Leaving Penarth on the morning tide today heading for her home port of Watchet, Somerset was a former Royal Navy warship which was once sold for the princely sum of £1
She’s the former HMS Gay Archer – the first of a dozen “Gay-class” fast patrol boats built by Vosper, and first launched in August 1952.
She was originally powered by three American Packard 1500 horsepower petrol engines – reputed to be a an American version of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine which powered the Spitfire, and in her prime was capable of reaching 40 knots (46 mph).
After 10 years of service in the Navy she was sold to the Cottness Iron Company of Wishaw and then bought for £1 by Paul Childs who has restored her to her original speciofication
Gay Archer has survived a number of close calls . She nearly sank on her maiden trip when beign dlivered to the Navy by her builders – and then twice more, once in Denmark and again alongside Southsea Pier, Portsmouth.
Now she’s on display at Watchet – but makes occasional trips to Penarth and Bristol in the summer.