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Thread - Sundog

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Peter recently posted a couple of pictures of the wherry Sundog at Geldeston on the NBF and I'd really like to piece together some information about her - it seems a shame that there doesn't seem to be much in the way of info out there about those pleasure wherries and wherry yachts which are now gone, but were still surviving within living memory.

Someone is going to try to speak to her last owner for me, but I'd love to know more about her history and possibly track down some more photos. I don't know how much of the history I have so far is correct .....

In his Wherries & Waterways book, Robert Maltster states that she was built by Daniel Hall in 1906 as Ecila and replaced a converted trader of the same name. That original had had a counter stern added during the conversion and, when the new Ecila was built, the interior of the old one was transferred over into the new hull.

A few years ago Bill Maxted mentioned that he had been told that the original Ecila had been owned by someone from the Pullman coach company and that the interior was fitted out in much the same manner as the luxury train carriages - hence it being retained for the new wherry. I believe that he also mentioned that the original converted trader was sometimes restricted by the bridges due to her size, hence a smaller pleasure wherry was commissioned.

I had thought that Sundog was a counter sterned pleasure wherry rather than a wherry yacht, indeed Robert Maltser seems to have described her as such before going on to talk about the building of wherry yachts. What makes a wherry yacht a wherry yacht? Does the presence of a counter stern alone make it a wherry yacht, or are there other factors involved?

At some point, Ecila was renamed Sundog. The earliest reference I can find to the name Sundog was from the Norfolk Punt Club website which mentions that the Sundog Trophy was first presented in 1927 by an H.A. Morris. I am presuming that the trophy was actually named after the wherry .... and that H.A. Morris would have been her owner at this time?

I have an aerial photograph of an early 1950s Barton Regatta which was sent to me by John Hopthrow and features Dragon, Lorna Doone and Sundog (see photo below, plus cropped in version). I really need to speak to John about any memories he may have of her during this era.

There was mention on another NBF thread recently that Sundog may have been used as a liveaboard in the old Jenner's basin at Thorpe in the early 1970s but that it was vandalised and moved down to the Waveney. I've spoken to Vaughan Ashby who remembers that she was being used as a liveaboard at Thorpe, but this would have been the early 60s and she was moored on the north bank of the island opposite Guild House. At the time there was a young couple living onboard.

However, he happened to spot what appears to be a wherry at Thorpe in another photo I have on the website which must date to c1975 as this is the earliest year that I have photos from in the particular collection it belongs to. I have re-scanned and cropped in on it (also see below). It is covered by a tarp, but does look like a wherry and I can't think of another wherry it could be at this time other than Sundog?

I would be very grateful for any further information or photos of Sundog, or indeed confirmation of whether any of the above is correct or not!
The following pictures are attached to this post. Click for a larger view.
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In the car park at The River Garden, in Thorpe St Andrew, on the left hand side, there was a gate. In the early 70's the path led down to a wherry, in which a young couple lived. The Sundog, perhaps?

It was certainly very well furnished and comfortable inside.

Wussername
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Sundog was owned by H.A.Morris (father of Stewart - the most successful dinghy sailor of his generation). HAM was a London hop wholesaler and the founding commodore of the Norfolk Punt Club (awfully good book about punts ...) The family spent entire summers on Sundog following the Broads regattas. Their boatman was Cubitt Nudd (formerly boatman to Emma Turner and latterly rigger at Herbert Woods). The clinker wherry is easily recognised by her counter stern. Herbert Morris died in 1935, when the Morrris family fleet was dispersed - one of their Norfolk Punts Shrimp is in the National Maritime Museum at Falmouth. Memory fades a litttle. Even in the 1930s Sundog didn't have a proper mast. In the very early '60s the Crotch family owned her and kept her at NBYC in the area not yet known as the Dicker Dock. Later, Harold Nicholls lived on her at Wroxham (more about him if you wish). The last I heard of Sundog was that someone had broken her back hauling her out at at Geldeston and eventually she'd been and burnt for the copper fastenings. Tim Whelpton was the source of the last story. Hope that helps.

CARK! CARK!

Old Frank
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That's a great help - thank you.

Was she built for the Morris family or did they acquire her later?
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Re the proper mast I posted on an alternative forum a picture of Sundog laying in a field at Geldeston in which a mast is laying alongside. The mast top does appear to have the traditional shape. Whether it was Sundog's or one that the owner wished to install I have no way of telling.

At one time I believe that Sundog was owned by a Charlie Day, a car dealer in Lowestoft. Apparently either before or after his ownership, late 40's, early 50's (?), she was painted yellow and used as an art gallery.
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!
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Peter, Delighted you photographed the remains. Had I known she was there, even in that state I'd have thought of something to do with her. OF.

No I don't need another rebuild!
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Hi my name is Ecila,
when my parents met my dad owned Sundog and my mum owned Whitemoth, I followed shortly after...
At that point both were being used as house boats in Barton Turf.
In 1974 Sundog's back broke when my dad was trying to lift her in or out of the water and she lays in the broads (so i'm told?)
I would really love to see more photo's of my namesake.
Are there any more out there?
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Doubtless you are all aware that Ecila was the original name of Sundog. Don't know who renamed her. I think I can find a photo of Ecila with the mast up in Great Yarmouth, if I look hard enough. still then in proper sailing trim. OF

ECILA is of course, Alice spelled backwards. Don't think Charlie Day ever owned her.
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Nice to see the old grey bird managed to flea the Spanish...
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And will he cough up all those loans?
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Just had the pleasure of Bob Malster's company for lunch. There was apparently another pleasure wherry with a counter stern. Zanubia was owned by Colman Green and had a counter fitted when converted from the trading wherry Olive Branch. OF.
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There is Zenobia (apologies - my spelling incorrect - recvd phonetically). I'm afraid that I never really rated Colman Green's work. His brother was quite rude about him too. A search on Google reveals an awful lot of his work around Lowestoft.

In answer to Adnams Girl's original question, typical is quite difficult to apply to wherries. Nearly all were built by eye at a time when illiteracy was common. Basically a wherry is an overgrown reedlighter - a great big rowing boat. Add a Dutch fore and aft rig and you have an Uncle Robert. Keels on the other hand developed from proper European trading vesels and were quite different. They had a transom. a central mast to set a square rig and a hull shape that was almost hard chine. The two developed quite separately. On the other hand, a few wherries were built with transoms ... although not enough I fancy to justify the wherry shown on Woodfordes Wherry logo having a square back end as typical.

Wherries are usually clinker and usually built from local oak ... although not all of them. Albion and the pleasure wherry Liberty (ex Collins hire fleet and sunk by Ted Ellis at Wheatfen) were carvel and doubtless several more. Ardea, the last wherry built) isn't really typical of anything and Leo Robinson built her from teak (nad varnished).

Pleasure wheries usually have black painted, clinker hulls. We now know of two with countersterns (to provide a larger stern deck for sitting out) and a few had tansoms.

Wherry yachts aren't the same thing at all. I think it would be fair to say the genre was largely perfected by Ernest Collins. White, carvel, softwood hulls with counter for better accommodation on deck. Really the only thing in common with a traditional wherry is the rig ... which shared their origins with Norwich's canaries.

Jimmy Clabburn lived on Lorna Doone for a while. It'll probably be her in the original photograph with the Norfolk dinghy astern.

OF
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