Certificate no 840
Status National Historic Fleet


Function Fishing Vessel
Subfunction Dredger
Location Unknown
Vessel type Oyster Smack
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required Yes


Builder Perkins, R & C, Whitstable
Built in 1890
Hull material
Rig Gaff Cutter
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 1
Propulsion Sail
Primary engine type None
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
13.28 feet (4.05 m)
4.49 feet (1.37 m)
Length: Overall
40.00 feet (12.20 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed


STORMY PETREL was built as an oyster smack in 1890 by Richard and Charles Perkins of Whitstable. Built in an era when the Thames oyster was a celebrated delicacy, the vessel was owned and fished by and for her builders, dredging oysters in the summer and used for stowboating in the winter. This continued until 1928.

Carvel built with oak frames, the vessel has never had an engine and is a rare survivor of her age. The smacks of Whitstable were as common as the Essex smacks but fewer survive. They were built heavy to take ground on the sandbanks of this part of the lower Thames estuary.

From 1928 STORMY PETREL was used as a watch boat, with a watch house cabin fitted by the Seasalter and Ham company, moored at the Pollard Spit overlooking their interests in the oyster fishery east of the Isle of Sheppey.

Following the Second World War she was sold to the famous barge and smack skipper, and author, Bob Roberts of Harwich. He kept her for three years and then sold her to Bernard Rozier, his third hand, who did not fish with her but kept her registered.

STORMY PETREL was bought by her present owner in 1962 and became only her fourth owner in her 120 year life. In 1998 she had a refit lasting three years in dry dock. Now, moored adjacent to her owner's house, she is still operational and a well known local sight.

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
Classic Boat: Stormy Petrel - 50 years of owning a smack, March 1993
Classic Boat: The Medway man and his beloved smack, August 2011

Key dates

  • 1890

    Built by R. & C. Perkins of Whitstable

  • 1928

    Ceased fishing and became the Pollard Spit Watch Boat for the Seasalter & Ham Oyster Company

  • 1948

    Sold to Bob Roberts, author and barge skipper

  • 1951

    Sold to B. Rozier

  • 1962

    Sold to private owner

  • 1998

    Refit lasting 3 years

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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