How many vessels can witness their original builder coming on board aged over 90 at the helm of a boat built by them decades earlier? Merita is one of these rare birds, built in Falmouth and relaunched there after a ground up rebuild on the Thames. The family who own the boat immediately contacted the local community and were able to trace the builder who helmed her in Falmouth Harbour just a few years ago. I imagine that the interior and some of the electrics were seriously upgraded and the flying bridge was definitely a new addition but essentially this was the very same boat to have been launched in 1936.
The builders were named Frazier and their yard was in Megavissey where the Maritime Museum is now located. It was built of pitch pine on oak as a private motoryacht although much of the yard's output was destined for the fishing industry. She is a strikingly pretty boat with a canoe stern and a wheelhouse which was added in the sixties. Forty something years later an external helm position was added during the rebuild.
Rebuilt by Dennetts over a number of years she was a finalist in the Classic Boat awards in 2020. She now sleep 6 with one forward cabin, a master cabin at the stern with a double berth and a spacious saloon with bunks. Everything on board is now electric thanks to a 4kva generator. You will find an induction hob and can use a kettle and hairdryer with impunity. There is one heads area with a shower.
Below decks the entire boat was rewired and a new 74 hp Sole diesel engine fitted. You can expect to find a thoroughly modern boat with a traditional exterior. Certainly Arthur, a young member of the build team just prior to the second world war during the nineteen thirties was thrilled when he went to sea in her aged 98. He was a former naval officer on an aircraft carrier and during the war he thinks the boat was around the Poole area but could not be sure whether she was commandeered for service in the Dunkirk runs.
Lloyds register has a full record of all the owners of Merita up to the present day.
Merita is currently on the Thames and available for viewing. She would be happy to stay inland or to head back to her Cornish roots.
Please ask us for a full inventory and a copy of the Lloyds register.
See below for a neat time line from build to the end of the big rebuild.
MERITA is a canoe stern, round bilge, shoal draught gentleman’s coastal motor yacht. She was designed by a naval lieutenant Pruitt, from St Just, for his personal use, built in Fraziers yard in Mevagissey (which is now the Maritme Museum) and as was tradition, launched over the harbour wall to the beach. Hull construction is of pitch pine on oak frames. As a tribute to Fraziers’ build quality, the hull, deck and saloon side timbers are totally original. Likely to have had an open stern for sea fishing, sometime in the 1960’s, a wheelhouse and aft cabin were added. When the present owner bought her there was little of the interior to preserve and a full rebuild was planned. As usual with wooden boat projects it took longer and cost more than anticipated! 2004/5 : Hull strip back and refurbishment 2009 : Full strip out of interior and topsides 2010/11/12 : New deck beams, interior structure, wheelhouse and coachroof, aft cabin 2016/17 : Engine, basic systems fitout Feb 2017 : Merita launched for the first time in over 20 years 2017/18 : Interior fitout and cosmetic furnishings April 2019 : Merita returns to salt water for the first time in 30 years Our thanks go to Michael and Stephen Dennett at Dennett Boatbuilders for many years of tolerance, understanding and advice not to mention exceptional boat
'Builder Returns to Boat' - Article about 'Merita' from Classic Boat Magazine (March 2020)