Coventry Boatbuilders Restorations and Replicas

Boats Restored - Boats for Sale

"Lady Isabelle" - a 30ft. Gibbs Launch which took part in Operation Dynamo - Dunkirk evacuation.



Meadows "Kittiwake" engine installation fitted

to Jenny Wren - 22ft. Motor Sailer - "Fridor" Built 1947.

Mahogany on oak - "Fridor" is for sale at £12,000





Steam bent oak timbers fitted to Folkboat.


"Lido Lady" loa 29ft. b - 6'6" Gibbs Launch - 1927 Mahogany on Elm with 6cyl. Graymarine Engine. In need of restoration - contact us for a price.



Engine installation in 17ft. Brooke launch "Wanderer" restored for a customer.





Other Boats for Sale all in need of restoration::



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"Lido Lady"

Lido Lady bought by Coventry Boatbuliders from Stanley and Thomas boatyard. They had to move her and tried us as they knew we had restored Lady Isabelle from scratch. They had bought her from a boatbuilder in Southend who in turn had swapped her for two engines from the Basildon Motor Boat Museum.

c 1983 Max Sinclaire donated the boat to Basildon MB Museum. c1982 Max Sinclaire obtained the boat from David McDougal, of the Black Country museum. She had been fitted with a V12 car engine which was thought to have cracked her ribs.

c1980 David McDougal acquired the boat from Alan Broyd who works for British Waterways. I spoke to him and with the previous owner cleared up some mysteries. Broyd said she had all her fittings and then went on to describe them. What he described was a slipper launch which he also bought from Mr Downer (the previous owner). He did say that she was fibreglass sheathed which he removed (this is possible and would account for underwater damage.

The previous owner was Mr Downer . He didnt do anything to her and she seems to have been stripped of parts by the time he got her. There was no engine, floors etc. He got her from Tommy Douglas.

Before that she was sunk at Medley Boat Station on the Thames at Oxford. She and a Motor Canoe were raised and towed to Fenny Compton on the canal, so they couldn't have been that bad.

Sinclaire has a tale that she was owned by Charlie Drake. He wrote to him c/o the BBC but he answered that he had never owned such a beautiful craft. However there is a suggestion that she was owned by Max Miller who went to "wild" parties on Charlie Drakes island in the Thames in Lido Lady.

Basildon Museum did contact the Berkshire Record Office. Lido Lady was registered (no. 109) on 15th. June 1931. However she was reported by "E" on 11 March 1927. The owner was then Eric E.A.Walker of 17 Rodway Road, Roehampton, S.W.


On the Gibbs launches

The 29'6" launches were not made before 1925/6, before that they are 27'. The early boats had Gray Flexi 4's, from 31/32 the Gray 6 was introduced. A Gray 6 would be acceptable. The early ones did have an awning, V windscreen etc. There is an original one on Windemere.

The 1927 boats were 29'6" and were fitted with a Gaines Universal Super Four, before that they had the Flexi Four. A canopy was fitted which went the full length. 1929 was a watershed, before that the launches were in Edwardian style, after they started to copy the Americans, emulating speedboats rather than slow boats with plenty of displacement. So deck fittings are not the same. Still chrome plated. Cleats are T shaped with bulbous ends, which makes them easier to match.


"Lady Isabelle"

"Lady Isabelle" was named "Carfax Free" (from a previous owner who has owned two other boats called Carfax 1 and Carfax 2 - people and boat names!!). When we got her she was in ruinous condition, had been cut down by 2ft, and fitted with an inappropriate cabin and a 2 cylinder engine.

We started on a restoration and found a potential owner on the Thames. The restoration was completed in 1986.

"Lady Isabelle" had been owned on the Thames pre-war and was used for shopping trips. She was requisitioned during the war for the Dunkirk evacuation and has a brass plaque to that effect.




A 22ft. (6.7m) Motor Sailer built of Mahogany on Oak in 1947. Accommodation includes a spacious cockpit, saloon with galley integral with standing headroom, and forepeak with Simpson Lawrence head, copper w.c. and hanging wardrobe. There are two berths. The boat is powered by a Meadows Kittiwake (8.48) engine developing 48 horsepower.


"FRIDOR" was built in 1947 to a design by Arthur C Robb of London. The design was commissioned by Yachting World as a motor cruiser and was called the Jenny Wren Class.

Early ownership is vague, she is thought to have been owned by Graham Bunn of Wroxham and then a couple named Fritz and Dora (hence the name FRIDOR). Her original name is thought to be Maria.

First known owner was Mr M.D.R.Wooster of Leamington Spa who owned her in the 1950's. He has photos of her on the river Severn and supplied the original plans, copies of which are available. He says that she had some internal lead ballast and tan coloured sails. Her decks were biscuit colour, with blue waterline and white topsides and red lead underbody. She was purchased by a Mr Bradley who bought her in 1962 and sold her in 1986. He took out the meadows engine and installed a Morris Captain Diesel. This work and some repairs and refit were carried out by Judges boatyard at Worcester. Mr Bradley sold the boat to a couple who took her over to Birmingham and pulled her out in the BCN wharf. They used her for a couple of years as a houseboat and removed much of the interior fitments and installed a double bed. Coventry Boatbuilders bought her in 1989. Luckily much of the interior work was still in a pile in the yard.


Fridor has had a major refit carried out mainly in late 1990 and 1991. The hull had survived in a remarkably good condition. There was a bit of rot under the galley sink where a short length of plank has been replaced. Some cracking in the hog and floors has been mended with epoxy resin and strengthening pads. The aft starboard quarter has had some timbers sistered in where cracking has occurred and there have been some cracked timbers replaced under the engine and forepeak.

All interior woodwork has been removed and rebuilt. Whilst there was no rot in cabin cabinet work a good deal of reconstruction had to be done where interior fittings had been ripped out. In the cockpit cabinets have had to be rebuilt where rot had occurred. We have tried to retain original timbers wherever possible and have used epoxy resins to strengthen wherever we can rather than replace. All timber has been treated with rot preventative.

The decks had been fiberglassed and this has been removed and the decks recanvassed. Rubbing strips have been replaced where necessary and everything has been removed and rebedded.

The cabin top and brightwork above the rubbing strip have been splined where there are cracks and along the seams. Glue used is SP Systems epoxy resin. The mahogany side and after decks have had to be replaced. Internal timber which is mainly mahogany has been finished with Epiphanes Varnish. Externally finish is with Deks Olye S1 and S2 - 6 coats with varnish over.

Spars have also been finished with Deks Olye. All fittings have been repolished or galvanised or chromed.


We were lucky enough to acquire a pair of handed Meadows 8.28 engines from Judges yard - who removed the original engine. Both engines were rusted but when cleaned up were found to be sound. The engine fitted has been bored out to +10 and new piston rings fitted. Bearings are in good condition. Otherwise the engine and gearbox has been completely stripped and reassembled and new oil seals and bearings fitted.

Meadows engines were made in Wolverhampton between 1923 and 1962 when they were taken over first by Quinton Hazel and then by Jaguar. They were fitted in Lea Francis and Fraser Nash cars. They were a popular marine engine just before and after the war and are reliable. The engine is a long stroke low compression engine. It has a three bearing crankshaft , 4 cylinders with a 69mm bore and a 100mm stroke. Bearings are white metal. There is an electric start and also a hand pull starting system. Electrics are 12volt. The other engine is being restored and will be available as a spare if that is required.

The electrical system in the boat is being rewired and original fittings replaced.


The sails were made by Jeckles of Wroxham. New ones will be made by them. All upholstery and curtains etc will be replaced. The boat comes with anchor, windlass on the foredeck, she will also have a period compass. Other period fittings such as side lights, clock and barometer, oil lamps can be fitted to request.


The plans show a tender of about 7ft.(2.1m.) that can be mounted in the cockpit. A tender of this type either clinker or carvel can be built in timber. Details and price on request.

L.O.A. - 21'10" + 1'6" (rudder)(7m.)

Beam - 7'9" (2.36m.)

Height - 7'6" (2.29m.)

Draught - 1'9" (.53m.)

Power - Meadows 8.48 Kittiwake Petrol Engine.

Rig - Balanced Lug with foresail.

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