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- 712 days ago
ESCAPE THE RAT RACE AND LIVE AFLOAT.....
Peggotty – 50’ Dickens Class ex RASC General Service Launch.
The Short version –
Peggotty is a serious and much admired 50’ Dickens Class vessel of historical significance which can be used as she is now for cruising or as a comfortable and spacious live-aboard or both. Peggotty is fitted with twin 120 HP Ford six cylinder engines giving her an average cruising speed of 8 knots and a range of 720 miles. She is an efficient and reliable little ship with full navigational aids inc safety equipment. Peggotty is used regularly and has motored extensively on the East and South coast as well as several trips to France. Peggotty is 51’6” long 15’ wide she has a draft of 4’ and an air draft of 23’ and she weighs in the region of 25 tonnes. She is berthed in Benfleet Essex and viewing / sea trials are welcome. Peggotty is on the national register of historic vessels and she recently took part in the Queen’s diamond jubilee pageant and I have it on good authority she was present at the Queen’s Coronation review at Spithead in 1953.
The Long Version -
History: Peggotty was put into service for the Royal Army Service Corp (RASC) in August 1944 to assist in the war effort. This was at a time when the army had its own fleet of boats used for a variety duties. Peggotty was used as a General Service Launch(GSL) to ferry around logistical stores for the British Army where ever they were needed in the world.
Peggotty was based in Yarmouth and Wooten Creek on the Isle of Wight and she also served for a period of time out of Garrison Fort on the Isle of Sheppey. Peggotty was decommissioned and put up for sale by the RASC in 1967 when she was sold into private hands. I am unsure about her history between then and when I purchased her off the Norfolk Broads in 1998.
Construction: Peggotty is built of double diagonal mahogany on oak frames and she has a larch deck. Apart from some erosion you would expect to the boards beneath water level she is sound and in very good condition for her age. I have painted and anti-fouled her several times and this has given me the opportunity to track her condition during the years I have owned her. I have only had to cut in minor repairs where she has been nudged by other boats upon occasion (you know who you are !!). At the beginning of the season I take her to Leigh-on-Sea on a hard standing and it takes me about 3 or 4 hours to coat up and touch in the sides.
Engines: When I took her on Peggotty was fitted with her original Ailsa Craig engines which although reputed to be indestructible were sea cooled worn and aging. For the sake of reliability and safety at sea I replaced both engines with a pair of 1970’s Ford 6d’s (6 cylinder 120 HP). This resulted in her becoming a completely different boat and I have motored her around the South and East coast and several times across to France without a hitch. I have accurately measured that @ 1500 RPM she consumes no more than 2 ½ Gallons per hour giving a speed between 8 and 10 knots dependent upon the tide. She carries 225 gallons giving her an estimated range of 720 nautical miles @ 8 knots. She is fitted with 2:1 PRMs which are pretty much bullet proof themselves. The pumps have been overhauled at a cost of £200 each as I was fortunate that little needed doing to them.
Electrical: The port engines charges a 12v system which powers the electronics, lighting, ancillaries and Inverter. The St’b engine charges a 24v system which powers the bilge pumps, radar, Nav lights and back up sailor radio. Both 12v and 24v Dc systems have a primary source with a backup and dual charging systems as I have found that this dual system ensures power is where it needs to be when it is needed.
Generator: This year I have fitted a Yanmar driven Pramac 10 KVA generator which is integrated into a shore / generator / Inverter switching system. This makes Peggotty entirely self sufficient able to provide a huge power supply for herself and also quieter power via the inverter when needed.
Instrumentation: I have fitted Peggotty only with instruments in keeping with her period appearance however all function to a modern standard. Her rev counters , oil and temperature gauges were sourced from an older engine set up and look appropriate for her. She has a Furuno Radar in perfect working order as is the small plotter(5”). She has of course a modern DSC radio and an age appropriate Sailor backup. She has an older auto pilot fitted a slightly better version than a point and go as any direction can be set on the control unit. I have fitted a battery level indicator that monitors both 12v systems and both 24v systems separately. The generator is key operated from the wheelhouse and temperature / oil can be monitored here also. The wheel house has two helm seats fitted that are hinged with storage underneath. Including battery storage. The engine room is accessed via a removable hatch and there are cabin doors to both port and st’b. The steering is chain, rod and cable which is free and easy to use and of course leak proof. There is a large sliding sun roof in the wheelhouse also.
Bilge system: The bilge system is based upon 3 compartments with individual electronic level detector fed manual / auto switches. They are linked to an electronic bilge-watch system that monitors bilge activity i.e. pump operations over a given period of time. This enables you to see if there is an increase in bilge activity other than that you would expect from a wooden boat. Peggotty collects a small amount of water in the bilges and this is good for a wooden boat however I have every confidence in her and will leave her for weeks at a time on a swing mooring with little attention being demanded from her.
Accommodation: Furthest fwd is a storage / chain locker which is accessible via the fwd workshop. I prefer to carry commonly used spares and every conceivable tool to maintain and repair should the need arise.
Next is the Saloon approximately 9’ long with seating/bunks either side and storage underneath. This cabin is spacious, well lit and airy with power points and a television. This cabin has a 2kw diesel Eberspacher hot air heater.
Moving towards the rear and to port is a kitchen fitted with a full size LPG gas cooker, stainless steel sink and storage. To St’b is a storage room / pantry fitted with a 12v/mains/gas powered fridge and a microwave/oven. This cabin houses the electrical consumer board and has ample space for storage.
Moving further to af’t you step down to the rear section of the boat which houses the master bedroom, head and shower room. The shower room is to port with a sliding door and is fitted with a large glass door / shower with ample room to change and dry. The head is to St’b fitted with a sea toilet, small wash hand basin and the gas boiler vented to the safely to the outside. Both these cabins and the lobby between them are well lit by a large obscure glass hatchway above.
The master bedroom houses a 3’6” bed which is comfortable enough for two provided you haven’t had a row earlier. To port here are two large pull out drawers and with a storage locker beneath and there is also storage below the bed. To St’b there is a cupboard that has ample hanging and storage space. The rear cabins have another 2kw Eberspacher hot air heater. Furthest to the rear is the quadrant steering compartment.
There is 240v and 12v lighting throughout and the cabins are all carpeted throughout.
Deck: Peggotty has the benefit of a huge amount of interior space and uncommonly a huge amount of deck space also as usually one compromises the other. She has a large forward deck with two hatches and anchor winch (handraulic I’m afraid) and fwd pulpit. The wheelhouse sides and coach roofs are hardwood and two pack coated finished in white. The side decks ar 2’ wide and take you to the rear where there is a raised coach roof holding the main mast and large glazed hatch. There are 13 deck funnels and these add considerably to Peggotty’s charm and character. Some of the photo’s of Peggotty show her with her main mast lowered or removed as a result of transits with low bridges needing the air clearance.
I have done my best to give an accurate overview of Peggotty, her condition and equipment. I will welcome any viewing and sea trials when tidal conditions allow. In my opinion Peggotty is aimed towards the historically appreciative boater, somebody who can use their hands and/or somebody who wishes to live aboard a rewarding, comfortable home full of character. I lived aboard Peggotty for four years after buying her and I loved every minute of it and we regularly use her now as a weekend retreat even when not cruising around on her.
I have an extensive folder of pictures showing Peggotty from every angle inside and out. If you contact me I will be happy to reply and mail them to you.
Alternatively see Peggotty's own Facebook page - 'Peggotty RASCV'
I’m looking to work on the water so I will consider part exchange for a workboat - I will pay a commission to any person who is instrumental in brokering this vessel on my behalf.
I have been told that, given her historical significance, Peggotty would be eligible for Lottery funded restoration / renovation or a charitable trust status whereby funds could be raised. I simply do not have the know how or skill to achieve this as stated my aim is to put a smaller vessel to work and potter on that way.
Delivery can be arranged
If you have any questions regarding Peggotty I will be happy to answer them via email or over the phone on
Kind Regards Neil