Friends of the Maritime Museum

Newsletter No 74 August 2000

From the Chairman

The AGM was held on 25th April and saw the alterations to the Friends Constitution, bringing it up to date and reflecting the way we function at this time. I am pleased to say that we now have a Secretary- Cara Billot, and I thank her for taking on this task. We have a new Committee member, Peter Colback, and two members have resigned, Robert Le Maistre and Dave Hocquard and I would like to thank them for all the work they have undertaken for the Friends over the years. The Committee was elected as follows: K.Le Scelleur (Chairman), Miss C.Billot (Secretary), G de Gruchy (Treasurer), Mrs S de Gruchy (Membership Secretary) Mrs S.Billot (Newsletter), R.Asplet, P.Colback, D.Ford, J.Gailichan, P.Gibaut, Mrs M.Gaskell, P.Mimmack, and A.Podger.

St Malo 2000

I am sure that most members are well aware, thanks to the coverage by the Jersey Evening Post that Fiona and Diana did reach St Malo as part of the Rally organised by St Helier Yacht Club marking the 60th Anniversary of the St Malo evacuation. On the Thursday before the Rally the two craft were joined by the other 1940 veteran Desirée, all being dressed overall and moored on the pontoon at the end of South Pier as part of the festivities to launch the Club's booklet on the history of the evacuation and the subsequent granting of its Battle Honour of a defaced red Ensign (written and produced by K Le Scelleur in collaboration with St Helier Yacht Club, Ed.) The booklet is an in-house Club publication and may be purchased for 5 either at the Club on South Pier or at the Maritime Museum. It was a wonderful achievement to get Fiona and Diana down to St Malo, and I would like to thank all those involved in making them ready, as with Diana it was touch and go to the last couple of days while the weather on the day called for men of determination to get them to St Malo. K Le S.


It is with great sadness that we have to record the death of Peter Gibaut on July 25th. The family held a private funeral service, with his ashes to be scattered on the lake at his beloved Maison Charles. Peter was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic members of the Friends and was still on the Committee at the time of his death. Until recently Peter had organised the winter series of lectures which had included such notable speakers as the Commander of HMS Beagle at the time of the Liberation and Sir Chay Blyth. Most of the overseas speakers stayed at Maison Charles with Peter and he was in his element hosting dinner or lunch parties during the visits. Maison Charles was also the wonderful venue for the Friends summer Garden Parties and he took great pleasure in showing those present his collections in the house. Peter had suffered a fall earlier this year, breaking his leg but he seemed to be making good progress. The Friends held many Committee meetings at Maison Charles, only the week before he died he had agreed to us having our September meeting at his house. Peter was a tireless worker for the Friends, and will be greatly missed. To Anne, his sister, and the other members of the family we extend our sincere sympathies. The family intend to hold a gathering of Peter's friends at Maison Charles sometime in September. K Le S.

Boats from Bob Asplet.

Preparing Fiona and Diana to take part in the 60th Anniversary at St Malo entailed a lot of work on Diana. Fitting the recently acquired reconditioned engine was more complicated than expected. All went well and both boats made the trip with Kevin Le Scelleur acting as guard boat in his boat "Patrice". The weather improved and Fiona sailed the whole way in 6 hours. A total of one hundred boats made the trip from Jersey, which included the Desiée, Fiona and Diana who made the trip in 1940. As far as we know, these are the last of the original little fleet. The return trip was in light northerly winds so Fiona took a tow from "Patrice" for the trip, and Diana returned under her own power. St Helier Yacht Club have organised a series of races for what is loosely described as dayboats on alternate weekends and Fiona and Jesse have competed against among others "Moana" (HeatherSpeller), a keel boat slightly smaller than Jesse but of similar age, and "Jigsaw' (Mike Harrison) a recently built boat to a traditional small Jersey fishing boat design. These races have been well supported with five or more boats turning out on each occasion. In the workshop Florence has had the ballast keel fitted leaving the coamings, rudder and cleats to refit, and the final painting. During the winter, we plan to have Fiona in the workshop. At present the provision of an inboard engine is under active consideration plus the usual items of maintenance and replacements.

Research from A. Podger.

We have now got to the stage where we can give completed crew lists for 1835-1836,and largely completed lists to the 1840s. Help is urgently needed to continue entering up these crew lists on computer. Do not be put off because you are not computer literate, age is no bar,as two in their 70s are doing it presently! You will be taught the simple operation, mornings or afternoons. Interested? Then phone either Alex Podger on 626005 or Mervyn Billot on 851628.

The workshop from Doug Ford, Head of Education Services, Jersey Heritage Trust.

Over the spring and summer we have been very active in looking after the boats. There has been some minor work on the Fiona carried out by Bob Asplet while the Martlet and Jesse are good enough to last another year without any real work other than a wash down. Trevor Bull, who fitted the second-hand engine in Diana, is in the workshop on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and Dave Hocquard has been a regular volunteer along with Bob Asplet. Work on Florence continues thanks to the generosity of Mr and Mrs D Crossland and everything looks set for a rededication ceremony on Friday 15th September. It will be wonderful to see both the Florence and the Jesse competing against each other again. It has been encouraging to see the traditional boats competing against each other regularly, Fiona as the heaviest craft taking part has a string of thirds to her credit. Both the Diana and Fiona made the trip to St Malo in under 7 hours, not bad for two little boats whose combined age is in excess of 250 years. With our maintenance plans for the winter we would welcome further volunteers to help - especially with the painting! So if you would like to offer your services please give me a ring on 633340.


We are most grateful to Mrs C Riches for her generous donation to enable us to purchase further safety equipment for our boats.


Friday 15th September: Rededication of Florence at the Town Marina at 12 noon in the presence of Mr & Mrs D Crossland.

Thursday 28th September Open Day at the Maritime Museum for Members only, from 6-8pm, to view the new exhibits. Refreshments will be available.

During the last weekend of April the Channel Islands Family History Society held a Family History Fair at Highlands College and we were invited to have a display of our research facilities. Alec Podger arranged an attractive display complete with colour photographs and this created a lot of interest.

See you at the Open Day 28th September


Editor: Sheila Billot, La Porte, Rue du Pont, St. Saviour, Jersey JE2 7HT.


To return to the Friends of the Maritime Museum homepage Friends-General Information.htm

To return to Patrimoine des Côtes.htm