built 1887 by Orr Junior, Thomas, Greenock

Ensign House flag


National Historic Fleet

Leisure Craft



Private use














To be confirmed

12.00 feet (3.66 metres)

60.95 feet (18.59 metres)

7.61 feet (2.32 metres)



NELL was commissioned by Robert Cowan Robertson from George Watson (other yachts designed by him include THISTLE, VALKTIE 2 and 3, SHAMROCK for Sir Thomas Lipton, METEOR for the German Emperor, and BRITANNIA for Edward, Prince of Wales). NELL was built by Thomas Orr at Greenock along the lines of a Loch Fyne skiff, and launched in Greenock on 23 June 1887. The interior is highly decorated and sliding stained glass windows mask the portholes. Prior to 1982, she was often seen in the Falmouth area as she was owned by Dion Erasmus and was moored off Flushing. In 1982, NELL was the subject of a television documentary film by Lawrie Emberson and for a time formed part of the display of vessels at St Katherine's Dock, London. She was owned for a time by Neil Gamble of Teignmouth and was often to be seen in the River Teign in the 1960s. At that time she had a large wooden deckhouse.

Old Gaffer's Association Member's Handbook and Boat Archive (1993)
David Palmer Jones, Yachting Monthly (May, 1972, pp714-6) The Story of the Nell

Key dates

  1. 1887 Built by Thomas Orr Jnr of Greenock for Robert Cowan Robertson
  2. 1929 Fitted with a two-cylinder paraffin motor
  3. 1960s Purchased by Neil Gamble of Teignmouth
  4. 1967 Registered at Lloyds as a yacht
  5. 1969 Purchased by Edward Bonel who sailed her from Teignmouth to London.  She was hit by a squall, losing her topmast  Her pumps failed and she was forced into Poole for repairs,
  6. 1969-1971 Renovation to her original condition
  7. 1970s Owned by Hugh Lloyd-Jones and based in Dartmouth where she took part in the Old Gaffers Race and later was based at Mylor Bridge
  8. 1977 Sold to an unknown purchaser
  9. 1982 Took part in a television documentary film as one of a display of vessels at St Katherine’s Dock, London
  10. 1990 Cockpit enlarged
  11. 1990s Purchased by David Stabb
  12. 1995 Won the Seafile Trophy for the oldest vessel at the Falmouth Classics Rally
  13. 2005 Purchased by new owner


  1. 1972 Yachting Monthly The Story of the Nell
  2. 1993 Old Gaffer's Association Member's Handbook and Boat Archive
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact

copper fastened:

a vessel whose plank fastenings are of copper rather than iron