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I worked on the Dawn Approach from 1976 until 1979. I was employed as a joiner with Steve Johnson, the boat was owned by Maurice Vane and was called Wayfarer. He later changed the name to the Henry James Vane after his father, but I think the original name was Dawn Approach.

The boat at this time was in Marine Services yard in Hythe, Southampton. A team of shipwrights from the yard worked on her lead by Ken Rose. The first job I did on her was to take up the deck, clean the 3x2 teak planks and refix them - this took me 9 weeks on my own. There are 26 planks on one side of the king plank and 27 on the other. Steve and myself built the deckhouse on her, that is all in teak and fitted out the cabins below in a different hardwood for each cabin. Meanwhile the shipwrights worked on the hull, they had to put in a new stern horn - the original one was rotten - and splined the gaps in the hull. The new spars came into the yard as trees and where shaped by hand by Billy Philips, one of the shipwrights, with a adze. The shipwrights fitted the new handrails with the turned balustrades in teak.  I managed to acquire one and it is now a lamp standard.  When the yard went into liquidation the boat was moved to Port Hamble and she was finished off afloat.

I did hear sometime later her banks of batteries caught fire and she was badly damaged. I went on the boat in Puerto Banus, Spain 4 years ago with my family when after I retired and she still looks really good.

Thanks for the new information, Bill. I've added the excellent set of photos that you sent us. Andy-Editor

By William Spraggs
On 20/11/2016

My dad Pip Kennedy, one of the harbour masters, used to look after the Dawn Approach for Dr Firth and also the Deben Rover for Dr Walmsley. l was brought up around the harbour working for Cresta Marine around 1963, then crane driving on the railway and Fishers around 1970.

By Barry Kennedy
On 19/06/2020

Hi Andy, this gorgeous yacht from the halcyon days of sail was in my family for over 20 years and I noticed some of the more recent details aren’t quite right but I’m happy to get you up to speed if you're interested? 

Yes please Mark, Andy and I are always interested in the history of boats that frequented our harbour.

John -- Editor

By Mark Lanham
On 21/07/2021

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