by Geoffrey Hyde-Fynn and seen here at Bradwell marina.
  Mikros Here on the beach at Cawsand I believe, a lovely spot just into Cornwall!

Topsham 2012




Sailing on the Avon 1960's




Mikros in store today.




Mikros 2011




Sailing from the Exe to the

 Teign 2011



Senior 'Mikros'. Sold May 2019


Below is the text of her advert, May 2019.

YM "S" 779 "MIKROS"

The name comes from the Greek as in "microscope." A unique example of the "Senior". Built by my father and launched in 1967. 3/8" ply on oak and ash frames with mahogany stringers, she is still a fine and sturdy boat. "Mikros" is unique because she has side decks. Going forward under way is easier and much safer ...

She could go into the water straightaway.  Even the existing coating of anti-fouling would last a season.  But in preference I would deal with some of the brightwork to save problems later. The topsides are coated with two-part paints.  The chines have been recently "Wested" and the keel bolts changed 4 years ago. (There was nothing wrong with the old ones!). The brightwork is non-epoxy. Many of the fittings are not "commercial".  My father was a scientific development officer with the Civil Service and so hand-making one-offs was routine.  Some I have over the years replaced with ready made versions.

She is rigged to be sailed from the cockpit.  Even the mast can be lowered without leaving its safety.  She was built to be sailed on the River Severn and so the Bermudian rigged mast had to be lower-able at a moment's notice because of bridges and cables.  This also adds to her being a good trailer-sailer as you can  trail with the mast, and all of the rigging attached, across the cabin roof, and then raise it at the top of the slip without much difficulty.  After many years on the Severn (both river and tidal estuary) she was trailed to Cornwall on many occasions and also to the East Coast to (then) eoa. meetings. South Devon was her home for 10 or more years.  She has even been to France when we lived there in the 00's. She was the occasional winner of the handicapped  "sailing in company" event in the Blackwater.

Features and things included in the sale:

  • Bermudian rigged with running backstays. But she has an optional bowsprit so maybe that should be "cutter rigged".
  • All standing and running rigging is present and in order.
  • Roller reefing boom.
  • Two suits of sails including small jibs and Genoas.  Both suits usable but her performance would improve with a new or serviced suit.
  • The mast is hollow Colombian pine and is in two sections with a huge (3 t.p.i.) brass thread to join them! Cables for lights and VHF go up the centre of the mast.
  • Steel bilge keels with "feet" to cut leeway and they help when drying out.
  • Cast centre stub keel.
  • Dural rudder plate which hinges up.
  • Autohelm 1000.
  • Transom inset for 5 H.P. Mariner (included). Starts and runs fine but is not new.
  • Bilge pump in cockpit locker.
  • Mountings/boxes in either cockpit locker for 12 V lead acid batteries if needed.
  • Cockpit canvas over the boom.
  • Upholstered bunk mattresses.
  • Small solar panel on coach roof.
  • Navigation lights. Lighting/charging coil on the outboard.
  • Depth sounder.
  • Silva bulkhead compass
  • VHF Tx/Rx.
  • Fenders + daymarks, etc. etc.
  • Cable locker/water bottle storage in the forepeak.
  • Two single bunks with centre joining piece. 
  • Removable mast support in the cabin for when in harbour.
  • Boat hooks (one original in ash and screws together.) Oars for dinghy.


She is presently in storage ashore locally (south of Hereford).  She is on a 4 wheel braked trailer.  The trailer would need "assessing" by a buyer as to its present legality/capability. The trailer is fitted with a winch and between-keels storage for mast and boom etc.



Mikros just out of the workshop 1967


We understand she is to be trailed to Spain where the new owners, British Ex Pats, will sail her. Waiting to hear from Morgan Reynolds with an enrolment!



  Heretic, owned by Chris Sinnett. This Senior is constructed in glass fibre hence the name - good eh!

Here seen in UK inland waters, now she in in Holland!,  Where Chris lives.


Seen here at launch, easily raising the mast!


Outside his home in Holland, power washing off at the end of the season.


2015, Chris tells us she was stolen on her trailer, probably just for the nice trailer!



Was owned by Richard Doherty and lived in Hampshire. This Senior is now sold via this web site, we are waiting for the new owner to be in touch.  April 2005, welcome to Paul Moktar the new owner, we hope for more photos later.

  'Vagabond' Thanks to the new owner Paul for these pics.  As you can see she is in fine fettle.  Paul trails her, sailing from Orford and hoping to investigate the Harwich Harbour area next season...
  Not sure where she is here. 
  This looks a bit like...  any Essex creek! Paul is also experimenting with a gunter rig for her, like to see the pics of her under sail next season!

See further down the page for an update, May 2006,  she has just been sold and Paul has bought  'Compass Rose'

  Ready for a new owner... SOLD  We hope the new owner, who may have seen her here, will be joining us.....

   A Senior at West Mersea, The owner was shy, do we know who it belongs to and a name? Thanks to Colin Jarman, the editor of 'Sailing Today' who saw this, we now the name is 'Asenath Ann'. June 06.

Bit  of an odd one that...  maybe the owner can enlighten us...

John Stevens has unearthed this snippet for me...  According to the Book of Genesis, Asenath (אָסְנַת, Standard Hebrew Asənat, Tiberian Hebrew ʼĀsənạṯ) was an Egyptian woman whom Pharaoh gave to Joseph son of Jacob to be his wife.   Now we know!


  I was idly thumbing through one of my books the other night I came across another Kenneth Gibb design.  The book was by John Lewis, 'A taste for Sailing' the boat was one that he asked to be built, slightly modified, from this, the 'Matelot' design.  Are there any others out there?




The 'Freebooter'  May 2006, I was sent a Yachting Yearbook from 1947, in it there were several Kenneth Gibbs designs, so I will add them to this page.  At least one got built too, as there is a picture of it sailing!


2011, a friend of mine, Phil, my regular crew, was holidaying in Cyprus.  He came across 'Freebooter' out there.  The owners said he knew she was featured here, (Get in touch so we can add a name and maybe a few photos!)  The owner now lives there and had her shipped out.


  'Piskie'  Owned by John Stevens and back in UK after a spell in the Netherlands!  We look forward to more pics of this one!  Picture taken on the Haringvleit, south of Rotterdam.
  'Piskie'  Here she is emigrating from the Netherlands! The quickest way to cruise to The UK from Holland in a Senior?
  'Piskie'  Happiness is a Weekend on a Senior, somewhere in Holland!  Domestic Bliss.  Seagull at the ready!
  'Piskie' Launching, just arrived at her new home from the Dunkirk/UK ferry
  'Piskie'  Another pic of launching day, the motley crew, his words not ours, all hands make ready for launch.
  'Piskie'  Repairs in hand!  With a Wooden boat it is always possible!
  'Piskie'  Showing the other side undergoing repairs too.  Rubbing strake removed, top of hull to be replaced.  Showing gap where taken back to good timber. Thanks to John Stevens for all these.
  'Piskie' John Steven's Senior in Mike Hoban's huge back garden, ready for some epoxy work when it gets warmer!  Piskie was eventually moved to Tollesbury then sold in about 2008, we hope the new owner will keep in touch, he has promised to, and send in pics of the restoration.



  'Only a Monkey'

Is undergoing restoration and has sold to Stuart Keane.

  'Only a Monkey'



  'Shelduck'  Sailing in the Blackwater with the owner, Tony on the helm.  Tony is one of our Senior advisors. He had sent in some great pics and we have made a page for him,  Click here for more pics


Passed on to one of his sons, she can still be seen on the Suffolk and Essex rivers.


March 2016 and John, Tony's son, who has been the owner for the past 9 years, has decided to sell, so she is up for sale on our for Sale page.

  'Tuppence'  Nick Vass has sent this pic in, this boat was to be cut up!  Nick has rescued it and done a great job of it!  Hope to see more pics later!



  'Patience' Robert Whiting's new acquisition.  She is to be based at Pin Mill, we hope to see more of her out and about.

  'Matilda'   John Stevens, one of the steering group and the owner of Senior 'Piskie' has aquired an interest in 'Matilda'.  Had he not done there is a good chance she might have been firewood by now.

Pictured here on one of John Williams's trailers, about to leave the barn where she had resided for many moons.

  'Matilda'  almost hidden under the dust and timber, about to see the daylight!
  Hoisting her out onto the trailer, not made easier because she was missing a bilge keel...
   More than a little work to do here, but it is possible...  But wait is that daylight I see up forward?

   Oh Yes lots of it!!

  'Matilda'  A good basis for a restoration?  We will let you know.....  
   At her new home,  awaiting her fate.....  No Sadly not worth restoring and has been broken up for her parts, which will no doubt appear on our pages!



    'Shelduck'  out on the Blackwater day after Trafalgar 2005.

  'Ida Rose'  Seen here in Norfolk on the Broads.  She is also on the for Sale page at the moment, Dec 05.



  The Senior on the left was owned by Stewart Moxam.  He has just sold her. Jan 06
    Senior and vintage Seagull!



  'Iona'  As found in a farm yard. had seemingly been sailed in the Scarborough area for years, anyone know anything about her?  We have no sail number, she has a set of Lysander sails and there is no trace of her on any of our records with this name, though she has had it for years.....
  'Iona'  As she is now, pics taken last Summer.  Mike Craddy her owner now has done a fair job of making her look pretty...   He asks the perennial question, 'How do you stop the centreboard case leaking?'  Any advice for him??  Apart from taking it all to bits and resealing........
  'Iona' September 2006  here she is after all that attention, about to get her bottom wet again!
  Launched into the briny!  She looks very smart Mike!
  Mike with 'Iona' just a few more inches to go!  sailing pics next we trust!
  April 2011, looks very much like her on Ebay?  If sold who is the lucky new owner?  thanks to John hopthrow for this pic.  we like the comment by the owner to one punter who asked what she was like in 'heavy weather'.  'Heavy weather?' says he, 'she is a 16ft dinghy with a cabin, tend to avoid it', well said!
  Here she is in Poole harbour Spring 2011. A very happy Tony after her first weekend shake down cruise....  He says great fun had by all and she behaved impeccably.
  And two more, with her under full sail
  16 ft of fun!
   Smart boat.

  'Compass Rose'  This Senior is now owned by Paul Moktar. He has sold the other Senior he had, 'Vagabond'  see towards the top of this page,  in preference to this one, I think the rig may have something to do with it!  She is Gaff rigged.
  Looking a little forlorn after being uncared  for for many years, let's see how long it takes Paul to bring her back to her former glory!
  'Compass Rose' refitted and under sail again, September 2006!  You cannot see the smile on Paul's face, but I can imagine it!



 Recently I acquired a small boat   It carries the boat builders identification "Kenneth Gibbs, Shepperton, boat number 7".  It is in need of a bit of attention and my efforts to trace the boatbuilder have been unsuccessful.   
 Would you know how I could get hold of a set of plans for this boat to assist me with carrying out the repairs needed please? 
Many thanks
Allan Jones
01445 712872

Any one any idea what it is, it is 20 ft long, no sails thus no insignia. Kenneth did design many craft, is this one of his?

    Hi guys,
keep up the good work, the site is excellent. Just a thought about the 20' yacht built by Kenneth Gibbs, looks very similar to the plywood version of the Fantasie single chined  boat designed by Robert Tucker back in the sixties. I have a set of plans and she looks very similar.

I am still playing with Broads yachts, but I can see sometime I'll get the urge to sail on the Blackwater again and will end up with either an Eventide or Senior.
Best wishes to you all
Mat Gravener

  'Minuet'  This series of excellent pictures have been sent in my Roger Harriss.
  Minuet is currently languishing in a barn but I hope to go sailing again next year.  Attached are a few pictures of Minuet. As you can see she is well fitted out, with a fore hatch roller reefing rather nice doors on the cabin and comprehensively fitted out inside. but,  have not been keeping up with things lately. Anyway I hope to drag it out of the barn soon and give it a birthday. It probably needs one.
  I am still not sure whether I will have to remove itís lovely vitreous enamelled cooker/grill to obtain a boat safety certificate as I donít have enough freeboard to stow the 10lb gas bottle in a draining locker above the waterline (to be replaced by a portable camping appliance that will be half as good and twice as dangerous).  I did hear there were some concessions negotiated for low freeboard yachts on the broads
  Roger looks forward to meeting some of the members in due course.
  We hope Roger does get out again soon and we look forward to seeing more of Minuet!



  'A Senior With No Name'  Charles in Canada has sent these pics of his Senior in.

My boat doesn't have a name because when I bought her, she didn't have a
name.  This allows a strong possibility that during her approximately 20
years of existence the boat was actually given a name but I don't know it. 
If I was to assign a name, I would thus be changing a boat's name wihich is,
as you know, bad luck.  Why?  Any sailboat (like mine) that has character
and a decent amount of tractability is given the female gender.  This has
always been the case.  Have you ever been so unlucky as to call a girl or
woman by a wrong name?  Did you detect her anger?  That is why you don't
change a boat's name.  When using the VHF, I call the boat 'EVENTIDES',
which is sort of her surname and is thus allowable.


We like that!

Charles says,  I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  This Senior was built
somewhere in Canada.

Certainly a smart vessel. 

  (the aluminium mast and boom came from Mississauga
Ontario, Canada), probably in the mid-1980's by someone I don't know.  I'm
at least the third owner - maybe one of more - maybe a lot more.  I have had
to do a great deal of work on the boat and she is now cosmetically a bit
rough but perfectly sound structurally, with a good rig.  She is a fine boat
in every way but one.  The performance in slop with light winds leaves a lot
to be desired.  She is a great sailer in every other way and particularly
likes a good breeze. 
  Also (not pictured) I reconditioned mechanically, but
not cosmetically, a Seagull 2 (? - their smallest model) from the early
1980's that starts on the first pull and is good for calm days. 
(That I approve of, but feel a larger Seagull would help if it were a bit breezy, but then Charles would be sailing!  John.)



  'Dabbler'  This little craft joined us at West Mersea, launching at Tollesbury.  On the Bank Holiday Sunday we escorted them out into the Blackwater in blustery conditions, F4/5 .  Nigel and Heidi made it look so simple in the conditions, tacking right across the Blackwater and dropping a reef in as they went.  St Peter's Chapel can be seen just off her bow!
  Here Nigel is shoehorning their dinghy back on board and into it's bag, before scuttling out of Besom Fleet Mersea, to intercept us at the Nass.
   Reefing the main.  She is a cutter with a gunter rigged main.  Nigel was worried he had rigged it incorrectly, but it looks OK to us!
  Sensibly dressed for a craft like 'Dabbler', especially when there is a call to put a reef in, Nigel attends to the main.

2013 and Dabbler is up for sale and sold again by Tony.  Based at Rutland water for the last few years she looked very neat and tidy and sold quickly.








   U/K Senior, for sale at Brundall, in Norfolk, seen on the net.  Which one is she?  2011, We now know!

I have a bit more info on my Senior, should you want to add it to the website. She was built in 1973 by RJ Swift and originally named Pom. Sail number 1165. She has been on the Norfolk Broads for the past few years. I bought her from a chap called Ross Fergusson at Sutton Staithe. He bought her 4 years previously, at Brundall, named Tanglereed. The photo of the un named Senior after Dabbler in the gallery is her.

Brian Marsh

Thanks for the update Brian, look forward to seeing her with her new gaff rig!


  Senior  'Nancy Blackett'  soon to be renamed by her new owner, Stephen Philips.  Could be 'Yuletide' or 'Windfall', will amend when we know.

Stephen has her in New Zealand and used to work for Yachting Monthly and Classic Boat, so no stranger to wooden craft like the Senior I suspect.

  Nice shot of her bow, looks a clean and neat boat.




'Nancy Blackett' again,  February 2007.  Steve still tells me the name will change, I think he just wants to be 'Ruthless'  (Get it?)  What, never read Swallows and Amazon's, shame on you!

  Nice varnish work, though Steve tells me it is going to have to be redone next winter, N.Z. winter!

Apparently having got hold of garages, to hopefully store her in,  she only just goes into the largest one, because of the overhangs on the trailer and spars....





'Taro' Senior built by Roger and Rita Jones, seen here on Osea beach in the Blackwater about 1973.  Roger and Rita went on to build the experimental Eventide 26 in Ferro, that was such a success.  'Contaro' She has a page to herself in the builders section!



'Tavi'  This Senior is in South Africa and Pete the owner thought it was the only one!  however it is different, she has a fin keel, working through a lead keel bolted to the underside of the hull.  He thinks she may have been a centreboard version that was converted.  She is also built in GRP, one of only 2 we know of, see 'Heretic' above.

    Pete has sent these classic before and .......
      ......after pictures.  Looks good Peter!


'Tarka' Owned by Danny.  No sooner had I entered 'Tavi' than her sister ship comes along!  'Tarka' was built in GRP from the same mould and is also in South Africa!  She was built with a fin keel as well but later converted to centreboard for easier trailing.


Here she is sailing on a dammed lake about a mile from Danny's home, very convenient!  It was a bluster F4-5. with 2 reefs in the main and a jib set he is making 4.5 knots


Danny says the tiller control was copied from an idea seen  on the web and works like a charm.  It enables him to go forward whilst sailing..   Hope you trail an emergency release line Danny!  You can see the advantage of the centreboard version, very shallow draft. however many fit internal ballast so as not to have to 'sit out'!


  'Cydaq' Aeen here being launched in New Zealand.  Welcome to Dwayne. Sept 2008, he  has just joined us.  Another boat we have never come a cross before.
  Sailing well in the  beautiful waters of Nelson Bays N.Z.



  Gibbs 14ft dinghy, owned by Chris King.   Design number 142 and boat number 82.  We look forward to seeing her rigged and sailing!

Chris has been in touch with the yard at Shepperton, but although they were helpful, stated the records had been destroyed by fire years ago and they had no information on the design, wonder if anyone else has... 

Just a quick e-mail to say that I believe I have identified my Kenneth Gibbs design. I sent an e-mail to the membership Secretary of the sailing club local to Shepperton who passed it on. By chance, one of the readers had become friends with a John Emmerson, whose father was a founder member of the Club. I spoke with John and he says it was his father who approached KG with some drawings, KG designed the boat and the Halcyon Class was born! I got loads of information from John and it was a pleasure to talk to him.

It was featured in the January 1950 edition of Yachting Monthly, a copy of which I have borrowed from my boss, and I am sure it is the same boat.

I have asked him to check out your pictures and also sent him some close-ups of mine to see if we can get a visual confirmation of their identity.

Watch this space!





Thanks for your very fast reply, chaps like you do a sterling job but I fear often get taken for granted and used as unpaid consultants on a lot of projects.

Indeed, please do put the pic and the others I've attached on your website. (The awful legs aren't mine by the way). I'll be keeping a photo diary but I haven't done much actual work since bringing her to my home, other than doing a brutal job of stripping the paint from the bottom, and digging at what I think is rotten wood at the very bottom of the centre plate housing. Not sure what to do with that yet. Anyway, yes, will definitely be joining the forum when back from hols. And please do pass on my details, via this email if you like, to Chris.

I had expected to be stripping out and replacing lots of corroded metal fastenings (about 3,000 ?), but actually they're in quite good condition so that will save me some time. Was also expecting to have to re-caulk about 280' of joints...but apparently clinker boats don't have caulking, so more time saved there. Yet another job I thought would need doing would be stripping to bare wood before varnishing, but what I've read advises against this. However, I hadn't been aware of the woodwork jobs I mentioned, but I don't mind investing time "saved" learning the techniques and doing the work for a better end result.

 The book I have does describe how to do a 'butt' joint, but says to expect a little leaking. Although form the pictures it seems the damage on Jasmine is above the waterline, it would be nice to keep her as authentic as possible and not be fitted with extra little blocks and lumps, so I've spent this afternoon making some jigs to start practicing scarph joints on scrap pallets. Hoping to use the same technique on the ribs, will probably use a plane to match the profile as closely as possible enabling me to use solid wood.

The deck has been built as a new item, and differs ever so slightly from Chris's boat. I'm not expecting big waves so if it's not marine grade ply I might just waterproof it with varnish as best I can, worst case if it rots I'll need to build a new one in a few years rather than in a few weeks.

Working for the next few days, will be in touch again.

Thanks again,


Hi John,

Back from hols now, returned to find a message from Chris on my answerphone so we'll hopefully meet soon.

At the bows the planks are joined edge to edge, I can't remember what pics I sent so it might have been a close up detailed shot from that area, further back they look more like clinker with pronounced sticky out edges (this is a technical nautical term !). But do bear in mind I'm completely new to all this so might be wrong. Underneath a hard setting putty has been used so I'll need to get rid of that. John Scarlett, who wrote the book I'm reading, does seem to be a bit of a purist, stating at one stage that it is possible to build a wooden boat without sealants of any kind, that is "dusted out, not mopped out". I'm probably not at his stage just yet, maybe another 30 years or so if I did it full time, so I might have to cheat a little, but as well as using the boat as an opportunity to go sailing, I have another opportunity to learn a new skill so I don't mind tearing up the collection of scrap pallets I have to practice my scarf joints. And I agree with you absolutely about keeping her in salt water, I might spend a season in a lake while I learn how to sail (did I mention, as well as never having worked on boats, I have also never sailed ?) but I'd like to have a home for on the coast as soon as possible.

And have just enrolled on the website, if you know anyone who would like to poke around and have a nose on my driveway they'd be more than welcome. We have biscuits.



Great to hear you are getting on well and the offer of biscuits may well entice another owner to get in touch, Good luck,



We have had a request from a lady for information about a Gibbs design, the Halcyon 14.  She has a very pretty one of these dinghies and would like to know if there are others, there is one on the Gallery.  Hers is number 77.


If you can assist please contact her, her mail address is:-...  suitably disguised... you know take out the spaces and the  'at' and put in the '@'.

elainejohnston1 at

Wonder if Chris King, the owner of the Halcyon 14 on the gallery pages can assist?


  'Nolly'   This Beautiful looking Senior is owned be Alex up on the Wirral.   She is rather unusual in that she has an inboard.  A 4 hp Stuart Turner. Gunter rigged.
  Alex has contacted us to sell her, details of her are on the For Sale Page.

She  has  a trailer too.


  'Wagtail' renovated by Ron Hockey some years ago and now owned by new member Colin Heaviside.
  Seen here sailing on the Blackwater.  A fine looking Senior.  Pleased to have you aboard Colin.  Hope to see more of her in future.
  2013 Wagtail seen up for sale
  For sale again.? Colin selling??



  'Lapwing', pictured her as she was in about 1999, she is in need of love and attention now though and for Sale of the 'For Sale' pages.
  'Lapwing' is a fin Keel Senior, and she has been based on the Norfolk Broads for a while.
  Sadly, February 2015, this is the end of Lapwing, whoever bought her eventually dumped her in a country lane!  Not the sort of action we would hope a member would take!  Surely better to cut her up or have a Viking funeral, but no, here is a Senior that died of shame!

  U/K Senior at Woodbridge July 2009, snapped by Nigel from the Eventide 'Otteau'.  She is obviously loved, any one know who owns her?

  'Wagtail' Richard Crockatt's lovely Senior.  She was rebuilt by Ron Hockey some years ago, after being recovered from the back of Osea Island.  A beautiful job he made of her too!



Wagtail is moored at Pin Mill and I suspect we will see her at meets next year.

Sadly August 2010 we hear she is for sale, see our pages... Step forward the new owner Bryan Mott.

  Captured by Nigel's camera Easter 2011 at Tollesbury, picking up a buoy single handed.



I've just enrolled, having been unaware that the somewhat sorry looking craft which I found abandoned under a tree, on a farm in Hertfordshire has turned out to be yachting monthly Senior.

I had no prior knowledge of boats prior to purchasing this, however was looking for a project during a lean spell of business 4 years ago.

The boat is now ready to go except for the mast which is too far gone to be usable and will be replaced.

The craft had no docs, marks or plates, however I am told that the previous name was "Benny The Ball" !!

Spencer Perry



Hi John

Please find attached an image of the GRP senior now known as
"Benny the ball" that my late father and I built. My father Brian Watkins at the helm pulling faces with my uncle (Bob Moss) who is still living in Letchworth.

The photo was taken by Vernon Rutt the owner of one of the farms that I refer to. He passed away winter of 2010/11. The picture was taken shortly before my father passed away it was on the river Orwell just off Pin Mill approx 1981. Second pic Pin mill as well.

Gary Watkins

Gary has sent us the history of the building of this Senior. December 2011, I have just realised the name comes from one of the amiable characters in the cartoon 'Top Cat'!

A Brief history of the building of the two glass fibre YM Seniors.

By Gary Watkins

In the early to mid 1970's my father and I built 2 glass fibre YM Seniors. The following is a brief account as far as I can recall about the events that led up to, during and after their construction.

My father wasn't a full time boat builder but worked in his latter years as a time and motion man working for the local council. The building of boats was just a hobby of his that he used to undertake most evenings and weekends when not sailing during the summer months. He started to play around with GRP in the early sixties. This all came about as a result of him becoming fed up spending many evenings during our summer holidays at the boating lake in Sheringham watching my sister and I sailing very small toy boats. It was this that triggered an interest in working with fibre glass. He bought a set of plans to build a half Marble Head class of model yacht. The plug was built out of pine, (bread and butter method) from which he took a mould and then produced a boat each for my sister and myself.

He had several friends that had a variety of boats. Two brothers sharing a small plywood Caprice to start with, which was kept on the Orwell at Pin Mill. We would often drive down from Letchworth in Hertfordshire with one of the brothers just for a dayís sail.

I can recall a conversation that my father had on one occasion whilst down there on the boat. He must having been looking at a YM Senior on a nearby mooring. He said "if I were to build a small cruiser I would build a YM Senior as it is probably the best small boat in its class. It will often out sail boats larger than its self such as the Silhouette and Lysander". (I am not sure how true this all was).

However in the early seventies he wrote to lots of different designers and eventually ended up buying a set of YM Senoir plans.

The building of the plug for the mould was built upside down and clad with a 1/4" hardboard (yes hardboard, early caravans were also made from this material). Much time was spent getting the plug just right and only minor adjustments had to be made. The Deep thick Hog/Keel being one of the changes. The depth was reduced to approx 3/4" and rounded off to help ensure that it released from the mould easier. The building of the plug was undertaken in a very large barn on the outskirts of Baldock. The plug had no back to it as such. There was a 2-3" flange that ran around the transom so that a good quality 3/4" piece of ply that had been sealed/painted could be bolted on to form the transom of the mould.

When the mould had been produced it was moved to another barn a lot smaller and slightly nearer home. This second barn was located towards the top end of Icknield Way in Letchworth. This barn was owned by a man of the name Vernon Rutt whoí families main farm could be found on Wilbury Hills Road.

The first of the two boats produced from this mould had a Burgundy coloured hull. The hull was laid up shortly after Boxing Day in 1974? It was my fatherís intention to have this boat on the water by Easter. The hull was released from the mould by firstly unbolting the transom section and then easing the hull from the side of the mould slightly before using a hosepipe to inject water between the two surfaces so the hull could more or less float out.

I think that the hull had six layers of chopped strand matt. My father used to work one side of the boat with me the other. The keel had many more layers possibly 1/2 - 3/4 thick. I can recall that as we started to lay the hull up we would have a small portable calor gas heater on but as work progressed this heater would get turned off due to the amount of heat given off by the resin. He was quite strict when it came to the amount of resin that we used. He used to say 1Lb resign per square yard. Keep the chop strand matt strands laying straight. Too much resin will make the strands have a curly aperence and too much saturation of the resin will give a brittle lay up. Once we had started the lay up there was no stopping until the job was finished, no breaks or lunches.  

When the boat was nearing completion I seem to recall that it was moved home which was only about a mile away.

My father and I had built a 20'x10' garage with double doors both ends and at the back we had a covered in carport of 25' x 10'. This second area is where the boat was finished off and the keels attached. The main garage contained a circular saw, planner, Pillar drill and all the hand tools and fixings required.

Both boats that we built were the Mk2 version with ballast keel and bilge keels. The masts on both were Gunter rig. This I think was ideal for the type of use the boats were put to and for ease of transportation.

The boat was indeed finished on time as was the second one (Easter) The first one to be built was kept on the River Ouse in St Ives (Jones Boat yard just on the outskirts). I often used to use the boat between St Ives and Godmanchester using the sails and an old Seagull 40+. The Gunter Rig was great as the mast needed to be lowered to get it through the locks. The boat always came home during the winter months and again the mast just got lowered within the tabernacle with crutches to support it within the cockpit.

The second boat to be built was built in the same barn in Icknield Way and again transported home to finish off. Year approx winter of 1975/76

This second boat was built with a self draining cockpit and non standard widows. I also think that we designed the interior so that three at a push to sleep aboard. Both boats also had non standard hatches/companion ways. The size was reduced to approx 24" opening as opposed to the 3' stated on the plans.

Once the second boat had been completed it was launched at Easter at Pin Mill. The boat was kept here during the summer seasons until my father past away. This second boat kept on the Orwell I can't recall ever sailing.

These boats had both been issued with sail numbers and everything was done aboveboard.

The first boat was sold off to someone up north , as I can recall by father towing the boat up the M1 to a service station to meet someone that was interested in buying her. He returned home without the boat so I assume that the sale went smoothly.

When my father past away in the early 80s my mother offered me the boat. I turned the opportunity down (Oh what a fool am I). My mother then offered the boat to my Uncle who took it on. He undertook some work to her and then I believe that he kept her at Grafham Water. He eventually sold her and bought a boat from Vernon Rutt owner of the barn where the Seniorís had been built.

The mould lay up at the farm for many years then the farm was sold off to developers who have now built many homes on the site. I think the mould was destroyed when the developers took over the plot

I still think about building another Senior. Even bought another set of plans in about 1987. I think that if I did build another it would probably be built in wood with a modified lifting keel arrangement rather than a centre plate or ballast keel.



  'Jeannie', S 57, restored beautifully, just needs some sails now...  anyone got a spare set, contact Edward on:- edward.crawford at>



  This U/K Senior is rigged as a Gunter Yawl!  got to be a first.  found for sale 2011 by Chris in Holland, who owns her we wonder?

  Senior 'Wren', owned by new member Mike Sparkes.  She has a deep main keel and no bilge plates, bet she sails well!

  New member Roy Sellwood with his Senior, 'Puffin'.  Checking out the rigging in the front garden, next year the world!

  'Moonfleet'  Bob's newly launched centreboard Senior.  She is here being launched in Wales at Llandegfedd.  Bob and his lad Daniel had flat calm for it!
  As you can see she needs little water as a centreboarder.  He is planning to add 100kg of lead as ballast soon. As the winds were light it did not matter this time!
  Bob certainly had the weather, Summer this year was in March whilst he was afloat here! 

Moonfleet's pictures take the number of pictures to over 2000 on the gallery!

October 2015 and sadly Bob has listed her for sale as he just has not the time to use her....  look at the for Sale pages... 2 months later sold from our pages! December 2015. New owner and member David Bewick!

  Neat electrical panel with solar panel and golf trolley batteries
  Interior of cabin
  Compact but functional stove
  Laid up ashore and under cover, pampered!


SOLD: Senior 'Avocet' (she was for sale on our pages.)

Avocet is 16 feet x 6 feet beam and was built in the 1970's of marine ply on mahogany frames, to a good spec. She is regarded as a mini cruiser - 2 berth with cushions (mattresses). Swing keel, with main sail, working jib and storm foresail, anchors and fenders, and boarding ladder, plus extras.  The first 3 pictures show the then owner Eric Mitchard and the boat was simply called 'Avocet'. Eric was the second owner and sailed her extensively in the Bristol channel.  The inboard was a Stuart 1.5hp.


  She was sold complete with everything you need to go sailing, including a road trailer. She is a very stable boat - quite fast with a crew of two. And the original plans.

SOLD to a friend  Paul Walker, assisted by me  and now kept in South Lincolnshire on her trailer so with a simple 2-3 hour journey allows us to  cruise on the Norfolk Broads,  Blackwater, Soar, Orwell without the 3 day passages to get there.

As we live in South Lincolnshire, her home waters are the Wash , Humber and North Norfolk.

 Alan Stacey

  We usually launch on a swift tideway and the hinged docking posts are tensioned with shock cord which helps us to line up when recovering. The keen eyed will notice the stern gear, she does not appear to have an inboard now, but it was not uncommon for Seniors to sport 4 hp Stuarts or in later boats 4 hp Petter inboards! The inboard was removed as unreliable and replaced with the Mariner 3.5.
  The fishing rod is the traditional garden cane, he is a better sailor than fisherman ! The lad is Arlo Alan's grandson.
  The Senior makes a great little boat and the 3.5 four stroke mariner fits nicely.
  Launched and ready to raise the mast after passage under Fosdyke bridge (A 17) on the River Welland.
  Alongside at Fosdyke Yacht Haven. Well worth a visit if you are ever in The Wash.
  Such a neat little boat.  Alan on the helm
  A stable easy to sail little boat especially single handed. If you look closely you can see the tapered battens fixed to the boom that allow the roller reefing to work and still maintain a good shaped sail.




Hi, have a Kenneth Gibbs yacht I brought it in Scotland about 8 years ago with a hole in her side. I brought it to Salisbury where the hole ended up with re plying both sides and the top frame right around the boat. I then re plyed the deck and used it for 3 years on the Solent done 3 around the island races. Then one day on her moorings a yacht ran into her and smashed the transom so we had to lift her out, since then she has new transom and side covings and just finishing of new cabin roof. I believe she was built for a dentist in Brighton in 1964 and competed in the 1965 fast net she was brought by a writer called Ian Mitchel in Isla who sailed to Norway and wrote a book about her adventure called 'Isles of the North' and she is picture on the front of the book and inside. The 2 photos are of her coming home to be repaired from the Solent.

Tony Cowles.

I wonder if any of our members can help Tony out by identifying the design.  I know Ken built many boats by other designers, including our own MG and this may not be a Gibbs design.  However Ken did design many one offs and was no stranger to multi-chine ply..  Any helpers here.?



Hi, I built my Senior " Anuthee` many years ago and sailor her in the Morecombe Bay out of the River Wyre and spent many great times with good sailing mates, Rod Cragg, in the Ship Inn on Peil Island. Where I was licensee.

Had a few hairy moments in Fog and heavy weather, and once was hit by a hurricane whilst at anchor there, Quite a story there alone. Never once was I afraid of Anuthee not being able to take the weather etc, she was a good friend and protector. Even though small interior it was dry and comfortable and even fitted with `Bucket and Chuckit` Heads :O)

Oh how I miss those wonderful times.

Kind regards to you all . John

Seems John was the King of Peil for a while, those who sail the area will know what I mean!  Nice to have you aboard John, even if you have sold your Senior now and are just one of our 'Friends.'  john

  'Polly'  currently owned by Brian Marsh, for approx last 5 years, sails the Solent area. 2014 and she is up for sale, see the 'For sale' pages

  Unnamed Senior in South Africa.

Jan 2015.  She is now called 'Nu Nu'


  The new owner, and new member, Brent Garvie is looking for info and has just got the drawings from us.
  Brent tell us  that using the drawings he has just acquired a mast for her!  we look forward for new photos and the restoration progresses.

January 2015,  She's called 'Nu Nu'  Have now found out that this means 'cute'!  It was also the name of their cat!  Cute!

Hatch cover is reclaimed "Oregon pine" ( as is also mast and boom ex 'Sharpie' dinghy ), cockpit coaming sides reclaimed " burled cherry", aft is "meranti"

So, for now, the mast will be slightly longer (6.78m) .Hoping this will be OK with the deeper keel? Might need to extend the rudder as well.

All this depends on how she behaves on the water...

At worst, we'll cut the Sharpie sails to Senior specs.


  Planning to experiment with a slightly larger rig, main from a 'paper tiger' 14' catamaran, which is 100ft sq fully battened and a windsurfer sail as jib.
  We're in full Summer here, which means temps in 27-32 C range, but cooled down with a thunderstorm most afternoons around 3pm. This means that painting has to carefully timed...

cheers for now


    January 2017 Brent is parting company with Nu-Nu but with our assistance she is very nearly ready to sail!

  As yet un named Senior being built in Barcelona by Marc Ramos.  The hull completed and work now progressing on the deck and cabin.  We believe this will be an extended bilge keel version. We look forward to more up dates.
  As you can see, September 2015, Marc is getting on well.
  We are hoping to see this boat sailing in a while.
One of the queries Marc had was 'did the hatch have to be that wide?'  Well no Marc if you look at some of the others on this page you will see owners rather do their own thing with a lot of the interiors, so long as the hull shape and basic cabin top shape is the same it will work!

  No Name as yet, but 'A little Careless'  or similar comes to mind.  why???  Well Clayton has built her as a scale model radio controlled 'Pond Yacht'! ('Careless' was the name of one of, if not the first, Senior!)

We are waiting for the pics of her with fin keel attached and sailing!


  'Moth' Ex 'Monaliz' 16ft Senior 1041, once owned and maybe built by David Pickup, now for sale.
  September 2015 see For Sale page.
  she needs some work to bring her back to the condition she was in  a few years back when the picture with her sails up was taken, but she s up for offers.
  She is in Lancashire if you fancy going to look!

  'Shoestring'  Have known of this Senior for many years, since the owner was a member of the old assoc and i was secretary, Editor and the like.. 

Sadly the time has come for the owner to part with her.

  She was seen for sale on the Bay, hope you got a decent price for her, she has always been well cared for.  Tyres got good tread too!
  Another pic this time of the interior, love that mast support!

  Unknown Senior, sail number 232, seen on EBay in May 2016.  Where is she now?


Hi Guys,

I stumbled across your website recently and thought you might be interested in a YM Senior that I built in the late 1970s.
I  redesigned the cabin to give the boat a more modern appearance, curved the transom and modified the cockpit so that it is self draining.
I had the late Len Hedges design a fixed keel comprising a 1/2 inch thick steel plate with lead ballast. The boat also has a larger sail area with a 7m mast stepped on the cabin roof and a bowsprit.
The boat is moored on Pittwater in Sydney Australia.


Bruce Ansted

Replied to Bruce inviting him to enrol and also to share that keel design, pleased to say he has sent a drawing and though faint, feel there is benefit  to all if we can enhance the contrast and add it to the CD of drawings. John



Senior Freya,


Some Pics and details in from Mat our Senior Rep!..  of a nice Senior based in Norfolk UK on the Broads.


As the Senior rep I may at last have something useful for the site!

I've got to know Martin Bailey, who I believe joined the group on my recommendation earlier this year, and since then I have been hassling him to give me details of the YM Senior 'Freya' he built many years ago and keeps at Thurne in Norfolk close to where I moor my boat.

He did contribute an article in the 'We built a Senior' publication which I have a copy of. He recently sent me a selection of pictures which I have enhanced and may be useful for the Senior page on the site.

The boat is standard bilge keels with the centre ballast keel and gaff rigged. He wants to enhance the performance of the boat and spoke with me about the keels. I have since produced some drawings for him to basically increase the depth and do a bit of reshaping.
His intention is to have a couple of new metal plates made which will be bolted directly to the existing keels just to see what happens. If the results prove satisfactory the plan is to have two keels made to the new profile. I will keep you updated on progress.

Please find attached images.


Mat Gravener






       Terry In Canada had sent these pics in of Senior 1483.  She was going begging and  Terry has stepped up the save her.  A little rot in places and a lot of flaky paint, but hope to see her sailing next year!



Jim Nicholls a Senior builder, has sent in a lot of scans from old copies of YM appertaining to Seniors.

Thought the lot should be added here for all to read!  Enjoy!



Starting off with Jim's own Senior!










Many thanks to Jim for sending all these in, a host of reading on 'The Senior' and other designs by Kenneth.

Hello John,

Although I've visited the EOG website quite frequently during the last year I never registered, However, that is now rectified as of a few minutes ago.

I'm up to planking.  I've done P & S Keel to Chine 1 and I'm now on Chine 1 to 2.


Basically, I purchased YMS 914 in the early eighties.  It was ideal (and great fun) to sail her on my local Rivers Trent and Soar.  Having a swing keel you could utilise the full width of the river when tacking against the current without damaging anything when grounding near the bank.  It was a fantastic little boat.  I've sailed larger boats on the local stretches of the river and it is really hard work when going against the current.  Then, for some stupid reason in the late eighties I sold her.  With my hand on heart I can honestly sat she was the only boat I ever regret selling - and I've had a few.  Soon after the sale I was scouring the boating press hoping to find another.  In 1994 I resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to build one, so I purchased a set of plans and was assigned YMS 1671.  Fast forward a few years.  2019 found me retired and needing a project.  I ordered the wood to build a senior.  I opted for utile rather than mahogany due to the cost.  Before the wood was delivered I visited my local Redhill Marina which I did once or twice a year just to see what's going on.  Low and behold, in the undergrowth with a tree growing in the cockpit, derelict, was the old love of my life, Wanderer 1 - YMS 914.  I paid £50 for it much to the amazement of the marina staff.  The remaining brass fittings were worth that but my main reason for the purchase was to have it as a pattern in case I got stuck during the build.  I've enjoyed building so far.  I build in my garage and it is tight - but possible.  I stopped over the winter due to the glue (West System) not working too well in low temperatures (Beetle Cement per the drawings being unobtainable).    I'm trying to be as faithful as I can to the drawings so it's copper nails and roves, but I have used silicone bronze annular ring nails for the planking - they are so tough.  I'm going to have an alloy mast and boom - why?  Because my original YMS 914 had those.  The colour scheme will be the same.  The original had a Seagull Century with a red prop and so will the new one.  I suppose I'm trying to recreate an exact replica of the boat I had so much fun with all those years ago. 


I have attached a few pictures.

1&2 are of the new rudder.

3 is the new boat in the garage.

4 is sailing the old boat on the Trent mid-eighties.

5 Ah yes.  Less said about this the better - engine retrieved after a week on the bottom of the Trent.

6 is the interior.

7 is sailing on the Trent at Trent Lock.

8 is on the mooring at Redhill.


Re 5.  Well it was one of those evenings in May in the mid-eighties.  A friend and myself had gone to do a bit of sailing after work.  There was a shower approaching as we came to the mooring so I opened up and removed the Seagull from the inside and placed it on its mount.  We sheltered for a few minutes in the cabin.  The shower passed, the sun shone and we rigged the boat and we set off.  A gentle motor down the Soar to the Trent and then sail against the current.  The first part of the sailing was very gentle but after the two pubs the countryside opens out and the wind was stronger.  On one particular tack there was a 'plop'.  "The motor's gone" I shouted to my friend. "Mark it" I said as Colin watched a row of bubbles float down the river.  I took a rough note of where we were as I completed the tack.  We moored up and I stripped off and went over the side hoping to touch the motor with my feet.  I dare not put my head under the water in the Trent.  There was always some dispute between us about where the engine might be.  We couldn't find it and Colin said he would ask a couple of diving friends to look for it the next day.  We sailed back to the Soar but Colin had to tow the boat, African Queen style, back to the mooring.  We quickly learned not to tow from the stem as this only pulled the bow into the bank.  I had to go to Bournemouth the following day to carry out an engine change on an aircraft.  It was a week before I was back with a Sea-searcher magnet looking for the engine, the divers having failed saying the current must have carried it away.  I was about to give up when the magnet latched on to the engine.  It was in about 8 foot of water.  In my haste to get the motor on board the little buoyancy that the water was giving it was lost as the motor broke the surface and back down it went.  I had seen the red prop and the chrome exhaust, I knew it was there.  A few minutes later it was on board and that's when the picture was taken.  I took the motor home, drained it, dried it, cleaned it and flushed it.  Within half an hour she was running as good as ever.  I was really impressed with this sturdy little motor.  A year or so later, British Seagull were advertising to overhaul the engine for £32 (I think) so although it was still running perfectly I sent it for overhaul.  It came back gleaming.  I was so pleased.  I had tremendous respect for British Seagull and their product.  I even changed the name of my small limited company to Silver Century Aviation Limited which is dormant but still exists today.

Regards, Mike.

PS  The reason the motor departed the boat was because in my haste to get out of the rain shower I placed the motor on its mount omitting to insert the retaining pin.  Gravity kept the motor in place during the motoring and gentle tacking, but as the wind increased, so did the heel and 'plop'.

Great to have you aboard Michael and I hope the few Seagull parts help to recreate that reliable old Silver Century of the 1980's!