CLOVER was designed by Albert Luke in 1938 in Hamble, Southampton, England for Eric Thompson, a Royal Navy Reserve officer. She was built in Hamble, Southampton, England by the Luke Brothers Boat Yard. A renowned yard for decades, sadly she was targeted for destruction by the German Luftwaffe for building seaplanes and landing craft, and bombed out of existence in 1940.
Principle dimensions are 68’ overall, 50’ on the waterline, 14’3” beam and 9’ draft. Her displacement is approximately 100,000 lb. CLOVER is traditionally carvel planked using Long Pine planking and double sawn oak frames with staggered joints. She was fastened with what appear to be bronze spikes and is externally ballasted with a cast lead keel estimated to weigh 11,000 lb., fastened with 1 ¼” bronze bolts. The topsides have been refastened with stainless steel screws. Floors are steel straps bolted through the keel and extended upwards five plank widths and through-bolted to a single frame with bronze bolts.
We understand from the Royal Cruising Club that she and Thompson were members, and that Clover was sold circa 1960 to a British couple that took her to Jamaica and lived aboard with their young family. From there she passed into several charter owners and transited the Panama Canal in the 1970's, arriving in the Bay Area. She was donated to us in 2016 after laying dormant and uncared for for ten or more years; sinking, damaged and close to being destroyed.
CLOVER’s ASDIC Gear from World War II
Note in the picture of her on the hard the presence of oval metal plates measuring about 27” x 18” at the port and starboard hull sides just forward of the forward edge of the ballast keel. These plates are associated with 12” diameter internally mounted vertical cylinders with seal tops. There are junction boxes on the tops of the cylinders. This is believed to be CLOVER’s wartime gear – her “ASDIC”, developed by the British Admiralty’s Anti-Submarine Division between the World Wars.
Another interesting coincidence is the presence of what appears to be a compass binnacle mounted on top of the main cabin, a curious spot to place a ship’s compass, but in fact is located very close to the ASDIC equipment below decks.
The equipment that remains today is watertight and sound; it presents dramatic evidence that she served her country during its darkest hour, presumably in the English Channel and off the coast of Western France, to detect metal objects in the water such as mines and U-boats. When the equipment was installed is an open question and raises the possibility that her owner, being involved in the Royal Navy’s diving department, may have had this equipment installed during construction to perform some manner of testing.
Terry founded WBFV in 2014 to build a community of veterans and their families around wooden boats.
Service, Sailing, & Community