"Lassie of Chester"
(Morecambe Bay Prawner)

Built 1937 Builder Crossfield, Conwy SSR No: 6870
Gross Weight 10.6 Tons Engine Lister Diesel Alpha 40 hp Call Sign MWQ13
Nett Weight 6.83 Tons 1st Registered 18-05-37 Pre-War No CH 51
Ballast 2.8 Tons Sail Area 1000 square feet Sail No CH 68
L.O.A. 48 feet (14.63m) L.O.D 36 feet (10.97m) Beam 11 feet (3.35m)
Draught 4ft. 9ins(1.45m)

Lassie of Chester was one of the last " Nobbies" built by the Conwy branch of the famous Crossfield family. She was also built as the sister ship of the "Betty" under the walls of Conwy Castle. Lassie was built with extra planking to her hull, possibly because the original owner was over 6ft tall, but also because she was intended to fish the turbulent waters of the Liverpool Bar. The extra height gives her more of a "Smack like" appearance than most other Nobbies . She also had a type of "Sentry Box" arrangement at her tiller to keep the helmsman dry. This extra height makes her a comparatively dry boat and enables reasonable accommodation in the forepeak for 4 people without the addition of a cabin top, maintaining her original working shape.

She was originally registered on the 18th May 1937 as CH 51 then fished on the Dee throughout World War II under the registry of the Port of Chester as CH 68. She had a reputation for fishing in all weathers. Later, she moved to Cumbria, fishing from Fleetwood, and was re-registered under the Port of Workington as WO 2.

In the late '80ies she finished fishing and was left in the mud to die but in 1994 was bought for conversion to a yacht, and motored to Bangor. Her massive100hp engine had taken its toll and shaken most of the caulking from her seams. She leaked so badly that she was rapidly sold onto Scott Metcalfe of Waterfront Marine, Port Penrhyn, Bangor, where her engine was removed and much of the decking and planking replaced, together with re-nailing and re-caulking. In 1995 she was bought by Doug Smith of West Kirby who, with the continued assistance of Waterfront Marine, carried out considerable further refurbishment including a new engine and a complete new interior, together with the fitting of a new "taller" mast allowing for the full sailing rig, of a larger topsail and a jib topsail to be flown.

Lassie has a high level of equipment - detailed separately - and provides adventurous cruising, exciting racing and gathers admirers where ever she goes.

Recent Sailing Summary

In 1996 she was 3rd overall in the Mersey Nobby race and won the "Best Turned Out Boat" cup. She was also 4th overall in the Conwy Nobby Race and 2nd in the Wright Shield the same year.
In 1997 she was 4th in the Mersey Nobby race and 5th in the Conwy Nobby Race. She also won the "Best Working Sail" award in the Peel Classic Boat week end.
In 1998 she visited the Peel Classic Boat weekend but took no prizes, the most notable part of the trip being the return journey where, in a Force 5/6, on a beam reach, she flew home, maintaining an average speed of 7.8 knots. She was also 4th once again in the Conwy Nobby Race.
In 1999 she was 3rd in the Mersey Nobby race and 3rd in the Conwy Nobby race and whilst she took no awards for elegance at Conwy, sporting new teak toe rails, she won the "Best Turned Out Boat" on the Mersey for the second time. Lassie was also 1st in the race to Conwy, winning the Wright Shield and the OGA "North West Passage" trophy.
In 2000 she successfully completed a 1,000 mile round trip to the Brest 2000 classic Festival encountering severe weather conditions, full details provided in a separate log.
2001 saw Lassie take 4th place in both the Mersey and Conwy Nobby races but winning the President's Plate and the Crossfield Trophy for her success in local regattas. She visited Peel in June, taking twenty hours to get there in 36-knot headwinds, once again flying home in twelve hours at an average of 7 knots over the ground. She was also 1st in the Royal Mersey Regatta & 2nd in the Royal Welsh Regatta both held on the Menai Strait.
2002 3rd Mersey Nobby Race, 4th Conwy Nobby Race, Best Boat @ Conwy, 1st WYC Regatta, 1st WCSC Regatta. 2003 1st Mersey Nobby Race, 1st WYC Regatta, 1st WCSC Regatta, 1st LYC Regatta.
Her "home port" is now Penrhyn Dock, Bangor, North Wales but she regularly revisits her original home of the Dee estuary and can often be seen at West Kirby

Lassie in light airs on the Dee estuary

Lassie of Chester - General Description

One of the last Morecambe Bay Prawners to be built, Lassie was built as an auxiliary fishing Nobby by Crossfield's of Conwy in 1937 - a Welsh Nobby. She has been restored to her outward original appearance over a period of six years and is now one of a very few Prawners that have not been totally converted, or spoilt, by the addition of a cabin top. Having said that, she offers more accommodation than the rest of her class as she was built with extra planking to suit the height of her commissioning owner.

She has structurally wanted for nothing over the last six years and is in probably the best condition of any Nobby. She is a very safe and sea worthy boat and has been extensively cruised - to Brest 2000 - as well as being sailed regularly in Irish Sea festivals. She is much admired and has been featured in the "Chatham Directory of Inshore Craft - Traditional Working Vessels of the British Isles", Classic Boat, December 2001 and "1000 miles in an Open Boat" as well as being featured in an HTV documentary series.

She is 36' with an additional 12' lifting bowsprit. She carries three foresails, a gaff main, a topsail and a watersail set on a 37' solid pine mast. She is of carvel construction and is of pitch pine on oak frames. Her toe rails are of teak and iroko has also been used as part of standard maintenance. She has a 40hp Lister Alpha engine (709 hours from new), fitted below floor level, with a central, fixed, three bladed propeller all operated by single lever controls. She has two 12 volt 110 amp hour batteries and a 100-litre stainless steel fuel tank. She has 3 tons if internal lead ballast.

Lassie is flush decked with an electric anchor windlass and fore hatch forward, a 14'x 3' cockpit aft of the mast, wooden deck cleats, a featured (non working) thoft pump on her starboard quarter, four Simpson Lawrence brass deck prisms and a beautifully carved dolphin's head oak tiller. Her hull is painted white with red antifouling and her oak keel has been extended slightly to improve windward performance and she has a steel keel band and shoe. She has a wide and graceful counter giving her the lines of an Edwardian racing yacht.

On either side of the cockpit are folding cots under the 3-4 foot side decks that provide excellent sea berths and accommodation in harbour. There is also a double skinned boom tent that provides standing headroom when alongside, extending throughout the 14' cockpit. The helmsman's platform has a hardwood grating with navigational instruments and engine control to hand stepping down to the main deck - boarded, with engine under, stepping down to the well. The well contains a galley to port, with a gimballed spirit cooker and a heads compartment containing a Jabsco sea toilet to starboard.

Forward of the well is a cabin measuring approximately 15' x 11' (tapering to the bow) by 5'2'' The cabin contains a berth either side (can be used as a tight double) with storage under and cupboards above. A central dining/chart table, a seat either side forward of the berth, with storage under and a central wood burning stove. The stove has a removable chimney; the deck aperture is covered by a brass blanking plate when at sea or a brass air vent when the stove is not in use. Forward of the stove is the anchor locker, windlass and sail stowage.

Aft end of cockpit with instrumentation Engine housing below cockpit sole
Port side, Galley Forward Cabin looking Aft
Looking aft from cabin Looking aft under stbd deck

14/01/04 for more inf. 0151 625 1516 Mobile 07711 903020

Lassie of Chester ---- Equipment Fit
Anchors and Cable    
  1. Main Anchor 20kg Bruce    
  2. Secondary Anchor 15kg Fisherman    
  3. Kedge Anchor 2kg Bruce    
  4. Anchor Chain 50 mtrs of 10mm chain    
  5. Anchor Warp 20 mtrs of 20mm warp    
Mechanical Engineering
  1. Lister 40hp Alpha Engine (4600359LPW S4A042)
  2. Johnson 2.3hp Outboard (H9266884
  3. Simpson Lawrence Electric Anchor Windlass
  4. 2 x 110 Amp Hour Batteries
  5. 100 Ltrs Stainless Steel Tank (Duration 3.8ltrs per hr @2,200rpm 26 hrs @ 6 kts) Instrumentation includes Revcounter, Ammeter, Voltmeter, and Battery Monitor.
  6. Power socket for GPS, Power socket for Tiller Pilot + further 2 power sockets
  7. 1 x Automatic Bilge Pump, 2 x Whale hand pump, 1 x portable long reach hand pump
  8. 1 x Jabsco Sea Toilet
Safety Equipment
  1. 1 x Coastal Pack Distress Flares, 1 x Inshore Pack Distress Flares  
  2. 1 x Fire Blanket, 2 x Dry Powder Extinguishers  
  3. 1 x Carbon Monoxide Gas alarm  
  4. 1 x Life ring  
  5. 1 x 6 man inflatable Liferaft, 1 x 3 man inflatable dinghy / tender (MPE16226H596
  6. 1 x Octahedral Radar Reflector  
  7. Aquasignal 40 Series Masthead, Port & Starboard, Stern and All Round White Light

Lassie of Chester on going maintenance plan
Building Heads Compartment
Fitting Transducers
Building Engine Bearers
Epoxy Sheathing Decking
Materials to achieve above
Cockpit Sole, Heads, Stove, Bilge Pump Labour
Materials to achieve above
Lister 40 Alpha & Propeller Shaft & Prop & Associated fittings
Replacement of 3 Frames, Port Side & additional Chain Plate. Build Galley
Replace Bow Sprit
New "Third" set of Shrouds
Materials for above
Cabin Cupboards, Fitting windlass, Pinrails, New Mast
Materials for above
Electric Anchor Windlass
Additional Sail Wardrobe
Electrical Work for controls
Toe Rails and Lamination of Counter, Mast Collar,
Materials for above
Teak for new Toe Rails
3 tons of Scrap lead for smelting and conversion to ballast
New graving piece in Keelson, New Keel Bolts, Steel Boot, Cabin Lining & Seats
Materials for Above
New Stainless Steel Fuel Tank
Metal Boot, Winches & Battery Monitoring System
Electrical Modifications
Carbon Monoxide alarm
Kingfisher Ultra Clean Basting System to remove antifouling / Farrow System (Hull) Hull re-faired
New Samson Post, New Mast Partners, Replacements to deck beams and frames where necessary
Materials for above
Storm Jib
General Fittings
Fitted new Jabsco toilet,
Fitted High Capacity Manual Whale Bilge Pump for helmsman's use
Replaced Engine Loom with latest Lister version
Replaced No 2 Battery (Ships Supply)
Chain Plates removed and re-galvanised, fixing bolts renewed
Port Garboard plank replaced.
Frames replaced in counter where necessary

Lassie was last surveyed two years ago, is currently ashore in North Wales and is for sale at 32,500.

Doug Smith.

Feb 04 for more information
Tel: 0151 625 1516
Mobile 07711 903020
email me

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