Registration number 1982
Status Registered


Function Fighting Vessel
Subfunction Launch
Location Plymouth
Vessel type Fast Seagoing Motor Boat
Current use None
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No


Builder Watercraft of Molesey, Molesey
Built in 1941
Hull material Wood
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 1
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
14.00 feet (4.27m)
3.00 feet (0.92m)
Length: Overall
60.00 feet (18.30m)


This vessel was ordered by the Admiralty from Watercraft Ltd in March 1941 and was known as number 4195. Once complete, 4195 was adopted by Fleet Air Arm personnel and then went on to serve at RNAS Condor in Arbroath during the Second World War. On 14 July 1946, she was listed for disposal, but was actually sold out of service in 1948 and taken on by the Scottish Seaweed Research Association. It was the Institute of Seaweed Research who named her ASCO and registered her with Lloyds Register of Shipping; an entry which indicates that by this time she had one less engine and shaft than when built. Timbercraft Ltd of Dumbartonshire acquired ASCO in 1956, but kept her for only one year before she was bought by Richard Sinclair Wilkins of Hertfordshire. He took ASCO to Falmouth and converted her into a motor yacht for his private use. In 1959, her name was changed to MONKSWOOD and she retained this name when purchased by Frank Vinnicombe of Mylor Creek, Falmouth in 1972. Under his ownership, she was used for shark fishing and Frank reported that ‘she could make the Eddystone Light in one hour – a distance of sixteen nautical miles’. In 1989, she was sold again and moved to Bristol and her current owners discovered her moored on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. In recent years, MONKSWOOD has been restored to a high standard, with eighty percent of the work now completed. The majority of her structure has been rebuilt using both old and new techniques and the project continues to bring her back to fully operational service. She is the only remaining FSMB (Fast Seagoing Motor Boat) and, as such, is a significant part of Britain’s naval heritage.

Key dates

  • 1941

    Built by Watercraft or Molesey

  • 1946

    Listed for disposal

  • 1948

    Sold out of service

  • 1947

    New owner

  • 1956

    New owner

  • 1959

    Name changed to Monkswood

  • 1972

    New owner

  • 1989

    New owner

  • 2000-2005

    Extensive renovation done

  • 2008

    Awarded a grant by NHS-UK


  • January 2007 - March

    A Sustainability Grant of ú3000 for new stanchions and a full survey was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships

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