Registration number 3641
Status Replica

Previous names

  • 1997 - 2015 British King II
  • 2015 Snark


Function Cargo Vessel
Subfunction Coastal
Location Dartmouth
Vessel type Spritsail Barge
Current use Commercial Activity
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions Yes


Builder Fay, J G & Son Ltd, Southampton
Built in 1997
Hull material Steel
Rig Spritsail
Replica definition Operational Replica
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 2
Propulsion Sail
Number of engines 2
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
24.28 feet (7.40m)
Air Draft
86.94 feet (26.50m)
Length: Overall
104.99 feet (32.00m)
Tonnage: Gross


SNARK is a muley rigged spritsail barge.  She started out as a new build project undertaken by David Speight and family at their yard in Walton on the Naze as a replacement for their deteriorating Thames barge British King.  They obtained a full set of construction drawings from the National Maritime Museum for a class of steel barge built by J G Fay and Sons in Woolston Southampton dated 1898.  They built the hull in four sections initially to allow it to be transported overland as a film prop and exhibition space, with the intention of welding it together and completing it as a working barge in the future.

It appeared in the Dunkirk beach scheme in Atonement having been moved by low loader from Walton to Redcar for the filming.  Sadly David died shortly after and the project remained dormant for some 7 years until the current owners bought it in 2015.

The J G Fay hull design was particularly fair for a barge, the influence of their yacht designs.  The new owners hired marine engineers Longitude to re evaluate the design to allow it to be coded under MCA coding for Cat 2 (coastal) operation.  This had not been attempted before and required some key modifications; reduce the LLL to 24m from 25.6m, reduce the static rig moment, provide deck level buoyancy by raising the combings and sealing the cargo hatch openings, installing 18 tonne of permanent steel ballast.  At the same time H&S and operational assessments where undertaken by the owners resulting in minor modifications to the rig to avoid working aloft and out on the sprit and to provide power assistance to sail handling.

The hull was moved to Turks yard in Chatham who re-welded the hull to coding standards, cut and shut to reduce the length and installed twin propulsion engines and hydraulic/electrical auxiliary unit.  The owners built and rigged the spars and leeboards in the Turks shed from where she was launched in August 2017.  The vessel was then moved to Wicor Marine in Porchester where the principle fit out was undertaken by the owners before relocating to Creekside Yard in Dartmouth where the final operation fit out was undertaken, running rigging installed and coding inclining and surveys undertaken.  Sails were designed and made by James Lawrence of Brightlingsea.

SNARK's maiden sailing voyage took place Spring 2019 since when she has been operational as a charter/sailing adventure boat around the West Country waters.

Key dates

  • 1997

    Vessel build begins

  • 2015

    Vessel launched at Turks Yard in Chatham

  • Spring 2019

    Maiden voyage takes place

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