I first encountered Barn Owl at the Classic Motorboat Rally on lake Windermere in 1992 when she won best restoration thanks to meticulous workmanship from Colin Buttifant's yard at Ludham in Norfolk. While the original builder is unknown it is to my mind clearly a Broads day launch with the windscreen and small wheelhouse offering the perfect foil to the Broads breezes.
The current owner bought her in 1998 and has been maintaining the boat ever since at Dennetts on the Thames. At that time Barn Owl had a sporty petrol engine which was swapped out for an electric propulsion unit in 2005. Spending the summers on the non tidal Thames close to Teddington the boat has overwintered annually ashore.
Over the years the boat has been regularly varnished with new antifouling applied and the interior has been occasionally varnished with bilges being repainted as necessary. Deck fittings were rechromed in 2016, linoleurm replaced in 2018 and then subsequent to an insurance claim when a passing craft scraped the port side the whole of the boat was stripped back to the mahogany planking and revarnished. New batteries have been fitted in spring 2022.
Barn Owl could be a year round launch for a riparian owner with its useful wheelhouse area and a powerful 4 kw motor. Seating is traditional with two lloyd loom chairs and an aft bench. There is room for a picnic table and a cooler box for extended outings.
Barn owl will be at Beale Park boat store for viewing from mid April. EA Thames licence for 2022 included and BSS valid through to 2023.
Additional information from a Jack Powles owner :
My boat, "Lucy," has a Powles plate fixed to the front windscreen and a Vintage Wooden Boat Owners Association plaque indicating that her keel was laid in 1948. The story has it that Jack Powles built one for himself and one for his boatyard foreman. My neighbour's boat, "Milady," is of precisely the same construction and lines as mine but is about four feet longer. "Milady," however, differs from "Barn Owl" in still having the original superstructure. The forward windows still hinge outwards from the top, as was typical of the period. Her navigation lights also look very much original and of the period. "Milady" has been particularly sensitively restored by my neighbour himself. She is currently being converted to 48v AC brushless motor. My boat, "Lucy", on the other hand was converted to 48v DC motor more than thirty years ago and is used here on the River Thurne on a daily basis
If in any way useful to you, please feel free to use the above information in any way you wish. If the eventual purchaser of Barn Owl wishes to make contact either with me or with my neighbour, please feel free to supply them with my email contact details. David Sanford.