30ft OSBORNE MOTOR LAUNCH – MARINER 111
Mariner 111 is a classic timber motor launch, originally built as a Thames police boat by the highly respected Osborne of Littlehampton.
William Osborne senior (1880-1931) established a business in London in 1912 building motor car bodies, first in Pall Mall and later in Piccadilly. In 1919 William decided to expand into boat-building after receiving an order from the Sussex Motor Yacht Club for a one-design 20-knot powerboat series. William found suitable premises fronting the River Arun in Littlehampton. Motor-yacht commissions soon came in. First from W J Pearson for a 40ft. motor-yacht MA JOIE in 1919 followed by a 60ft. MA JOIE ll in 1920. Three orders for 1921 and two in 1922. The company quickly became known in the industry for their ‘Osborne Finish’
In the late 1920s, William produced a one design series of 9-ton motor-yachts called the ‘Everymans’ Further one-design cruisers followed in the 1930s mostly named after birds. Swallow and Swallow Senior. In 1931 William Osborne junior took over the running of the business following the sudden death of his father aged only 51.
Osborne’s were fortunate in receiving orders to build lifeboats for the RNLI together with orders for River Thames police launches for which they incorporated a high standard of double skin construction as in their range of motor cruisers from the 1940s to 1960s. The bird theme continued with single or twin-engine cruisers, hard-chine designs from 25ft to 50ft. These included the Swift, Osprey, Falcon, Kestrel, Martlet and Eagle.
The hull of MARINER 111 is of double diagonal construction built of teak with oak timbers and backbone. The deck is teak. The boat was surveyed into 2020 and several improvements made since. The skeg has been newly reinforced with a steel shoe and the deck cleaned and re-caulked where required. The boat is powered by a reliable 60hp Ford Marine engine with a top speed of around 12 knots.
This an excellent classic boat which would benefit from some further cosmetic improvement but is in full commission and located on the beautiful Stratford River Avon with access beyond to the River Severn and Sharpness Canal, combined they offer some 70 miles of inland waterways to explore with the Severn Estuary beyond.
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