Boat Specification
Boat Name: 
Boat Type: 
Motor Yacht, Ketch rig
Boat Length: 
46ft 6ins
Boat Beam: 
9ft 1in
Boat Draft: 
4ft 5ins
Boat Displacement: 
14 tons
Boat Engine: 
100hp 6 cyl Ford
Boat Construction: 
Teak sandwich
Boat Builder: 
J T Crompton, Portsmouth
Boat Year: 

Researching into the background of the Little Ships brings to light many interesting stories about their past occupations, their owners and their names. Francisco de Orellana after whom this Little Ship is named, was a 16th century Spanish soldier. He sailed for Peru in 1535 and in April 1541 was sent ahead of the main expedition to seek provisions, taking a brigantine with 50 soldiers. When he reached the junction of the Napo and Maranon rivers, he deserted the Pizarro expedition. He followed the great river system until he reached the Atlantic. He therefore discovered the Amazon River and named it after the Amazons of Greek mythology, who came to his mind when he encountered a tribe of fighting women near the mouth of the great South American river.

The Little Ship Orellana started life as the Evelyn in 1907, built by J.T. Crompton in Portsmouth. She was a steam pinnace flying the White Ensign. Like most ships of her day, she did not rely entirely on engines, but was rigged as an auxiliary gaff ketch and she is still a good sailing boat today. Her steam engine has long been replaced, in 1912 by a Blake 4 cylinder petrol engine, in 1933 by a Detroit-built Gray and more recently by a l00hp 6-cylinder Ford. She remained in the service until the late 1920s when she was owned by H.E. Lamplough of Walton-on-Naze in Essex. She then had fifteen more owners on the East coast and it was in 1929 that Lt. Colonel S.G. Allden of Beccles in Suffolk renamed her Orellana.

She was recruited for Dunkirk by Ron Lenthall of Tough Brothers at Teddington. Ron's notebook shows her crew as H. Ambler of Twickenham, G. Thomas of London and K.J. Ray of Southwick. The Navy kept her until 1947, but the trail of her subsequent owners goes cold after that until 1972 when the Rev. Terry Fuller bought her from Emil Freeman of Ramsgate and kept her in Cornwall. Apparently she was still maintained there by her owner, John Fincham (1989)

Orellana is believed to have featured (as vesse No 10) in the Pathe News feature 'Our Mosquito Navy' in August 1940:-

Further to the 2010 comment below, we have been unable to confirm her destruction, but would welcome further information surrounding either her whereabouts (or demise).

Source: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 19

Updated April 2018


Orellana little ship

The comments about the history of Orellana omit to mention she was owned by myself and my husband between end of 1986 and 1988. She was moored at Falmouth's marina then at Charlestown, Cornwall. We restored her quite a bit and we lived aboard with our two children. After selling her, we heard that she was burned down, set alight purposely in Charlestown.