The river cruisers of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads evolved during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to meet the requirements of this unique inland waterways system – light displacement, tall rigs, low freeboard, well proportioned cabin trunks with lifting roofs to give headroom when moored, and masts that lower to allow easy passage under bridges. The sheltered environment has allowed many of the early boats to survive giving the Broads possibly the greatest concentration of traditional boats in the UK.
To meet the rise of interest in these craft new yachts started to appear in the late 1970’s and one of these was the first Wolstenholme design to reach the water, the 25ft GRP hulled timber composite river cruiser for Kingsley Farrington launched in 1980 (above). She was followed from my board by the timber epoxy ‘Cirrus’, the GRP Farrington 30, the cold moulded ‘Storm’, timber epoxy 31footers for Native Yacht Company, 28ft Bure Classic for Colin Buttifant, the beautiful ‘Moonshadow’ of 2004, and a GRP timber composite 26footer again for Colin Buttifant. In 2012 Colin Buttifant launched ‘White Swan’, a close sister to ‘Cirrus’, and then in 2013 Richard Mace (who had ‘Cirrus’ built and subsequently sold her) working with Paul Bown launched ‘India’, a repeat of ‘Cirrus’.