Tuloa photographed by Martin Hansen, October 2017
A Mysterious Boat In Conwy
In my home port of Conwy in North Wales, 2017, an old wooden boat sat, advertised as a 'project'. Although neglected and her interior dismantled, the hull looked robustly built. Intrigued, and with a view to spreading the word that here was a boat worth saving, I set about trying to find out her history. Although her name was not known, a six digit number was etched into one of her deck beams; it looked like a Lloyd's registration number.
The yard thought she was designed by James McGruer and that fact along with the number 159855 was enough to locate the boat in my 1964 Lloyd's Register of Yachts; Tuloa.
Tuloa's Famous Owner
Tuloa was owned for over 30 years by the famous yachtsman Harry Mitchell. After a failed attempt in 1972, he completed the 1976 OSTAR (Observer Single Handed Transatlantic Race) from Plymouth to New York sailing Tuloa through two severe and three moderate depressions that caused 50 of the 125 participating boats to retire, and sinking two of them. Harry died in 1995, aged 70, whilst competing in the BOC round the world race in his 40-foot boat Henry Hornblower, vanishing without trace in the Southern Ocean. A year later, Harry's Tuloa, which had been in a shed for eight years, was sold. As is so often the case, a well intentioned restoration was attempted by the new owner but not completed, Tuloa being offered for sale as a half completed project in 2005. The interior at this point had been dismantled. It had not been reinstated since, unfortunately, her owner reluctantly admitted that saving the boat was beyond him. By December 2019, Tuloa had been taken on by a new owner and moved from the yard. Should he need inspiration, a look at Tiarella may help. Hopefully, we shall hear and more of Tuloa in the future.
Built : 1951 by The Shamrock Cruising Co Ltd in Crosshaven, Ireland
LOA : 33' 0"
LWL : 24' 0"
Beam : 8' 4"
Draught : 5' 4"
Displacement : 8 tons TM
Lloyd's Register : N° 159855
Tuloa Custodians & Home Ports
Philip MH Wood (?-2009-2015-?) Conwy, Wales
HG Mitchell (1964-1996) Hamble, Hampshire, England
HS & G Peckham (1961-1963) Hamble, Hampshire, England
NR Junkison (1958-1960) Warsash, Hampshire, England
Dr Ian Farquharson (1956-1957) London, England
Major Robert H Pringle (?-1952-1955) Cork, Ireland
• None found (December 2019)
Page last updated : December 2019