If anyone remembers and has any details, information or knows the whereabouts of any boats built by Westcraft of Topsham, I should be delighted to hear from them.
Westcraft’s diminutive Ianthe was the only outboard boat to reach Torquay in the first Cowes-Torquay in 1961, although it was out of time. It also competed in ’62 and ’63.
The Westcraft boats were designed by Allen McLachlan of GL Watson and Partners who then devised the ‘Ragged Chine’ hull form. If you are not familiar with it, it comprises 9 or 12 spray rails butted together each side, and was said to give a very soft ride.
An unknown number of ragged chine cruisers and fishing boats around 25 feet were cold moulded by Westcraft, and their best known was a 26 footer, Foamflyer, which was 10th in the 1969 Round Britain race.
Sadly their builder, Dick Read and his daughter, were killed off Portland Bill in 1972.
The ragged chine was adopted by the RNLI for its inshore rescue boats, and also the Arran lifeboat prototype.
It was also adopted by Kappa Marine in Milan, who produced slightly larger boats in grp in the 1980s.
Other, larger, ragged chine raceboats were built elsewhere, and included Zingara and Big Moose
A Read family member and some former employees have provided some material, but the boats themselves remain elusive!
Any information welcome