Tarbes II – a fine gentleman’s saloon launch

A fine motor launch built for Sir Ernest Martin, complete with original bill of sale.

Tarbes II is a rare vintage gentleman’s launch designed and built by the East Anglian builders of launches and engines, Brooke Marine. The boat oozes period detail and character thanks to a sensitive restoration by Steve Evans of South River Marine and in collaboration with Nick Warns a conservation architect. As per the original specification a pair of wicker chairs awaits the skipper and a guest forward of the cabin and aft of the engine box. The front cockpit has a roof for shelter in all weathers and painted white on the underside. Bench seating provides space for at least six guests forward.

Moving aft into the cabin there is a well equipped galley with a modern hob and sink fitted into a custom built teak panelled cabinet. On the opposite side is a pump action toilet and hand sink. The elegant saloon is fitted out with red velvet furnishing and matching curtains. This area can double as a sleeping compartment. Generous storage is contained within panel fronted cabinets with drawers and cupboards to conceal bedding etc.

Reproduction light fittings echo the original fittings and are now powered by LED bulbs with the original brass switches reinstalled. The windows slide on leather straps as in old railway carriages and the curtains run on the original brass rails.

One of the most charming features on Tarbes II is the aft cockpit which offers an elegant and comfortable space in which to sit and read, fish or simply watch the river. A cushioned bench seat has a cupboard below for a folding table and there are two lloyd loom chairs with vinyl cushions to match the bench at the stern. Again the cockpit is covered by the same continuous roof as covers the forward cockpit. There is standing room throughout the boat.

Attention to detail shows in so many aspects of the restoration including a tri colour Brooke style vintage light above the cockpit for evening cruising. This is a boat on which one could spend weeks at a time rather than just an afternoon.

The hull is built of larch on oak with teak for the cabin decks and internal fit out. With a straight stem and rounded bilge and transom she has a long keel and slips seamlessly through the water. During the long restoration all the cabin bulgheads were taken apart and re fixed, missing bulkhead and doors made up in matching woods, the roof was fully repaired and reshaped before overlaying with two layers of ply and then epoxy finished. New gunmetal and brass roof supports, handrails, vents and deck fittings were made up and fitted. Pine floorboards contrast with the new teak cockpit linings. New stainless steel tanks for fuel, water and black water were fabricated and fitted while all the plumbing and wiring were renewed. The steering which still uses chains and pulleys was restored as new.

The original owner who commissioned the boat was one Ernest Martin subsequently knighted in 1917. He was born in 1872 the some of Henry Martin of Lindley whose father Patrick had come to Huddersfield as a talented textile designer and helped to establish a manufacturing concern in the town which moved in 1864 to Wellington Mills, Lindley. By 1914 the mill was the largest employer in Huddersfield with 1400 employees. The boat was originally named Sunny Morn and a plaque bearing this name is still on board the boat along with the builders plaque showing the build number 481 and the South River Marine plaque which reads “Tarbes II” Restored 2003-2013.

Whoever buys this boat will be taking a genuine piece of English history of impeccable provenance into the future. She is moored with us at Beale Park with current BSS and a fresh coat of paint on her hull !

Call Gillian on 01491 578870 for a viewing.