Certificate no 762
Status Archived


Function Leisure Craft
Subfunction Yacht
Location France
Archive reason Overseas Watch List
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required Yes


Builder Orr Junior, Thomas, Greenock
Built in 1887
Hull material Wood
Rig Gaff Ketch
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 2
Propulsion Sail
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
12.00 feet (3.66 m)
7.61 feet (2.32 m)
Length: Overall
60.95 feet (18.59 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



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.

Bought by Charlie Stevens from Edward Bonel when she was lying in Catherine’s Dock in London. Bought as a half share and then bought by Andrew Millar as the other share later before owing her completely.

Sailed with Eddie Bonel and four others from there to Dartmouth the year was 1972 and got into difficulties off the Goodwin Sands in a gale and were rescued  by the Walmer lifeboat . She was lived aboard Nell in Dartmouth and then sailed to Falmouth and moored in Mylor where repair work as carried out.

She was then sailed to Ireland (engineless) making landfall in Kinsale in 1974/5 with my wife to be and Dion Erasmus who later bought the boat  approx in 1977.

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.

Although this vessel is on the National Historic Fleet, we are currently lacking information on this particular vessel. If you have any information on this vessel past or present, please contact us.


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

Key dates

  • 1887

    Built by Thomas Orr Jnr of Greenock for Robert Cowan Robertson

  • 1929

    Fitted with a two-cylinder paraffin motor

  • 1960s

    Purchased by Neil Gamble of Teignmouth

  • 1967

    Registered at Lloyds as a yacht

  • 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,

  • 1969-1971

    Renovation to her original condition

  • 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

  • 1977

    Sold to an unknown purchaser

  • 1982

    Took part in a television documentary film as one of a display of vessels at St Katherine’s Dock, London

  • 1990

    Cockpit enlarged

  • 1990s

    Purchased by David Stabb

  • 1995

    Won the Seafile Trophy for the oldest vessel at the Falmouth Classics Rally

  • 2005

    Purchased by new owner

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