Build me straight and strong O worthy Master.

Rodney Choppin

50 years ago this Autumn in 1950, a new boat emerged from Frank Shuttlewood's boatyard to be launched during that year.

Commissioned by my father, Henry Leonard Choppin, who had recently retired from the Royal Navy following nine active years at sea on minesweepers, it was to enable him to pursue his love of sailing in peacetime.

Overcoming problems of obtaining timber in 1949, Frank Shuttlewood succeeded in building this 30ft Bermudan sloop with a bawley transom, having originally marked out the basic shape with a piece of wood on the clay floor of the boatyard.

During the post war years mahogany was very difficult to come by, but thanks to a friend in the timber trade who found three logs in a pit at Lowestoft, the two men were able to select one enormous one.

Her planking, which is 1 " thick by 9" wide, all came from this one log, leaving enough for her cabin sides and interior furnishings; the grown frames were to be of oak, but initially the supply that arrived was so green that Frank said "If I pour water on these, leaves will grow out of them!"

However, fortunately he had a supply of well-seasoned frames stored away, which he was able to use.

A boat is born

Work commenced in January 1950 with the laying of an oak frame 24' long X 14" X 9", and during the following nine months the boat gradually took shape, as she is today, which is quite remarkable as there were only two men working on her Frank himself and Jack Thorogood, known to all as 'Young Jack'.

As a boy, living in Prittlewell, I used to enjoy my visits, accompanying my father to monitor progress, and I still remember watching Frank using a long plane to peel off one continuous length of wood shaving as he shaped each plank for fitting.

Planking up

In September, as work progressed, the hull caulked, primed and near to completion, a date had to be decided upon when there was a good Spring tide suitable for launching.

Down the ways she goes

Both Frank and father concluded that Oct 31st was to be that date, upon which my mother, looking at her diary, remarked that that was All Hallows hence the name of the boat 'HALLOWE'EEN".