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Swan of Teynham – a steam launch


A steam launch with cabin

Featured at the London Boat Show in 1992 Swan of Teynham was presented as follows :

“What is 27 ft long, has a 15 hp engine and costs £75,000 ? The answer is the glorious Bay Class Yachts steam launch. The flawless finish disguises a double diagonal epoxy coated cedar and mahogany hull with teak decks, while the superstructure is solid mahogany. Power comes from a reproduction 1895 Liquid Fuel Engineering Co compound steam engine, powered in this case by a oil fired water tube boiler. Exhaust steam is recycled through a keel condenser, eliminating the need for large water tanks.”

In fact the engine was built by the venerable Alex Ritchie who subsequently worked for Richard Branson on his hot air balloon project. Alex lost his life to this experience sadly but was known as an amazing Cambridge educated engineer who was fascinated by steam. While Alex intended the boiler to be coal fired it was transformed into an oil fired burner.

Ted Spears of Bay Class Yachts from Teynham designed the launch with the archetypal Victorian Thames cabin launch in mind.

In 1998 a Dutch company bought the boat from its British owner and modified the boiler in accordance with the demands of the Dutch Steam association. More than a hundred copper pipes were replaced with stainless steel piping.

With a small cabin seating four and a large canopied aft cockpit plus a large separate forward cockpit the boat is suitable for up to 12  guests.

All the original drawings are available as well as photos of the building process.


Bay Class Yachts
Year of build
27ft (8.3 metres)
7ft6ins (2.31 metres)

Please call Gillian on 01491 578 870 for more information


Henley Sales and Charter Ltd have gained a reputation over the last 30 years for selling and chartering beautiful, classic boats. Experience of operating and selling boats on the river Thames enables us to offer expert objective advice to prospective owners on all aspects of boat ownership including purchase, surveys, repairs and moorings. We will do our best to find the ideal craft to suit your individual needs - for a day or for a lifetime.

Henley Sales & Charter Ltd

29 Station Road
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire


01491 578 870
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