Fenn and Wood GP 14
05/07/2019 at 4:17 pm #18454
I have a Fenn and Wood GP 14 which was supplied with a hull number of 2665, however, I don’t think that she spent time under sail – there is a ‘Thames Launch’ style cabin which, from the joinery, is original. I suspect she was a stock boat which was altered to a customer’s specification. I have tried to find out more information without any luck – any assistance greatly appreciated. The photograph shows her as purchased nine months ago, since then she has been re-bottomed and restored to (hopefully) as supplied condition, or will be in two week’s time!
05/07/2019 at 4:23 pm #18455
05/07/2019 at 7:04 pm #18458
Very interesting modification, and congratulations on your restoration work; she is looking good, albeit unconventional in the GP14 world.
Fenn & Wood were one of the major builders at one time, and highly respected.
I presume that you will be refitting the centre thwart. Has the centreboard case been permanently removed, and the slot filled in, or is that work in progress, or perhaps just a trick of the camera angle?
Interesting that she has the rounded corners at the forward end of the cockpit, as per some modern GPs.
Interesting also that the stern deck has been removed. With that accommodation right aft, and the removal of the stern deck, this would seem to exacerbate the tendency of many less experienced owners to have the crew weight too far aft for hull efficiency, and drag the transom in the water.
I trust that you will be using her under outboard, rather than under oars? Or does she have an inboard? That could make a rather nice arrangement, and it would compensate to some extent for having crew weight aft.
And is that cabin assymetric, or is that merely a trick of the camera angle? Vertical sides to starboard, and perhaps ten degrees inward lean on the port side?
Philip Hoath, of Poole YC, has an interesting retro-converted GP14 harbour launch, which he uses approximately once per year for a transit of the Upper Thames.
06/07/2019 at 8:07 am #18467
I have been in contact with Heather Wood (now in the USA) and she has filled in some of the company history and how the Meteor Mk1 sports boat was developed from their GP14, interestingly you reference the rounded corners at the front of the cockpit, exactly the same feature appears on the Meteor. I understand that Donald Campbell (John Fenn as you know was part of the Bluebird project with Donald) returned from the USA in the early 50’s and announced that the latest craze was water skiing and a small affordable sports boat was the answer.
The centre thwart and side seat slats have all received five or so coats of lacquer and are wrapped up safely awaiting reassembly! The centreboard case was removed originally as per the photo and the slot was sealed with a hardwood strip along the length of the hull.
We presume that she originally was designed to have an outboard motor as there was evidence of the original mount support timbers but, over time they had been replaced (not very well) and a visually appalling piece of aluminium added to protect the top of the transom. She will have a Yamaha M12 electric outboard and lithium batteries to reduce weight.
Unfortunately the wide-angle element distorts the view, the cabin is raked towards the rear but the sides are within 5 degrees of the vertical and, from the rebating, were originally glazed, the new glazing was delivered yesterday afternoon!
I would be interested in understanding when she was built, if only to see if that ties in with the Meteor story in any way.
06/07/2019 at 8:29 am #18472
And I didn’t know about the Meteor boats, nor about John Fenn’s involvement with the Bluebird project.
Sail numbers 2001 – 3000 were issued in 1958-59, which may be some guide as to when she was built. However with a heavily-modified one-off there are questions as to how she came to be issued with a sail number at all, so that date may not be wholly reliable. Would the number have been issued to the boat unseen, and the boat then never presented for Measurement? Clearly she would not have measured to the rules in her present form. Or was the conversion retrospective, after she had been measured, and perhaps issued with a class certificate? One clue suggesting that the conversion may perhaps have been retrospective is that she was built with a slot for the centreboard, which was then capped; if the conversion was done at the time of building, why cut the slot?
It would be well worth your asking the Association for a copy of our records for the boat. Contact Julie (Admin) at the Office for this.
As you probably know, next year is the 70th Anniversary of the Class. As part of our planned celebrations we are intending to produce an Anniversary Book, following on from the sold-out 50 Years On The Water which commemorated our 50th. The new book will not only cover the last twenty years, but the entire 70 years; we are intending to include some parts of the earlier book, and also some new material covering aspects of the early years.
There may well be a chapter on the various builders, so we would be very interested in anything you can tell us about Fenn & Wood, and also about your boat, and the Meteor project. If you email me, either via the Office or at [email protected], I will ensure that it gets to the right place.
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