Canvey Island Boat Builders

G.Prout & Sons and Prout Catamarans

1960-70’s  

Prouts sold their craft all over the world privately and through agents. The main agents were in Holland, France and U.S.A

I remember having a call from our Dutch agent saying he had sold a Swift 14ft catamaran and the owner would like to come over to collect, we assumed by car and trail it back, but on arrival at the factory he said that he would be sailing it back to Holland. The weather was fine and we heard that he had a good trip back.

We shipped Swifts on trailers to Holland via Southend Airport by Southend Car Ferries .

Ian checking crated Scoprels

The French agent generally ordered twenty-five 6ft Scoprels folding yacht tenders at a time, these were crated up and shipped over via Dover.

Many of the large cruising catamarans were sold to the USA, some were shipped over as deck cargo and others sailed over, either by there owners or by a delivery skipper, one being Jack Fenwick of Canvey .

Loading Hurrying Angel on to SS American Courier

“Hurrying Angel” was one cruising catamaran that was motored from Canvey up to the Royal London Docks where it was craned on to the” American Courier” for delivery to the U.S.A.

Click on photos for names

 

Comments about this page

  • That’s my Dad in the middle..James Black. A.K.A. Jim, Jimmy or Jock. Looks to be standing admiring his work!! 🙂

    By Cheri Arlenghi (nee Black) (16/10/2012)
  • hi i sailed with Jack in the winter of 1985 1986 wonderd if he is stiil about GOOD OLL JACK

    By Tony Triggs (28/02/2013)
  • Nice photographs! My wife and I still sail at The North Sea with our Swift MK II. Please tell me how I van send you pictures. In The Hague are still several Swifts. My friend sails with à Swift MK III with à trampoline. 

    Yours, Joop ten Velden

    By Joop ten Velden (11/09/2014)
  • You can email them to us using the address cca@canveyisland.org

    Thank you Joop

    By Janet Penn (11/09/2014)
  • Have been taking Dave for a stroll down memory lane, he was so excited to see the photos of Prouts.  David (Bown) is now 83 and living in Oxfordshire and seeing these photos have done his memory a power of good.

    By Muriel Bown (10/02/2018)
  • Thats great Muriel. Makes all our hard work worthwhile.

    By Janet Penn (10/02/2018)
  • During the late 1950’s-1960’s, I was a Cadet Member of Leigh Sailing Club. The LSC were the sponsor club for the Prout Swift class Catamaran.

    This “little” Cat was a 14 footer with I believe 200 square foot of fully battened mainsail. In 1962, the Swift National Championships were held off Leigh on Sea, and was won by Ian Norris, who went on to sail in the “Little Americas Cup” off Long Island Sound in the USA. The UK boat was designed by Rod McAlpine Downey, and won, outright!

    Still in the 1960, I crewed an Enterprise Dingy at Burnham on Crouch open week. My helmsman was Ricky Chinn and we won our class for the week. There was also a Cruiser class race at the end of the week and one of Prout’s Cruisers was entered. Needless to say she finished an hour ahead of everyone else.

    We also took a small “fleet” (8 boats) to the Whitstable week and again, Ian Norris won easily. We returned the next year, only to find that we had been “handicapped” out of winning. This was due to the fact that the Whitstable Yacht Club was home to the Flying Dutchman class, which could not live with the Swifts. There wass quite a lot of prejudice against these little Swift “rocket ships”

    I can remember that Prouts “loaned” LSC a Shearwater that had been equipped with a “trapeze” to allow more body weight to be hung over the side of the boat, when as we called it “flying a hull”. On it’s first outing with LSC, the Helmsman was Ian Norris and Crew, Johnny Atkinson. We followed behind in our Swifts, just to watch the fun. Off Canvey Island, Ian had the mainsail pulled in, from block to block and the Shearwater was really flying. As usual, a freak gust of wind hit the boat and over she went. Afterwards, Johnny A. remarked that he never knew water could be so hard!!

    One of the good things about Cats. was how easy it was to “right” after a capsize. All you had to do was to wrap the mainsail sheet around your waist, stand on one of the Daggerboards and lean back. Easy Peasy!! The main drawback with the Cats was that whenever you went out for a sail, even in light airs, you would get wet, and I mean WET. LSC Cadets sailed their boats all year round – they even had an “Icicle” race on Boxing Day.

    Some of the names of our boats were – Double Diamond, Something Stupid,, Pas de Deux and Wrecked ‘Em ( don’t know how they got away with that one!!)
    Happy Days!
    Comment from Keith Duncan

    By Janet Penn (14/03/2021)
  • Keith Duncan in about 65 / 66 when I was 14/15 I used to crew a Swift cat called Avenger owned by Len Coxall. Our club was Harlow SC and I remember doing the Nationals at LSC. There was a really tatty looking matt black and orange cat which won the class! Happy days!

    By Dave Matthews (24/07/2021)

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