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Bowling and Clyde boats

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blackmount1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blackmount1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2016 at 12:43pm
grate photo s do you no what hapend to the boat at top its name was tarrena when it first came in and when photo was taken it was in the top abuve lock for years wher it had sunk a few time s
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blackmount1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2016 at 10:36am
Originally posted by spacemutt spacemutt wrote:

Ok..I was going to wait until I got some pictures to go with this, but that may not be until the middle of next week. So I shall post the facts now, and pics later.

After reading a lot of hearsay a rumours about boats from Bowling and the surrounding area, I thought I would set the record straight. I grew up in Bowling harbour, and was there in the days of the old soap-box boats, through to the post-refurbished harbour with shiny boats. I saw all the old boats get cleared out, and we even helped salvage some of the sunk boats. I shall list the boats in no particular order, and tell you all that I know about them.

Zakana. Zakana was a Whale Back MTB that was a residential boat in the upper basin at Bowling Harbour. She was grey, and had a roughly original shaped cabin, but I think this was a later replacement. Her original engines were gone, and she had a single old bus engine fitted. As with all these old boats, rot was well and truely present. Her deck had been concreted to stop the rain getting in. She was latterly abandoned, the owner living somewhere in the south. I used to explore the inside of her. I loved the feeling of being inside one of these boats.
When the harbour was cleared by British Waterways so they could drain and repair the harbour, she needed to be moved. We ended up owning her, as the owner couldn't do anything with her. We pulled her out to the outer harbour where we moored her on the mud until we could figure out what to do with her, or find someone who could save her. But wind blew her up onto the hard standing, and when she dried out at low tide, she healed over. When the tide came back in, the then open exhause ports submerged and she filled up with water. When the tide went out, the weight of the water inside was too much, and it ripped the starboard side of the boat out and broke her back. She was a total loss. The only thing worth saving were some port holes (I still have a couple). One of the other boat owners took the stainless shaft one night. She was later burned by someone. Her keel and lower hull is still just visible as far as I know. We were absolutely gutted about what happened to her. Cry

Luckey Dollar. Yes, it was spelled wrong. Luckey Dollar was, I believe, a 100 class air-sea rescue boat. But I heard she was a bit special too. I heard she was used for smuggling people across the channel during the war, and she was the only one with her original superstructure. I *think* she was a residential boat also. She had no engines (possibly 3 originally?) and was in a very poor state. She was derelict in the upper basin, opposite Zakana. She suffered fire damage, and sank in there. We raised her (twice I think...) for her new owner who had grand plans of repairing her, but as is so often the case, didn't have the financial backing needed for a project like that. She was towed from Bowling to the Cart river at Paisley. She sat on a mooring there for a while until he decided it was in too poor a state and destroyed her with a JCB. A sad loss to a rare boat.

Marlin. Marlin was a 40ft sea-plane tender (as designed by T. E. Lawrence) from the 1930s. Her original cabin and engines were gone. She had a superstructure which was removed and replaced with a different one before she was towed to Greenock to be lifted out of the water. She was found to be in a very poor state. She was offered to the maritine museums, but no-one took her and she was eventually destroyed.

Blue Fin. Blue Fin was, I think, a tordepo recovery craft from Loch Long, or Gare Loch. She had a blue hull and an orangy cabin. She sat quietly in the corner of the lower basin until the clear-out, and I think she went to the river Leven after that. Not sure what happened to her after that, or if she's still there.

Boat at Sandpoint. While we're in the Leven, I'll bring up the boat at Sandpoint boatyard, apparently being restored by the daughter of someone connected to the boat. This was not an air-sea rescue boat. It was a sea-plane tender, the same as Marlin. Perhaps she is being confused with Marlin (the rumour about coming from Bowling). But she was never in Bowling that I know of. I think she was the one moored in the Leven. I saw her in the poly-tunnel, just the hull remained, stripped to bare wood. She disappeared from there and I assume she was taken away by road as she couldn't have been put back together in such a short time.

Osprey. Osprey was bought in Gibraltar, and used as a dive carter boat. He removed her original engines and fitted two smaller ones. But personal problems brought the owner home to Scotland, and he brought Osprey back with him. She was moored in Holy Loch before being sold. She was lifted out of the water at Sandpoint and re-fitted. She was put up for sale again after re-launch. I'm not sure if she sold or what she's doing now.

Aquilamaris. Aquilamaris was a target towing craft, and bought by a chap called Les. She had two big Volvo Penta engines and a hi-ab fitted. Les used her as a work/dive/charter boat for a number of years. He spent a lot of time and money on her. In fact, he once said that his wife got so fed up she said "it's me or the boat". So he went to live on the boat. LOL She was in and out of Bowling and Holy Loch. She wasn't used by the US Navy, though they may have employed Les to do work for them. She was badly damaged at one point. She had towed a boat to Ardrishaig at the Crinnan canal, and Les and his two crew tied up for the night and went to the pub. It turned out to be a rather long night at the pub... After staggering back to the boat at closing time, they turned in for the night. But one of the crew (I can't remember his name..) decided that he wanted to go home that night. So he started up, cast off, of headed straight out of the harbour. But he forgot that you need to turn to avoid the reef outside the harbour...and drove her straight up on the rocks! She was holed and in trouble. They quickly set all pumps running and as the tide came in, they re-floated her. They tied up at Ardrishaig again and sent for a tow and more pumps. I think she was towed back by Morag from Bowling, but not sure. She was kept afloat and taken into Sandpoint where Les and a friend re-built the hull.
He used to live on her and often wintered in Bowling. Once, one of my dogs decided to go pay him a visit...right after he painted the deck! Green paws and footprints everywhere...
He must have sold her as she is not laid up in Ireland. She has lost her hi-ab and the small storage/aft cabin to give her a flat deck.

Voyager. Not a powerboat, but Voyager was in Bowling lower basin for many years and was rumoured to be the Admiral's barge off HMS Hood. She was supposed to have been removed during a re-fit at John Brown's before she sank. Voyager in now at Irvine Maritin Museum.

Vello (P29). This was a bought by Rex Lyonns who brought her over from Holland. She sat in the outer harbour at Bowling for a while. I have heard talk of a German R Class boat being at Bowling, but this is what people are thinking of. She as dark grey (I originally thought green) and had "Vello" painted in yellow on the side. She was sold by Rex, not sure what happened to her after that, but I did hear a rumour she had problems in the Crinnan canal when concrete that had been used to repair holes in the hull fell out! Whether or not that's true I don't know. Vello is mentioned here.

River Leven boat yard. Not really a boat...but there is an entire boatyard on the shore of the Leven where they built MTBs during the war. And it's all still there....but...under the football pitches! During early ground radar testing on the football pitches next to Sandpoint, they kept finding lumps. Apparently, they are MTB engines! The whole yard was bulldozed and burried after the war. Not sure if anyone can confirm the yard was there?

When I get some pictures of these boats scanned I will post them for you. I hope this helps clear up a few mysteries and puts some rumours to rest. Smile

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johnk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2016 at 4:49pm
Hi there,

Many thanks for this great piece on the vessels, fascinating reading..I can say that the Velo 2 P29 is still going strong, post her transit of the canal, she was pumped out and rescued, came to the River Medway, Kent and was bought by a couple I was friends with, helped a bit with the restoration, much work on the hull and engines, chap was a marine engineer/fitter, wife also great help and support, lived aboard for a number of years, but....now sold and berthed at Ramsgate, new owner took her to Dunkirk and took part in the new film of the evacuation...all the best,

Johnk

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Dumbarton Lad View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dumbarton Lad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 August 2021 at 11:47am
I cannot qualify the MTB yard under the football fields on the west side of Woodyard Road on the west side of the Leven, But in about 1962 my dad bought an ex-RAF hull from the maintenance yard between Woodyard Road and the Leven. I believe that this must have been part of MU 213, which according to a Web entry: -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Royal_Air_Force_Maintenance_units#No._201_Maintenance_Unit_%E2%80%93_No._300_Maintenance_Unit
incorporated both RAF Dumbarton (marine craft) and RAF Greenock (Flying Boats)
At the time I would be 10 or 11 and was tasked as dogs body to help get the hull seaworthy, and spent some time playing in the yard, which even by then had become overgrown with trees, bushes and brambles. However, there were still numerous complete boats, hulls, and wrecks in the the yard which still had 4 of the 72 ft class boats moored against pilings in the Leven, I believe that one sported torpeedo tubes! Ashore there were numerous 72 and 42 ft hulls and boats a number of which 'vanished' between weekend visits to the yard.
The site was about 150 yards long and 50 yards wide at its widest, bounded on its 3 landward sides by high brick walls. There was a building roughly in the centre of the site near Woodyard Road, with an entry gate to the south of the building, I think that this building can still be seen in the satelite maps of the area, and appeaars to still exist as a private house, though the site has now been leveled and is a park.
There was a slipway into the Leven just to the North of the building, and I can remember trout fry sheltering in the slack water inside the slipway before being swept into the Clyde and then sea by the fast flowing Leven.
I can remember that the upper floor of the house had Link Trainers installed and there were piles of scrapped electronics chassis - including Link Trainer parts - piled round the house.
My memories of what was at the bottom of the site, between the south of the building and the brick wall that divided the site from Denny's Boat and Ship Yard are rather vague, since I was seldom allowed to venture that far down the site. I believe that there was a second large gate into the site at this wall, but I could be confusing the one beside the Building.
The Hull my father bought was a roughly 40ft class boat - but not an ST1500 one - variously described as a Target Towing hull, but it had no superstructure, engine, wiring or stern gear when purchased. The hull was also very narrow being of less than 10ft beam. From memory the hull appeared to be unpainted, and was a dark greyed weathered mahogony colour. It took several attempts at stoppering oiling and red leading to get the hull roughly watertight. There were the remains of both a fore deck and side decks, and two bunks behind the stem bulkhead below which was some sort of rigid dark reddy brown rigid foam, which, since I was still reasonably small, it was my job to strip out. The area was a 'black hole', so must have been completely covered by the fore deck. There was also more of this material further back in the hull.
Internet searches indicate that the site was finally emptied and returned (to the Council?) in 1963. I believe that the hull was finally launched into the Leven in early 1963, and moored in the river below the supermarken carpark.
I have photos of the hull there. it having a number of distinctive features - firstly a straight stem unlike the scymitar profyle of the ST1500 hulls, the deck line was not straight (as with the ST1500s), but had a significant down curve to the deck starting from about 12 ft aft of the stem, which ment that the stem must have 4 or more inches below the position if the deck line had been stright. Finally and interestingly, the boat had a peculial stern, although flat, the lower profile was concave, with with the outer corners of the chines at the stern being noticeably lower than the keel. This again must have been a few inches, and begs the question if the hul was one which had been extended from a shorter design when being built. The hull was of the usual Double Diagonal bottom, with single diagonal side over oak frme construction, typical of all of the inshore launces.
Over the next 2 or 3 years the hull was converted into a 6 berth cabin cruiser with P6 engines and Torqueflyte gearboxes. The stern gear came from the Balloch Sea Scouts written off ST1500 class boat, which had been damaged when the crane lifting it on shore had overballanced falling across the boat, breaking the hulls back. Yes, it was the 'dogs body's job' to burn all of the chopped up parts of the hull and riddle the ashes to recover the copper rivets and bronze screws. I always went home rater grubbier than I arrived!
Now back to Bowling, the Hull became 'Gilhickie' and overwintered at Bowing Basins on three or four occasions, whilst being converted, and for re-painting. In fact the engines and sterngear were fitted at Bowing basin with the boat lifted out of the water just to the Clyde side of the railway bridge, with the boat being moored over the winter in the canal at that position whilst the Engine installations were finished and commissioned. The boat had a white hull, light green decks and a mahogony wheel house in the middle.
The boat was sold in the early 70s and last seen in a poor condition (I believe with a damaged bow) in Bowling Basin in the mid to late 70s.
Any information anyone has of the boat would be appreciated.

I remmber it well
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