It seems that at the end of the war, the YRA as it was then, commissioned designs for a new 2 man keelboat to be used in the 1948 Olympics. Uffa Fox put forward his “Pensive Temptress” later known as the Flying Fifteen, Alan Pape put up Harkaway and Tom Thorneycroft offered the boat later known as the National Swallow. The Thorneycroft design was adopted after they were sailed against Sunbeams and Dragons as trial horses. Alan Pape also entered the design for a competition in the “Yachting” magazine in 1943.
Harkaway is a day racer, equally at home in inshore waters, lakes and estuaries. She certainly raced competitively in the Solent in the late 70s and in Falmouth regattas in the 90s and almost certainly in the Dee estuary and the Menai straits in the 50s and 60s. Her history has been traced from the original design and construction, through her nine changes of ownership. Her archive contains drawings, including the original plans, many photographs from earliest times through to the present, notes, records of restoration work and letters from some of her previous owners. There is also an account, published in a magazine, of her cruise from Isle of Wight to the Channel Isles and Brittany in 1979.
Alan Pape, her designer, now has many successful designs to his credit, Harkaway, his first is described on the original line drawings as an “International 6.5 metre racer fitted with cabin”. She has the classical lines of the 1930s with low freeboard and a long overhanging stern. The long iron keel gives her a high ballast ratio of 50% and the raked rudder is hung from the keel’s aft edge. The 30ft tall hollow wooden mast was fitted with diamond stays and a fractional rig tacked down well aft of the stem head.
The boat was built at the family boatyard Curtiss and Pape in Looe, Cornwall, in 1946. The first of many contemporary photographs shows Alan Pape sailing her with friends, off Looe in 1947. She exhibits fine lines and a clean uncluttered deck. She was painted white with white cotton sails. During the following months he shortened the rig by 2ft, enlarged the rudder and fitted a tiny 1½hp. Stuart Turner engine.
As well as our regular racing, we also enjoyed plenty of family sailing, taking Harkaway up and down the many creeks leading off the Fal estuary. We sailed up to Trelissick (National trust) and went ashore for tea, we visited the famous old thatched Pandora inn, on Restronguet creek, for lunch and we often went over to St Mawes to visit our old haunts in the Percuil river. It was an easy sail across Falmouth bay for lunch in the Helford, and we also visited Coverack on the Lizard. Round St Anthony’s head we visited a couple of quiet sandy coves as well as calling at Porthscatho, a little further east.
We had a couple of overnight stays, one on the Lizard when we landed on a quiet beach and camped overnight and another when we sailed round to Fowey and had B&B ashore. We did not try to sleep on board as we felt we would be more comfortable ashore.
Harkaway is ready for launching. She has been cleaned and painted, and checked over. There is a recent survey testifying to her condition. The work that has been carried out by recent owners should stand her in good stead for many a year now.
We have decided to replace Harkaway with a four-berth boat so that we can begin to enjoy cruising further afield.