Coquette – a Salters steam launch

A very special steam launch

Coquette was originally built as an Oxford varsity coaching launch. Given that Salters were the local boatbuilders we surmise that this is a Salters launch. Saunders also built similar launches and Consuta is a fine example of an umpires launch still driven by steam. The length and underwater profile guaranteed speed without wash which was the ideal combination for coaching a rowing eight. She would have been fitted with a petrol engine in those days as these had superseded steam. In the nineteen fifties she was taken out of service and at that point the engine was removed and the full was stored under cover for over fifty years. Finally in 2007 she was purchased by Classic Boatworks as a restoration project. They found an owner in 2013 who requested that she be restored and converted to steam. After two years of painstaking work she was launched in 2015 ready for delivery to her new owner.

However she is now up for sale in fantastic condition with varnished mahogany laid decks and her double skin planking on oak which is copper nailed and roved in the traditional fashion. The aft cockpit huull interior is fully clad in mahogany and provides seating for 8 on varnished seats fitted with tailored cushions under which are boiler water storage tanks. A drop leaf table seats 8 and there is weather protection offered by a fitted canopy on brass stanchions. The canopy has roll up side curtains and extends forward over the machinery space. The boat is steered from a midships helm position with a brass wheel and hydraulic steering linked to a ram under the aft deck.

The engine space comprises coal lockers on either sidem an engineers seat, tool lockers all mounted on an aluminium chequered fllo. There is easy access to the hotwell tank, engine and boiler controls.

The forward cockpit is also clad in varnished mahogany with additional seating for 6 guests, tailored cushions and a good storage locker under the forward deck. A tonneau cover fits to the canopy and around the coaming.

The steam engine is a Bellis of Birmingham, built in 1886, engine number 746. It is an open crank 20 HP compound condensing model with cylinder dimentions 3 1/2 x 7 x 5 inches, crosshead driven vacuum pump and twin crank eccentric driven boiler feed water pumps. The boiler is a locomotive type coal fired model built in 1988 by Langley Engineering, retubed in 2013. The boiler is clad in mahogany with brass top hand rails and a copper Windermere kettle. The funnel is hinged. Top hull speed was recorded as 9 knots.

If steam is not your thing then the boat could easily be reconfigured for electric propulsion or even an old petrol engine to return it to a more original format. Either way this is a magnificent vessel and a splendid boat to own and operate.

For more information and to view please call the office on 01491 578870.