VEGA OF GARTH is believed to be one of the last of the gaff rigged 35ft Sole Bay class to be built. She was built in 1965 for a Liverpool barrister, who kept her until 1991 at Garth, next to Bangor, on the Menai Strait in N Wales. Gordon Armstrong is not well known as a yacht builder, but he had an excellent reputation as a builder of fine fishing boats for the Yorkshire coast, and the few yachts he did build before handing the yard over to John Ley, pricipally known for his Scarborough One Design, were very successful and have lasted well.
In 1991 VEGA was sold out of Garth to the south coast of England, where the next owner somewhat neglected her. She was bought in a poor state in 1996, when she was taken by road to Pembrokeshire for a major refit. The hull was in good condition, but the deck and superstructure had to be replaced. Many fastenings were replaced, together with all the keel bolts. A new Iveco 90 HP engine was fitted together with a new stainless shaft and fuel tanks. A new hydraulic steering systemn was fitten and an outside steering position was added. The then caretaker cruised her in the Irish Sea, south coast of England and the French canals, before selling to her current owner in 2006.
Since then, VEGA has been maintained by Tim Gilmore at Wooden Ships Forever in Birdham Pool and has cruised Normandy, the Channel Islands and Brittany, and the south east coast of England. Two years ago he owners were approached by Handmade Films, who had seen the vessel in Dover. She took part in filming for 'Darkest Hour' off Eastbourne, and surprisingly, was chosen to be shown in the film heading out for the evacuation of Dunkirk. WW2 was before her time, but her design in 1965 was very traditional and she fitted the part.
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