P1041 - Gay Archer

First of the Militaryboats

Gay Archer was the first of twelve Gay Class Boats ordered by the Royal Navy and built by Vospers in Portchester.


The Gay class was a ‘short’ (23m, 75ft check) class of Fast Patrol Boats, so called because they could be easily converted from motor torpedo boats to motor gun boats; and they were very fast – pulling 40 knots when at full speed.


She is made of double diagonal Honduras mahogany which was felled in 1937; and cost £127,000 to build, with inflation this is equivalent to about £2.2 million in 2012.


She was launched on 20th August 1952 and entered service as an RN Fast Patrol Boat numbered P 1041. The FPBs main defensive advantage was their speed and agility to attack either by gun or by launching surface torpedoes. She was also equipped with Depth Charges and flare rocket launches to illuminate the enemy.


In service she performed missions with the SBS (Special Boat Service) in the Baltic during the Cold War. She also had the honour of escorting the Queen down the river Thames on the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1954. A video for this is published on the British Pathe website - http://www.britishpathe.com/search/query/1203.03/search-field/film_id



In March 2012 the P2000 Archer class patrol boats Exploit and Express visited us. Part 1 filmed by Gerry from Pebbles Bar (Best Cider Bar in Watchet!)and Part 2 by the lovely Jules and friend:



Build your own Motor Torpedo Boat, a documentary about our restoration of the Gay Archer, made by our good friends Zaegreus Films and available at their website: http://www.zagreusfilms.com/


Gay Class Fast Patrol Boats advertise Senior Service Cigarettes – although we don’t condone smoking especially on wooden boats!


Aspiring model Anna poses for Photos at the Bristol Harbour Festival in 2009, although we think that Gay Archer is prettier!

Paul shows guests around Gay Archer
Paul shows guests around Gay Archer