Veteran torpedo boat’s south coast tour

Bought for £1 in 2005 this restored classic will be on display at the Southampton Boat Show

A veteran Cold War motor

torpedo boat is being readied for a voyage around the south coast, appearing at this year’s Southampton Boat Show. Gay Archer was the first of a class of 12 boats built by

Vospers at Portchester in 1952.

She had a top speed of

43knots, and her naval career included a number of covert operations as well as

escorting the

Swiss Royal family to the Houses of Parliament. One of her sister ships, Gay Charger, was commanded by a young Lieutenant Lawson RN, later

to become much better known as the Right Honourable Nigel (later Lord) Lawson,

Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Gay Archer was sold into private ownership in 1963, eventually

becoming a static houseboat ashore at Northwich, Cheshire but was acquired by

Paul Childs in 2005 for a nominal sum of £1. She returned to the water in 2008

following several years undergoing restoration to her original appearance, and

will sail from her current home at Watchet, Somerset, on 27 July, and will be

open to visitors on each stage of her voyage which will entail stops in

Padstow, Newlyn, Falmouth, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Brixham, Poole, and Portsmouth.