Lady Doris is an 1939, RAF Seaplane Tender (Made by Vosper)
She’s currently moored in Iffley, Oxford – on the Thames.
I’m taking offers over £7,000
Brief introduction to Lady Doris:
This is a rare opportunity to buy and maybe live in a unique Oxford Liveaboard.
I regularly travel to Uganda and I’m starting a new job too, and so with a heavy heart, I need to find Lady Doris a new owner. She could make a lovely Liveaboard, Spare room (AirBnb) or of course be used for various adventures up and down the Thames, or beyond. She’s currently in Oxford, in a beautiful and friendly spot near Iffley lock, so why not come and see us on one of these sunny days?
Lady Doris was made by Vosper in 1939 as an RAF Seaplane tender, and saw active service in WW2. She’s registered as a National Historic Ship, along with just 1,300 other ships in the UK. Meaning she can fly a special ensign flag to “show off” her place in British Maritime History and I think you can still apply for annual grants to help with maintenance costs.
Follow her story since i bought her about 8 years ago, and join 650 other Lady Doris fans on our popular facebook group, “Project Lady Doris”
As I’ve been away for most of the last two years in Uganda, she’s weathered quite a bit, and fallen on some hard times, hence why the price is so low, and why there’s a bargain to be had! The pictures below are all taken in the past couple of weeks.
MAKE ME AN OFFER
I absolutely love this boat, and I can feel part of me wanting to get fully involved again to restore her to her former glory, but sadly, this is not a good time for me. Whilst I’m back from Uganda now, I have a new job starting in London very soon, and many more future trips to Uganda too.
However, I am spending time in Oxford, roughly once a week making improvements, to make her more pretty and salable, meaning the amount I’d accept for her is gradually increasing – so to get the best bargain, you need to act now!
When she’s back to her previous condition (you can see many pictures below), she’s worth around £15k to £20k, or a lot more depending on how far you go with the restoration. She even made me over £20k one time when she was used in a film – who knows maybe this could happen again for you?!
I’m taking sensible offers now, and importantly, I’m looking for someone who can take her to the next stage. This means you have a chance to buy a pretty unique historic boat, for a very reasonable price at the moment!
Also, below the water line, I’ve spent over £15k on hull repairs over the years, a new rudder and other significant improvements. Any seriously interested potential buyers can talk to the boat surveyor who saw many of these works being done, about 3 years ago.
Lady Doris appeared on Channel 4’s George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces
Please watch the full 19 mins of her TV debut on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces! I’ve edited the bits that just include Lady Doris, and me talking about the story so far!
(I’m on the left, standing George Clarke during the filming of the final part of the show)
This is a great way to see a bit about the Boat’s history and story, what work was done to her in 2015 / 2016, and also how she looked also for the big reveal, when George Clarke came to check on our handy work! There’s also an excellent 3D diagram near the start, that shows you the layout of the boat!!
How can you get your hands on Lady Doris:
As mentioned above, I’m open to offers over £7,000 at the moment. However. I’m working on her and improving her every week, and so the amount I’ll accept will gradually increase to reflect the time and money i’m spending on her improvements. So, the biggest bargain is to be had, right now.
I will update this advert accordingly with the additional work and improvements I make. However, it’s probably a good idea for you to follow the progress of the project too on our facebook page:
This is the best way to see her current photos too… and to get a feel for her history and story…
I’d like her to go to someone who can love her and take her to the next level, so that she can carry on being enjoyed by you, and by society at large. So, if you are interested, please explain a bit about yourself, and make me an offer, no matter how peculiar you might think it is – you never know…
What you could use Lady Doris for:
* I’ve happily lived on her, and also used her as a weekend retreat
* It’s a fantastic experience in Spring & Summer (you might get woken up by Duck though), and cosy in Winter times, when the woodburner is blasting out heat
* Facilities on her at the moment are basic – think of it as glorified campling. But you could really go to town on her, and make her absolutely amazing with a bit of effort (more on this later)
Fun trips & adventures
* Trips up and down the Thames, from Oxford to central London. Or beyond…
* Henley Trad Boat Festival – entered in 2018. Lovely opportunity for her to meet her contemporaries, and for you to meet other classic boat enthusiasts.
* Art studio / Art gallery – I’m an artist, and it’s lovely to work on Lady Doris!
* DIY Hobby / project – you’ll find there’s work to be done on Lady Doris. So if you are handy, and like this sort of thing, then you’ll find this rather fun
(Trad Boat Festival, Henley, 2018 – get your tickets for 2020 here: https://www.tradboatfestival.com/)
Film and location hire:
* In 2017 she was used in a film called Patrick, and made many £1000’s of pounds for a few weeks of filming (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB5cV1VQKz4). I can tell you more about this when you enquire.
* Lady Doris is pretty unique – there are very few (if any) boats exactly like her left in the UK, and that’s partly what makes her so special.
* You could list Lady Doris on location websites, and potentially make an income from film or location hire for fashion shoots etc.
* Lady Doris also featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces
Spare room / AirBnb income
Depending on where you moor her, she could make you a nice AirBnb income from £20 to £100 a night (if you get her properly spruced up!). Or if you are lucky enough to be able to moor her near your home, then she’s a rather fun spare room for guests.
A full description of Lady Doris:
(click on the image to play the video) or click here: https://youtu.be/YS0h_QprcBU
Length: 44ft (13.4m)
Width: 10ft (3m)
Draft: 4ft 6 inches (1.4m) approx (this is basically how deep the boat sits in the water)
Air Draft: 8ft 6 inches (2.6m) (this is how high she is from the waterline)
THE FOLLOWING PICTURES ARE OLD ONES.
I’m showing these pictures to show what she can look like with a bit of elbow grease and effort. But, these have all been taken in the few years…
From the stern (back of the boat), you can enter Lady Doris, and go down some steps into the…
This room has wonderful 280 degree views of the river, and can be used to sleep two people, or as a dining room. I’ve even turned it into a mini cinema a while ago.
From the bunk house you enter…
That’s boat speak for kitchen. It’s quite small, and is set up with a sink, gas hob, and fridge at the moment. More on that later.
Before you pop up some stairs, to the left there’s a access to the engine room, and to the right a small toilet, and then you go up the stairs to…
As you might imagine, this is where the wheel resides… and so where the skipper does his or her magic.
However, it’s also a lovely room when the boat is stationary, with 360 degree views, and plenty of space to sit and with pals, and chat about your tales of adventure, or whatever you fancy of course. I’ve had some lovely gatherings on Lady Doris…
Underneath the Wheelhouse, is the very large engine room. There’s a separate section all about the wonderful old engine later.
Moving towards the bow (front) from the wheelhouse, you go down some steps again, and into the…
A triangular bed into the bow, makes up a large part of this space, plenty of room for two… Other than that, there’s a lovely wood burner, and a radiator… more on this later.
There’s enough space to put a little shower room in here. Something I’ve sadly not got around to doing myself. I’ve got quite a few ideas on what you could do to Lady Doris, and I’m very happy to share them!
You have a flat roof at the stern (back) of Lady Doris over the bunkhouse, and lovely front deck too:
One of the great joys for me, of owning Lady Doris, has been that she’s been the first boat that many of my friends’ kids have ever seen, let alone been on – and of course they absolutely love it! That’s why if you’re fortunate to have your own mooring, at the bottom of your garden, then your kids would absolutely love hanging out on Lady Doris, and having little adventures
The engine is a Perkins S6M, and it’s as old as the boat, and is a piece of history itself, being one of the first ever mass produced diesel engines. Many of the military boats in WW2 moved to Diesel, because it ignites at a much higher temperature than petrol!
The Perkins engine is absolutely massive, but looks quite small in the even more massive engine room (see pictures). We think she used to have two engines, as an operational RAF Seaplane Tender, she would have been made for speed. The date the engine was made, and the age of Lady Doris fits, so it may be the original engine. Here’s a link I found that tells you a bit about the Perkins S6M – http://www.bmpt.org.uk/other_boats_history/Marine-Engine-Collection/index.htm
The engine turns over from the starter motor, and needs a few final tweaks to become operational again. She roars like a lion, but when the engine is running, it’s quite fun I find, especially when you consider that she’s more than 80 years old!
Since buying Lady Doris in 2013, I’ve had a bit of work done to the engine, gearbox, starter motor and alternator. But I think you’ll need to get someone to look at this again when you buy her, to make sure it’s all serviced and working properly (as I’ve been away for a couple of years).
When I took her from Goole to Hull, we went under the humber bridge, and the Captain helping me at the time, former RAF, and knew much more about the boat than me at this time, reckoned we were doing about 10 knots. This is more than enough for tootling up and down the Thames!
If you need to move Lady Doris to a different spot on the Thames, and you’d like a Skipper, I know an excellent guy who’s helped me out before. Otherwise, go for it youresel, with a competent crew – fortune favours the brave!
The facilities on Lady Doris…
As touched on before, the facilities on Lady Doris are incredibly basic. I suggest you come expecting to see, just the boat, and you might then be pleasantly surprised by a few bits and pieces. Some of the equipment I will take with me, but it’s all negotiable. I’m presenting to you here, what there is, and what you could do, to make it better, so you get an idea…
Her current mooring is off grid, and so I set up a decent polar panel on her roof (about 1000w), that charges two 100amp batteries in series. On the dashboard by the wheel, there’s an excellent dial that tells you how full the batteries are. The only items that run off these batteries are the bilge pumps and a few LED lights around the boat.
There’s a USB port to charge your phone on the dashboard too – and that can be quite handy, especially when you’re using your phone to aid navigation, with google maps for example!
The main source of heating is a lovely woodburner in the bedroom. When this is on, it pumps out heat, and warms this room, and even the wheelhouse a bit too. I say woodburner, but it’s actually a multi fuel stove, which means that it’s happy to burn coal as well as wood. The flu has been dismantled, and you would need to get this working again.
I half built a radiator system with a diesel webasto heater attached to it, that has a snazzy dial, that enables you to set when the heating comes on and goes off, like being in an actual house. However, as this is half done, I’m planning to take the webasto with me for another project – but this is all negotiable.
Cooking & kitchen facilities
There’s a simple double gas hob in the galley,, and the gas canisters are simply outside at the back of Lady Doris. I’ve made many many sausage (and vegan!) baguettes and cups and coffee for my friends who’ve visited or who have helped me out with Lady Doris! You need to get this looked at and working again – it should be a quick and easy job for someone who knows what they are doing.
There’s a fridge that opens from the top, that in theory can run from the batteries or from Gas, but I use it as a cool box basically, and I’m not entirely sure where the connections are for it to be anything other than this. I will take this away with me, but it’s negotiable.
There’s sink in the Kitchen / Galley, that simply uses cold water from the river. So it’s fine for washing things up, but that’s about it.
A friend on the mooring has built a 3 part filtration system, that makes the water clean enough to shower in, and a final stage involves a UV light, that even makes the water drinkable. So you could do this too. And you can then store the water in a tank, and of course heat it up, to make washing dishes easier, or for a shower of course – so it’s definitely worth doing. I’ve researched this A LOT, and i would recommend you put in a Morco, gas water heater, which are very safe indeed, and great for boats.
Construction & Work done on Lady Doris so far:
She’s larch on oak carvel construction.
I’ve owned her since 2013, and I’ve done a lot of work to restore her, with extensive hull work (twice), new rudder, rebuilt the gearbox, and various cosmetic makeovers.
She’s weathered quite a bit in the last couple of years, as I’ve been away in Uganda, so it may be worth getting her out the water again soon and surveyed to see what’s what. A little bit of water gets in, as has always been the case, but it’s regularly pumped out by the bilge pumps, so it’s not a huge concern, and quite typical for an old wooden boat. Some drips are getting through into the front room when it rains, however I’m in the process of resolving that. I’m happy to chat to you when you view the boat, about what I think needs to be done to bring her back to her former glory – there’s a combination of some cosmetic, quick wins, and potentially more substantial work too, that you may want to schedule in at some point in the future. She’s river worthy now, but may require a bit more beefing up, if she’s to face the high seas again, for example.
I received a grant of £750 from National Historic Ships in 2017, and you’ll be entitled to apply again, as I think you can get a new grant, once a year.
I bought Lady Doris on Ebay, and I was a total novice, learning many things along the way. This can be done, and it’s certainly an adventure! It would also be good if you’re skilled or have the same passion to learn as I did – and I’m happy to offer some help to get you started.
2014 – Hull work – (Nov 2013 to May 2014)
She came out for about 5 months, and extensive work was done to the Hull replacing about 20m of planks. She successfully went back in the water in Reading, and then we travelled to Kingston.
2014 – Engine & Gearbox work
Mentioned already above.
2015/16 – George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces
Loads of internal work, largely cosmetic to get her ready for George Clarke’s amazing spaces. You can still watch this here:
There’s also an excellent 3D diagram near the start, that shows you the layout of the boat!!
2017 – Patrick Film
She was used in a film and made many thousands fo pounds actually – if you message me, I’ll tell you how much. Who knows maybe you could list her on location websites and she’ll help you to earn her keep! Here’s the trailer, and you can See Lady Doris in this too!
Work was mostly cosmetic.
2018 – Hull, Ribs & Rudder work – (October 2017 to May 2018)
Extensive hull repairs to the stern, and new oak ribs, you can see in some of the pictures. Worked with an amazing guy, and I’m very happy to pass on their details should you need them.
Rudder was fixed too. Some work covered by a grant from National Historic Ships. https://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/
I’m happy to talk and share more about this with you, when you make an inquiry.
Currently moored in Iffley, Oxford
To discuss or arrange a viewing please call, Whatsapp or email Marcus Warry on:
email@example.com – 07879 812 789 (WhatsApp is best if possible)