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About this Richmond Slipways centre cockpit cabin cruiser
An interesting mid century centre cockpit cruiser of unique design
Similar in styling to a Bates Starcraft and having been built at around the same period, Cera is an interesting and rather charming craft. She used to be a stalwart of the Swan Upping scene on an annual basis with her charismatic owner Rodney Bewes (he of the Likely Lads for those of a certain age) at the wheel. Unfortunately this well known river character died and his boat was sold on by HSC. Rodney always maintained her in shipshape condition and she was extremely active as a member of the Thames Vintage Boat Club.
I believe that Cera was designed by Frank Bandey who was well known in the latter years of the 20th century as a great surveyor and designer. Cera grew from his drawing board. She was built in Twickenham at the Richmond Slipway as a centre cockpit cruiser with an attractive rounded stern. The construction is of teak on oak with painted ply decks and a mahogany superstructure. The midships cockpit makes her very sociable with its removable canvas roof akin to the Norfolk Broads boats. For her length she is particularly spacious on board. Twin sleeping accommodation is in the aft cabin which converts to a table when required and doubles as the saloon. Steps down lead forward to the galley and dinette which also provides a good double berth . The heads are tucked away in the forepeak.
The engine is a 1968 BMC 70 hp diesel. The boat will be sold with a current BSS certificate.
Although we are not sure if she was actually built for the man who became known as “Bomber” Harris due to his bravery during the second world war, it is in fact entirely possible as he retired around the time of her commissioning in 1961. Certainly he owned her for some time during which he participated in the North Foreland Race and cruised around the East coast. During the nineteen eighties she was owned by the Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club who moored her at Ramsgate and cruised extensively on the other side of the Channel, both in France and Belgium. Subsequently in the nineteen nineties she was back in Richmond in the ownership of the landlors of the Three Pigeons. She has been in the same hands now since 1997 during which time she has cruised extensively on the Thames, being maintained by her owners and also by Henwood and Dean. In 2017 she was refurbished by Classic Restoration Services in Windsor.
With thanks to the latter and also to the Thames Vintage Boat Club for their help with the boat’s history. More photos to follow.