Swn Y Mor is a boat that could tell some tales. Built in 1935, she is a 46ft Watson Class Lifeboat originally constructed from diagonally planked mahogany on Canadian rock elm and English oak frames and longitudinal planking rivetted using copper nails.

Above: Swn Y Mor in the SYH workshop

Built by Groves & Gutteridge of East Cowes for the RNLI, Swn Y Mor was one of a series of twin screw cabin lifeboats. Serving in Wales until 1963, Swn Y Mor was involved in many call outs including the World Concorde tanker disaster in 1954, which saw the ship break in half during a storm in the Irish Sea.

Bought in 1980 by Warren and Helen Scott, Swn Y Mor was converted into a world cruising, gaff-rigged sailing yacht. Whilst the transformation from lifeboat to world cruiser was substantial, the Scotts retained many of Swn Y Mor’s original lifeboat deck fittings and features (including the original RNLI steel and bronze hatch on the foredeck). The Scott’s extensive renovation of Swn Y Mor and subsequent circumnavigation is documented in the March 1994 and various 2008 issues of Classic Boat magazine.

Above: Swn Y Mor’s history has been well documented

Now at SYH, Swn Y Mor is undergoing another significant milestone. The SYH team is working alongside the boat’s owner on several aspects of the project. Whilst the owner is carrying out much of the woodwork, including decking, cap rail, exterior doors, and interior joinery, SYH is doing the structural hull repairs, stripping and varnishing the spars, and the interior carcassing. Onsite engineering business French Marine has designed and fitted new engine beds and flexible engine mounts to minimise vibration, and they will install new engines.

SYH Boatyard Services Director Joshua Major commented, “It’s wonderful to have a boat with such maritime heritage at SYH. Not only are we working alongside the owner on the refit, upon completion Swn Y Mor will remain here as a berth holder and cruise the east coast.”

Above: Swn Y Mor’s interior has been stripped out ahead of a refit
Above: an insight into Swn Y Mor’s days as a lifeboat
Above: Swn Y Mor in the SYH workshops

To find out more about boat restoration at SYH, contact SYH Boatyard Services Director Joshua Major via joshua@syharbour.co.uk / 01473 659465