|Tom Howard’s labour of love restoring the Margaret Lee|
In the first quarter of the last century a brilliant engineer from England called Hubert Scott-Paine founded a Company named Supermarine. This Company designed and built high performance aircraft culminating in the legendary Spitfire of WW2 fame. By the end of the 1920s Scott-Paine wanted a change so he sold his shares in Supermarine for what was described as a "considerable sum" and invested in a new venture – the British Powerboat Company – to develop his passion for high speed watercraft. An extract from the BPC website explains:
"Mr. Hubert Scott-Paine discovered how to build a craft which in contrast to the ordinary ship would travel over the surface of the water instead of forcing its way through it. This type of craft attained high speed with commercially usable horse power and although it was a planing craft, it had neither the disadvantages of lack of manoeuverability or seaworthiness associated with stepped hydroplanes, nor the lack of directional stability and longitudinal stability associated with other types of planing craft. This discovery and the development of suitable British High-Speed light-weight
He and his company designed a number of "milestone" craft notably the first boat to exceed 100 miles per hour and the Bluebird series of World Water Speed Record holders. As an aside, he had a "test pilot" in those early years – another speed junky called T. E. Lawrence – better known as Lawrence of Arabia – who helped Scott- Paine until his untimely death caused by a high speed crash on his motorbike in 1935. Scott-Paine designed and built a range of Military vessels that were given the category of High Speed Launches (HSLs) ranging from 50 ft upwards and powered by a variety of engines whose horsepower could attain the speed required of the boat's function. HSLs performed numerous tasks in WW2, the most notable being MTB's (Motor Torpedo Boats, MTG's (Motor Gun Boats and ASRL's (Air Sea Rescue Launches). This design continued development and construction at a number of Shipyards around the UK and the British Empire to satisfy the military. Information gathered from the British Military Powereboat Trust leads us to believe that our Yacht was 1198 – launched in Singapore in 1953.
Sea-Phuket acquired Margaret Lee while she was languishing in a Phuket Boatyard in need of considerable repair, fixed the hull sufficiently to float and tow her to a more convenient workplace for a 12 month total rebuild.The Rebuilding of Margaret Lee now known as Marie G
The yacht was "bottomless" at the stern when acquired. Most of the frames needed replacing along with the huge timber engine bearers. In the 1970s the hull had been sheathed in Polyester and Chopstrand Fibreglass Mat which was scarcely attached to the timber hull.
This was not the "userfriendly" layout we were seeking to achieve which was needed to carry up to 20 guests in comfort with easy access to the amenities needed to make the classic cruising experience wholesome and fun.
From the bow heading aft, her new configuration is:
Foredeck – a large open area to be utilized by the sun seekers among the guests – the coach roof has a full size mattress for lounging.
The Work - "Repair/Replace and then Improve" being the motto so:
Tom Howard from Sea-Phuket Dot Com states:
"Marie G has exceeded my expectations in terms of appearance, comfort and useability. With some fine tuning, she will also exceed my initial performance estimates. Finally she has, with no surprises here, vastly exceeded my early budget assumptions but, as she is now a true gentleman's yacht of the 1920's and 30's style, I have no doubt in her ability to repay the investment as a unique addition to the charter yacht fleet here in Phuket"
The following individuals and organizations took a keen interest in the project in both a consultative and hands on way and should not go without mention: