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
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
in light airs on the Dee estuary
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
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
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
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