Harmonie III – a Wilsons mahogany cruiser

Early fifties mahogany cruiser by Wilsons

Originally named Harmonic and a splendid example of the mid century Wilson cabin cruiser – great for weekending and good for British summers with its generous covered cockpit. The previous owners enjoyed Harmonie III for 22 years during which time she cruised many of the UK’s waterways (see below). The current owners have only had the boat for a year and now reluctantly have to sell due to ill health. Their mooring at Benson Waterfront may be available for a new owner subject to separate negotiation.
There is a galley on the starboard side with good storage, cold water only. Calor gas cooker, s/s sink and drainer. Dinette on the port side which converts into a double. Free standing table can also be used in the cockpit. Paraffin lamps with additional 12 volt lighting provide ample light for reading and plenty of “atmosphere”. Doors enclose the forward cabin (two bunks with drawers under). Heads (Elsan) and sink right in the bow. Plenty of original woodwork which has been restored. Charming William Morris print fabric makes the saloon area very cosy and appealing. The cockpit pram hood has zip-in side panels and can be configured in a couple of ways with both side and aft panels having zip opening to allow “dry” cruising. The overall winter cover was new in 2014. BSS certificate for the inland waterways valid to March 2018. Harmonie III is available for viewing ashore close to our Henley office.

HARMONIE THREE – The definitive history

Harmonie Three is a river cruiser, a boat built to provide private pleasure boating on the Thames in the 1950s.

She was designed by R C W Courtney, and built by George Wilson and Sons at Sunbury-on-Thames, launched in early 1950. She is carvel construction, round bilge, mahogany on oak, four/five berths, galley, heads and large open cockpit with ‘pram’ hood. She was featured in the June edition of Motor Boat and Yachting of that year as the ‘First of the Flying Swans’, and the name was erroneously typed as ‘Harmonic Three’. The Flying Swan class continued to be built by Wilson’s for many years, as described in a more recent article appearing in the magazine of the Thames Vintage Boat Club (‘Men of Wood to Men of Steel’, ‘Boater’ Autumn 2004 edition). Harmonie Three was originally fitted with two Meadows Shearwater 32 HP petrol engines, with a novel method of single lever throttle/gear operation.

The following chronology has been compiled from entries in Lloyds’ Register, 1950 to 1974, when the register was discontinued, and other sources including the TVBC article.

1950 – built and launched at Wilsons, first owner W Giltrow. Name registered as ‘Harmonic’, Number 184592 at London.
1952 – registered owner Miss E M Pink. Name registered as ‘Harmonie Three’.
1959 – registered owner Mrs E McDonald.
1963 – registered owner Paul E Hodges.
1964 – registered owner F A Paskins.
1966 – registered owner Alfred J Lawrence.
1967 – berthed at Peter Freebody’s Yard at Hurley, where the original two Meadows were replaced by a single BMC Newage Sea Prince 3000s petrol engine driving a Borg Warner Velvetdrive hydraulic gearbox. This engine is a marinised version of the Austin Healey 3000 powerplant.
1968 – registered owner Alfred J Lawrence. Last year of Lloyds’ registration.
1986 – purchased and restored by B Couser.
1993 – purchased by Ed and Heather White.
1994 and 5, attended the Henley on Thames Classic Boat Rally, Number 600.
1997 – brought ashore and put into storage, pending remedial works.
2003 – transported to Stanley and Thomas’s yard at Windsor for hull works.
2005 – transported to the Whites’ barn in Herefordshire for re-fitting.
2010 – refit completed, re-launched at Tewkesbury Marina, Gloucestershire. Name now registered as ‘Harmonie III’ with Avon Navigation Trust and National Small Boat Register (R1933).
2011,12,13 – cruised the River Avon, Pershore, Evesham, Stratford etc. Engine completely overhauled.
2014 – cruised River Severn to Upton, Worcester, Gloucester Docks, Sharpness Canal. Transported to Lowestoft, cruised Oulton Broad, River Waveney, Breydon Water, Rivers Bure, Thurne and Ant, Barton Broad. Transported to Penton Hook Marina, River Thames 23rd September and launched there.
2015 – Moved to Shepperton Marina.