Clover was built in 1938 at A.r. Luke Bros. Yard in Hamble, Southampton England for Eric Thompson, a member of the Royal Cruising Club and a Royal Navy Reserve officer. During the war Eric was involved in developing rubber dive suits. After the war he owned Faith and Sante, a 30’ fiberglass motorboat, and in the 1960's a young teenager Michael Cohen sailed as crew for him.
Michael writes “I never saw Clover, only a couple of pictures that Eric Thompson had in his home. Regarding her rigging, I remember him describing her as a gaff-rigged, tops'l schooner. He once told me he closely supervised her construction, to the point of checking with a magnet for any ferrous fasteners, a big no-no. Eric was a member of the Royal Cruising Club in England. Perhaps they have some useful information about her. I would like to know about het wartime history. Eric was always evasive about his own contribution. I am fairly confident it involved the coastal waters of western France. That is where we sailed together and he clearly had a history with those parts. I remember another person who crewed for Eric before me, probably in the 1960s, was one Robert Fraise.
“When I knew him, Eric was living alone in Poole, Dorset. I don't think he ever married or had children. He talked of a brother. He also told me, for what it's worth, of the time he had been involved in testing the earliest rubber diving suits. I think perhaps he was in the navy then, but I'm not sure. He proudly retold the story when he was sailing her in the English Channel and was hailed by a passing ship to convey their admiration of Clover. It turned out to be the royal yacht, Britannica, and the compliment was from Prince Philip.
“Here's another little story Eric told me about Clover's build. He said he would go the the yard from time to time to check on their progress. He would take with him a small compass and check for any iron fasteners. He was surely not Luke Bros favorite customer when he made them replace any he found.
“Eric used to tell me stories about him working with early seaplanes. In. particular, he told of the difficulty in mooring them due to their shallow draft and high windage. He also told me his working with the early rubber frogsuits. I don't know if these two yarns of his were related.”
Coming soon - more yarns from Clover's former crew!
Wooden Boats for Veterans (EIN 46-4194065) a nonprofit private foundation, was founded by combat veterans and sailors dedicated to enriching veterans’ lives. We have served and we have a passion for restoring and sailing boats.
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