Certificate no 1939
Status Registered


Function Leisure Craft
Subfunction Yacht
Location Ramsgate
Vessel type Pleasure Yacht
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Noble & Co, James, Fraserburgh
Built in 1935
Hull material
Rig Gaff Ketch
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 2
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 2
Primary engine type Inboard diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
12.50 feet (3.81 m)
6.00 feet (1.83 m)
Length: Overall
45.50 feet (13.88 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



Built in 1935 by Noble & Co of Fraserburgh, SHEEMAUN is a gentleman’s motor yacht. The hull is carvel built of oak frames with pitch pine and larch planking. She is ketch rigged and currently has two Beta Marine Diesel engines installed. In 1939, SHEEMAUN was registered to Lt Cmdr R H Calvert-Link of Hinton Buildings, Southampton, but in the same year she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy. The MOD HM Naval Base Portsmouth have confirmed that SHEEMAUN was assigned to the Thames Auxiliary Pool at Cliffe (North Kent) where it is almost certain that she would have been engaged in 'clandestine duties'.

SHEEMAUN was laid up on 6 November 1945 and then passed to the Department of Sea Transport (Merchant Navy), being sold out of service in 1947. During WWII 'Sheemaun', the Royal Naval History Unit at Portsmouth has confirmed 'Sheemaun' was armed with two Hotchkiss Heavy Machine guns, they were pretty nasty things with a range of 4,500 yards and capable of taking out a light tank or an Eboat!

From 1965 to 1972, SHEEMAUN was registered to T W H Burton Esq. She was then owned by Rear Admiral Gordon Gray CB, DSC from 1972-1981. With his son, Nick Gray, he cruised SHEEMAUN extensively on the South Coast, East Coast, North French Coast, Belgium, Holland, Germany and to the Baltic, including Denmark. In 1981, Lt Cmdr Ian Pearson of Pangbourne Nautical College purchased SHEEMAUN. Ian Pearson cruised SHEEMAUN extensively from Upper Thames - Lower Thames - South East Coast - South Coast - South West Coast - North French Coast - Normandy Coast - Seine to Paris - St Malo - Channel Islands taking over the years many scores of cadets, six at a time, for hands-on sea going experience for a week or more and changing crews wherever there were connecting train, ferry, or bus services.

She was acquired by her present owner in 1987. The vessel had a major refit between 2001 and 2004 but more than 80% of the original vessel was sound and was retained. Since then, SHEEMAUN has featured in picture postcards, on a jigsaw puzzle, in yachting magazine advertisments and is based in Ramsgate Royal Harbour. She took part in the Portsmouth International Fleet Review in 2005 and was invited to the 2008 Brest International Festival of Classic Vessels. 


Brann, Christian, The Little Ships of Dunkirk: 1940-1990 Illustration, Collectors Books Ltd, 1989
Classic Boat: NHS Flagship of the Year/Flag carrier SHEEMAUN, March 2011
Sturt, Sarah, Kent Life: The Brave Little Boat pub: Archant Co UK, August 2010
Bell, H C, Motor Boat & Yachting On the continent with SHEEMAUN - a cruise along German Rivers & Canal, 1939
The Motorboat Illustration - SHEEMAUN, a 1935 Scottish-built cruiser, 1935
Unknown, Yachting World & Motor Boating Journal 2162 Editorial feature, pp240-241, Volume 83, 1935  

Key dates

  • 1934

    Vessel built by G L Watson Co., design no.561

  • 1941

    Registered with the Royal Navy as HMY SHEEMAUN, an armed Thames Estuary Boat based at Cliffe Fort

  • 1942

    Records list SHEEMAUN as an auxiliary patrol boat based at Cliffe Forte, under the Western Defences, Nore Division, commanded by Rear Admiral Scott

  • 1947

    Vessel transferred to the Department of Sea Transport (Merchant Navy) in November

  • 1951

    Poster featuring the vessel in an advertisement by Arthur Bray Ltd World Concessionary to engine manufacturer David Brown Ltd, exhibiting her new 90 hp DB6 Diesel engines

  • 1975

    Listed as a vessel of the Royal Yacht Squadron

  • 1991

    Flagship of Pangbourne Nautical College

  • 2010

    Awarded National Historic Ships' Flagship of the Year.

  • 2012

    Selected to take part in Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant


  • 2010

    A Project grant of £1,000 for being Flagship Winner 2010 was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ship

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

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