Ona II

Boat Specification
Boat Name: 
Ona II
Boat Type: 
Motor Yacht
Boat Length: 
Boat Beam: 
9ft 6ins
Boat Draft: 
2ft 6ins
Boat Displacement: 
8 tons
Boat Engine: 
2 x Perkins M30 Diesel
Boat Construction: 
Pitch pine on oak
Boat Builder: 
Staniland & Co., Thorne
Boat Year: 

There is rarely a good commercial reason for keeping a ship alive for more than fifty or maybe a hundred years. Water, especially salt water, is the enemy of timber and steel and a boat needs to be cherished, out of proportion to its usefulness, to survive. Owners of Dunkirk Little Ships, many from outside the traditional boating fraternity, are motivated by affection and respect for their heritage.

Ona II was built in 1931 by Staniland and Company at Thorne in Yorkshire, near the river Ouse which flows down to the Humber, as a typical motor yacht of 36ft, designed for the enjoyment of English rivers. In 1940 she belonged to a Mr. H. Payne, but we could not discover how she came to be in Southern England at that time. The official records show that she certainly crossed to Dunkirk and saved twenty soldiers.

Then the trail goes cold until 1984, when heating engineer Dennis Haresign found Ona II on the Thames at Oxford, vandalised, partly submerged and blocking the local boatyards slipway. Her owner lived abroad and was eager to dispose of her for ?500. Ona II was taken through the country lanes of rural Wiltshire, chocked up in a picturesque cottage garden near Swindon and tackled by a team of eight enthusiasts. They re-planked the hull, stripped and repainted every inch of her woodwork, added mast and sails, re-wired and re-furbished the interior, renewing all her fittings. With financial help from the Swindon branch of The Dunkirk Veteran's Association, Ona II was made seaworthy in time to sail to Dunkirk for the forty-fifth anniversary in 1985.

After some years of alternating between Wiltshire and Portsmouth, Ona II was acquired by Keith Carter - a man used to sailing boats in the Lake District of England - and his wife Anne. They wanted a motor yacht "of a certain age" and replaced many of her fittings with authentic examples from the '30s.

Then, in 1995, Ona II was bought by Nicolas and Sylvie Beytout who lived on an island near Paris and wanted a wooden boat to enjoy this special place. She was totally re-fitted by Simon and Lyndon Evans, who themselves own Dunkirk Little Ships and are located in Burgundy. Now Ona II is a handsome family cruising boat, for use on the Seine, the Burgundy waters and so on.

Ona II is one of the fortunate ones and there is no reason why she should not remain one of the veteran fleet of Dunkirk Little Ships for another fifty years.

Source: 2, 3, 4, 5, 11 & 19

Updated 22/06/99


ona II

The Ona II was kept in Ramsgate as Mr H Payne my grandfather owned a greengrocery shop in the center of Ramsgate he also owned a sail boat the type I am not sure of. Unfortunately he died in 1964 3 months after I was born. I do however have more pictures. contact pagosboat@hotmail.com I have taken up my grandfathers love of the sea and am now in the Philippines with my own sail boat and family.