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SOLD – 37ft. OSBORNE EXPRESS CRUISER – 1968 – Project for Completion – Lying: Surrey



Boat Details

Overall Length: 37ft
Waterline: 32ft 6ins
Beam: 11ft 9ins
Draught: 3ft 9ins
Displacement: 15 Tons T M
Engine: Pair 145hp Perkins Diesels
Berths: Six Berths in Two Cabins
Sail: n/a
Designer: William Osborne junior
Builder: Osbornes of Littlehampton
Year Built: 1968
Location: River Thames Boatyard, Surrey


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 followed. 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-designs 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 death of his father aged only 51.

Osborne’s were fortunate in receiving orders to build lifeboats for the RNLI and they incorporated this high standard of double skin construction to their range of cruisers from the 1940s to 1960s. The bird theme continued with single or twin-engined cruisers, hard-chine designs from 25ft to 50ft. These included the Swift, Osprey, Falcon, Kestrel, Martlet and Eagle. By the late 1960s, Osborne’s introduced a range of up to date stylish cruisers, the early examples built to their exacting standards, well above Lloyds requirements of the time. Later these designs became available as GRP moulded hulls with the King series, notably the Kingswift and Kingfalcon production cruisers.

FINESSE is one of the final double-skin mahogany built examples of the express cruiser designs. She was launched in 1968 for M J Cobham of London SW1 and stationed on the Hamble. In 1972 Alfred & Lilian Moseley from Poole acquired the Osborne. They re-named her LILLENA 11. The original 30ft motor yacht LILLENA also built by Osbornes in 1949. In 1975 K F Boardman-Weston of Mill House, Near Burton on Trent bought the vessel keeping her in Poole Harbour. The late owner bought the boat as a project to be restored by his Thames side boatyard. Unfortunately, after a significant amount of work on the hull the vessel remains unfinished. However, the work completed is to a high standard and the vessel is offered with much of the original joinery and gear. The hull has received the SP system with four coats of epoxy resin below the waterline, and three coats everywhere else. The topsides then had four coats of hi-build 3 oz and then three coats of international C2 pack polythene.’

A further list of works carried as dated 2005:

February 7 2005

Report and works carried out

The vessel is double diagonal hulled on steam-bent timbers and framing. The decks are teak laid over marine grade ply. The ply has been resin bonded and a layer of hessian cloth is bonded.
At commencement the boat was filthy but the general condition overall was excellent with very little rot (timber cost for repair just £125.00) The boat was dried out and Pete White of WestSystems was called in as the owner had previously decided that although the hull was in excellent condition she would be put in resin with West Special Crow Foot Fabric laid to all areas below the waterline.

When purchased, the engines were cleaned and serviced and painted in Perkins blue and she attended the traditional boat rally at Henley before the work commenced on the vessel.

General Clean and strip out boat work

Remove all paint from the entire vessel

Treat boat with permetherine

Make hull and joinery repair

Carefully cut in hardwood strips to the hull to compensate for shrinkage (outside skin)

Apply Sikaflex to internal skin

Remove lower chines so cloth and resin can be taken up above water line

Remove all bolts for running gear

Inspect for cathodic corrosion (All good)

Coat entire boat in resin four coats to hull

Prepare boat and paint two coats of Blakes underwater primer

Paint a further three coats of Blakes locker paint to the hull and inside boat above waterline

Stop and fill all and paint three coats of epoxy paint to all previously painted areas carefully
stopping and filling and preparing between coats.

Carefully prepare and repair and apply glass paper and re-joint teak decks and rubbing strake

Carefully prepare and paint all previously painted interior area totalling five coats

Remove and repair all windows ready to refit

Prepare and paint all decks and floors previously painted and repaired. Prepare and oil in all other decks to both sides.

Prepare guard rails

Finesse Work List Remaining:

Repair decks. Repair old hatch openings
Design and fit 240 electrical system with FRDC
Design and fit 24-volt and a 12-volt system
Buy outlets and light
Check and replace seacocks
Fit Tabernacle mast etc
Fit cooker and worktop and dresser
Fit fridge and microwave
Fit blinds or curtain Fit carpets
Fit shower tray and shower head
Cover cushions
Fit hatches and repair decks
Fit water tank and sewer tank
Sort out deck fitting new or alloy or chrome existing
Fit alloy fairleads
Sort out guard rails and stanchions
Spray stanchion base fittings
Fit gas water heater
Repair clean and fit heads and clean and service Blakes
Fit table leg
Chrome and fit deck fittings
Repair and refit propellers (off to Norris) new pins required and castle nuts
Fit 3 bilge pumps Rule type with float switches
Design and fit new canopy
Fit new wipers and motors
Fit new navigation cable and radar and chart plotter
Fit compass Fit clock and barometer
Fit new mirror
Fit new stainless stern D bar
Fit new batteries 24 volt
Fit depth sounder and speed sender
Fit weather fax
Fit compass
Fit gas bottle container and move board vents
Fit straps to batteries, gas, water and sewer tanks
Diesel tank
Fit gauge to diesel tanks and water tanks
Fit VHF radio and aerial
Fit radio and aerial
Fit G P S aerial
Fit coat rails and hangers
Fit anodes and longer bolts for double nuts and washer
Fit earth wires
Sort out gauges and wiring
Sort out control cables for helm single lever control
Sort out gearbox maker name and makers numbers
See if gearboxes are handed or a pair
Sort out anodes and chain check motor
Renew some bathing ladder slats
Sort out Plimsoll line and stripes for paint levels
Repair deck and cockpit roof – glue down decking


A desirable and stylish cruiser ideal for inland or coastal cruising offering great potential for non-professional or professional finishing. A very worthwhile spring/summer project. A rare opportunity to acquire an Osborne at a fraction of the finished price. Laid-up ashore for a good few years but kept snug and dry under an overall cover.

GUIDE: Sold – May 2021

LYING: Surrey

VIEWING: Through the brokers – CLASSIC YACHT BROKERAGE – 01905-356482

DISCLAIMER: Classic Yacht Brokerage offer the details and photographs of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information or images or warrant the condition of the vessel, machinery or rig.  Buyers should instruct their representative, agents or their surveyors to investigate such details as the buyer requires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.