A Fully Restored Cyclone
Little Kingfisher may be old but she's in tip-top condition, having been completely re-furbished by shipwright Paul Drake in Tollesbury in the years leading up to 2009. Up until 2020, she was frequently to be seen in the Solent and, indeed, was one of the nine Harrison Butler boats that gathered on the Newtown River in July 2014. Along with her husband Dan, Little Kingfisher was then owned by Hannah Mathews, neé Cunliffe. She is the daughter of sailor, writer and broadcaster Tom Cunliffe. More recently, Ben Freeth took over as custodian of this delightful boat. He's just (May 2021) sailed her from Chichester to the Medway and tells me “She's a lovely little vessel, I was star struck as soon as I saw her”. Ben's interested in making contact with other owners of boat built to Harrison Butler's Cyclone design and wonders if any have completed notable passages.
Before World War II, Kingfisher (as she was then) was sailed to Scandinavia. Unfortunately she was left behind in a fjord when war broke out. To make matters worse she was ice-bound for a time which roughed her up, and distorted her shape. However, once the war was over she was rescued by an Army Officer who had her transported back to the Isle of Wight in an Army lorry.
Little Kingfisher Statistics
Built : 1926 by AH Watty of Fowey, Cornwall
LOA : 21' 6"
Beam : 7' 3"
Draught : 4'
Displacement : 4 tons TM
Lloyd's Registration N° : 182242, Cowes
OGA Boat Number : 1240
Signal Letters : 2FGD2
MMSI : 235090973
Little Kingfisher, c1950
Little Kingfisher Custodians & Home Ports
Ben Freeth MBE (2021...) Medway, Kent, England
Helen Greenfield and Andrew Wheatley (2017-2021) Chichester Marina, England
Dan and Hannah Matthews (2012-2017) Solent, England
The Birchall Family (1994-2012) Tollesbury, Mawansmith (Cornwall), England
Richard Best (1975-?) Woolverstone
AE Bloomfield (1953-1975) Woodbridge
Major DS Sole (1952) Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Maj-Gen Sir Horace Roome KCIE CB CBE MC (1947-1951) Yarmouth IoW
The Exors of the late John C Carter (?-1946) Itchenor
John C Carter (?-1938-1939-?) Itchenor
Page last updated : May 2021